< Epperson DD- 719

Epperson DD- 719



Harold Glenn Epperson, born 14 July 1923 in Akron Ohio, enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve 12 December 1942. Private Epperson served with distinction in the assaults on Tarawa and Saipan, sharing in the Presidential Unit Citation awarded his organization for its service at Tarawa. He was killed in action on Saipan 25 June 1944, and received the Medal of Honor posthumously for his great courage and self-sacrifice in throwing himself on an enemy hand grenade to save his comrades from the effect of its explosion.

(DD-719: dp. 2,425; 1. 390'6"; b. 41'1"; dr. 18'6"; s. 35 k.; cpl. 336 a. 6 5', 5 21" tt., 6 dcp., 2 dct.; cl. Gearing)

Epperson (DD-719) was launched 22 December 1945 by Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Kearny, N.J., sponsored by Mrs. J. B. Epperson, mother of Private Epperson; redesignated DDE-719 on 28 January 1948, completed by Bath Iron Works Corp., Bath, Maine, and commissioned 19 March 1949, Commander T. H. W. Connor in command

Epperson conducted training along the east coast, on 10 December 194g she arrived at Key West for intensive antisubmarine warfare exercises. On 22 August 1950 Epperson sailed for Pearl Harbor, her home port, arriving 10 September. She operated in the Hawaiian Islands with her squadron and ships of other types, and on 7 November 1950 became flagship of Commander, Escort Division 12.

Epperson sailed from Pearl Harbor 1 June 1951 for service in the Korean war. She screened the carrier task force off Korea, patrolled and bombarded the coast, and joined in hunter-killer exercises off Okinawa before returning to Pearl Harbor 14 November. Her second Korean tour, from l0 November 1952 to 29 May 1963 found her performing similar duty, as well as patrolling the Taiwan Straits, and entering the dangerous waters 'of Wonson Harbor to bombard enemy shore batteries.

During the first 4~ months of 1954, Epperson patrolled in the Marshalls during thermonuclear weapons test, and in June sailed for duty in the Far East once more, an annual part of her employment schedule through 1962. In 1958 and 1959, her western Pacific cruises included visits to Manus, ports in Australia and New Zealand, and Pago Pago, Samoa.

Epperson received five battle stars for Korean war service.