Tuesday, April 22, 2014

USS Harlan R. Dickson (DD-708)

Figure 1:  USS Harlan R. Dickson (DD-708) off Manhattan Island, New York, en route from her builders, Federal Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Company, Kearny, New Jersey, for delivery to the Navy in February 1945. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.

Figure 2:  USS Harlan R. Dickson (DD-708) underway in Hampton Roads, Virginia, 8 May 1964. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image. 

Figure 3:  USS Harlan R. Dickson (DD-708) underway, during the 1960s. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.

Named after Lieutenant Commander Harlan R. Dickson, a highly decorated naval aviator who was killed in 1944, the 2,200-ton USS Harlan R. Dickson (DD-708) was an Allen M. Sumner class destroyer that was built by the Federal Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Company at Kearny, NJ, and was commissioned on 17 February 1945. The ship was approximately 376 feet long and 40 feet wide, had a top speed of 34 knots, and had a crew of 336 officers and men. Harlan R. Dickson was armed with six 5-inch guns, 12 40-mm guns, 11 20-mm guns, ten 21-inch torpedo tubes, and depth charges.

After being commissioned, Harlan R. Dickson spent the balance of 1945 assigned to the Atlantic Fleet before arriving at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in December 1945. The ship spent most of its time involved with naval exercises and various training programs before returning to the Atlantic in March 1946. Harlan R. Dickson engaged in further training exercises before leaving in February 1947 for duty with the US Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean Sea. This was the first in a lengthy series of deployments to the Mediterranean, with occasional trips made farther east to the Persian Gulf. Throughout the next two decades, these deployments to the Mediterranean were punctuated by operations in the western Atlantic and in the Caribbean.

From 2 July to 4 December 1956, during her sixth Mediterranean cruise, Harlan R. Dickson played a key role in the evacuation of American citizens from Haifa, Israel, as war loomed between Israel and Egypt. In October 1962, Harlan R. Dickson was assigned to the hunter-killer antisubmarine task force which participated in the quarantine of Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Once the crisis ended, Harlan R. Dickson resumed her deployments to the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, always on the lookout for Soviet warships that were on patrol in the area.

After almost 30 years of service, USS Harlan R. Dickson was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register in 1972. She was sold for scrapping in June 1973.