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DESTROYER
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USS SPENCE (DD-512)


Flag Hoist/Radio Call Sign - NAQT

CLASS - FLETCHER As Built.
Displacement 2924 Tons (Full), Dimensions, 376' 5"(oa) x 39' 7" x 13' 9" (Max)
Armament 5 x 5"/38AA, 4 x 40mm, 5 x 20mm AA, 10 x 21" tt.(2x5).
Machinery, 60,000 SHP; General Electric Geared Turbines, 2 screws
Speed, 38 Knots, Range 6500 NM@ 15 Knots, Crew 273.
Operational and Building Data
Laid down by Bath Iron Works, Bath Me.May 18 1942.
Launched October 27 1942 and commissioned January 8 1943.
Fate Foundered in Typhoon east of Samar December 18 1944.
all but 24 of her crew were lost with the ship and remain on duty.

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Spence 119kRobert T. Spence-born in Portsmouth, N.H., about 1785, was appointed midshipman in 1800 and was ordered to duty in Siren. The brig sailed for the Mediterranean in 1803 in Commodore Edward Preble's squadron. The following year, Spence participated in attacks on Tripoli and, on 7 August 1804, was an officer in the prize gunboat No. 9 when she was blown up by a hot shot that hit her magazine. Although the boat's stern was under water, he continued loading her forward gun; fired it; and, with his crew of 11 survivors, gave three cheers. Then, sitting astride the gun and waving his hat, went down into the water. Fortunately, he was rescued. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1807 and to master-commandant in 1813. During the War of 1812, Spence superintended the building and equipping of the sloop-of-war, Ontario, at Baltimore and commanded the naval station there. He was commended by Commodore John Rogers for his promptness and ingenuity in laying obstructions to impede the British fleet as it approached Baltimore in September 1814. He was promoted to post-captain in 1815, commanded Naval forces at Baltimore until 1 July 1819, and served in that post again from May 1820 to May 1822. Captain Spence assumed command of Cyane (a captured British warship) at that time and was ordered to the West Indies to help to suppress piracy. He later patrolled the African coasts to oppose freebooters and slavers there. Painting of the Cyane.Bill Gonyo
Spence 102kArtist's conception of the Spence as she appeared in late World War II by the renowned graphic illustrator John Barrett with the text written by naval author and historian Robert F. Sumrall. Their company Navy Yard Associates offers prints of most destroyers, destroyer escorts, submarines and aircraft carriers in various configurations during the ship's lifetime. The prints can be customized with ship's patches, your photograph, your bio, etc. If you decide to purchase artwork from them please indicate that you heard about their work from NavSource.Navy Yard Associates
Spence 78kArtist's conception of a cutaway view of the Spence by the renowned graphic illustrator John Barrett with the text written by naval author and historian Robert F. Sumrall. Their company Navy Yard Associates offers prints of most destroyers, destroyer escorts, submarines and aircraft carriers in various configurations during the ship's lifetime. The prints can be customized with ship's patches, your photograph, your bio, etc. If you decide to purchase artwork from them please indicate that you heard about their work from NavSource.Navy Yard Associates
THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY
WASHINGTON

The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION to the

DESTROYER SQUADRON TWENTY THREE consisting of the USS CHARLES AUSBURNE, USS CLAXTON, USS DYSON, USS SPENCE, USS CONVERSE and USS STANLY

for service as set forth in the following CITATION:

"For extraordinary heroism in action against enemy Japanese forces during theSolomon Islands Campaign, from November 1, 1943, to February 23, 1944. Boldlypenetrating submarine-infested waters during a period when Japanese naval and airpower was at its height, Destroyer Squadron TWENTY THREE operated in daringdefiance of repeated attacks by hostile air groups, closing the enemy'sstrongly fortified shores to carry out sustained bombardments against Japanesecoastal defenses and render effective cover and fire support for the majorinvasion operations in this area. Commanded by forceful leaders and manned byaggressive, fearless crews the ships of Squadron TWENTY THREE coordinated as asuperb fighting team; they countered the enemy's fierce aerial bombing attacksand destroyed or routed his planes; they intercepted his surface task forces,sank or damaged his warships by torpedo fire and prevented interference withour transports. The brilliant and heroic record achieved by Destroyer SquadronTWENTY THREE is a distinctive tribute to the valiant fighting spirit of theindividual units in this indomitable combat group and of each skilled andcourageous ship's company."

