UNITED STATES For Immediate Release to Press

PACIFIC FLEET and and Radio, Friday, 9 Nov. 1945


Press Release No. 871

     PEARL HARBOR, T.H.--November 9----Destroyer Squadron FIFTY THREE, one of the famed fighting destroyer squadrons which protected the fast carrier task forces, will arrive in Pearl Harbor today from Tokyo after almost two years service in the Pacific.

     Commanded by Captain William Gordon Beecher, USN, of Catonsville, Maryland and Arlington, Virginia, the nine ships in the squadron will pause at the destroyer base near Pearl City before heading for the Navy Yard at San Diego, California, where they will undergo Overhaul and be placed in the reserve fleet. The squadron’s flagship is the U.S.S. CUSHING DD797.

     Captain Beecher is well known to the islands as the writer of the 1938 song hit, “The Song of Old Hawaii”, as well as one hundred-fifteen other tunes. His family was living here at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack.

     Captain Beecher recently attracted nation-wide attention when it was revealed he was the author of the lyric “Me and Halsey and Nimitz”, a song about a sailor named Patty McCoy who had gone to sea with the fast carrier Task group, which Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, USN, recited at a dinner in the Admiral’s honor in New York.

     The eight other destroyers in Captain Beecher’s Squadron are the U.S.S. HALSEY POWELL, U.S.S. UHLMANN, U.S.S. BENHAM, U.S.S. COLAHAN, U.S.S. YARNALL, U.S.S. TWINING, U.S.S. STOCKHAM, U.S.S. WEDDERBURN.

     During the occupation of Japan, the squadron sailed into Sagami Wan ahead of the battleship U.S.S. IOWA, BB61 and served as picket and harbor control ships to protect Allied shipping in Tokyo Bay.

     With the powerful fast carrier task force the “tin cans” acted as Fleet pickets or “scouts” to flash back word of attack and battle kamikaze planes which swarmed out from the Japanese coast in attempts to smash the American warships. They formed a submarine and anti-aircraft screen about the carrier forces.

     These rugged 2100 tonners took part in almost every Pacific action of the last year and a half. In the closing days of the war the squadron participated in the air strikes on Honshu, Hokkaido, Shikoku and Kyushu. Last July they daringly skirted along the coast of Southern Honshu and pounded radio stations and airports ashore with their powerful five inch batteries.

     Typical of the ships in the squadron is the U.S.S. CUSHING, Captain Beecher’s flag-ship. She went into action for the first time in the occupation of the Southern Palau Islands and since that time has participated in over 18 Pacific actions, including the Battle of Leyte Gulf, Northern Luzon and Formosa Strait, the Mindoro and Luzon landings, the China coast anti-shipping sweep, Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

END - ed Uncle Beany