The USS Larson bears the name of PFC Everett Frederick Larson USMCR who was born in Stamford, Conn. on September 3, 1920.
The Everett F. Larson (DD-830) was launched January 28, 1945 by Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine; sponsored by Mrs. H. Larson, mother of Private First Class Larson, and commissioned 6 April 1945, Commander Horace (Mike) Myers in command. She was a long hull (390 feet), 2250 ton Destroyer, armed with six 5 inch, 38 caliber guns and six 40mm Gun Mounts. She carried two sets of Torpedo Launching Mounts, one between Stacks One and Two and one aft of Stack Two. Four boilers and two high pressure steam driven turbines gave the Larson a shaft horsepower of 60,000 and a speed greater than 30 knots.
The Larson was commissioned in Boston Navy Yard on 6 April 1945 and proceeded to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for shakedown shortly after. Upon her return to Boston, she was converted to a radar picket form. The torpedo tubes were removed as well as much of the needless topside weight. A tripod mast was installed between the stacks and an air search radar antenna was installed. The air search radar was able to measure the angle of elevation of an acquired target as well as the horizontal angle, a great assist in tracking incoming aircraft.
Several members of the CIC crew were sent off to fighter director school in Virginia. General line destroyers were being assigned to picket duty in the Okinawa campaign at that time and being badly mauled by the Kamikaze planes; the Larson was designed for that duty specifically. Her conversion was completed and she departed Boston Navy Yard in early August.
On the way south she wiped a bearing on one main drive shaft and was ordered into Norfolk Navy Yard for repairs. While there she was tied up to a pier opposite another destroyer that had been towed back from the Okinawa area after being hit by a Kamikaze - a solemn reminder to the Larson crew of where they were going.
Repairs were completed in several days and the Larson continued on her way to the Panama Canal. The night before the expected arrival at the canal, the news came out that the Japanese had surrendered, the war was over! Unlike the reported riotous celebrations on many ships in the Western Pacific, the mood on the Larson was quiet relief and the crew stood in small groups talking.
The ship arrived at the entrance to the canal the next day. The passage through the canal was made at night in a light rain most of the way. After a brief stop at the Pacific end of the canal, the Larson began the journey north to San Diego. At this time the ship was steaming in company with USS Vesole DD878, the lead ship in the second division of the squadron the Larson and the Vesole were assigned to.
Aside from enjoying the relaxation of some of the wartime rules such as darken ship, the voyage was uneventful except for one night. The two captains had agreed on a star shell duel as an exercise for the gunnery departments. All went well for several shots lighting up the opposing ships when the Larson received an emergency message, "Hold it, that last shot went right between our stacks!" The gun boss reported that the sync E knob on the Mark 1 Computer had slipped out. That was the last star shell duel.
The two ships spent several days anchored in San Diego harbor for a brief time for liberty. loading stores, and transfer of the first party of men going ashore for demobilization. Then they were ordered west, arriving in Pearl Harbor in early September. Spent several days at Pearl, some time on liberty and some days at exercises at sea. One day the Larson transferred another party of crew members who had enough points to go home for discharge; about 25 men were in this group. The next day the ships left Pearl for several days of training exercises in the area, but in the evening of the first day they were ordered back in to prepare for a voyage west.
The next destination was Japan; the ships on this leg of their journey accompanied the aircraft carrier USS Boxer CV21, acting as plane guard destroyers having to take station aft of the carrier during flight operations, to pick up any pilots of downed planes. The "cans" also were fueled by the carrier as needed; during the first fueling the carrier offered to pass over some ice cream ? the earlier destroyers did not have ice cream machines, so this offer was customary. The Larson however did have a machine and the offer was declined.
Late in September about two days from Tokyo Bay the ships went through a part of a typhoon. At one point in the night the Larson rolled more than fifty degrees. The next day several floating mines were sighted. Then the Larson received word that the USS Roache DE191 nearby had hit a mine. She was located and several attempts to take her in tow failed so the Larson stood by until two fleet tugs arrived to tow her into port. The next day the ship entered Tokyo Bay, proceeded to Yokosuka, and anchored near the Japanese Naval Base.
