Atlantic Prelude
Most of you know that we started off as Atlantic sailors. Strong was built at Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine and commissioned in the Boston Navy Yard on 7 August 1942.

After a period of completing post-construction items, we reported for shakedown training on 1 September 1942. This training was accomplished off the New England coast—in an unusually short time.

By 6 October the shakedown was over and we were escorting Mataponi (AO 41) to Hampton Roads. We arrived on 9 October. The next day we were teamed up with La Vallette to escort Antaeus and Ariel to San Juan, Puerto Rico. We arrived on 13 October and departed the next day for Charlotte Amalie, Saint Thomas. Two days later, we were back in San Juan to drop off Ariel and pick up Antaeus bound for Port of Spain, Trinidad. On 20 October, we left Port of Spain teamed with La Vallette to escort Antaeus and State of Maryland to San Juan. On 24 October, Strong, La Vallette and Saufley were underway from Hampton Roads with Chicopee, Polaris and Terror bound for New York. After arrival, we took care of some material deficiencies and had training until 13 November. We then started out on a big one!

Strong, Taylor, La Vallette, Benson, Davison and Chevalier set base course 094 degrees true, then 064 screening ahead of a 44-ship convoy in columns! The convoy made 9 knots. The wind blew and we rolled and pitched. The wind blew strong, steady and cold from the southwest. We pitched and rolled some more. We began to watch the inclinometer to check the degree of roll. We sometimes exceed 45 degrees; some said that once or twice we approached 50 degrees. Giant swells looked like mountains as they rolled toward the ship, but we always seemed to pop up and ride over them. The wind whipped up a layer of scud (a layer of dense white clouds several feet thick), which raced along a few feet above the dark gray pitching sea. This was the North Atlantic in winter. Most of the people on board were uncomfortable.

It appeared that this might be a convoy to Iceland—or England. We were scheduled for a big surprise. In mid-Atlantic, the convoy turned south. The ocean became inky blue. The we had a second surprise. The convoy turned northeast and headed for the northwestern tip of Africa. This was convoy UGS-2—the logistics backup for the landing at Casablanca!

On 30 November, while still at sea off the coast of Africa near Casablanca, we turned the convoy over to the British Navy and, along with Taylor, Niblack, Gleaves, Mayo, Plunkett, Benson, La Vallette and Chevalier, started screening (battleship) USS Arkansas, 20 merchant ships and 10 APs homeward bound for New York. We arrived on 11 December and entered the Navy Yard for repairs.


How many of you remember that the trip to the Pacific actually started when we got underway from the 33rd street pier in Brooklyn, New York at 1500 on Christmas Day 1942? We headed south along the coast. Along with destroyers Rodman and Emmons, we were screening Monticello.

By the time we left Hampton Roads, Virginia on 27 December, our force had grown larger. There were seven destroyers in the screen. In addition to Strong, we had Rodman, Emmons, Ellyson, Macomb, Murphy and Cony. We were all screening Carrol, Arcturus, Dickman, Monticello, Biddle, Thomas Jefferson, Oberon and Hermitage. Some people speculated that we might be going back to ports in the Caribbean . . . and do you remember that Carrol hit a mine at the entrance to the Panama Canal?