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USS VAN VALKENBURGH (DD-656)


Flag Hoist/Radio Call Sign - NYJC

Tactical Voice Radio Call Sign (circa 1968) - FOG BANK

CLASS - FLETCHER As Built.
Displacement 2924 Tons (Full), Dimensions, 376' 5"(oa) x 39' 7" x 13' 9" (Max)
Armament 5 x 5"/38AA, 10 x 40mm, 7 x 20mm AA, 10 x 21" tt.(2x5).
Machinery, 60,000 SHP; Allis Chalmers Turbines, 2 screws
Speed, 38 Knots, Range 6500 NM@ 15 Knots, Crew 273.
Operational and Building Data
Laid down by Gulf Shipbuilding, Chickasaw Ala. November 15 1942.
Launched December 19 1943 and commissioned August 2 1944.
Decommissioned April 15 1946 and recommissioned March 8 1951.
Decommissioned October 21 1953.
Stricken February 1 1973.
To Turkey February 28 1967, renamed Izmir.
Fate Stricken and broken up for scrap in 1987.

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Van Valkenburgh 71kFranklin Van Valkenburgh was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on 5 April 1888. Appointed a Midshipman in 1905, he graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in June 1909. His initial service was in battleships, punctuated by a tour with the Asiatic Squadron in 1911-14. He received postgraduate education in the field of steam engineering and was Engineering Officer of the battleship Rhode Island during the First World War. Van Valkenburgh was twice an instructor at the Naval Academy during the late 'Teens and in the 'Twenties, and also served in the battleships Minnesota and Maryland during that time. Following promotion to the rank of Commander, he was assigned to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, in Washington, D.C., during 1928-31. In the early 1930s, Commander Van Valkenburgh commanded the destroyer Talbot and Destroyer Squadron Five. He was a student at the Naval War College and inspector of naval materiel at the New York Navy Yard before again serving at sea as Commanding Officer of the destroyer tender Melville in 1936-38. Captain Van Valkenburg then spent a tour ashore with the Third Naval District and, in February 1941 became Commanding Officer of the battleship Arizona. He was killed in action when his ship exploded and sank during the 7 December 1941 Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor. For his "conspicuous devotion to duty and extraordinary courage" at that time, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Photo #: NH 75840. Captain Franklin Van Valkenburgh, USN, who was awarded the Medal of Honor, posthumously, for devotion to duty and courage while serving as Commanding Officer of USS Arizona (BB-39) during the 7 December 1941 Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor. Halftone reproduction, copied from the official publication "Medal of Honor, 1861-1948, The Navy", page 272. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.Bill Gonyo
THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY
WASHINGTON

The Secretary of the Navy takes pleasure in presenting the NAVY UNIT COMMENDATION to the

UNITED STATES SHIP VAN VALKENBURGH

for service as follows:

"For outstanding heroism in action as a Fighter Direction Ship on a Radar Picket Station during the Okinawa Campaign, from April 1 to June 24, 1945. A natural and frequent target for heavy Japanese Aerial attack while occupying advanced and isolated stations, the USS VAN VALKENBURGH defeated all efforts of enemy Kamikaze and dive-bombing planes to destroy her. Constantly vigilant and ready for battle, she sent out early air warnings, provided fighter direction and, with her own gunfire, downed four hostile planes, probably destroyed another, shared in the destruction of two others and routed many more. On four occasions, she went to the rescue of stricken ships of the Radar Picket Screen, picking up survivors, aiding with the casualties, fighting fires and controlling damages, Despite great danger to herself from subsequent surprise attacks. A gallant fighting ship, the VAN VALKENBURGH, her officers and her men withstood the stress and perils of vital Radar picket duty to prevent The Japanese from striking in force against the Naval Forces off the Okinawa Beachhead, achieving a distinctive combat record which attests to the teamwork, courage, and Skill of her entire company and enhances the finest traditions of the United States Naval Service."
All personnel attached to and serving on board the USS VAN VALKENBURGH from April 1 to June 24, 1945, are authorized to Wear the NAVY UNIT COMMENDATION Ribbon.

James Forrestal
Secretary of the Navy
Van Valkenburgh 79kArtist's conception of the Van Valkenburgh 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
Van Valkenburgh 118kUndated, location unknown.George S. Howlett RDM3c
Van Valkenburgh 111kUndated, location unknown.The USS Stoddard (DD-566) and the USS Van Valkenburgh (DD-656).Robert M. Cieri
Van Valkenburgh 125kUndated, location unknown.Ed Zajkowski
Van Valkenburgh 57kUS Navy photo from the December 2002 issue of Naval Institute Proceedings. The ship is painted in camouflage Measure 31, Design 9d.Joe Radigan
Van Valkenburgh 150kUSS Van Valkenburgh two miles south of Fort Morgan, off Mobile Bay, 1100 August 7 1944.Yucel M.Umar, CPO (Ret.) Turkish Navy
Van Valkenburgh 118kAs above.Yucel M.Umar, CPO (Ret.) Turkish Navy
On Turkish Service
Van Valkenburgh 36kUndated, location unknown.Yucel M.Umar, CPO (Ret.) Turkish Navy
Van Valkenburgh 69kUndated, location unknown.Yucel M.Umar, CPO (Ret.) Turkish Navy
Roan 71kUndated, location unknown. TCG Istanbul D-340 (ex USS Clarence K. Bronson DD-668), TCG Izmir D-341 (ex USS Van Valkenburgh DD-656) and TCG M.F.Çakmak D-351 (ex USS Charles H. Roan DD-853).Yucel M.Umar, CPO (Ret.) Turkish Navy
Van Valkenburgh 224kUndated, location unknown.Cüneyt Demir
Van Valkenburgh 273kUndated, location unknown.Cüneyt Demir
Van Valkenburgh 46kAs the TCG Izmir (D 341) circa 1969.Metin DIKER (CPO (RM) retired Turkish Navy)
Van Valkenburgh 94kIn the Agean Sea in 1972.Yucel M.Umar, CPO (Ret.) Turkish Navy

USS VAN VALKENBURGH DD-656 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 Alexander Bacon Coxe Jr.    Aug 2 1944 - Sep 24 1945
LCDR Thomas Hart Taylor    Sep 24 1945 - Apr 12 1946
(Decommissioned Apr 12 1946 - Mar 6 1951)

Crew Contact And Reunion Information

Contact Name: George Barr
Address: 1037 Groveland Avenue, Venice, FL 34292
Phone: (941)485-5001
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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