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Navsource Online: Destroyer Escort Photo Archive

Ship's patches courtesy of Nick Tiberio

USS Woodson (DE 359)

Flag Hoist / Radio Call Sign:
N - H - E - Y
Tactical Voice Radio Call: "Santa Rosa"

Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row: Navy Expeditionary Medal
Second Row: American Campaign Medal - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal - WWII Victory Medal
Third Row: Navy Occupation Service Medal - National Defense Service Medal w/ star - Philippine Liberation Ribbon

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
Woodson (DE 359) Building and Operational Data:
  • 07 March 1944: Keel laid by the Consolidated Steel Corp., Ltd., Orange, Tex.
  • 29 April 1944: Launched and christened, sponsored by Mrs. Joyce M. Woodson
  • 24 August 1944: Commissioned, Lcdr. J. L. Foley in command
  • 16 May 1946: Placed "in commission, in reserve"
  • 15 January 1946: Decommissioned at San Diego, Cal. after 2 years and 5 months of service having steamed 73,599 miles
  • 15 October 1946: Inactivation completed at San Diego, Cal., assigned to Submarine Group Two, San Diego Group, Pacific Reserve Fleet
  • 19 May 1951: Recommissioned at San Diego, Lcdr. A. Dennett in command
  • 04 September 1951: Homeport assignment changed to Newport, R.I.
  • 8 - 17 June 1957: Served as a representative to the International Naval Review and Fleet Week at Norfolk, Va., along with 68 other U.S. Navy ships and 33 additional vessels from 17 countries
  • .. June 1957: Homeport assignment changed to Key West, Fla.
  • 04 December 1957: Assigned to NRT, 8th Naval District at New Orleans, La.
  • 16 May 1959: Status reduced from "In Commission" to "In Service"
  • 02 October 1961: Recommissioned at New Orleans, La. by Radm. F. B. Warder, Com Eighth Naval District, Cmdr. R. T. Cucullu, USNR-R in command, assigned to Escort Squadron 12 at Norfolk, Va.
  • 31 August 1962: Decommissioned at New Orleans, La., placed "In Service", Lt. D. M. McNaughton, in command as Officer in Charge
  • 30 June 1965: Taken "Out of Service" at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, custody transferred to CO, Norfolk Group, U.S. Atlantic Reserve Fleet, struck from the NVR with a total of 13 years and 8 months of service
  • 16 August 1966: Sold for scrap to the Boston Metals Co., Baltimore, Md.
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    Jeff Davis Woodson was born in Autman, Tex., on 10 June 1908 and enlisted in the United States Navy on 23 June 1926 at Little Rock, Ark. Earning his first rating as a fireman third class, he served in Aroostook (CM 3). During the summer of 1929, he transferred to an aviation squadron, VJ-1B, and began training as an aviation machinist's mate. In April 1929, he took a reduction in rank to enter the aviation field and became an aviation machinist's mate third class. However, after training at the Naval Air Station, San Diego, and pilot training at the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, he was advanced to the rating of aviation pilot first class. During the 1930's he served in various patrol and scouting squadrons and even served a tour of duty in Lexington (CV 2). By spring of 1937, Woodson had advanced to the rating of chief aviation machinist's mate. During 1940 and 1941, he served successively in VU-1, USS Benham (DD 397), and at the naval air stations located at Norfolk and Pensacola. On 02 September 1941, he joined Torpedo Squadron 8 attached to Hornet (CV 8). On 04 March 1942, Hornet headed for San Diego, Cal., where she arrived on the 20th. With his TBD stored below decks Chief Woodson departed the west coast on 02 April with Hornet's deck loaded with 16 Army B-25 bombers, the celebrated Halsey-Doolittle Tokyo raiders. Five days later, Woodson was temporarily promoted to the rank of lieutenant (junior grade). Six days after that, Hornet launched her extra flock for their raid against Tokyo and headed for Oahu.