Tokyo Bay at that time was filled with U. S. Navy ships, hundreds; it seemed that they went from Yokosuka all the way to Tokyo. There was one Japanese battleship that seemed like a rusted wreck, but it was still afloat. The Yokosuka naval base was also an unbelievable wreck, nothing in the shops was usable; how did a nation with so little keep the enormous fleet now filling the bay busy for so long. The Larson stayed there for several days; liberty parties were allowed to go ashore, some even took the train to Tokyo. The railroad was in remarkably good condition as was Tokyo; but Yokohama, an industrial center which the train passed through, was completely destroyed, nothing but bare flat spaces.
In early October the Larson was underway again, this time to Okinawa, Buckner Bay where she was refueled and departed immediately for Taku, which is in the Tangau District of northeast China, near the city of Tianjin. The immediate departure was to avoid an approaching typhoon. The ship encountered some rough weather that night, then calmer seas as she steamed through the East China Sea and then the Yellow Sea.
The Yellow Sea is quite shallow; the ship sighted and exploded several floating mines as it proceeded to Taku. The purpose of this operation was to support the landing of a unit of Marines, presumably to assist the Nationalist Chinese against the approaching Communist forces. After a very short stop the Larson joined the Vesole again to accompany the carrier USS Intrepid CV11 on a voyage to Saipan in the Marianas Islands. Another short stay, and then on to Guam.
Near the middle of October the Larson arrived in Guam, also in the Marianas Islands, not far from Saipan. In Guam the primary task was loading stores from the vast amount of material on hand there that had been shipped in to prepare for the planned invasion of Japan. As much of the material as possible was stored outside because the warehouses were full. Then the ship returned to Tokyo Bay, anchored briefly, then tied up next to the USS Piedmont, AD17 in the Japanese Naval Base. Many of the ships that were anchored in the Bay when the Larson was here before had left to return stateside, and many of the Larson officers and men had left for demobilization.
Some repairs were made during the availability next to the Piedmont. During this period the crew members had time ashore to explore the area. Then the ship was shifted to anchor in the bay and participated in some training exercises with other ships present. About the middle of November the Larson departed again for a trip north.
The ship had been ordered to steam to Ominato, a port in the extreme north of Honshu Island. On the way a stop for one night was made at the port city of Sendai. There was a sizable U. S. Army post there; some of the officers and men went ashore to use the recreational facilities. The trip continued to Ominato. The Larson arrived there on November 14 and reported to the admiral on board USS Quincy CA71for a special assignment.
The assignment involved turkeys for Thanksgiving dinners. The Naval units in Japan had received shipments of turkeys and the Larson had theirs aboard before leaving Yokosuka. But the Army units in Japan had received none. Therefore the admiral was sending four turkeys from his mess to the generals based in Sapporo. Hokkaido Island, two for the Lieutenant general, and one each for the two major generals. The turkeys were delivered to the Larson shortly and the ship was underway for Otaru the closest port city to Sapporo. Early the first day after anchoring at Otaru, the captain and the supply officer were in a jeep on the road to Sapporo (The headquarters in more recent times of the winter Olympics), the captain to deliver the turkeys to the generals and the supply officer to obtain the signature of the staff mess officers. The admiral was not "giving" the turkeys to the generals. The ship remained in Otaru for several days after Thanksgiving with some liberty for the crew, but no other activities; it seems the delivery of the turkeys was the main reason for the trip there.
The Larson steamed back to Yokosuka and tied up next to the Piedmont again. As before the ship participated in training exercises and sent liberty parties ashore.. Shortly before Christmas the other ships of DESRON 8 arrived in Tokyo Bay from the U. S. mainland with the Squadron Commander, Captain R. M. Bell (Author of the book "Room to Swing a Cat"). Commodore and his staff came aboard the Larson shortly after arrival. The other ships in the division were USS Goodrich DD831, USS Hanson DD832, and USS Herbert J. Thomas DD833. The Larson continued to transfer officers and men for demobilization during this period.
