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USS Harlan R. Dickson (DD 708)

- decommissioned -

USS HARLAN R. DICKSON was one of the ALLEN M. SUMNER - class destroyers and the first ship in the Navy to bear the name. Unlike many other ships in her class HARLAN R. DICKSON did not receive a FRAM (Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization) overhaul. Both decommissioned and stricken from the Navy list on July 1, 1972, the HARLAN R. DICKSON was sold for scrapping in June 1973.

General Characteristics:Awarded: 1942
Keel laid: May 23, 1944
Launched: December 17, 1944
Commissioned: February 17, 1945
Decommissioned: July 1, 1972
Builder: Federal Shipbuilding & Drydock Co., Kearny, NJ.
Propulsion system: four boilers, General Electric geared turbines; 60,000 SHP
Propellers: two
Length: 376.3 feet (114.7 meters)
Beam: 41 feet (12.5 meters)
Draft: 18.7 feet (5.7 meters)
Displacement: approx. 3,300 tons full load
Speed: 34 knots
Armament: three 5-inch/38 caliber twin mounts, two 3-inch/50 caliber twin guns, two Mk-10 Hedgehogs, Mk-32 ASW torpedo tubes (two triple mounts)
Crew: 336

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Crew List:

This section contains the names of sailors who served aboard USS HARLAN R. DICKSON. It is no official listing but contains the names of sailors who submitted their information.

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USS HARLAN R. DICKSON was launched 17 December 1944 by the Federal Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co., Kearny, N. J.; sponsored by Mrs. Mildred Mae Studler, mother; and commissioned at New York 17 February 1945, Comdr. Paul G. Osier in command.

After shakedown in the Caribbean, HARLAN R. DICKSON departed New York for the Pacific 5 August 1945, but with the Japanese capitulation was ordered back to Solomons, Md., for experimental mine work. She finally joined her squadron at Pearl Harbor 12 December and remained in the Pacific for tactical training until March 1946. Returning to the east coast, HARLAN R. DICKSON engaged in further training until sailing 2 February 1947 for the first of what were to become regular cruises in the Mediterranean with the 6th Fleet. In addition to visiting many Mediterranean ports, the destroyer sailed into the Red Sea before returning to the States 14 August.

This year established a pattern which HARLAN R. DICKSON was seldom to break: six months of duty in the Mediterranean alternating with training and fleet maneuvers along the East Coast and in the Caribbean. During her second tour with the 6th Fleet, HARLAN R. DICKSON served under the United Nations blue-and-white flag December 1948-January 1949 as the world peace organization strove to mediate the Palestine crisis - only one in many that developed in the Mediterranean "Sea of History" from 1945 on. In 1953 she participated in at sea training. On her sixth Mediterranean cruise, 2 July to 4 December 1956, HARLAN R. DICKSON played a key role in another crisis situation, this time evacuating American citizens from Haifa, Israel, as war threatened between Israel and Egypt. Her career entered still another phase September 1959 when she began service as a recovery ship on the Atlantic coast missile range to retrieve test capsules fired from Cape Canaveral, now Cape Kennedy.

HARLAN R. DICKSON's constant participation in both fleet and NATO exercises to keep her fighting ability and readiness at a peak paid rich dividents in October 1962 as she joined a hunter-killer antisubmarine unit in the quarantine of Cuba during the offensive missile crisis. After the crisis subsided, HARLAN R. DICKSON continued her vital duty in maintaining America's strength and showing friend and foe alike her determination to maintain both peace and freedom. HARLAN R. DICKSON joined Operation "Springboard" in the Caribbean, visiting San Juan and Santo Domingo before returning to Newport 4 February 1963. On 7 March she commenced her 10th Mediterranean deployment with the 6th Fleet. While in the Persian Gulf, HARLAN R. DICKSON represented the United States in Khargex VI, an exercise designed for the perfection of working relationships with the Iranian and British Navies. After a brief stop in the Mediterranean she returned to Newport in September. On 2 January 1964 HARLAN R. DICKSON entered the Boston Naval Shipyard for overhaul.

Soon after completion of the overhaul, HARLAN R. DICKSON was transferred to the Naval Reserve Force. For the remainder of her career she focused on training cruises for naval reservists mainly operating off the US east coast.

Both decommissioned and stricken from the Navy list in July 1972, HARLAN R. DICKSON was sold for scrapping in June 1973.

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About the Ship's Name:

Harlan R. Dickson was born in Columbus, Ohio, on 16 September 1914. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1936 and was designated a Naval Aviator three years later. During the first six months of the Pacific war, while flying with Bombing Squadron Five (VB-5) from USS YORKTOWN (CV 5), he distinguished himself during the Raid on Tulagi and the Battle of Coral Sea in early May 1942 and the Battle of Midway in June. He subsequently served with four other scouting and bombing squadrons and took command of Bombing Squadron Eighteen (VB-18) in September 1943. Lieutenant Commander Dickson was killed in an aircraft crash in California on 5 February 1944.

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