Lansdowne disembarks the Japanese surrender party for transfer to USS Missouri at Tokyo Bay, 2 September 1945.

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USS Lansdowne (DD 486) USS Lansdowne (DD 486) USS Lansdowne (DD 486) USS Lansdowne (DD 486) USS Lansdowne (DD 486) USS Lansdowne (DD 486) USS Lansdowne (DD 486) USS Lansdowne (DD 486)
The ship that transported the Japanese party to the surrender ceremony that ended World War II (above) was a destroyer that earned battle stars in both the American (Atlantic) and Asiatic-Pacific areas—USS Lansdowne, DD 486.

Named for the commanding officer of the first US rigid airship, Shenandoah, who lost his life when she crashed in a storm in 1925, Lansdowne was laid down with Duncan at Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Kearny, New Jersey on 31 July 1941; the two were also launched the same day, 20 February 1942. Lansdowne commissioned 28 April 1942, the 41st ship of the combined Benson-Gleaves class.

Like other ships of Destroyer Squadron 12 from Federal commissioned that spring, Lansdowne completed shakedown along the Atlantic seaboard. Unlike others, she earned three battle stars for anti-submarine action before transiting to the Pacific, and was credited with sinking U-153 off Panama, 13 July.

On 6 September, Lansdowne joined Wasp’s Task Force 18 with Laffey, Duncan, and cruisers Salt Lake City and Helena. Nine days later, when Wasp was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine (in a spread that also hit O’Brien, escorting Hornet nearby), Lansdowne took aboard aboard 460 of her 1,946 survivors, then scuttled her with torpedoes.

Lansdowne’s record in the Guadalcanal campaign was representative of her squadron—although she missed the Battle of Cape Esperance with flagship Farenholt, Laffey, Duncan, Buchanan and McCalla in October—until she grounded in the Russell Islands 26 February, damaging both screws. Repaired in April at San Francisco, she operated in the Aleutian Islands beginning in May, then rejoined the squadron at Espiritu Santo in July.

Three by Ens. Dan Teis

Three by Teis Three by Teis Three by Teis

Action for the remainder of 1943 reflected the progress of operations in the Solomon Islands—anti-shipping, bombardment and escort duty to Vella Lavella in September, to Bougainville beginning in November and to Green Island and the approaches to Rabaul in early 1944.

In February, the squadron—now Farenholt, Buchanan, Woodworth, Lansdowne and Lardner—carried out raids on Rabaul 18 February and Kavieng a week later, when Lansdowne sank a 6,800-ton Japanese cargo ship.

Lansdowne at Tokyo Bay, 2 September 1945.

USS Lansdowne (DD 486) USS Lansdowne (DD 486) USS Lansdowne (DD 486) USS Lansdowne (DD 486)

After operating northwest of the Admiralties, Lansdowne and Lardner operated with DesRon 2, escorting Seventh Fleet escort carriers during landings on New Guinea’s north coast and air attacks on Palau, Yap and Ulithi. After a refit at Pearl Harbor in May, Lansdowne spent June operating with Fifth Fleet in the Marianas, then returned to Bremerton for another overhaul.

From October to the following May, she was assigned to escort and patrol duty in the Carolines. Transferred to Okinawa, where she was narrowly missed by a suicide plane on one occasion, she joined Third Fleet carriers operating off Japan in the final days of the war.

On 27 August, with Buchanan and Lardner, Lansdowne escorted South Dakota into Sagami Wan and into Tokyo Bay two days later.

On 2 September, Lansdowne transported the Japanese delegation to the surrender ceremony; then operated with units of the Allied Prisoner of War Rescue Group until 15 October, when she sailed for the East Coast via Singapore, Colombo and Capetown. She arrived at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in December 1945.

Lansdowne decommissioned at Charleston 2 May 1946; then was recommissioned and transferred to Turkey, 10 June 1949. She served as Gaziantep (D-344) until 1973.

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Lansdowne earned 12 service stars during World War II: three for operations in the Atlantic theater and nine for operations in the Pacific. She was also named in wording for a Navy Unit Commendation for Task Force 38.

Sources: Shipmates, Naval History & Heritage Command Photographic Section, Morison and DANFS.