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Hull Number: DE-41

Launch Date: 08/01/1943

Commissioned Date: 10/18/1943

Decommissioned Date: 11/23/1945





Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, June 2020

Bruce Godfrey Brackett, born on 16 October 1915 in Seattle, Wash., enlisted in the Naval Reserve Officers’Training Corps in 1936 and trained on board the battleships New York (BB-34) and Colorado (BB-45) and the destroyer Hopkins (DD-249). He was appointed an aviation cadet on 5 September 1939 and, following instruction as a naval aviator (heavier than air) at Pensacola, Fla., received a commission as an ensign on 15 April 1940. Brackett’s first assignment was to Cruiser Scouting Squadron (VCS) 9 on board Honolulu (CL-48) to which he reported on 22 June. The light cruiser operated out of Pearl Harbor through 1941 and lay moored in the Navy Yard when the Japanese attacked on 7 December. Honolulu suffered only minor hull damage and was initially assigned convoy escort duty between the U.S., Australia, and Samoa.

Promoted to lieutenant (junior grade) in June 1942, Brackett spent the summer months of 1942 in the Aleutian Islands on board Honolulu. He was promoted to lieutenant on 1 October 1942 and began to fly combat scouting missions with Task Force (TF) 67 during the Battle of Tassafaronga in November and out of Espíritu Santo early in 1943.

From 16 December 1942 to 14 January 1943, assigned to VCS Detachment Ringbolt [the code name for Tulagi], Lt. Brackett flew hazardous missions in Curtiss SOC Seagull floatplanes to seek out the “Tokyo Express,” the nightly reinforcement runs of Japanese warships down the slot that separated two chains of islands in the Solomons. On those occasions, he braved heavy Japanese antiaircraft fire to harass the enemy, illuminating targets for motor torpedo boat (PT) squadrons to attack. During the stormy night of 14–15 January 1943, Brackett was shot down near Savo Island while assisting the PT boats engaging a nine-destroyer “express” run (Rear Adm. Tanaka Raizō). Officially declared dead on 23 January 1943, Brackett received the Silver Star (posthumously) for his heroism.



USS BRACKETT DE-41 Ship History

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, June 2020

Slated for transfer to the Royal Navy under Lend Lease, the unnamed BDE-41 was laid down on 12 January 1943 at Bremerton, Wash., by the Puget Sound Navy Yard. Named Brackett (DE-41) and given the identification number DE-41 on 16 June 1943; she was launched on 1 August 1943; and sponsored by Mrs. George G. Brackett, the mother of Lt. Brackett. Brackett was commissioned on 18 October 1943, Lt. John H. Roskilly, Jr., USNR, in command.

The escort vessel reported to the Operational Training Command in San Diego, Calif., on 12 November 1943 for shakedown training. Post-shakedown repairs were completed on 15 December, and Brackett took on provisions before departing San Francisco, Calif., on 21 December to join Destroyers, Pacific Fleet. Eight days later, she moored at Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, and immediately commenced training, operating with forces attached to Commander Submarines Pacific Fleet and Task Force (TF) 52, preparing for the invasion of the Marshall Islands.

Brackett stood out of Pearl Harbor on 20 January 1944 and anchored at Funafuti Atoll, Ellice Islands, on the 25th, reporting to Task Group 16.10 for duty. The escort vessel got underway again on 29 January with Fifth Fleet warships heading for Majuro Atoll in the Marshall Islands. The Japanese had abandoned Majuro in November 1942, and Allied troops, who prepared for an assault on enemy territory, simply raised the Stars and Stripes on 31 January. The atoll’s value as an advanced base was apparent, and work to improve existing facilities began immediately. The efforts of the forward-deployed U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey made available a large-scale anchorage chart on 2 February, and two days later, Brackett escorted several of the Fifth Fleet ships into a safe harbor, thus commencing what her historian called “a tedious period of necessary escort work…”

Brackett continued shepherding supply ships steaming between the Marshalls and Gilberts until 9 May 1944 when she set course for Pearl Harbor for repairs to her starboard shaft that had been rendered inoperative by the failure of a strut. While there, the ship held her first change-of-command, when Lt. Cmdr. Alfred C. Reed Jr., USNR, the executive officer, relieved Lt. Cmdr. Roskilly on 13 June.

