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Fletcher Class Destroyer
Displacement: 2050 Tons
Length: 376'6" Beam: 39'4" Draft: 17'9"
Speed: 35 Knots
Armament: 5 5"/38 Guns, 10x4 21" torpedo tubes
Complement: 329 High-pressure super-heated boilers, geared turbines with twin screws, 60,000 h.p.
Framed Armament: 2 5"/38 and 2 3"/50 Guns, Weapon Alpha, 2 Hedge Hog Mounts, Mk 51 and Mk 38 Torpedoes

The USS Eaton DD - 510

The USS Eaton was a converted Fletcher Class Destroyer commissioned December 4, 1942. She was named for General William Eaton, who came to prominence at the turn of the century as "The Hero of Derne" in the war with the Tripolitan Pirates. Until June 1994, she operated with carrier forces based at Efate, New Hebrides Islands.

In August 1943, the Eaton shot down two Japanese planes and was credited with assisting with three others. She spent the next year off Bougainville Beachhead, and Saipan where she provided gunfire support for the Marines and Navy units in their amphibious landings.

The Eaton returned to the United States in August 1944 for overhaul. In December 1944 she returned to the Langayen Gulf, where she saw action against Japanese suicide bombers. At the conclusion of the war, she had earned ten stars for her Asiatic Pacific Ribbon, and accounting for 6 more enemy planes, a Japanese submarine, and a Japanese I-boat. The Eaton then joined the Yangize River patrol where she disarmed the Japanese ships. In January 1947 she was place out of commission.

In 1951 the Eaton was recommissioned and for the next six years participated in various operations with Destroyer Squadron 22.

Oddly, one of the Eatons claims to fame came on May 6, 1956 when the Battleship Wisconsin collided with her in heavy fog 50 miles off Cape Henry. The Wisconsin suffered a 30 square foot hole in the bow, but the Eaton almost lost her entire bow. She was towed to Norfolk flooded to her forward engine room.

The Eaton’s three trips to the Mediterranean included the Red Sea Patrol during the Sues Crises of 1957. When the canal was opened the Eaton was the first warship to make the northbound passage.

As a member of the elite Anti Submarine Warfare, Task Group Alpha, she participated in the quarantine of Cuba in October 1962.

In November 1966 the Eaton represented the United States at the Independence Celebration of Barbados where she fired a twenty one gun salute to honor the new nation.

On June 20, 1967 the Eaton embarked on her last wartime tour, Vietnam. During this tour of duty she fired 4,420 rounds of ammunition, destroyed 12 structures and damaged 9. Her primary duties were to provide screening for the Aircraft Carriers, river patrol, and gunfire support.

After the Eaton returned from Viet Nam, I was stationed on the USS Lawrence DDG-4. The Eaton then became a reserve ship. I lost contact with her and my enlistment ended in September 1969. Last year I was told that the Eaton was decommissioned and sunk off the coast of Jacksonville Florida. I have tried to find the exact location, but my efforts so far have failed.

When I heard of her sinking a feeling of remorse set over me. I felt as if I had lost a close friend. However, I guess that a final resting place, off the country she served, is a fitting end for such a gallant lady.

By Leon Freeman (STG2 Aboard the Eaton 1966 - 1968)