    On 30 April, Hornet departed Pearl Harbor in to join Yorktown (CV 5) and Lexington in the Battle of the Coral Sea. The naval air battle which stopped Japan's southward advance, however, ended before Hornet could arrive. She turned around and reentered Pearl Harbor on 26 May, but two days later, returned to sea with Enterprise as the first contingent sent to stop Japan's attempt to capture Midway Island. Soon joined by Yorktown, the force lay in wait for an immense Japanese invasion fleet built around four of the six aircraft carriers that had struck Pearl Harbor the previous December. Patrol planes from Midway finally sighted the Japanese early on 04 June. The decision was finally made to launch strikes against the enemy despite the rather hazy information regarding his position. Many aircraft missed the rendezvous with their fighter cover. Pressing on in spite of the lack of escorts, Torpedo Squadron 8 made first contact with the enemy. Woodson and his comrades gallantly pressed home their attacks. All Japanese fighters swooped in on the almost-defenseless torpedo bombers and literally massacred them. Lt.(jg.) Woodson was killed in a valiant effort to sink one of the perpetrators of the Pearl Harbor attack. His sacrifice, though, was not in vain. Since all their fighter cover was down near the surface shooting up Woodson and his colleagues, the enemy carriers were sitting ducks when the American dive-bombers and fighters finally made contact. Three enemy carriers, Akagi, Kaga, and Soryu, rapidly sustained mortal injury and Hiryu received only brief respite due to her location far ahead of the other three. In due time, she, too, took fatal hits; and, with all four of their carriers gone, the Japanese were forced to retire and give up any idea of an assault on Midway. For his "extraordinary heroism and distinguished service beyond the call of duty . . ." and in recognition of the fact that his sacrifice ". . . was a determining factor in the defeat of the enemy forces . . .," Lt. (jg.) Woodson was awarded the Navy Cross posthumously.

    USS Woodson (DE 359) (1944-1962) was the first ship to be named in his honor.

    (Top Photo: Courtesy of  Mark Horan, USS Woodson)       (Bottom photo: U.S. Navy photo #NH 93595 from the Naval History and Heritage Command)

    (Note: This photo of Torpedo Squadron Eight pilots was taken in May 1942. The only pilot to survive the Battle of Midway in June of 1942 was Ens. George H. Gay, Jr.)
    Bill Gonyo
    Downey, Cal.

    Assoc. Researcher
    86k A 'John C. Butler' type ship, Woodson, after the war. This was the final wartime version of the DE, and very large numbers of this type were cancelled, as were many of the RN's 'Loch' class frigates. This photo shows the three twin Bofors aft, and postwar radar aerial on the masthead.

    [U.S. Navy photo, from the book "Allied Escort Ships of World War II (A Complete Survey)", by Peter Elliott]
    Edib Krlicbegovic,
    Bosnia - Hercegovina
    374k circa 1948: location unknown Gregg Niven
    503k circa 1948: location unknown - Two photos of Woodson's crew, probably shot after a personnel inspection since everyone's in "dress blues". In the second shot, USS Willet (DE 354) is shown berthed nearby.

    (Photos are from Gregg's Dad, J. Errol Niven, shown in the top photo. He's the second man from the right in the row directly behind the chief petty officers.
    48k Woodson underway, early 1950's

    (Photos Courtesy of  R.H. Wright)
    Dale M. Wright
    212k 07 September 1955: Newport, Rhode Island - USS Woodson (DE-359) moored alongside USS Chester T. O'Brien (DE 421) off the Newport Naval Station.