When she got underway again on 19 June 1944, Brackett set course for the Marianas, arriving at Saipan during the struggle to wrest that island from Japan. She then resumed convoy escort duty, protecting ships that constituted the vital logistical pipeline conveying fuel, ammunition, and food to the advanced bases. On 28 July, while en route to Saipan from Eniwetok, Brackett pursued an underwater sound contact, carrying out depth charge attacks that yielded no visible evidence of a sinking. Japanese records reviewed after the war indicated no submarine lost that could have been Brackett’s target.

Late in 1944, the escort vessel added Manus, in the Admiralty Islands, to her regular patrol and escort cycle, stopping there for the first time in October and returning again in November. During that time, her chronicler wrote, Brackett experienced “nothing more exciting or positive than the sinking of an occasional floating mine, most of which were encountered in the vicinity of the Palau Islands, Western Caroline Group.”

On 4 December 1944, Brackett arrived off the Marshalls to assume “Dumbo” [lifeguard] duties (the name evoking the popular Walt Disney cartoon character, Dumbo the flying elephant) during air strikes on islands bypassed earlier: Wotje, Jaluit, Milli, and Maloelap. Brackett shelled an enemy gun emplacement on Taroa Island on 5 January 1945 (return fire proved “fortunately inaccurate”), destroying one battery before retiring. Relieved of patrol duty, she set course for Pearl Harbor on 7 February. After a four-week availability and rest period, Brackett got underway on 8 March for Ulithi, an advanced link in the supply chain reaching to the forward combat areas, where preparations for the invasion of Okinawa were underway.

Beginning on 25 March 1945, Brackett provided protection for the 40 fleet tankers shuttling fuel to the Ryukyus, the “reefer” ships carrying fresh and frozen provisions, and the ammunition ships supporting the Okinawa campaign. She weathered the typhoon encountered by the Third Fleet on 5 June without a casualty, although Donaldson (DE-44), a sister ship, was damaged. All told, however, the storm off Okinawa damaged battleships Indiana (BB-58), Massachusetts (BB-59), Alabama (BB-60), and Missouri (BB-63); carriers Hornet (CV-12) and Bennington (CV-20), small carriers Belleau Wood (CVL-24) and San Jacinto (CVL-30), escort carriers Windham Bay (CVE-92), Salamaua (CVE-96), Bougainville (CVE-100), and Attu (CVE-102), heavy cruisers Baltimore (CA-68), Quincy (CA-71), and Pittsburgh (CA-72), light cruisers Detroit (CL-8), San Juan (CL-54), Duluth (CL-87), and Atlanta (CL-104), destroyers Schroeder (DD-501), John Rodgers (DD-574), McKee (DD-575), Dashiell (DD-659), Stockham (DD-683), De Haven (DD-727), Maddox (DD-731), Blue (DD-744), Brush (DD-745), Taussig (DD-746), and Samuel N. Moore (DD-747), destroyer escorts Conklin (DE-439) and Hilbert (DE-742), oilers Lackawanna (AO-40) and Millicoma (AO-73), and ammunition ship Shasta (AE-6).

Underway on 27 June 1945 with orders directing her stateside, she reached San Francisco on 14 July for an overhaul at the Mare Island Navy Yard. Japan surrendered before the work was completed, and Brackett soon received orders for her crew to begin removing salvageable material in preparation for the sale of the ship. “At no time during one hundred and twenty thousand miles of steaming,” her historian concluded triumphantly, “was damage incurred by this vessel.”

Decommissioned on 23 November 1945 at the newly-renamed Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Brackett was stricken from the List of Naval Vessels on 5 December 1945. She was sold to National Metal & Steel Corp., Terminal Island, Calif., in May 1947 and was scrapped.

Brackett received three battle stars for her World War II service, for her participation in the occupation of the atolls of Kwajalein and Majuro (29 January–8 February 1944), in the capture and occupation of Saipan (28–29 July 1944), and in the Third and Fifth Fleet raids in support of the occupation of Okinawa Gunto (26 March–11 June 1945).

Commanding Officers Date Assumed Command
Lt. Cmdr. John H. Roskilly Jr., USNR 18 October 1943
Lt. Cmdr. Alfred C. Reed Jr., USNR 13 June 1944