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NavSource Naval History
Photographic History of the United States Navy


Flag Hoist/Radio Call Sign - NBCE

Tactical Voice Radio Call Sign (circa 1968) - WATERPROOF

Displacement 3460 Tons (Full), Dimensions, 390' 6"(oa) x 40' 10" x 14' 4" (Max)
Armament 6 x 5"/38AA (3x2), 12 x 40mm AA, 11 x 20mm AA, 10 x 21" tt.(2x5).
Machinery, 60,000 SHP; General Electric Geared Turbines, 2 screws
Speed, 36.8 Knots, Range 4500 NM@ 20 Knots, Crew 336.
Operational and Building Data
Laid down by Bath Iron Works, Bath ME July 2 1945.
Launched January 5 1946 and commissioned March 28 1946.
Completed FRAM upgrade November 1963.
Decommissioned and Stricken September 30 1974.
Fate Sunk as target off Puerto Rico January 25 1980 as part of SINKEX.

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Robert Lee Wilson, born 24 May 1921 in Centralia, Illinois, enlisted in the Marines at Chicago 09 September 1941 and after training at San Diego, joined the men of the 1st Marine Division 7 to 9 August 1942 in landing assaults against a number of strongly defended positions on Tulagi, Gavutu, Tanambogo, Florida, and Guadalcanal, British Solomon Islands. His division completely routed all the enemy forces and seized a most valuable base and airfield. Wilson shared in the Presidential Unit Citation awarded the 1st Marine Division, Reinforced, for actions on Guadalcanal and in a Presidential Unit Citation awarded the 2d Marine Division, Reinforced, for the seizure and occupation of the Japanese-held atoll of Tarawa, Gilbert Islands, 20 to 24 November 1944. Pfc. Robert Lee Wilson was killed in action while taking part in the capture and occupation of the Marianas Islands. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the 2d Battalion, 6th Marines, 2d Marine Division, during action against enemy Japanese forces on Tinian on 03 August 1944. While advancing toward enemy troops, Private First Class Wilson threw himself on an enemy grenade sacrificing himself to save a group of companions.
First photo from the USMC History Division. Second photo courtesy of the USS Robert L. Wilson (DD-847) Association.
Bill Gonyo
USS Robert L. Wilson (DD-847)
Wilson 51kUndated, location unknown.-
Wilson 115kUndated, location unknown.William Jones
Wilson 30kUndated, location unknown.William Jones
Wilson 60kUndated postcard Copyright © Atlantic Fleet Sales, Norfolk, VA.Mike Smolinski
Wilson 126kUSS Robert L. Wilson (DD-847), underway before receiving her FRAM conversion, location unknown. Photo courtesy of Skyfotos.Robert Hurst
Wilson 35kUndated, location unknown.Mike Loveall
Wilson 100kUndated, location unknown.Richard Miller BMCS USNR RET.
Wilson 178kUndated, location unknown.Richard Miller BMCS USNR RET.
Wilson 240kAt Venice, Italy, September 1946.Dave Wright
Wilson 108kAt Phladelphia Navy Yard, 06 June 1951.Richard Miller, BMCS, USNR (Ret.)
Wilson 92k1952 in Algiers, (L-R) USS Damato (DD-871), USS Holder (DD-819), USS Rich (DD-820), USS Basilone (DD-824) and USS Robert L. Wilson (DD-847).Richard Miller, BMCS, USNR (Ret.)
Wilson 129kUSS Valley Forge (CVS-45) steaming in formation with Destroyer Squadron 36, during anti-submarine exercises of the Atlantic Fleet's Task Group ALFA, 6 November 1958. The destroyers are ((from top): USS Basilone (DDE-824); USS Damato (DDE-871); USS Robert L. Wilson (DDE-847); USS Harold J. Ellison (DD-864); USS Holder (DDE-819) and USS New (DDE-818). Official U.S. Navy Photograph.Fred Weiss
Wilson 127kUSS Valley Forge (CVS-45) steaming in formation with Destroyer Squadron 36, during anti-submarine exercises of the Atlantic Fleet's Task Group ALFA, 6 November 1958. The destroyers are ((from top): USS Basilone (DDE-824); USS Damato (DDE-871); USS Robert L. Wilson (DDE-847); USS Harold J. Ellison (DD-864); USS Holder (DDE-819) and USS New (DDE-818). Official U.S. Navy Photograph.Fred Weiss
Wilson 170kFour scenes from the USS Robert L. Wilson (DD-847) circa 1960-1962 from the collection of Andy Kubishen CAPT USN (Ret.).Andy Kubishen
Wilson 62kAs above.Andy Kubishen
Wilson 196kAs above.Andy Kubishen
Wilson 272kAs above.Andy Kubishen
Wilson 232kWire photo from January 29 1961.Ron Reeves
Wilson 64kUSS Robert L. Wilson (DD-847) and USS Damato (DD-871) at Gibraltar in September 1961.Gerd Matthes
Wilson 267kPhiladelphia, October 11 1963, the FRAM torch is passed from CDR George William Fromknecht, USS Furse (DD-882) to LCDR Arvin Chertavian, USS Robert L. Wilson (DD-847).Ed Zajkowski
Wilson 154kSeptember 12 1964, location unknown. Photo by PHC B. W. McCombs, NPC 1107913.Ed Zajkowski
Wilson 89kNew York, NY 1965.Marc Piché
Wilson 210kOperating with the USS Wasp (CVS-16) in 1966.Douglas Johnson
Wilson 178kAt Philadelphia Navy Yard, July 1976. On starboard side is Albacore (AGSS-569) and to port is possibly Northampton (CLC-1).Ed Zajkowski
Wilson 84kBow view of the Robert L. Wilson (DD-847) in mothballs, awaiting her final fate, at Philadelphia Navy Yard, 11 May 1977.
Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, George D. McDowell Philadelphia Evening Bulletin Collections.
Mike Green
Wilson 97kAt Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico just prior to being towed out for SINKEX.Gerrold Ricks
Wilson 61kThe Wilson's Port Anchor which has been relocated to a cemetery in Centralia, IL near Robert L. Wilson's home by the Ship's Reunion Group in October 2010. Mike Loveall
Higbee   Higbee   Higbee   Higbee
Welcome Aboard pamphlet - circa 1973
Wolfgang Hechler
Wilson 73kShip's patch.Mike Smolinski
Wilson 40kShip's patch.Mike Smolinski
Wilson 44kShip's patch.Tom Gamstetter
Wilson 231kShip's patch.Tommy Trampp
Wilson 33kShip's patch.Don McGrogan
Wilson 23kBuilders Plate. Courtesy of the USS Robert L. Wilson (DD-847) Association.Bill Gonyo
Click here to see additional images of this ship on our FRAM Special Feature page

