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Hull Number: DD-868

Launch Date: 07/07/1945

Commissioned Date: 11/16/1945

Decommissioned Date: 09/30/1976

Call Sign: NBGN

Voice Call Sign: GREASE (49-50), PALMOLIVE



Data for USS Gearing (DD-710) as of 1945

Length Overall: 390’ 6"

Beam: 40’ 10"

Draft: 14’ 4"

Standard Displacement: 2,425 tons

Full Load Displacement: 3,479 tons

Fuel capacity: 4,647 barrels


Six 5″/38 caliber guns
Two 40mm twin anti-aircraft mounts
Two 40mm quadruple anti-aircraft mounts
Two 21″ quintuple torpedo tubes


20 Officers
325 Enlisted


4 Boilers
2 General Electric Turbines: 60,000 horsepower

Highest speed on trials: 34.6 knots



Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (Published 1959)

Born in Lyons, NY, 8 July 1846, Willard Herbert Brownson graduated from the Academy in 1865. He commanded the protected cruiser Detroit at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, during the revolution of 1893-94 and Yankee during the Spanish-American War. From 1900 until 1902 he was Superintendent of the Naval Academy. He became Commander-in-Chief of the Asiatic Fleet 15 October 1906. After his retirement in July 1907 he continued on active duty as Chief of the Bureau of Navigation by order of President Theodore Roosevelt. Rear Admiral Brownson died at Washington, DC, 16 March 1935.


Sold for scrap 1977-1978.

A Tin Can Sailors Destroyer History


The Tin Can Sailor, April 2001

The BROWNSON (DD-868) was commissioned at New York on 17 November 1945 and in November 1946 took part in the polar expedition led by Admiral Richard E. Byrd. Her first deployment with the Sixth Fleet was in 1948.

On 8 November 1950, the BROWNSON and CHARLES H. ROAN (DD-853) were engaged in night operations some 265 miles off Bermuda. At 0103 the task group commander ordered the two destroyers to change station, a maneuver that required them to cross paths. Steaming at twenty knots and running dark, the ships were on a collision course before anyone could take action to avoid disaster. At 0110, with sirens blaring a warning, they collided. The BROWNSON’s bow tore a large hole in the ROAN in the area of the after engine room and machine shop. Within fifteen seconds the ships had broken clear of each other revealing that the collision had sheared away a large section of the BROWNSON’s bow and several forward ordnance storage compartments were flooding. Aboard the ROAN, a sailor in the machine shop went into the sea through the hole torn in the hull, but within minutes the BROWNSON’s boat had recovered him. He was a lucky one. As a result of the collision, five of the ROAN’s crew died—three instantly, two later— and several were injured, two requiring hospitalization.

Among those on hand to assist the stricken ships were the DENNIS J. BUCKLEY (DDR-808), MYLES C. FOX (DDR-829), and SAMUEL B. ROBERTS (DD-823). At 1445, with flooding under control and the forward bulkhead shored up, the BROWNSON got underway for Bermuda with the quickly assembled task group. The ROBERTS, which was later relieved by the LUISENO (ATF-156), followed with the ROAN in tow. Her injured crewmen were sped to Bermuda aboard the PALAU (CVE-122) and BENNER (DDR-807). The BROWNSON and the task group reached Bermuda on 11 November. The ROAN reached port on the 12th.

Following repairs, she returned to a normal routine. NATO exercises in the Atlantic and Mediterranean, cruises to South America and the Caribbean, duty in the Far East, and a tour in the Persian Gulf carried her through 1956. Two years later, the BROWNSON joined Destroyer Development Group Two whose task was to develop, test, and evaluate new equipment.

She took part of the Cuban quarantine in October 1962 and in June 1963 underwent fleet rehabilitation and modernization (FRAM) conversion. Following her 1964 Mediterranean deployment, the BROWNSON was outfitted with two DASH helicopters. In 1965, she operated along the East Coast, participated in NATO exercises in the North Atlantic, and visited thirteen ports in Northern Europe. During 1966 she served as a destroyer school ship with the GAINARD (DD-706) and HARLAN R. DICKSON (DD-708) conducting training exercises in Narragansett Bay and the Caribbean.

