The USS Hudson (DD-475) was the third ship to bear the name of Captain William L Hudson, a nineteenth century naval officer.
Hudson waslaunched on June 3, 1942, from the Boston Navy Yard, and received her commission on April 13, 1943, under the command of Commander Richard R. Pratt. Hudson was one of 175 Fletcher-class destroyers built during World War II to confront the threat posed by the faster, more modern Japanese destroyers patrolling the Pacific in the 1930s. The Fletcher design was so successful that the ships served in fourteen different navies until well into the 1990’s.
Hudson completed her shakedown in the North Atlantic and headed off to the New Hebrides. The ship arrived just in time to help with the bombardment of Bougainville, and a week later shot down two planes and assisted with a third on November 8, 1943. While on route to the invasion of the Green Islands she sank her first submarine on January 31, 1944.
Following a brief stay in Australia, Hudson rejoined the fleet to bombard Saipan, Tinian and Guam. Hudson shot down another two planes during the “Marianas Turkey Shoot” on June 19 and 20. She racked up her final kill for the year in mid-July when she shot down another plane, and also rescued four pilots (three Navy and one Japanese).
Hudson started off 1945 with some brief training at Pearl Harbor before steaming off to assist with picket radar duty off of Iwo Jima, where she rescued eight crewmembers from a B-29 that crashed into the sea on March 8. She also assumed radar picket duty off of Okinawa, where she racked up her second submarine kill, the RO-49, after a six hour depth charge barrage on 5 April. Although under almost constant kamikaze attack, the ship suffered no damage, and the only casualty was on April 22 when an attacking Japanese plane wounded a sailor.
Hudson’s crowning moment came on May 4, 1945. Hudson steamed to assist the escort carrier Sangamon when the latter was hit by a kamikaze. Although the carrier’s ammunition was exploding due to the blaze, Hudson managed to get 16 firefighting lines in service to put out the fire. Hudson suffered damage from the carrier’s overhanging flight deck and debris tossed over the side (including a burning plane pushed off the carrier by her crew that landed on Hudson’s fantail depth charges). Hudson’s actions saved Sangamon and reduced the death toll on the carrier.
Hudson was quickly repaired and returned to carrier escort duty in the Marianas and Aleutians. She assisted in the occupation of Northern Japan, and transported personnel back to America in Operation Magic Carpet. Decommissioned at the end of the war and mothballed at Mare Island, Hudson was finally stricken from the list on December 1, 1972 and sold for scrap the next year.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Hudson (DD-475)
World War II vessels contained asbestos from bow to stern. The mineral was used to insulate and fireproof pipes, engines, boilers, pumps, and galleys. It was mixed into paints and cements. No area on Hudson was free of asbestos contamination. As a result, veterans of this ship that later developed mesothelioma may be eligible for compensation from the companies that made the asbestos products on board.Sources
Fletcher-class Destroyers in World War II.