Just before the end of the year the Larson left Yokosuka and steamed to Sasebo on the island of Kyushu to the south of Honshu. From this point on some operations were in company with some or all of the other ships in the division and some with none. On arrival in Sasebo the ship was moored to a buoy. About this time the squadron designation was changed to Destroyer Squadron One, and the the Larson was in Destroyer Division Eleven.
Sasebo was the main port of the Larson for a major part of 1946. It was a large natural port, and when the ship first arrived there were many other ships moored there. The town did not present much in the way of a place for liberty, but some recreational facilities had been provided. The city of Nagasaki, the place the second atomic bomb had been dropped, was not far from Sasebo. About the middle of January the ship went to Nagasaki and the crew members were allowed to go ashore. All were astounded by the extent of the destruction. The area of absolute annihilation around the apparent ground zero, appeared to be miles in diameter. The almost complete destruction of apparently strong buildings miles from the center such as a concrete hospital on a hill and steel factory buildings closer to the seaport area emphasized the power of the blast. After a short stay, the ship returned to Sasebo.
During this the demobilization continued at a fast pace. Trained and experienced officers and men were transferred to ships returning to the United States and new crew members were received from boot camps and officer candidate schools. On one day 120 men were transferred for demobilization and on the next day 100 boots were received, The combat ships were also going home in groups. Of the hundreds of ships that were in Japanese waters when the occupation began, one task force after another returned eastward. By the middle of 1946 there remained one cruiser and four destroyers, DESDIV 11. And the ships remained in operation including the ability to conduct gunnery exercises.
Near the end of January the Larson left Sasebo again and steamed to Kagoshima, a town at the very southern tip of Kyushu Island. Very near the town was an active volcano, Sakurajima, 3,665 feet high. The day after arrival a party of officers and crew members followed the trail through several small villages and up the side of the volcano until they could see down into the crater and watch the smoke come up from below. It was an experience enjoyed by all hands; until they learned the following month that the USS H.J. Thomas, while in the Kagoshima harbor, was covered by ash from an eruption of Sakurajima.
Again a short stay, then back to Sasebo. About a week and a half into February, the ship proceeded to Fukuoka for the first of quite a few visits. Not far from Sasebo this good sized port city was on the Japanese side of the Straits of Tsushima, the site of the Japanese destruction of the Russian battle fleet in 1905, the fleet that Russian Admiral Rodjestventsky brought around from the Baltic Sea. The city was a good place for liberty, and there was a U. S. Army Air Corps base nearby. They were having demobilization problems,.too. One pilot told about a recent day when he was about to taxi his P51 out to the runway a mechanic came running out, opened the engine cowling, and pulled out a large wrench; he said, "These things are hard to get!" After about a week the ship returned to Sasebo.
On 16 February the Larson returned to Sasebo; Commander Francis A. McKee came aboard as relief of the Captain Myers. On 19 February the change of command ceremony was held and Commander Mike Myers left the ship.
The ship operated in and out of Sasebo on training exercises until early March when it was ordered to Yokosuka where it participated in additional exercises and then returned to Sasebo late in March.
On 1 April 1946 the Larson participated in Operation Road's End, the sinking of the remaining Japanese submarines off Sasebo. There were 33 submarines left at the end of the war, all assembled in Sasebo by this time; 24 of them were in condition to get underway, including I-58 that had sunk USS Indianapolis only nine months before. The subs were manned by the remaining members of their crews, and steamed out to the designated Point Deep Six under the watchful eyes of the Larson, USS Goodrich, and two cruisers. The destruction was carried out by demolition teams assigned to USS Nereus (AS17); explosive charges were placed in the fore and aft torpedo tubes. The Japanese crews were taken off by motor launch and the subs sunk one by one. There was one poignant detail to the day: as the subs steamed out each one had tied to its mast a branch of Cherry Blossoms.
On 7 and 8 April, just after the ship's first anniversary of commissioning, celebrations for all hands, one evening for the starboard watch and one evening for the port watch, were held in a cabaret in Fukuoka. Both parties were successful with a minimum of problems.
From April to September, 1946 the Larson spent most of the time in and out of Sasebo and Fukuoka with the exception of one short period in May when it went to Yokosuka for exercises. For some months the primary activity out of Fukuoka was patrolling the Straits of Tsushima or Korea Strait. The Navy ships were intercepting small boats loaded with Koreans that had been repatriated from ?captivity? in Japan to their homes in Korea, but preferred to be in Japan.
