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USS HERNDON (DD-638)


Flag Hoist/Radio Call Sign - NUNX

CLASS - GLEAVES As Built.
Displacement 2395 Tons (Full), Dimensions, 348' 4"(oa) x 36' 1" x 13' 2" (Max)
Armament 4 x 5"/38AA, 6 x 0.5" MG, 10 x 21" tt.(2x5).
Machinery, 50,000 SHP; Allis Chalmers Turbines, 2 screws
Speed, 35 Knots, Range 6500 NM@ 12 Knots, Crew 208.
Operational and Building Data
Laid down by Norfolk Navy Yard August 26 1941.
Launched February 5 1942 and commissioned December 20 1942.
Decommissioned May 8 1946.
Stricken June 1 1971.
Fate Sunk as target off Florida May 24 1973.

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Herndon 63kWilliam Lewis Herndon, one of the Navy's outstanding explorers and seamen, was born 15 October 1813 in Fredericksburg, Va. Appointed Midshipman 1 November 1828, he cruised in Pacific, South American, Mediterranean, and Gulf waters from then until 1842. From 1842 to 1846 Herndon served in the Depot of Charts and Instruments (to become the U.S. Naval Observatory) with his cousin and brother-in-law, Matthew Fontaine Maury, preparing oceanographic charts and performing other scientific work invaluable to the safe and accurate navigation of the seas. During the Mexican War, Herndon commanded brig Iris with distinction. In 1851 Herndon headed an expedition exploring the Valley of the Amazon, a vast area as uncharted as the wildest part of central Africa. Departing Lima, Peru, 21 May 1851, Herndon and his small party of six men pressed into the wild and treacherously beautiful jungles. After a remarkable journey of 4,366 dangerous miles, which took him through wilderness from sea level to heights of 16,199 feet, Herndon reached the city of Para 11 April 1852. On 26 January 1853 Herndon submitted an encyclopedic and profusely illustrated 414-page report to Secretary of the Navy, John P. Kennedy. After 2 years of active service in Potomac and San Jaointo, Herndon, now a commander, was given leave in 1855 to command the Pacific Mail steamer George Law, renamed Central America, 20 June 1857, on the New York to Aspinwall run. Making his way up the coast from Aspinwall with $2,000,000 in gold and 474 passengers, as well as 101 crew members, Herndon encountered a heavy gale off Cape Hatteras 7 September 1857. The gale steadily increased in savagery until the 12th, and Central America was shipping water through several leaks. As the ship pitched and rolled through the pounding seas, water in her hold put out her boiler fires. Commander Herndon reluctantly admitted that, despite the valiant efforts of crew and passengers alike, his ship was doomed and summoned aid by firing the ship's minute guns. At 2 p.m., West Indian brig Marine arrived to aid the stricken steamer. Disregarding his own life, Commander Herndon supervised the loading of women and children into lifeboats and watched them pull to safety in Marine. Herndon's bravery and his concern for his passengers and crew helped save 152 of the 575 people on board. Commander Herndon was last seen in full uniform, standing by the wheelhouse with his hand on the rail, as the ship gave a lurch and went down. A monument at Annapolis commemorates this intrepid explorer and gallant seaman.Bill Gonyo
Herndon 82kArtist's conception of the Herndon as she appeared in 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
Herndon 104kUndated, location unknown.-
Herndon 254kUndated World War II image of the USS Murphy (DD-603), USS Gherardi (DD-637), USS Burler (DD-636), USS Herndon (DD-638) and USS Shubrick (DD-639).Bobby Kleinaman
Herndon 91kLaunched February 5 1942 at Norfolk Navy Yard.Tommy Trampp
Herndon 244kJuly 3 1942 at Norfolk Navy Yard, USS Shubrick (DD-639) and USS Herndon (DD-638).Ed Zajkowski
Herndon 160kUSS Herndon (DD-638) at Norfolk Navy Yard, March 30 1943. USN photo serial 5006(43).David Buell
Herndon 139kNorfolk Navy Yard, March 30 1943.Ed Zajkowski
Herndon 133kNew York Navy Yard, October 9 1943.Ed Zajkowski
Herndon 140kAs above.Ed Zajkowski
Herndon 102kAs above.Ed Zajkowski
Herndon 51kOctober 10 1943, location unknown. Note that she was one of twelve Atlantic Fleet destroyers fitted with three Mousetrap rocket launchers forward.Robert Hurst
Click here to see additional image(s) of this ship on our Orange, Texas Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility (ISMF) Special Feature page

USS HERNDON DD-638 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 Granville Alexander Moore    Dec 20 1942 - Nov 25 1944 (Later RADM)
CDR Albert Thomas Church Jr.    Nov 25 1944 - Dec 30 1945

Crew Contact And Reunion Information

Contact Name: Frank Bagley
Address: 806 Cheyenne Circle, Watertown, WI 53094-6072
Phone: (414) 262-2037
E-mail: None


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
Tin Can Sailors Website
Destroyer History Foundation
Destroyers Online Website
Official U.S.Navy Destroyer Website

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