USS NICHOLAS (DD-449)
The second Nicholas (DD-449) was laid down 3 March 1941 by the Bath Iron Works Corp.
Launched 19 February 1942; sponsored by Mrs. Edward B. Tryon
descendant of Major Samuel
Nicholas; and commissioned 4 June 1942
Lt. Comdr. W. D. Brown in command.
Destined to serve in the Pacific through three armed conflicts
assigned to DesRon 21
departed New York City 23 August 1942
sailing in the screen of Washington (BB-56)
transited the Canal
continued on to the Central Pacific
arriving at Espiritu Santo 27 September. Three days later she began
escorting Guadalcanal bound troop and supply convoys. Into 1943 she screened the convoys assembled at
Espiritu Santo and Noumea to "Cactus" area
Guadalcanal and Tulagi
guarded them as they off-loaded and
then returned the vessels to their departure point. Periodically assigned to offensive duties she also
conducted antisubmarine hunter killer missions off Allied harbors
sweeps of the "Slot"
targets and performed gunfire support missions for Marine and Army units as they pushed toward the
Tenamba River and total control of the long embattled island.
In January 1943
Nicholas was one of the Tulagi based "Cactus Striking Force" (TF 67) destroyers
which resisted the Japanese last counterattack for Guadalcanal by pounding the newly built enemy air
facilities at Munda (4-5 January); shelling their Kokumbona-Cape Esperance escape route (19 January)
blasting their Munda resupply area at Vila on Kolombangara (23-24 January).
On 1 February
as the Japanese began operation "KE" the evacuation of Guadalcanal
covered the 2nd Battalion
132nd Infantry landing at Verahue and supported them as they began their trek inland
to seal off the Cape Esperance area to Japanese reinforcements. Enroute back to Tulagi Nicholas
DeHaven (DD-469) and 3 LCTs
was attacked by a formation of 14 "Vals". Three bombs hit DeHaven and a
a near miss
holed the hull. As her sister destroyer settled in the waters of Ironbottom Sound
fought off eight planes
receiving only near misses which killed two of her crew and damaged the steering gear.
Nicholas resumed her varied duties. Escort assignments and two bombardments of
the Munda Kolombangara area of New Georgia took up March. In April
she joined TF 18 for "Slot" patrol and on
the 19th turned her bow toward Australia for an availability at Sydney. By 11 May she was once again with TF
18 enroute to Kolombangara. On the 13th
while firing on enemy positions there
her #3 gun jammed and
with no casualties. After repairs at Noumea
she took up antisubmarine patrol duties and at the end of
the month resumed escort duties in the Solomons-New Hebrides area.
On 5 July she participated in another bombardment of Kolombangara. In the early morning hours of
the 6th she made contact with enemy surface vessels in Kula Gulf. In the ensuing battle
Helena (CL-50) was
while rescuing 291 survivors
took the Japanese ships under torpedo and gunfire. She was later
awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for her persevering performance during the Battle of Kula Gulf.
On the 12th and 13th she participated in the Battle of Kolombangara; on the 15th covered the rescue of
remaining Helena survivors from Vella LaVella; and on the 16th returned to Tulagi to resume escort duties. In
she joined T.U. 31.5.1 and on the 15th screened the advance transport group during landings on
Vella LaVella. Back at Tulagi on the 17th
with O'Bannon (DD-450)
Taylor (DD - 68)
was sent out to intercept four Rabaul based Japanese destroyers as they headed for Vella
LaVella to cover the establishment of a barge staging area at Horaniu.
Racing up the "Slot"
the American destroyers picked up their Japanese counterparts on surface
radar at 0029
11 miles away. To the west the radar showed a barge group. At 0050
quartet feinted toward the barges. At 0056
they swung back toward the Imperial Navy's destroyers
now 5 miles
to the northwest. The brief engagement off Horaniu
in which the Japanese "crossed the T" of the American
forces but failed to press their advantage
was broken off by the Japanese at 0103. The American force
scored on Isokaze
and finally dropped behind
engineering problems in Chevalier limiting them to 30
knots. They then turned their attention to the scattering barge group
destroying 2 subchasers
2 motor torpedo
boats and one barge.
Nicholas returned to Vella LaVella on l9 and 20 August to conduct barge hunts and on the 24th and
25th to cover mine operations. At the end of the month she steamed to Noumea thence to New Guinea and
Australia. Back in the Solomons by October
she conducted another search for barge traffic and on the 6th
covered the unloading of APDs at Batakoma. Then
she steamed to Efate to resume escort duties.
On 11 November Nicholas departed Nandi
with TG 50.1 for raids on Kwajalein and Wotje
after which she headed east
arriving at San Francisco 15 December for overhaul. On 12 February 1944 she
resumed Central and South Pacific escort duties. On 5 April she proceeded
with DesRon 21
to Milne Bay for
temporary duty with the 7th Fleet. On the 22nd
she covered the Aitape landings
and until 8 May escorted
resupply groups there and to Humboldt Bay. She then returned to the Solomons and the 3d Fleet shelling
on the 29th. Spending the first part of June on anti submarine patrol
joined the 7th Fleet on the 14th
serving with TG 70.8 in the northern Solomons. On 15 August she sailed to
Manus to join TF 74 and until the 27th operated along the New Guinea coast. She then returned to Seeadler
harbor whence she supported the Morotai operation 15-30 September.