By June the demobilization was becoming critical, but the ship continued to be operational. At one time all of the line officers below the Captain were ensigns, so the senior ensign was the Executive Officer. It was only a short time before a regular Navy XO reported aboard, but the general shortage of experienced line officers remained. On the return trip to the continental U. S. in December, the Supply Officer was used as an Officer of the Deck Underway although technically not qualified for command at sea.
Near the end of September 1946 the Larson left Japanese waters for good. The ship steamed up the Yellow Sea to the city of Tsingtao (called Qingdao on the modern maps), once called the Pearl of the Orient. It was a part of the German colonial empire from 1897 to 1914 during which time it was built up as a modern sea port. By 1946 the place had deteriorated considerably, but some evidence of its previous beauty could be discerned. and there were remnants of the old China. There were some of the old women who had had their feet bound up as children to keep them from growing, and some of the rich people dressed in beautiful kimonos and pulled in rickshaws by ragged poor men.
There were no U. S. Navy installations in the area, but the U. S. Army had a post there that helped the Larson with supplies. Chiang Kai-Shek's Kuomintang Chinese Army still held the city, but it was surrounded by Mao Zedong's Red Army forces. The troops in the city looked like a defeated bunch, sitting in small groups in vacant lots. The presence of U. S. forces probably prevented the Red Army from taking over.
The Larson was tied up to the main pier that was in the center of the city. The only other Navy vessel was a submarine that came and went. When it was there it engaged in exercises with the Larson; the two vessels exchanged two officers each afternoon as a way to familiarize them with the operation of the other vessel. The Yellow Sea is quite shallow so getting stuck in the bottom mud was something of a problem for the sub.
After about a month in China the Larson departed and headed west for the Continental United States. The only stop on the way was at Guam. The attempt to draw stores from the huge inventories that were seen a year before resulted in some disappointments, the stores that had been left outside were completely ruined. The Larson needed line, but the line fell apart in the hands of the working party.
She put in to San Diego, Calif., December 21, 1946 bound for Newport, R.I. her assigned home port, where she arrived March 19, 1947. She was reclassified DDR-830 on March 18, 1949.*
During her 9 years with the Atlantic Fleet, the Everett F. Larson completed seven tours of duty with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean, patrolling the Near East during the crisis over the Palestine partition and joining in NATO training cruises in 1948 and 1955, and participated in antisubmarine warfare activities off the east coast, as well as training in the Caribbean. She was ordered to Greece in 1948 to aid the Greeks in the civil war when the communists were trying to take over. In 1949 she was ordered to Haifa Palestine to monitor the Arab and the Israel war. Larson was ordered to pick up Dr. Ralph J. Bunche at Rhoades Greece and take him to Haifa so he could successfully negotiate an armistice agreement between Israel and four neighboring Arab nations. For this Dr. Bunche won the 1950 Noble Peace Prize.
The Everett F. Larson was assigned to Commander, Destroyer Force, Atlantic Fleet, Destroyer Squadron 10, Destroyer Division 102, she won the Destroyer Force "E" efficiency award four times, including consecutive awards in 1953 and 1954.
In February 1956, Larson entered New York Naval Shipyard for a regularly scheduled overhaul. She left the yard in May of that year and after refresher training at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, she was transferred to the Pacific Fleet and assigned to Commander Destroyer Force, Pacific Fleet.
On 28 June 1956, the Everett F. Larson arrived at Long Beach, Calif., her home port for duty in the Pacific Fleet. In 1957, the Everett F. Larson was awarded the Type Commander's Engineering and Damage Control Efficiency Award as well as an ASW "E" and an Operations "E".
Operations off the coast of California and as far north to Seattle, WA, prepared her for deployments to the Far East in 1957, 1958, 1959,and 1960. During these deployments, she served on patrol duty off Taiwan, exercised off Japan and in the Philippines, and acted as escort and plane guard for the carriers of TF 77. Outward bound for her 1958 tour, she called at Pago Pago, Samoa, and Auckland, New Zealand.
