SecNav Letter


Captain Robert W. Hoag II USN (ret)
10956 Lathrop Ln.
Silverdale, Washington 98383

October 31, 2000

The Honorable Richard Danzig
Secretary of the Navy
The Pentagon
Washington DC 20350
Dear Mr. Secretary:

As Past President of the USS Stoddard (DD 566) Alumni Association, and representative of more than 5000 former crew members, I request that you seriously consider naming a new Navy ship "USS Stoddard", preferably a Destroyer.

The first USS Stoddard was named for Seaman James Stoddard, who according to his Navy records, was a Canadian Citizen. As a crew member of the USS Marmora, Stoddard was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor (MOH), and promoted to Acting Masters Mate (an Officers rank) for his heroic action off Yazoo City, Mississippi on 5 March 1864. The ship was built in Seattle, Washington by the Seattle Tacoma Shipyards, a subsidiary of Todd Shipyards Corp.

We, the former crew members feel that USS Stoddard was truly a unique and lucky ship for the following reasons:

1. The ship attained a very commendable record of duty during the Aleutian, Okinawa and other campaigns of World War II. In spite of being involved in numerous Kamakazi attacks, and shore bombardment operations she was never damaged by enemy fire.

2. During the Cold War Stoddard was a key participant in dangerous classified intelligence gathering missions, and deterrent operations in the Straits of Formosa, Gulf of Tonkin, and during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

3. On numerous occasions during the Vietnam War, the ship conducted major shore bombardment operations, and in 1968 was hit by enemy shore batteries while assisting in the rescue of a downed pilot near the mouth of the Song Giap River. Also, on one covert mission, Stoddard distinguished herself by secretly navigating up nine miles of heavily guarded river, in darkness, to successfully destroy critical enemy ammunition storage dumps and fortifications, then steaming back to sea at flank speed while under heavy fire.

4. Stoddard was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation, and ten campaign medals with nineteen battle stars during her years of service.

5. In spite of service during World War II, Korea, the Cold War, and Vietnam no lives were ever lost on the ship in battle, a distinction shared with USS Missouri (BB63).

6. Due to her outstanding material condition, Stoddard was one of the last active Fletcher Class Destroyers operating in the US Navy.

7. After 6 years in the Reserve Fleet, Stoddard was the last ship of the largest Class of Destroyers ever built to be removed from the US Navy Vessel Registry (NVR).

8. After removal from the NVR, ex-Stoddard continued to serve the Navy for nearly 20 more years as a test platform for advanced missile defense systems. Finally, in 1997 this proud ship became a victim of her 53 years of hard service, and was sunk by a Navy SEAL Team. She was the last of her Class put to rest by the US Navy.

We believe that as a sign of respect and friendship to Canada, and since the name of the first ship of the Fletcher Class Destroyers was carried forward to a new ship, it would be appropriate to name another ship "Stoddard" after the last ship of the Class to serve the US Navy. It is also our view that this action would be a great tribute to the long association the Navy has had with the Todd Pacific Shipyard Corp., its predecessor yards, and the thousands of employees who have built hundreds of ships for the US Navy, including USS Stoddard.

For information, I have enclosed James Stoddard's MOH Citation, and brief histories of James Stoddard and USS Stoddard (DD566). I should note that according to historical documents obtained to date from the National Archives, there appear to be several errors in Stoddard's MOH Citation. His enlistment records indicate he was actually born in 1844, not 1838, and that he was born in Port Robinson, Ontario, Canada. No information can be located to indicate he had any association with the State of North Carolina.

We thank you for your consideration, and look forward to the day all former shipmates can attend the commissioning of the new USS Stoddard.


Robert W. Hoag II
Capt. USN (ret)


Copy to:

The Honorable Mike Harris, Premier of the Province of Ontario, Canada
Senator Slade Gorton
Congressman Norm Dicks
Commander Naval Sea Systems Command
Mr. Rollie Webb, President/CEO Todd Pacific Shipyards Corp.

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