Tuesday, December 14, 2010
USS Jacob Jones (DD-130)
Figure 1: Launching of USS Jacob Jones (Destroyer #130) at the New York Shipbuilding Corporation shipyard, Camden, New Jersey, 20 November 1918. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 2: Destroyers fitting out at the New York Shipbuilding Corporation shipyard, Camden, New Jersey, on 8 April 1919. They are (from left to right): USS Leary (Destroyer # 158; Builder's # 217); USS Babbitt (Destroyer # 128; Builder's # 213); USS Dickerson (Destroyer # 157; Builder's # 216); and USS Jacob Jones (Destroyer # 130; Builder's # 215). Builder's hull numbers are painted in small numerals on the ships' bows. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 3: USS Jacob Jones (Destroyer # 130) photographed soon after she was completed in 1919. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 4: USS Jacob Jones (Destroyer # 130) transiting the Panama Canal, 1920. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 5: Undated photograph showing USS Swasey (DD-273), USS Welles (DD-257) and USS Jacob Jones (DD-130) transiting the Panama Canal. Courtesy Robert M. Cieri. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 6: USS Jacob Jones (DD-130) photographed circa the 1930s. Courtesy of Donald M. McPherson, 1969. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 7: Undated photograph of USS Jacob Jones (DD -130) and USS Claxton (DD-140) docked at New York City. Photo from the collection of Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 8: Shown left to right, USS Tattnall (DD-125), USS Jacob Jones (DD-130), and USS Hopkins (DD-249) moored together off San Diego, California, circa 1935. This view shows the ships' bows, with signal flags hoisted in the rigging in honor of a special occasion. Donation of Franklin Moran, 1967. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 9: Shown left to right, USS Hopkins (DD-249), USS Jacob Jones (DD-130), and USS Tattnall (DD-125) moored together off San Diego, California, circa 1935. This view shows the ships' sterns with propeller guards, depth-charge racks, and small craft visible. Donation of Franklin Moran, 1967. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 10: Shown from left to right are USS Jacob Jones (DD-130), USS Erie (PG-50), and USS Manley (DD-74) in harbor during a US Naval Academy Midshipmen's cruise, 3 August 1937. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 11: USS Yorktown (CV-5) tied up at Pier 7, Naval Operating Base at Norfolk, Virginia, on 30 September 1937, with commissioning ceremonies underway on her flight deck. USS Jacob Jones (DD-130) is on the opposite side of the pier. Official US Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 12: USS Yorktown (CV-5) along with other ships at Pier 7, Naval Operating Base, Norfolk, Virginia, on 19 October 1937. The other ships present are (from left to right): USS Texas (BB-35); USS Decatur (DD-341); USS Jacob Jones (DD-130) and USS Kewaydin (AT-24). Note automobiles parked in the foreground. Photograph from Department of the Navy collections in the US National Archives. Click on photograph for larger image.
Named after Commodore Jacob Jones (1768-1850), US naval hero of the War of 1812, USS Jacob Jones was a 1,090-ton Wickes class destroyer that was built by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation at Camden, New Jersey, and was commissioned on 20 October 1919. The ship was approximately 314 feet long and 31 feet wide, had a top speed of 35 knots, and had a crew of 113 officers and men. Jacob Jones was armed with four 4-inch guns, two 3-inch anti-aircraft guns, 12 21-inch torpedo tubes, and depth charges.
After being commissioned, Jacob Jones served briefly in the Atlantic, but then joined the Pacific Fleet after transiting the Panama Canal in 1920. After being placed in reserve from August 1920 to June 1921, the ship was active along America’s west coast until she was decommissioned on 24 June 1922.
Jacob Jones was re-commissioned on 1 May 1930 and was initially used as a training ship, steaming in coastal waters from Alaska to Mexico. She then was used as a plane guard ship for the Navy’s growing fleet of aircraft carriers. Jacob Jones remained in the eastern Pacific until March 1931, when she was sent to the Caribbean for naval exercises. She returned to the Pacific from early 1932 to the spring of 1933. After that, though, the ship was assigned to the Atlantic and Caribbean areas of operations. Jacob Jones participated in numerous tactical exercises, training assignments, and diplomatic missions. In October and November of 1938, Jacob Jones crossed the Atlantic and operated in European and North African waters as part of US Naval Squadron 40-T. The ship returned to the United States on October 1939, shortly after the start of World War II in Europe.
For the next two years, Jacob Jones was assigned to submarine support duties, anti-submarine training, and Neutrality Patrols off the coast of the United States and in the Caribbean. After the United States entered World War II on 7 December 1941, Jacob Jones was assigned to convoy escort duties while based in Argentia, Newfoundland. On 4 January 1942, Jacob Jones left Argentia and escorted USS Albatross (AM-71) and USS Linnet (AM-76). The ships were going to join Convoy SC-63, which was bound for England. Along the way, Jacob Jones made an underwater contact and began a depth-charge attack. The destroyer, though, lost contact with the submarine. She then continued her mission and successfully escorted the two other ships to the convoy. Jacob Jones returned to Argentia on 5 January.