For the President,

James Forrestal
Secretary of the Navy
Spence 149kPhoto #: NH 59855. Captain Arleigh A. Burke, USN, Commander Destroyer Squadron 23 (seated, right center) with other officers of the squadron, during operations in the Solomon Islands, circa 1943. Those present are (seated, left to right): Commander Luther K. Reynolds, Commanding Officer, USS Charles Ausburne (DD-570); Commander R.W. Cavenaugh; Captain Burke; and Commander R.A. Gano, Commanding Officer, USS Dyson (DD-572). (standing, left to right): Commander Henry J. Armstrong, Commanding Officer, USS Spence (DD-512); Lieutenant J.W. Bobb; Commander J.B. Morland; and Commander J.B. Calwell. All but Cdr. Gano and Capt. Burke have autographed the original print. Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation. Collection of Admiral Arleigh A. Burke, USN.Bill Gonyo
Spence 107kThe USS Spence (DD-512) on 25 March 1943, a few months after she was commissioned on 8 January 1943, at Boston NY. She has just been upgraded to the three twin 40mm gun mount standard having been delivered with the two twin 40mm gun mount configuration. Photo from the NARA 19-LCM-DD 532 photo file.Rick E. Davis
Spence 116kView of EDISON, SCHROEDER, SPENCE, and FOOTE at Norfolk, Spring 1943. By C Kerlee, NARA 80GK14999.John Chiquoine
Spence 79kStern view of the USS Spence (DD 512) off San Francisco on 24 July 1943. The Oakland Bay Bridge is in the background.Darryl Baker
Spence 83kBroadside view of the USS Spence (DD 512) off San Francisco on 24 July 1943.Darryl Baker
Spence 120kAft plan view of the USS Spence (DD 512) at Hunters Point Navy Yard on 24 July 1943.Darryl Baker
Spence 86kAmidships plan view of the USS Spence (DD 512) at Hunters Point Navy Yard on 24 July 1943.Darryl Baker
Spence 106kUSS Spence (DD-512) on 24 July 1943 at Hunters Point NY upon completion of her upgrade to the five twin 40mm gun mount configuration. This USN BurShips photo (now at NARA in the 19-LCM DD 512 photo file) has a detailed listing of the changes made to the Spence at this time.Rick E. Davis
Spence 30kUSS Spence (DD-512) Steaming in Iron Bottom Sound, off Guadalcanal, with her crew manning the rails, 23 March 1944. Photographed from USS Montpelier (CL-57). Savo Island is visible in the distance. Wartime censors retouched this image to delete the fire control radar antenna atop Spence's Mark 37 gun director. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.Fred Weiss
Spence 147kPhoto #: NH 59864. Destroyer Squadron 23 officers of the squadron enjoy a beer at "Cloob Des-Slot", Purvis Bay, Solomon Islands, on 24 May 1944. Those present are (from left to right): Commander R.A. Gano, Commanding Officer, USS Dyson (DD-572); Commander Luther K. Reynolds, Commanding Officer, USS Charles Ausburne (DD-570); Captain Arleigh A. Burke, Squadron Commodore; Commander B.L. Austin, Commander Destroyer Division 46; Commander D.C. Hamberger, Commanding Officer, USS Converse (DD-509); Commander Herald Stout, Commanding Officer, USS Claxton (DD-571); and Commander Henry J. Armstrong, Commanding Officer, USS Spence (DD-512). Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation. Collection of Admiral Arleigh A. Burke, USN. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.Bill Gonyo
Spence 100kUSS Spence (DD-512) In San Francisco Bay, California, circa early October 1944. The ship is wearing Camouflage Measure 31, Design 2c. Wartime censors retouched this image to delete the radar antennas atop the Spence's gun director and foremast. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.Fred Weiss
Spence 45kStanding off Hunters Point, California, October 1944. National Archives and Records Administration. Photo # 19-N-80398.Tony Cowart/Robert Hurst
Spence 106kThe Spence attempting to refuel from the USS New Jersey (BB-62) on December 17 1944, the day before she sank. Photo by MoMM2c George D. McCarthy.Tim Rizzuto
Spence 99k14 of the survivors of the loss of the Spence to a typhoon, December 18 1944. Jim's dad is in the top row, third from the right.Jim Felty
Spence 98kDick Strand has created a 40 page history of the USS Spence for the survivors, friends and relatives of those lost at sea aboard the Spence. Presented here are 8 sample pages from the complete history that Dick will send with his compliments to Spence family members. He may be contacted from May to October at 508A Heritage Village, Southbury, CT 06488 and from November to April at 341 Sunset Key, Plant City, FL 33565, you may also reach him via E-mail at GRACERAS@EARTHLINK.NET. Bravo Zulu to Dick in his efforts to keep the history of the Spence alive and well.Richard A. Strand
Spence 151kCutaway view of a Fletcher Class Destroyer
Spence 116kThe noon position/location of the Spence during her exploits in World War II
Spence 115kHighlights from the Spence's War Diary
Spence 88kBatlle maps of the engagements that Spence participated in
Spence 86kTrack charts of where Spence was each day during her career
Spence 123kPages from the Spence's Newsletter
Spence 116kPhotographs of the ship, her crew and the "Little Beavers" of Arleigh Burke

USS SPENCE DD-512 History
View This Vessels DANFS History Entry
(Located On The hazegray Web Site, This Is The Main Archive For The DANFS Online Project.)

Commanding Officers
Thanks to Wolfgang Hechler & Ron Reeves

CDR Henry Jacques Armstrong Jr.    Jan 8 1943 - ? (Later RADM)
LCDR James Paul Andrea    Dec 1944 - Dec 18 1944

Crew Contact And Reunion Information

Contact Name: Richard A. Strand
Address: (May to October) 508A Heritage Village, Southbury, CT 06488
(November to April) 341 Sunset Key, Plant City, FL 33565
Phone: none
E-mail: graceras@earthlink.net


Note About Contacts.

The contact listed, Was the contact at the time for this ship when located. If another person now is the contact, E-mail me and I will update this entry. These contacts are compiled from various sources over a long period of time and may or may not be correct. Every effort has been made to list the newest contact if more than one contact was found.


Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
USS Spence Website
Tin Can Sailors Website
Destroyer History Foundation
Destroyers Online Website
Official U.S.Navy Destroyer Website

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