View This Vessels DANFS History Entry at the Naval History & Heritage Command website

Commanding Officers
Thanks to Wolfgang Hechler & Ron Reeves

CDR John Tilghman Probasco    Mar 28 1946 - Sep 7 1946

CDR Sidney Robatham Miller Jr.    Sep 7 1946 - Dec 16 1947

CDR Robert James Hardy    Dec 16 1947 - Jul 27 1949

CDR Robert Klink (Rab) Irvine    Jul 27 1949 - Aug 17 1951

CDR Leslie James O'Brien Jr.    Aug 17 1951 - Dec 1951 (Later RADM)

CDR Asbury Coward III    Dec 1951 - Jun 1953

CDR Hinton Ira Smith    Jun 1953 - Aug 1954

CDR Howard Anthony James Sugg    Aug 1954 - Dec 20 1955

CDR Eric Ischinger Jr.    Dec 20 1955 - Nov 19 1957

CDR William Hughlett Hardcastle Jr.    Nov 19 1957 - Jul 1959

CDR Robert Emery Jeffrey    Jul 1959 - Jul 1960 

LCDR Leahman Joseph Holt    Jul 1960 - Apr 18 1961

CDR James Roscoe Branscome    Apr 18 1961 - Oct 1961

LCDR James Edward Farley    Oct 1961 - Nov 1961

CDR Robert David Rinesmith    Nov 1961 - Mar 1 1963

LCDR Jay Edward Quick    Mar 1 1963 - Jul 1963

LCDR Armen Chertavian    Jul 1963 - Oct 1963

CDR Kenneth Wesley Gavitt    Oct 1963 - Jun 1965

CDR Charles Edgar Clark Nimitz    Jun 1965 - May 25 1967

CDR Frank Luther Kovarick    May 25 1967 - May 23 1968

CDR William Patrick St. Lawrence Jr.    May 23 1968 - Oct 13 1969

CDR Rodion Cantacuzene    Oct 13 1969 - May 28 1971

CDR Peter Corteau Conrad    May 28 1971 - Aug 22 1972 (Later RADM)

CDR Richard William Russell    Aug 22 1972 - Aug 22 1973

CDR Charles Wible Truxall Jr.    Aug 22 1973 - Aug 6 1974

LCDR Joseph Francis Kelly    Aug 6 1974 - Sep 30 1974

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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This page was created by Fred Willishaw (ex ARG-4, AS-11 & DD-692) and is maintained by David L. Wright
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Last Updated 04 July 2020