    (U.S. Naval Historical Center photo #NH 66359, courtesy of the Mariners Museum, Newport News, Virginia, the Ted Stone Collection from the Naval History and Heritage Command)
    Mike Green
    Port Angeles, Wash.
    316k 1958: New Orleans, La. - My grandfather, William C. Bonwell, took this picture of Woodson in 1958 while on a harbor tour of New Orleans. Cliff Westphal
    136k late 1950's: Two views of USS Woodson (DE 359) moored at St. Petersburg, Florida. David Wright
    Destroyer Archives
    Manager, Navsource
    103k taken from USS Roberts, early '60's Jay Jones EM3
    USS Roberts (DE 749)
    183k date / location unknown David A. Buell
    Los Angeles, Cal.
    471k date / location unknown: An Our Navy photo of USS Woodson that belonged to Thomas' Grandfather, Commander John R. Riediger, USN (ret.). On the back was hand written, "My first command, USS Woodson DE-359, CO May 57-Jun 59, Home Ports Newpt, RI, Key West, Fla., New Orleans, La." Thomas A. Bell
    324k 1959: Starboard broadside view of destroyer escort USS Woodson (DE 359) underway.

    (U.S. Navy National Archives photo #USN 1032180 from the Naval History and Heritage Command)
    Mike Smolinski
    Clifton, N.J.

    Navsource DE/FF/LCS
    Archive Manager
    227k August 1963: Guantanamo Bay, Cuba - USS Woodson entering the Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay. Nick Tiberio
    Shelton, Conn.

    Woodson History
    View the USS Woodson (DE 359) DANFS history entry located on the Naval History and Heritage Command web site.
    View the official War History of USS Woodson as submitted by the ship at war's end.

    Woodson's Commanding Officers
    Thanks to Wolfgang Hechler
    Dates of Command Commanding Officers
    1.)  24 Aug. 1944 26 Mar. 1945Lcdr. James Louis Foley, USN (Comm. CO) (USNA 29) (Manteca, Cal.)
    2.)  26 Mar. 1945 18 Nov. 1945Lcdr. Alva R. Corlett, USNR (Cleveland Heights, Oh.)
    3.)  18 Nov. 1945 16 Jan. 1946Lcdr. Edgar Hull Forrest, USN (Manhasset, N. Y.)
    4.)  16 Jan. 1946 15 Feb. 1946Lt.(jg) Blaine E. Casser, USNR (Decomm. CO) (Pocatello, Id.)
    5.)  01 Jul. 1946 .. Dec. 1946Lcdr. Sydney George Rubinow Jr., USNR (Alameda, Cal.)
    6.)  .. Dec. 1946 Lt.(jg) Paul Alton Doyle, USN
    7.)  19 May 1951 .. .... 1952Lcdr. Armistead Dennett, USN (USNA 42) (Kittery, Me.)
    8.)  .. .... 1952 .. .... 1953Lcdr. Carl Boone Hibben, USN
    9.)  .. .... 1953 Lcdr. Charles William Wiese Jr., USN
    10.) 1952 - Lcdr. David Purdy Wynkoop, USN (USNA 43) (Traverse City, Mich.)
    11.) no date 30 Mar. 1956Cmdr. Melvin Rice Downes, USN (Belford, N. J.)
    12.) 30 Mar. 1956 03 Jun. 1957Lcdr. Charles Preston Rozier, USN (USNA 44) (Sparta, Ga.)
    13.) 03 Jun. 1957 16 May 1959Lcdr. John Richard Riediger, USN (Coatesville, Pa.)
    14.) 16 May 1959 27 Aug. 1959Lcdr. Harry Williamson King, USN
    15.) 27 Aug. 1959 20 Jun. 1961Lt. William Everett Muncy, USN (OinC) (Van Nuys, Cal.)
    16.) 20 Jun. 1961 02 Oct. 1961Lt. James Michael McNaughton, USN (OinC)
    17.) 02 Oct. 1961 31 Aug. 1962Cmdr. Roy T. Cucullu, USNR-R (New Orleans, La.)
    18.) 31 Aug. 1962 26 Jul. 1963Lt. / Lcdr. James Michael McNaughton, USN (OinC)
    19.) 26 Jul. 1963 30 Jun. 1965Lt. / Lcdr. Charles R. Smith, USN (OinC) (Decomm. CO)

    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 or rosters 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 Woodson
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    This Page Created And Maintained By Mike Smolinski
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    by Paul R. Yarnall, All Rights Reserved.
    Page Last Updated: 17 January 2023