Captain Robert W. Hoag II USN (ret)
10956 Lathrop Ln.
Silverdale, Washington 98383
October 31, 2000
The Honorable Richard Danzig
Secretary of the Navy
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
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
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
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
Robert W. Hoag II
Capt. USN (ret)
The Honorable Mike Harris, Premier of the Province of Ontario,
Senator Slade Gorton
Congressman Norm Dicks
Commander Naval Sea Systems Command
Mr. Rollie Webb, President/CEO Todd Pacific Shipyards Corp.