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Navsource Online: Destroyer Escort Photo Archive

Courtesy of Mike Smolinski

USS Foss (DE 59)

Flag Hoist / Radio Call Sign:
N - G - F - M
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row: American Campaign Medal
Second Row: European-Africa-Middle East Campaign Medal - WWII Victory Medal - National Defense Service Medal
Third Row: Korean Service Medal w/1 star - United Nations Korea Service Medal - Republic of Korea War Service Medal

Class: Buckley
Type: TE (turbine-electric drive, 3" guns)
Displacement: 1400 tons (light), 1740 tons (full)
Length: 300' (wl), 306' (oa)
Beam: 36' 9" (extreme)
Draft: 10' 6" (draft limit)
Propulsion: 2 "D" Express boilers, G.E. turbines with electric drive, 12000 shp, 2 screws
Speed: 24 kts
Range: 6,000 nm @ 12 knots
Armament: 3 x 3"/50 Mk22 (1x3), 1 twin 40mm Mk1 AA, 8 x 20mm Mk 4 AA, 3 x 21" Mk15 TT (3x1), 1 Hedgehog Projector Mk10 (144 rounds), 8 Mk6 depth charge projectors, 2 Mk9 depth charge tracks
Complement: 15 / 198
Foss (DE 59) Building and Operational Data:
  • 31 December 1942: Keel laid by the Bethlehem Steel Corp. Hingham, Mass.
  • 10 April 1943: Launched and christened, sponsored by Mrs. George R. Foss, mother of Ensign Foss
  • 23 July 1943: Commissioned, Lcdr J. J. Jordy, USNR, in command
  • 27 October 1945: Celebrated Navy Day at Fort Lauderdale, Fla. in company with Clamagore (SS 343)
  • 29 September 1950: Homeport assignment changed from Norfolk, Va. to San Diego, Cal.
  • 21 September 1951: Homeport assignment to Pearl Harbor, Hi.
  • 30 October 1957: Decommissioned at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Vallejo, Cal. after 14 years and 3¼ months of service
  • 01 November 1965: Struck from the NVR
  • 06 September 1966: Sunk as a target off the California coast near San Diego, topedoed by USS Sabalo (SS 302)
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    19k Rodney Shelton Foss, was born on 17 August 1919 in Monticello, Ark. The family moved to Pine Bluff, Arkansas, where Rodney graduated from Pine Bluff High School. He attended the University of Arkansas and Louisiana State University before entering the military. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on 05 September 1940 and received training at Northwestern University in Chicago and was commissioned as an Ensign on 12 June 1941.

    Ensign Foss was stationed to Naval Air Station, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, assigned to Patrol Squadron 11. To prepare for a deployment, one of the VP-11 crews had worked the graveyard shift to install self-sealing fuel cells in the wings of PBY-5 aircraft 11-P4. Foss was the graveyard shift duty officer when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor at 0752 hours, 07 December 1941. Ensign Foss was due to be relieved by the Sunday duty officer in about eight minutes just as Japanese aircraft began strafing the flight line occupied by VP-11 and VP-12. Because they approached from the north, the Japanese arrived at NAS Kaneohe several minutes before the rest of the attack force reached Pearl Harbor, making the shots fired at Kaneohe the first fired in the attack.

    Ensign Foss was struck and killed instantly by a 20mm cannon shell during the first strafing run, making it highly probable that he was the first U.S. casualty in the Pacific Theater. Excepting those Americans who volunteered to serve in allied military forces before the entry of the United States into the war, his would be the first combat death of the Second World War. When the Sunday duty officer, Ensign Joe Smartt (who was killed later in the attack and was the namesake for DE 257), arrived at the hangar to relieve Ensign Foss, he found Foss dead. His body was returned to Monticello and he is interred in Oakland Cemetery.

    USS Foss (DE 59) (1943-1957) was the first ship to be named in his honor.

    (Photo from the Honor States Web Site)
    Mike Smolinski
    Clifton, N.J.

    Archive Manager
    DE / FF / LCS Archive
    ***HMS Calder***
    181k 20 January 1943: Hingham, Mass. - DE 58 / HMS Calder (K.349) on the left and Foss (DE 59) on the right.

    (U.S. National Archives, photo #BS85616).
    Bob Hurst
    Worksop, Nottinghamshire,
    England, United Kingdom
    470k 18 December 1944: off Brooklyn, N.Y. - An aerial starboard bow view of Foss taken in waters near New York City. Foss arrived at the New York Navy Yard on 2 December 1944 for some work involving experimental sonar being carried out by the Bureau of Ships.

    (U.S. Navy photo #CP-DE-59 19-N-46534 from the National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Md.; courtesy of  Chris Wright)
    Ed Zajkowski
    Narvon, Pa.
    501k 18 December 1944: off Brooklyn, N.Y. - An aerial starboard beam view of Foss taken in waters near New York City. These photos were shot from an altitude of 300 feet by aircraft from NAS New York at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn.

