Please Report Any Broken Links Or Trouble You Might Come Across To The Webmaster
Please Take A Moment To Let Us Know So That We Can Correct Any Problems And Make Your Visit As Enjoyable And As Informative As Possible.

Navsource Online: Destroyer Escort Photo Archive

Torpedoed off Molokai, Indonesia - 13 of her crew
were lost with the ship and remain on eternal duty

USS Shelton (DE 407)

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

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row: Combat Action Ribbon (retroactive)
Second Row: American Campaign Medal - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal w/ 1 star - WWII Victory Medal

Class: John C. Butler
Type: WGT (geared-turbine drive, 5" guns)
Displacement: 1350 tons (light), 1745 tons (full)
Length: 300' (wl), 306' (oa)
Beam: 36' 10" (extreme)
Draft: 11' 0" (draft limit)
Propulsion: 2 "D" Express boilers, 2 geared turbine engines, 12,000 shp, 2 screws
Speed: 24 kts
Range: 6,000 nm @ 12 knots
Armament: 2 - 5"/38 cal. DP guns (2x1), 4 - 40mm AA (2x2), 10 - 20mm AA, 3 - 21" TT, 1 Mk10 Hedgehog, 8 Mk6 Depth Charge Projectors, 2 Mk9 Depth Charge Stern Racks
Complement: 14 / 201
Shelton (DE 407) Building and Operational Data:
  • 01 November 1943: Keel laid by the Brown Shipbuilding Co., Houston, Tex.
  • 18 December 1943: Launched and christened, sponsored by Mrs. Anise L. Shelton, mother of Ens. Shelton
  • 04 April 1944: Commissioned at Houston, Lt. Lewis B. Salomon, USNR, in command
  • 03 October 1944: Sunk, torpedoed by Japanese Submarine RO-41 off Morotai. USS Richard M. Rowell (DE 403) came alongside, removed the crew, and took her under tow but she capsized and sank.
  • 27 November 1944: Struck from the Navy List after 6 months of service

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Contributed
    By And/Or Copyright

    37k James Arnold Shelton was born in Denton, Judith Basin County, Mont., on 20 September 1916, to John H. and Anice L. (Cady) Shelton. After graduating from high school in 1934, Shelton attended what was then Montana State University (presently the University of Montana) in Missoula. He was working on a Master’s degree in early 1941, when he decided to join the U.S. Navy. During the first week of January 1941, Shelton took a train to Seattle, Wash., and on 15 January, he enlisted in the USN. In February, he traveled to Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Fla., for officer training and on 20 March, he was appointed as an aviation cadet and underwent training at Pensacola and San Diego, Calif. Commissioned as an ensign, A-V(N), USNR, in October 1941, Shelton was assigned to Scouting Squadron 6 (VS-6) on board the aircraft carrier Enterprise (CV-6) on 17 April 1942.

    On 04 June 1942, as the Battle of Midway got underway, Ens. Shelton, with RM3c David W. Craig as radioman-gunner, took off from Enterprise in their Douglas SBD-3 Dauntless dive bomber with the rest of the carrier’s air group in search of the Japanese fleet. After locating the Japanese carriers Kaga and Akagi, Enterprise’s planes initiated a full-scale attack, while SBDs from Yorktown (CV-5) attacked Soryu. Ens. Shelton (in S-6) and Ens. Frank W. O’Flaherty, A-V(N) (in S-5) flew in VS-6’s third division, led by Lt. Charles R. Ware (in S-4), a seasoned veteran, who led them in a dive bombing run west of Kaga. Pulling out of their dives, the pilots of VS-6’s third division found themselves flying through the inner screen of the Japanese fleet with a sky full of Mitsubishi A6M2 Type 0 fighters. Lt. Ware formed a section with Ens. Shelton and Ens. Carl D. Peiffer, A-V(N), the latter from VS-6’s second division, as his wingmen. Ens. John R. McCarthy, A-V(N), like Peiffer from the second division, then joined up, taking Ens. O’Flaherty from the original third division, and Ens. John C. Lough, A-V(N), from the second and formed a second section. Ware led them close to the water denying Japanese fighters the opportunity to press home their attacks on the SBD’s unprotected bellies. Ammunition and fuel began running dangerously low, but after a 12-15 minute running fight, Ware’s ad hoc division managed to clear the Japanese screen.

