John Rodgers II dd 574


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John Rodgers II DD- 574

John Rodgers II

(DD-574: dp. 2,050, 1. 376'5", b. 39'8" dr. 13', s. 35 k. cpl. 273; n. 5 5'', 10 40mm., 7 20mm., 10 21" tt., 2 dct.6 dcp.; cl. Fletcher)

The second John Rodgers (DD-574) was laid down by Consolidated Steel Corp., Orange, Tex., 25 July 1941 launched 7 May 1942; sponsored by Miss Helen Perry Rodgers, daughter, great grandniece, and great granddaughter of the ship's namesakes; and commissioned 9 February 1943, Comdr. H. O. Parrish in command.

After shakedown in the Caribbean, John Rodgers departed Norfolk 13 May escorting a convoy through the Panama Canal to Pearl Harbor. Following a short training period there, the destroyer joined the screen of a fast carrier task force in August during damaging raids on Marcus Island, Tarawa, and Wake Island which also gathered invaluable information for future landings.

Then, in a joint cruiser-destroyer force, she sailed for Empress-Augusta Bay to support landings on Bougainville 1 November. While screening the transports there a week later, she assisted Santa Fe in splashing a Japanese torpedo plane.

From this action she joined the destroyer screen of the Southern Attack Force for the invasion of the Gilbert Islands. She protected the transports during the landings on Betio Island 20 November and remained in the area supporting the brave marines ashore until Tarawa Atoll was secure.

Late in December the destroyers sailed to Pearl Harbor to prepare for the next major offensive. John Rodgers departed Pearl Harbor 22 January 1944 headed for the Marshall Islands. Proflting from experience gained in previous engagements, the Navy launched a well-coordinated attack on l~wajalein Atoll 31 January. In addition to providing antiaircraft and antisubmarine protection, John Rodgers supported the landing forces with gunfire which knocked out enemy troop concentrations and pill boxes. After the last resistance disappeared 7 February, the destroyer patrolled the Marshall Island area until late March.

During April she acted as escort for ships bringing men and weapons as American forces surprised the enemy at EIollandia. Naval fire support helped ground troops to secure airfields giving the United States a closer base for future attacks on the remaining Japanese held islands'

In May John Rodgers operated out of Guadalcanal screening convoys and bombarding enemy positions. Early in June she sailed to the Marshall Islands to prepare for the Marianas Campaign and departed Eniwetok 17 July with the Guam invasion force. Beginning 21 July, John Rodgers fired more than 3,600 rounds at targetx on Guam helping to knock out enemy troop concentrations and defensive works. The destroyer remained in the Marianas until 4 August and provided antisubmarine screen for transports bringing reinforcements.

In August John Rodgers began preparations for the Morotai Invasion and departed Humbolt Bay 14 September to support and screen the landings there. After this operation, which provided the only Allied base from which to stage short-range fighters and bombers to Leyte, she remained on patrol duty in the area.

John Rodgers returned to Hollandia 2 October to prepare for the long-awaited invasion of the Philippines. She got under way for Leyte 13 October and arrived to support landings 7 days later. Now commanded by Comdr. J. G. Franklin, she screened the ships carrying General MacArthur and his troops back to the Philippines. As American fighting men moved inland and took two important airfields, the destroyer provided fire sup. port and patrolled the area.

Meanwhile, risking all to save the Philippines, Japan committed her entire remaining naval force to battle. The U.S. Navy met this challenge by routing the Japanese in the decisive Battle for Leyte Gulf, and reducing their once powerful navy to a mere shadow of its former strength.

Following this historic action, John Rodgers departed the Philippines 30 October for Mare Island, Calif., and a badly needed overhaul. Rejuvenated by early January 1945, the destroyer sailed west to join Admiral Spruance's Task Force 58 on 7 February for final offensive operations against the enemy. Carrier strikes on the Japanese homeland began 16 February and, in 2 days of relentless air attacks, destroyed nearly 800 enemy planes.

Then John Rodgers turned toward the Bonin Islands to screen a fast carrier task force covering the invasion of Iwo Jima 19 February. Although air raids and heavy guns knocked out many enemy defensive works, the island was well enough fort)fied to make the Navy pay a high price in lives and weapons for this vital stopover for B-29 bombers raiding Tokyo.

Following Iwo Jima, John Rodgers resumed duty with the fast carrier task force raiding Japan while awaiting the invasion of Okinawa, last and greatest amphibious operation of the Pacific war. John Rodgers operated with the carriers as they continued to bomb both Japan and Okinawa. She began screening operations as the first assault wave hit the beach 1 April. She stood by protecting the carriers and splashed two kamikazes as they dived toward the flattops. She remained in the area supporting operations until Okinawa was finally secure 21 June.

As the war closed, John Rodgers screened the 3d Fleet during almost continuous raids on Japan. Late in July she operated with Destroyer Division 25 on the Suruga Wan antishipping sweep and penetrated to within 11 miles of the Japanese shoreline, probably the closest approach made by surface ships during the entire war. Admiral Halsey congratulated the division commander who had led the sweep on board John Rodgers: "Loud applause to you and your boys for a well planned sweep conducted in the best destroyer tradition. You have been enrolled on the emperor's blacklist."

Following the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the subsequent collapse of Japan, the indefatigable destroyer screened transports carrying occupation troops into Tokyo Bay 6 September. The trimphant entry into Tokyo was a fitting and well-deserved climax for John Rodger, who had fought in almost every major offensive campaign of the Pacific war without losing a single man.

Her stay was brief, however, as she sailed for home and arrived Boston 17 October. She moved to Charleston, S C, 3 November, decommissioned there 25 May 1946, and entered the Atlantic Reserve Fleet. Moved to Philadelphia in 1954, at present she is berthed in Texas where she remains ready to answer any future call to duty.

John Rodgers received 12 battle stars for World War II service.
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