In October 1966, the BROWNSON got underway for the Western Pacific and on 21 November, with the CHARLES P. CECIL (DD-835), joined the FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT (CVA-42) on Yankee Station in the Gulf of Tonkin. Completing plane guard duties on 29 November, she proceeded to the I Corps area of South Vietnam to conduct gunfire support operations, shelling enemy positions. She returned to plane guard duty until 26 December when she conducted antisubmarine warfare exercises with the STODDARD (DD-566) and CARBONERO (SS-337). While in Kaohsiung Harbor, Taiwan, the BROWNSON’s crew helped fight a fire in the hold of the Panamanian merchant ship SS ORIANA. She was back in Vietnamese waters in January 1967, firing on Vietcong buildings, troops, and bases in the III Corps area.

Back home in April 1967, she conducted midshipmen and destroyer school training cruises in the Caribbean with the HARLAN R. DICKSON and HUGH PURVIS (DD-709). She was involved in tests of experimental sonar equipment during much of 1968 and then got underway for a Sixth Fleet deployment in 1969, steaming east in company with the WILLIAM R. RUSH (DD-714) and O’HARE (DD-889). That summer she operated in Northern Europe and the Arctic Circle with the WASP (CVS-18), VOGE (DE-1047), KOELSCH (DE-1049), O’HARE, BORDELON (DD-881), and WILLIAM V. PRATT (DLG-13). In the Caribbean in September 1969, as plane guard for the FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, she rescued two men overboard from the carrier. A day later, the destroyer helped search for two A4 pilots involved in a mid-air collision near St. Croix. Fishermen recovered one pilot, but all that could be found of the other was his flight helmet.

Over the next two years, she engaged in operations out of Newport and exercises in the Caribbean and off the Virginia Capes with the BASILONE (DD-824), CHARLES P. CECIL (DD-835), GARCIA (DE-1040), KOELSCH, BARRY (DD-933) and BELKNAP (DLG-26). A transfer to Mayport, Florida, Mediterranean deployments, exercises in the North Atlantic, surveillance of Soviet antisubmarine warfare exercises, a Caribbean cruise, and a final tour of duty to Africa, Pakistan, and the Persian Gulf ended her career. She was decommissioned and stricken from the navy’s list on 30 September 1976 and sold for scrap in June 1977.

USS BROWNSON DD-868 Ship History

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (Published 1959)

The second Brownson (DD-868) was launched 7 July 1945 by Bethlehem Steel Co., Staten Island, NY; sponsored by Miss Caroline Brownson Hart, granddaughter of Admiral Brownson, and commissioned 17 November 1945, Commander W. R. Cox in command.

Brownson conducted shakedown in the Atlantic and Caribbean and was then placed in a reduced operational status at Bath, Maine for six months. Resuming active operations in October 1946, she participated in Operation High Jump between November 1946 and April 1947.

Brownson spent the summer and fall of 1947 operating out of Newport. In February 1948 she took part in the 2nd Fleet exercises in the Caribbean and then Joined the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean. She returned to Newport in June 1948 and spent June 1948 to May 1949 conducting reserve cruises.

In May 1949 she entered Boston Naval Shipyard for an extensive modernization which lasted until March 1950. She conducted refresher training in the Caribbean and in the summer of 1950 made a Midshipmen cruise in the Caribbean. She then participated in fleet exercises, operating out of Newport.

During night operations on Bermuda on 8 November 1950 Brownson collided with Charles H. Roan (DD-853). She returned to Boston for repairs and further modernization. Leaving the yard in February 1951 she joined the 9th Fleet in the Mediterranean. The period between October 1951 and August 1952 was spent in the vicinity of Newport. In August 1952 she went to the North Atlantic with the 2nd Fleet for NATO’s Operation Mainbrace. In October 1952 she rejoined the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean. Returning to Newport in February 1953, she operated along the Atlantic seaboard and in the Caribbean until August 1954, with the exception of one Midshipmen cruise and participation in Operation Springboard.

She departed Newport 2 August for an extended tour in the Far East with the 7th Fleet. In the Far East Brownson cruised in Japanese, Philippine, and Korean waters until January 1955. Departing the Far East she returned to the east coast, via the Suez Canal, arriving at Newport 14 March 1955.

Since March 1955 Brownson has operated along the eastern seaboard, in the Caribbean, and in the Mediterranean.