    Having managed to circle northeast of the Japanese carrier battle group [Kido Butai] Lt. Ware and his division had just set a homeward course when they sighted a group of attack planes from Hiryu, led by Lt. Kobayashi Mitsuo. Lt. Shigematsu Yasuhiro, commanding the escort, misidentified the SBDs as torpedo bombers and got permission to engage them, expecting to make short work of them. At about that time, Ens. O’Flaherty, his fuel tanks having been holed in the earlier action, had to ditch, with the pilot and his radio-gunner, AMM2c Bruno P. Gaido, taking to their rubber boat. Meanwhile, Ware and Shelton, McCarthy, Peiffer and Lough again took their SBDs down close to the water, thwarting the Japanese fighter pilots’ ability to execute an effective attack. After a 20-minute engagement, the Japanese broke off the fight, fire from the five radiomen-gunners having damaged two of Shigematsu’s escorting Zeros and forced them to return to their carrier.

    Running dangerously low on fuel, Lt. Ware and Ens. John R. McCarthy debated the best way to return home using hand signals. Unable to agree, as Ens. McCarthy thought Lt. Ware was attempting to go too far north, they split up. Ens. Shelton and Ens. Peiffer remained with Lt. Ware while Ens. McCarthy became separated from his wingman, Ens. Lough. McCarthy made it back to safety, reaching Yorktown’s vicinity, where the destroyer Hammann (DD 412) rescued him and his radio-gunner. Ens. O’Flaherty and AMM2c Gaido were rescued by the Japanese destroyer Makigumo, only to be interrogated, then murdered in cold blood. As was the case with Lt. Ware and Ensigns Peiffer and Lough, and the enlisted radiomen-gunners who rode with them, it remains unknown exactly how Ens. Shelton’s plane (BuNo 03225) went down but as he and RM3c Craig were never seen again, they were later declared dead.

    For his heroism and devotion to duty while participating in the devastating assault that repelled the Japanese invasion fleet off Midway, as well their gallant fight as they retired from the vicinity of the Kido Butai, Ens. Shelton was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross.

    USS Shelton (DE 407) (April - October 1944) was the first ship to be named in his honor, she was succeeded by DD 790 (1946-1973).

    Photo provided by Candy Nelson / Diane Baker, thanks to Joel Shepard of the USS Enterprise CV 6 Website
    Bill Gonyo
    Downey, Cal.
    Shelton 114k undated wartome image, circa '44 James T. Flynn, Jr.
    HMC, USNR (ret.)
    Philadelphia, Pa.
    Shelton 227k 03 October 1944: The bent fantail of Shelton. After being torpedoed, she was taken under tow by an escorting destroyer escort, but she foundered, capsized, and sank.

    (Photo from the action report of USS Midway (CVE 63), Morotai Invasion)

    Byron is the author of two books, The Defenders of Taffy 3: Color Edition: Analysis and Retelling of the Battle of Leyte Gulf and The Raiders of Taffy 3: Abridged Translation of the IJN Action Reports. Both are available at
    Byron Como
    Baton Rouge, La.

    Shelton History
    View the USS Shelton (DE 407) DANFS history entry located on the Naval History and Heritage Command web site.

    Shelton's Commanding Officer
    Thanks to Wolfgang Hechler
    Dates of Command Commanding Officers
    1.) 04 Apr. 1944 - 03 Oct. 1944Lcdr. Lewis George Salomon, USNR (New York City, N.Y.)

    Crew Contact And Reunion Information

    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 Shelton
    To The DE, FF, LCS Photo Index Page
    Back To The Main Photo Index

    Comments, Suggestions, E-mail: Webmaster.

    This Page Created And Maintained By Mike Smolinski
    All pages copyright Navsource Naval History
    by Paul R. Yarnall, All Rights Reserved.
    Page Last Updated: 26 April 2021