    (U.S. Navy photo #CP-DE-59 19-N-76533 from the National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Md.; courtesy of  Chris Wright)
    48k date / location unknown: a post-war shot of Foss.

    (U.S. Navy photo #80-G-630973 from the National Archives and Records Administration)
    Bob Hurst
    Worksop, Nottinghamshire,
    England, United Kingdom
    107k July 1952: Long Beach, Cal. - USS Foss is being assisted by a tug in the vicinity of Long Beach Naval Shipyard.

    (U.S. Navy photo #17027 from the National Archives and Records Administration, Riverside, Cal.)
    Dave Schroeder
    John Chiquoine
    West Chester, Pa.
    122k starboard bow W. Ross Yates
    RD2, 4/51 - 11/54
    386k 30 October 1957: Vallejo, Cal. - The decommissioning ceremonies of USS Foss. Ship's Commanding Officer, Lcdr. Clifford L. Stewart is to the far right. Capt. Lowell T. Stone, Commander Mare Island Group Reserve Fleet, is the speaker at the microphone.

    (Photo from the files of the Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum.)
    Darryl Baker
    PNCM, USNR (ret.)

    Vallejo Naval & Historical Museum
    50k A series of three small photos showing Foss being hit by the torpedo that sunk her. W. Ross Yates
    RD2, 4/51 - 11/54
    150k 29 May 2017: Monticello, Ark. - The namesake plaque of the County Park dedicated to Ensign Foss in his hometown. The Park will be dedicated during the town's Memorial Day services. Marsha Winkekpleck

    Foss History
    View the USS Foss (DE 59) DANFS history entry located on the Naval History and Heritage Command web site.

    Foss's Commanding Officers
    Thanks to Wolfgang Hechler & Ron Reeves
    Dates of Command Commanding Officers
    1.)  23 Jul. 1943 - 06 Dec. 1943Lcdr. Jules James Jordy (Comm. CO) (USNA '35) (New Orleans, La.)
    2.)  06 Dec. 1943 - 02 Nov. 1944Lcdr. Drayton N. Hamilton, USNR (Birmingham, Ala.)
    3.)  02 Nov. 1944 - 17 Oct. 1945Lt. Douglas S. Lambeth, USNR (Nashville, Tenn.)
    4.)  17 Oct. 1945 - 15 Nov. 1945Lcdr. Edward B. Hollingsworth, USNR (St. Paul, Minn.)
    5.)  15 Nov. 1945 - 02 Apr. 1946Lcdr. Omar C. Fitch, USNR
    6.)  01 Jul. 1946 - 01 Nov. 1946Lcdr. James R. English, USNR (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
    7.)  01 Nov. 1946 - 01 May 1948Lcdr. Arthur Herbert Tagland (USNA '42) (New York City, N.Y.)
    8.)  01 May 1948 - .. .... ....Lcdr. William Winfield Meadors (OCS '40) (Albany, Ga.)
    9.)  .. Aug. 1952 - .. Aug. 1953Lcdr. Roger Elmore Spreen (USNA '43) (Sidney, Oh.) (ret. as Radm.)
    10.) ~1954 - .. .... ....Lcdr. Harold Dean Durham
    11.) ~1955 - .. .... ....Cmdr. David Sloane Stanley
    12.) ~1956 - 30 Oct. 1957Lcdr. Clifford Lee Stewart (Decomm. CO) (enl. '37 / Mid'n Sch. '44) (Clarence, Mo.)

    Crew Contact And Reunion Information

    Last Known Reunion:
    September 2018 at Jacksonville, Fla.

    Contact Name: Mary Jane Hudson
    Phone: (573) 291-1922
    E-mail: marjer67 at

    Contact Name: Wes Yates
    E-mail: chompers at
    Contact Name: Bill Mitchell
    E-mail: bbmitch25 at
    Note About Contacts

    Contact information is compiled from various sources over a period of time and may, or may not, be correct. Every effort has been
    made to list the newest contact. However, our entry is only as good as the latest information that's been sent to us. We list only
    a contact for the ship if one has been sent to us. We do NOT have crew lists, rosters, or deck logs available. Please see the
    Frequently Asked Questions section on NavSource's Main Page for that information.

    Additional Resources

    Tin Can Sailors
    The U.S. Navy Memorial
    Destroyer Escort Sailors Association
    The Destroyer Escort Historical Museum
    The Destroyer History Foundation
    Tin Can Sailors Shipmate Registry - USS Foss
    To The DE, FF, LCS Photo Index Page
    Back To The Main Photo Index

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    This Page Created And Maintained By Mike Smolinski
    All pages copyright Navsource Naval History
    by Paul R. Yarnall, All Rights Reserved.
    Page Last Updated: 31 October 2022