Edson as it appeared at the New York City Intrepid Museum, March 18 1995.
USS EDSON: Destroyer to Berth Here Depicted in U.S. Navy Archives Photos
Historic Photos Include One Taken From HMAS Hobart, Aussie Ship Built Here
May 19, 2012
By: Dave Rogers
The USS Edson officially belongs to Bay City.
As soon as the Saginaw Valley Naval Ship Museum secures the final money needed and arranges for towing the 418 foot long destroyer here from Philadelphia, a new attraction will be unveiled.
The museum ship is not only a tourist attraction, it is a tribute to the work building ships during several wars by the Defoe Shipbuilding Co. here.
One photo from the U.S. Navy Archives of the USS Edson, destroyer museum ship to be berthed here, was taken during the Vietnam War -- ironically from a ship built here, the HMAS Hobart.
The Australian destroyer Hobart was one of three built by Defoe in the early 1960s. Former Defoe employees and news reporters recall the raucous group of Aussie sailors who descended on Bay City and stayed while their ships were being built.
One of their favorite hangouts of the Aussie salts was Louie's Bar, 916 Water St., between 4th and 5th, run by Mrs. Beatrice Holzheimer.
HMAS Hobart (D 39) was a Perth class guided missile destroyer of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). Built at Defoe along the lines of the U.S. Navy (USN) Charles F. Adams class of destroyers, she was commissioned into the RAN in 1965. In March 1967, Hobart became the first RAN combat ship deployed to fight in the Vietnam War.
Edson during naval gunfire
support off the coast of Vietnam
during the WestPac cruise of 1971.
Australian writer Robin Clark recalled: "There were initial concerns about operating United States designed vessels alongside British designed surface vessels, largely as regards logistics and operating procedures. These concerns were overcome, and the Australian Government decided to purchase the American destroyers.
"On 6 January 1962 a contract was signed for two guided missile destroyers with Defoe Shipbuilding Co. of Bay City, Michigan, the ships to be named PERTH and HOBART. In June 1963 the order was extended to a third ship, to be named BRISBANE.
"The main modifications were the addition of two broad deck houses, one on each side of the vessel between the funnels, housing the Australian designed Ikara anti submarine missile system, and the mounting of a single-arm missile launcher instead of the twin mounting installed on the American ships.
The Charles F Adams class resulted from U.S. Navy design requirements of the late 1950s. The ships were based on an improved Forrest Sherman class, the main differences being that the Adams class was fitted with Tartar anti aircraft guided missiles instead of the Sherman's aftermost 5-inch gun, and an aluminum superstructure.
Acquisition of the destroyers has been regarded by many as a significant milestone in Australian naval history. They were the first Royal Australian Navy warships to be designed and built in the U.S., marking the decline in Royal Naval influence and the strengthening of the North American Alliance. Also the ships marked the graduation of the Royal Australian Navy into the age of guided missiles.
The three destroyers were formed into the First Australian Destroyer squadron, based at Sydney's Garden Island naval dockyard.
Soon after their commissioning the destroyers were to see action in the Vietnam conflict. Initially the Australian surface ship commitment was in providing logistic support for the Australian army. However, in 1966 the Australian Government decided to extend the naval involvement to a combat role. It was decided that the compatibility with the United States equipment made the new Charles F Adams class vessels ideally suited for this role. The first of the ships to be deployed was HMAS HOBART.
Taken in mid 1968 from the HMAS Hobart (D39) off the Vietnamese coast. Hobart was decommissioned in 2000 and was sunk as a dive wreck off the Australian coast.
USS Edson entering Pearl Harbor in early 1973 en route WestPac. Official U.S. Navy photo.
Visit to Montreal June 20, 1983.
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On May 21, 2012
at 11:42 PM
The photo of the USS EDSON DD 946 that was taken from HMAS HOBART D 39 in 1968. Was not taken in 1968 as the foward twin 3inch/50 was not removed until 1972.
FTG2 Wiggles USS EDSON DD 946 1969-1973
Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
(Contact Dave Via Email at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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