World War II

World War II Years

Leaving the States

Following shakedown training out of San Diego and availability at Seattle, Stoddard screened a convoy to Pearl Harbor, departing the West Coast on 16 July 1944 and reaching Hawaii on the 29th. She entered another brief availability period at Pearl Harbor, then headed north.

On 8 August, she arrived in Adak, Alaska, and joined Task Force (TF) 94, made up of Trenton (C-11), Concord (C-10), Richmond (CL-9), and the destroyers of Destroyer Division (DesDiv) 57. The mission of TF 94 was to harass Japanese outposts in the Kuril Islands, located to the northeast of Japan proper and west of the Aleutian Islands.

On 14 August, Stoddard sailed with the task force to make her first offensive sweep of those forward enemy positions. Poor weather conditions forced the ships to abandon the mission.

Leaving Seattle shipyard 4-21-44 (40957 bytes) Aerial broadside 4-21-44 (32206 bytes)
Task Force 94 was re-designated TF 92 between that first abortive mission and the second one, begun on 26 August. Foul weather again foiled the American attack, and the task force put into Attu. The storms were so bad and came so often that TF 92 did not pull off a raid until late November. During the evening hours of 21 November, the cruisers and destroyers pounded the Japanese installations at Matsuwa, damaging the airfields and other installations heavily. Heavy winds and seas slowed TF 92's retirement to nine knots, but at the same time stopped enemy air pursuit. The warships returned safely to Attu on the 25th.

From Adak, DesDiv 113, including Stoddard, was routed to the submarine base at Dutch Harbor. After spending the first two weeks in December at Dutch Harbor, the destroyers put to sea on the 13th and rejoined TF 92. On 3 January 1945, the task force embarked upon another sweep of Japan's Kuril defenses. Two days later, under the cover of snow squalls, but with calm seas, the task force bombarded the Surabachi Wan area of Paramushiro, severely damaging canning installations and airfields. TF 92 retired to Attu at high speed and returned to Dutch Harbor on the 13th for a ten-day recreation period.

Operational Training

On 16 January, Stoddard and Rowe (DD-564) headed south for operational training in the Hawaiian Islands. They arrived at Pearl Harbor on the 22nd and departed on 7 February to return to Attu. They reached Massacre Bay on 13 February, just in time to join the group headed for the bombardment of Kuabu Zaki. The ships put to sea on 16 February and arrived off Paramushiro just after sunset on the 18th. They bombarded the island until midnight and then retired to Attu, where they arrived on the 20th. Three days later, they shifted to Adak for supplies and repairs. They returned to Attu on 8 March. On 15 March, they again hit Matsuwa. From 1 to 17 April, Stoddard joined the task force in exercises in the vicinity of Adak. On April 18th, she and the rest of DesDiv 13 bade farewell to the cold winds and waters of the Aleutians chain.

First Combat Action

Stoddard entered Pearl Harbor for the third time on 24 April. For almost a month, her crew enjoyed recreation in the islands and conducted operational training in preparation for assignment to Okinawa and the Fast Carrier Task Force. Stoddard sailed from Pearl Harbor on 11 May, in the screen of Ticonderoga (CV 14), bound for Ulithi. Along the way, Ticonderoga's air group got in a little live ammunition practice on 17 May, when they struck the Japanese forces isolated on Taroa and the other islets of Maloelap Atoll. The task group reached the lagoon at Ulithi on 22 May. A week later, Stoddard departed the atoll to take up station off Okinawa.

On 2 June, she arrived off Okinawa and took up radar picket station. Though the Okinawa campaign was rapidly nearing its conclusion, the proximity of airfields in Japan and on Formosa allowed enemy air power to continue to make life unpleasant for the ships around the island. True, the deluge of kamikazes had abated, but the skies continued to shower significant numbers of suicide planes. Stoddard covered the withdrawal of several cargo ships on 4 June during a typhoon-evasion maneuver and then returned to her station. At sunset on 7 June, two planes attacked, but both were sent hurtling into the sea before they could reach the ships. During her tour of duty on the picket line, Stoddard claimed two Japanese planes for herself, two assists, and one probable kill.

She cleared Okinawa on 17 June in the screen of Mississippi (BB-41). Three days later, she passed through Surigao Strait into Leyte Gulf. For the remainder of the month, she underwent repairs and took on provisions at San Pedro Bay. She put to sea again on 1 July, this time in the screen of TF 38, the Fast Carrier Task Force. For the next 45 days, she guarded the carriers as their planes made repeated strikes on the Japanese home islands.

Stoddard was detached once during that period of time, on 23 July to join DesDiv 113 in a bombardment of Chi Chi Jima in the Bonins. After the cessation of hostilities on 15 August, she continued to cruise the waters near Japan with TF 38 to cover the occupation forces. She cleared Japanese waters from 21 September until 7 October while she underwent availability at Eniwetok, then returned for training exercises until November.

First Decommissioning

On 18 November, she departed Japan for the United States. She transited the Panama Canal a month later and arrived at Philadelphia two days before Christmas. Stoddard went through a yard overhaul until late March, then ferried personnel to Charleston, S.C., in April.

She began inactivation overhaul at Charleston on 8 July and was placed out of commission in January of 1947. Stoddard remained inactive berthed with the Charleston Group of the Atlantic Reserve Fleet.


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