On 14 January 1942, Jacob Jones joined Convoy HX-169 which was headed for Iceland. A bad storm hit the convoy, with enormous waves and force 9 winds battering and then scattering the convoy. Jacob Jones eventually made it to Iceland on 19 January and then five days later she escorted three merchant ships back to Argentia. On the way back to Argentia, Jacob Jones again made a sonar contact with a submarine, but her subsequent depth-charge attack failed to sink the enemy warship. Jacob Jones and the merchant ships sailing with her arrived at Argentia on 3 February.
After escorting an incoming convoy that was bound for Boston, Jacob Jones was assigned to an independent anti-submarine patrol and was based in New York. On 22 February 1942, while under the command of Lieutenant Commander Hugh Black, Jacob Jones left New York and searched for German U-boats. Not far off the coast of New York, Jacob Jones made sonar contact with a submarine and attacked immediately. For five hours, the destroyer dropped depth charges while searching for the U-boat. After dropping roughly 57 depth charges, the men on the destroyer saw an oil slick but no additional debris from the submarine. Having dropped all of her depth charges, Jacob Jones had to return to New York to re-arm. Subsequent investigations failed to confirm that a U-boat was sunk that day.
On the morning of 27 February 1942, Jacob Jones once again left New York and headed southward to patrol along the southern coast of New Jersey. Shortly after she left New York, Lieutenant Commander Black received orders to focus her attention on the area between Cape May, New Jersey, and the Delaware Capes. At 1530, Jacob Jones spotted the burning wreckage of the tanker R.P. Resor, which had been torpedoed the previous day east of Barnegat Light. Jacob Jones circled the area for two hours searching for survivors and, after finding none, continued heading south. She was steaming at a steady 15 knots in calm seas and reported her position at 2000 hours before beginning radio silence. There was a full moon and visibility was good. The ship was completely darkened without any running or navigation lights burning and she continued on her southerly course.
At dawn on 28 February 1942, the German submarine U-578 spotted Jacob Jones and quickly fired a spread of torpedoes at the destroyer. The torpedoes raced towards the unsuspecting destroyer and two of them hit the ship’s port side in rapid succession. The first torpedo hit just aft of the bridge, apparently hitting the destroyer’s magazine and causing enormous damage to the ship. The explosion tore off the forward part of Jacob Jones, completely destroying the bridge, chart room, and the officers’ and petty officers’ quarters. The ship shuddered to a stop as a second torpedo hit about 40 feet forward of the fantail, blowing off the aft end of the ship. Only the midsection of the ship remained intact. Lieutenant Commander Black and most of the crew were killed by the explosions. Roughly 25 or 30 men were still alive, though, and, incredibly, the midsection of the ship remained afloat for almost 45 minutes. This gave the survivors some time to abandon ship in the four or five life rafts that were left on board the ship. But, as the pieces of Jacob Jones slipped beneath the waves, some of her depth charges exploded, killing some men in one of the rafts.
At 0810 on 28 February 1942, an Army observation plane sighted the life rafts and reported their position to rescue ship Eagle 56 of the Inshore Patrol. The patrol boat raced to the scene, but strong winds and deteriorating weather conditions forced her to give up the search after picking up only 12 survivors, one of whom died on the way back to Cape May. Other ships and aircraft continued the search for survivors for two more days, but none were ever found.
Few people today realize that a savage naval war took place right off the east coast of the United States during World War II. Many ships, like the Jacob Jones, were sunk literally within sight of New York and New Jersey. It was a bloody war and thousands of people died in the struggle. It is well worth remembering that, in wartime, our coasts can be extremely vulnerable to enemy attack.
Figure 13: Photograph taken in the early 1940s of Lieutenant Commander Hugh Black, USN (1903-1942). He was lost at sea on 28 February 1942 while serving as Commanding Officer of USS Jacob Jones (DD-130), when his ship was torpedoed and sunk. USS Black (DD-666) was named in his honor. The original photograph was presented to USS Black by Mrs. Hugh Black, Ship's Sponsor, on 21 May 1943, the day the ship went into commission. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Figure 14: A photograph of Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Thomas W. Marshall, Jr., USN (1906-1942) during the 1930s. As a Lieutenant Commander, Marshall was Executive Officer of USS Jacob Jones (DD-130) when she was torpedoed and sunk on 28 February 1942. He was lost with the ship. USS Marshall (DD-676), commissioned on 16 October 1943, was named in his honor. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.
Posted by Remo at 9:20 AM