The Everett F. Larson's last eastern Pacific operation prior to her 1960 deployment to the Western Pacific was as a unit of the U.S. First Fleet passing in review in the annual "Great White Fleet Review", in September 1960, in San Francisco Bay.
In June, 1962,the ship entered Long Beach Naval Shipyard for an extensive overhaul under the Navy's FRAM MkII program. In line with Larson's new capabilities, the ship's primary mission was changed from a Radar Picket Destroyer to a modern antisubmarine fighting ship. Thus, DDR-830 with its 3"/50 guns and SPS 6 and SPS 8 radars passed into history and DD 830, an antisubmarine configured destroyer joined the fleet on 30 December 1962.
In April, 1963, the Everett F. Larson was transferred from DESRON 19 to DESRON 23 which had made a name for itself during World War II under the command of Admiral Arleigh Burke when it first took the name of "The Little Beavers". The Everett F. Larson was assigned to DESDIV 231
On 27 August, 1965, the Everett F. Larson fired her guns at an enemy for the first time since World War II, firing over 300 rounds of 5"/38 caliber ammunition while conducting shore bombardment operations. The ship remained on the "gun line" until early September conducting underway replenishments of fuel from USS BENNINGTON (CVA 20) and USS HASSAYAMPA (AO 145), stores from USS PICTOR (AF 54) and USS POLLUX (AFS 4), and ammunition from USS PARICUTIN(AE 18) between gun shoots and occasional plane guard duties behind one of the three to four attack carriers operating in the vicinity.
On 27 February 1966, Larson left Long Beach Naval Shipyard, after completing a regularly scheduled overhaul, which commenced in November 1965. She conducted local operations until 12 March, 1966 when she began refresher training at San Diego, California. Refresher training was completed on 22 April 1966 and Larson immediately began a HUKASWEX (Hunter Killer Anti- Submarine Exercise) with ASWGRU (Anti- Submarine Group) FIVE. At the completion of this exercise, Larson conducted local operations in preparation for deployment to WESTPAC (Western Pacific).
On 9 June 1966, Larson deployed to WESTPAC with ASWGRU FIVE. The pre-deployment ORE (Operational Readiness Evaluation) was conducted in the Hawaiian operations area with units of ASWGRU FIVE, including USS Kearsarge (CVS-33) Destroyer Division (DESDIV 252), Carrier Anti-Submarine Group 53 (CVSG 53). Additionally, time was spent in Pearl Harbor preparing for the long at-sea periods ahead. Finally on 05 July, 1966, Larson got underway for Yokosuka, Japan, arriving there on 14 July 1966. Commander John G. Palmer USN, relieved Commander Donald R. Schaffer, USN, in Yokosuka, Japan, on 18 July 1966.
The Sea of Japan transit began 20 July, 1966 as Larson left Yokosuka; during the transit, exercises were conducted with the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force until 28 July, 1966; then with Republic of Korea Navy until 01 August, 1966. On 02 August,1966, Larson pulled into Sasebo, Japan, and left 08 August, 1966 with ASWGRU FIVE for duty on "Yankee Station". After a short period on "Yankee Station", Larson spent alternate periods on patrol and in port at Kaoshiung and Keelung, Taiwan, until 15 September, 1966 when she left Kaoshiung as a typhoon came roaring in. The Larson headed back to "Yankee Station". As soon as she arrived, she was ordered to participate in operation "Silver Skate" and did so from 22 to 27 September, 1966. At the completion of this exercise, Larson was ordered to gunfire support activities in South Viet Nam. On 01 October, 1966, Larson pulled into Danang Harbor and began the gunfire support activities, which would last until 06 October, 1966.
During this period, Larson fired 656 rounds of five-inch 38-caliber ammunition, and killed or wounded 63 Viet Cong soldiers. In addition, she also destroyed 62 structures, and numerous roads and trenches.
Upon completion of gunfire support, Larson was detached and ordered to Subic Bay, Philippines for a week of up-keep and repair. After this period, Larson returned to "Yankee Station" and operated with other units of the Seventh Fleet until she was detached for nearly a week of R and R in Hong Kong, beginning 30 October 1966.