On 18 October
now in TG 78.7 escorted reinforcements to Leyte
arriving on the 24th. On
the 25th and 26th
she patrolled off Dinagat Island and on the 27th set out again for Manus. On 8 November she
sailed for Ulithi
whence she headed for Kossol Roads. Enroute to the latter
her three ship formation
and St. Louis (CL-49)
was closed by a submarine
12 November. Leaving the formation. Nicholas pressed
home 2 depth charge attacks
Four days later
Nicholas joined TG 77.1 on continuous patrol of the southern end of Leyte Gulf.
There until 6 December she survived 4 attacks by suicide plane formations
27 and 29 November and 2 and 5
December. On 6 December she assisted in a sweep of the Camotes Sea
bombarded Japanese Naval
facilities on Ormoc Bay and then covered Allied landings there. On the 10th she sailed for Manus
Leyte on the 28th for further escort work.
On the first day of the new year
the destroyer joined TG 77.3
the Close Support Group for the Lingayen
Gulf assault. Enroute to Luzon
her group was harassed by enemy midget submarines and almost constant air
raids. After a 2 day bombardment
Army troops landed 9 January. Until the 18th Nicholas provided fire support;
then patrolled to the west of Luzon with the covering escort carrier group. On the 24th she captured a motor boat
being used by 3 Japanese to escape from the island and on the 29th provided close cover for the landings in
During the first part of February she escorted vessels between Leyte and Mindoro
proceeded to Manila Bay to shell Corregidor
other islands in Manila Bay
and shore installations at Mariveles.
Resuming escort work on the 17th
she guarded mine sweepers as they cleared Basilan Strait in mid-March and
then supported the occupation of the Zamboanga area. In April. she returned to Luzon to support the 6th Army
as it fought to reoccupy the island and then on the 24th resumed operations in the Netherlands East Indies.
From then until 5 May she supported the Tarakan operation after which she steamed north again to Luzon
thence to Leyte where she joined TU 30.12.2 and departed for Okinawa
15 June. Following strikes on
she joined TG 30.8 at Ulithi and screened that group as it refueled and resuppIied the fast carriers
at sea. On 11 August she reported to CTG 38.4
a fast carrier group
and on the 13th screened the flattops
during strikes against the Tokyo area. On the 15th hostilities ceased.
Nicholas transported Allied and U.S. representatives to the formal surrender on Missouri (BB-63) 2
and then joined in the repatriation of Allied POWs. Departing the Far East 5 October
she arrived at
Seattle on the 19th and continued on to San Pedro
arriving 1 November to begin inactivation. Decommissioned
12 June 1946
Nicholas remained in the Pacific Reserve Fleet until hostilities in Korea necessitated her recall.
Reclassified DDE -449
26 March 1949
she was brought out of reserve to begin conversion in November 1950.
Recommissioned 19 February 1951
she underwent shakedown off the west coast
steamed to Pearl Harbor
where she joined CortDesDiv 12
CortDesRon 1; and continued on to the Western Pacific
arriving at Yokosuka
10 June. In Far Eastern waters until 14 November
she screened the carriers of TF 77 off the west coast of
Korea; conducted ASW exercises between Yokosuka and Okinawa; and patrolled the Taiwan Strait. On 3 May
1952 she departed Pearl Harbor again for Korea. A temporary replacement vessel in DesDiv 112
first with TF 77 and then swung around the peninsula to the gun line off the Korean east coast and operated
under CTF 95
until sailing for home in July. She returned to Korea with CortDesDiv 12 in November and
remained in the Far East until 20 May 1953 performing missions similar to her 1951 deployment.
After Korea Nicholas rotated duty in WestPac with 1st Fleet assignments. Her 7th Fleet deployments
took her from Japan to Sumatra
while EastPac assignments ranged primarily from Hawaii to the west coast. On
occasion 1st Fleet duty sent her to the Central Pacific as in 1954 when she assisted in Operation "Castle"
atomic test series.
Modernized between December 1959 and July 1960
Nicholas emerged from the shipyard in time for
her annual rotation to WestPac
for the first time since World War II
to the South
China Sea for extensive operations. Reclassified DD - 449 on 1 July 1962
she returned to the South China Sea
in March 1965. There she became one of the first ships engaged in operation "Market Time"
patrol of the
jagged South Viet Namese coastline to prohibit smuggling of men
and supplies into South VietNam
by Viet Cong and North Vietnamese junks and sampans.
Relieved of duty 15 April
Nicholas returned to Pearl Harbor only to depart again for Viet Nam in
mid-September. Off the embattled coast by 1 October
she carried out surveillance assignments and gunfire
support duties until 3 December
when she proceeded to Taiwan for patrol duty in Taiwan Strait. Early in 1966
she returned to Viet Nam for duty on "Yankee Station" in the Gulf of Tonkin
followed by another tour on
"Market Time" patrol. Homeward bound at the end of February
she proceeded to Australia
thence to Hawaii
arriving 17 March.
Each WestPac tour since that time has followed a similar employment schedule. Her gunfire support missions
during her November 1966 May 1967 tour included participation in operation "Deck House V" in the Mekong
as well as missions close to the DMZ. Most of her 1968 tour was again spent in Vietnamese waters
with a greater portion spent on "Yankee Station" and on gunfire support missions.
On her return to EastPac in 1968
Nicholas was assigned to support NASA's Apollo Program. From 8
to 23 October and again between 19 and 22 December she operated in the Pacific space capsule recovery
areas; first for the Apollo 7 mission
then for Apollo 8. After each of these assignments she has returned to
Pearl Harbor for training exercises in Hawaiian waters in preparation for a return to the Western Pacific.
Nicholas earned 16 battle stars in World War II; 5 in the Korean Conflict.
[Note: The above USS NICHOLAS (DD-449) history may or may not contain text provided by crew members of the USS NICHOLAS (DD-449) or by other non-crew members and text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships]