On the morning of 5 July 1943, American forces landed at Rice Anchorage. USS Strong (DD-467) and TF 18 were to support the landings by shelling Vila-Stanmore, Enogai, and Bairoko. Strong and Nicholas entered BairokoHarbor to search ahead of the main force and shelled the harbor from to . Nine minutes later, Strong's gunnery officer sighted a torpedo wake. Before he had time to notify the bridge, the torpedo hit her port side aft. Chevalier intentionally rammed Strong's bow to enable her to throw nets and lines to the stricken ship, and removed 241 men in about seven minutes. Japanese gunners on Enogai beach spotted the ships, illuminated them with star shells, and then opened fire with high explosives. O'Bannon began counter-battery fire in an effort to silence the enemy guns which were soon hitting Strong. Chevalier had to cease rescue operations lest she also get hit. Strong began to settle rapidly with a list to starboard. She broke in half just before sinking. Several of her depth charges exploded, causing further injuries and loss of life. Forty-six men perished with the ship.
LCDR Purdy was among the men listed as missing in action and later declared dead.
Awarded for Actions During World War II
Rank: Lieutenant Commander
Division: U.S.S. Strong (DD-467)
Citation: The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to Lieutenant Commander Frederick Warren Purdy (NSN: 0-72289), United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity as Executive Officer of the U.S.S. STRONG (DD-467), when that vessel was torpedoed and sunk by enemy Japanese forces in Kula Gulf, Solomon Islands, 5 July 1943. Working desperately and with no thought of his own safety during the seven minutes in which the rescue vessel was alongside, Lieutenant Commander Purdy aided all the enlisted men on the forecastle of the stricken ship over the side by way of hand lines. Continuing his courageous efforts in behalf of others aboard, he was last seen searching for an injured member of the crew reported to be on the deck behind the gun mount. Lieutenant Commander Purdy's heroic spirit of self-sacrifice and his inspiring conduct throughout a hazardous and critical period were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
Note about duty stations: The duty stations and the dates served may differ on this profile from biographies posted on the internet. Those appearing here were compiled from the available official Navy registers.