On the fifth of November, Larson arrived in Kaoshiung to resume duties on Taiwan patrol. She patrolled uneventfully until she was detached 01 December to proceed for Yokosuka, Japan. Larson was at Yokosuka from 05 to 09 December, and then proceeded for the States with the rest of ASWGRU FIVE; "chopped" from the Seventh Fleet to the First Fleet on 12 December.
December 20, 1966 marked homecoming for the men of Larson. For the rest of the year, holiday routine was standard operating procedure.
Having been deployed to WESTPAC since August 1967. The first quarter of 1968 found the Larson on "Yankee Station", plane guarding and serving from 6 January to 10 January as ASW training area coordinator. Hong Kong was a port stop from 15 to 21 January with a passage on the 21st to Kaoshiung Taiwan. After five days in Kaoshiung, Larson was ordered to the Sea of Japan, arriving with the first U. S. units shortly after USS Pueblo's capture. Larson was rigged for towing, with the intention that the Larson would enter Wonsan Harbor and retrieve the Pueblo. These plans were canceled when it was learned that there was a sub in the arean or that the Pueblo's crew had been removed from the ship or maybe both. Larson was the first DESRON 23 ship assigned to TF 71 for this operation, remaining from 31 January to 2 March.
The 2-12 period in March was spent in port in Sasebo for upkeep, then a return to the Sea of Japan from 13 March to 21 March. While in the Sea of Japan. Larson plane guarded and served as surface action unit with USS Canberra once again in port in Sasebo, Japan 22,23 March, Larson readied to leave WESTPAC for the return home.
Transit from Sasebo to Long Beach took from 24 March to 6 April. Larson arrived in Long Beach on her twenty-third birthday, 6 April 1968. From the 6th of April for the rest of the year, Larson spent most of her time in port or in the Southern California operations areas, providing services for other units and performing "in type" training.
From 19 May to 8 June found Larson in Long Beach Naval Shipyard for repairs to her hull. Larson participated in HOLDEX 4-68 from 23 June to 1 July. On the 24th of July, 1968, Larson tested the MK 46 towed target and became the first Pacific Fleet Unit to successfully fire tube launched and Dash launched torpedoes on the MK 46 towed target.
Commander Alexander W. Rilling, USN, succeeded Commander John G. Palmer USN, having been commanding officer since 18 July 1966, in a change of command ceremony at the U. S. Naval Station, Long Beach, on 20 September 1968.
Primary mission during the year was training for and conducting ASW operations as part of ASW Group One (ASWGRU ONE). Component Units included the USS Kearsarge (CVS-33), USS Walke (DD-723), USS Frank E. Evans (DD-754), USS James E. Kyes (DD-787), USS Everett F. Larson (DD-830), USS Schofield (DEG-3), and USS Bronstein (DE-1037).
March, 1969, the ship departed Long Beach in company with other units of DESDIV 231 which included the destroyers USS JAMES E. KYES with COMDESDIV 231 aboard, USS FRANK E. EVANS, and USS WALKE en-route WEST PAC via Hawaii. On this cruise we would lose one of our beloved "Little Beavers" USS Frank E. Evans (DD-754).
During her Far East deploymemts. she served on patrol duty off Taiwan (Formosa), exercised off Okinawa, Philippines and was one of the first ships to conduct shore bombardment operations against North Viet Nam, she also provide fire support missions off South Vietnam, and acted as escort and plane guard for the carriers of TF77.
The Everett F. Larson continued to operate with the 7th Fleet throughout the remainder of the sixties and into the early seventies. In 1972 she was awarded a Meritorious Unit Commendation by the then acting Sectary of the Navy, the Honorable Mr. John W Warner. She was decommissioned in August 1972 and transferred to the Korean Navy. The former USS Everett F. Larson (DD830) was renamed JonBuk Ham (DD-916) by the Korean Navy. She was decommissioned by the Korean Navy in December 1999 and has become a memorial hall, located at Jongdongjin Kangwondo, Korea.
* The Larson's first year based on memories of Ed Ruete, CDR, SC, USN Ret.
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