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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)
|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).
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)
|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)
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.)
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.)
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|
|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. 1943||Lcdr. Jules James Jordy (Comm. CO) (USNA '35) (New Orleans, La.)|
|2.) 06 Dec. 1943 - 02 Nov. 1944||Lcdr. Drayton N. Hamilton, USNR (Birmingham, Ala.)|
|3.) 02 Nov. 1944 - 17 Oct. 1945||Lt. Douglas S. Lambeth, USNR (Nashville, Tenn.)|
|4.) 17 Oct. 1945 - 15 Nov. 1945||Lcdr. Edward B. Hollingsworth, USNR (St. Paul, Minn.)|
|5.) 15 Nov. 1945 - 02 Apr. 1946||Lcdr. Omar C. Fitch, USNR|
|6.) 01 Jul. 1946 - 01 Nov. 1946||Lcdr. James R. English, USNR (Brooklyn, N.Y.)|
|7.) 01 Nov. 1946 - 01 May 1948||Lcdr. 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. 1953||Lcdr. 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. 1957||Lcdr. Clifford Lee Stewart (Decomm. CO) (enl. '37 / Mid'n Sch. '44) (Clarence, Mo.)|
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.
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Page Last Updated: 25 August 2019