... We saw plenty of action
NOVEMBER 1, 1943. D-DAY FOR BOUGAINVILLE LANDING.
The first troops put ashore on Bougainville were 13,000 Marines and a convoy of 12 transports screened by 11 destroyers under command of Commander Ralph Earl, ComDesRon-45. Ships were, USS Fullam, Guest, Bennett, Hudson, Anthony, Wadsworth, Terry, Braine, Sigourney, Conway and Renshaw.
A few Jap aircraft struck D-Day morning, but were intercepted by our fighters. The only ship casualty was a near hit to the Wadsworth that killed two of the crew. On D-Day afternoon about 100 Jap Carrier planes were intercepted by our pilots. Not one ship or landing craft was hit by the attacking planes.
JANUARY 31, 1944: Task Group 31.8 consists of destroyer transports Talbot, Waters and Dickerson escorted by destroyers Fullam, the Flag ship, Bennett, Guest and Hudson went to Green Island. Under cover of darkness, reconnoiter teams went ashore. One team was ambushed. Four men were killed by snipers, then total silence. The Japanese Navy was preparing an ambush - one unit was creeping in for a strike. This attempt was frustrated by the Guest and Hudson.
No Enemy Activity was reported by Task Group 31.8 on January 31, 1944. Such reports were subject to change without notice. At 0411 February 1, the Fullam picked up a radar contact revealing the presence of a vessel in the waters off Green Island, range 10,500 yards.
The Guest, commanded by LCdr E. K. McLaren and Hudson, commanded by LCdr R. R. Pratt was ordered to investigate. The ships held their fire as American PT boats were known to be operating in the area. A flash sweep with the searchlight revealed nothing. At 3,500 yards, radar detected a target. A diving submarine. Both ships dropped depth charges. The deep sea explosion indicated another sub had been sunk. Japanese records verified the kill as I-171.
Throughout March, several destroyer divisions operated in the Bougainville area, bringing to a close the Solomons theater. The Hudson was one of the ships.
April 1, 1945: OKINAWA INVASION. A total of 1,450 vessels manned by well over half a million men took part in this operation. Off Okinawa were 2,213 ships carrying 182,000 assault troops. A total of 318 Combatant vessels, the largest fleet yet assembled in naval history. Over 40 carriers, 18 battleships, scores of cruisers, submarines, minesweepers, landing craft, patrol vessels, salvage vessels and auxiliaries. More than 148 destroyers and destroyer-escorts were in the armada that fought the Okinawa campaign.
The story of this campaign is the story of the American Destroyers and Destroyer Escorts that bore the brunt of the sea-air battle. Carrier groups were far offshore. Bombardment groups came and went. Submarines met little or no opposition. Destroyers were there! The destroyer forces were in there for days and weeks.
The DD's and DE's worked as radar pickets or patrol vessels in the screen. Covering the approaches to Okinawa, they mounted guard at radar picket stations in a ring around the island, or patrolled the convoy approaches as anti-submarine or anti-aircraft guards. Their duties were to give early warning of approaching enemy ships or aircraft.
April 5, 1945: On radar picket station west of Okinawa, word was received of a surface contact. Hudson raced to the area and picked up the target on radar. Sonar made contact and six depth charge runs were made. A muffled explosion was heard and by daybreak the sea was smeared with an extensive oil slick and other items of debris. The Japanese submarine RO-41 was no more.
Sometimes Cap's (Combat Air Patrols) were assigned to the picket ships. This meant having control over the planes. The ship directed the fighter planes to any target. When not on picket duty the ships provided shore bombardment support.
May 28: the Japanese offensive on the pickets did its damage. The Kamikaze planes had been hitting them heavily during the preceding four weeks. A total of ten destroyers had been damaged and one lost. On April 22, the Hudson received minor damage from a near miss. On May 4, she received major damage during the attack. She was further damaged when she went alongside the burning escort-carrier SANGAMON to provide assistance in fighting the fire.
The USS HUDSON DD-475 received the Navy Unit Commendation for action between April 1 and May 10, 1945.
The first Commanding officer of the USS Hudson was Commander William R. Smedberg, III, April 13, 1943. Upon his transfer, Lt.Commander Robert R. Pratt relieved him.