Newcomb, Robert Maston, LCDR

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Last Rank
Lieutenant Commander
Last Primary NEC
111X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Surface Warfare
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1944-1945, USS Underhill (DE-682)
Service Years
- 1945
Official/Unofficial US Navy Certificates
Plank Owner
Lieutenant Commander
Lieutenant Commander

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Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Steven Loomis (SaigonShipyard), IC3 to remember Newcomb, Robert Maston, LCDR.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Guilford, CT
Last Address
Lost at sea. A permanent memorial stone to those USS Underhill crewmen who died was erected in the Arlington National Cemetery on July 24, 1997.

Casualty Date
Jul 24, 1945
Hostile-Body Not Recovered
Lost At Sea-Unrecovered
Pacific Ocean
World War II
Location of Interment
Buried at Sea - N/A, Pacific Ocean
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

Gold Star

 Military Association Memberships
World War II Fallen
  1945, World War II Fallen [Verified]

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 Duty Stations
US Navy
  1944-1945, USS Underhill (DE-682)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1943-1945 World War II
  1944-1944 World War II/European-African-Middle Eastern Theater
  1945-1945 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Southern Philippines Campaign (1945)
 Other News, Events and Photographs
  24 July 1945: Philippine Sea, Luzon
  Jul 24, 1945, The USS Underhill - A DE Loses a Battle to Jap Midget Subs
  Jul 24, 2014, General Photos1
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Lt.Cdr. Robert Maston Newcomb, O-200039, USNR WWII
The sinking of USS Underhill DE-682. Lost in Action July 24, 1945.

A total of 112 crew member of the Underhill perished in the blast, while 122 survived. Ten of the fourteen officers were lost, including the captain, Lt. Commander Robert M. Newcomb. Every man was awarded the Purple Heart and Captain Newcomb also received the Silver Star. Lt. Comdr. Robert M. Newcomb, had been with the ship since her commissioning.

USS UNDERHILL (July 24, 1945)  American Buckley-class escort destroyer of the Pacific 7th Fleet, escorting a convoy of six Landing Ships (Tank) and one Troopship, the USS Adria. The convoy was carrying the remnants of the 96th Infantry Division on their way from Buckner Bay, Okinawa, to Leyte Gulf in the Philippines for Rest and Recreation. When 150 miles north-east of Luzon, the convoy was attacked by a Japanese two man kaiten suicide submarine launched from the mother ship I-53 (which carried six kaitens) under the command of Commander Saichi Oba. The kaiten, armed with 3,300 pounds of high explosives, was rammed by the Underhill, the kaiten exploding when just forward of the engine room on the starboard side of the destroyer. The forward boilers exploded, resulting in the ship splitting in two, the forward section sinking soon after. The rear section remained afloat to be sunk later by gunfire from the rescuing destroyers. Altogether, 112 men lost their lives, 10 officers and 102 enlisted men in the last destroyer to be lost to enemy action in World War II. There were 122 survivors all of whom were awarded the 'Purple Heart'. Her commander, Lt. Cmdr. Robert Newcomb was posthumously awarded the 'Silver Star'. A permanent memorial stone to those crewmen who died was erected in the Arlington National Cemetery on July 24, 1997.

US Navy Unit Commendation, March 2001
After 55 Years, USS Underhill Awarded Navy Unit Commendation

More than 55 years after the fact, the Secretary of the Navy has presented the NAVY UNIT COMMENDATION to USS Underhill (DE 682), honoring the crew's action during World War II. The last small fighting ship lost to enemy action in World War II, the Underhill was the lead ship in a convoy carrying battle weary soldiers from Okinawa to the Philippines for a much needed rest and reinforcements. 

"Stand by to ram," the order from the captain on that July 24, 1945, afternoon, are words never to be forgotten by the surviving crew members of the destroyer escort who had identified kaitens, Japanese midget submarines in the waters. When the Underhill proceeded to ram the kaitens to protect the convoy, two violent explosions severed the ship, and 112 of the 236-man crew went down with the bow of the ship. The stern remained afloat until survivors could be rescued. 

Following rescue of survivors, the convoy continued to the Philippines without incident. With the assistance of Senator Kit Bond and his staff and the persistence of Cheryl Jones, daughter of the late Stanley Dace, chief boatswain's mate of the Underhill, the commendation is now reality. 

". . . It is highly appropriate that this citation of merit be presented to the crew which manned the guns and protected the convoy enroute to the Philippines," wrote Senator Bond. "This is a fitting tribute to the men of the USS Underhill (DE 682). It is never too late to recognize their bravery. I salute their service to the Navy and the nation. We can never repay our debt to the shipmates of the Underhill who did not return. . ." 

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