USS Hale (DD-642)
USS Hale (DD-642), a Fletcher-class destroyer, was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for Maine Senator Eugene Hale (1836?1918).
Hale was launched 4 April 1943 by Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine; sponsored by Mrs. G. H. Chase, granddaughter of Senator Hale; and commissioned at Boston 15 June 1943, Commander Karl F. Poehlmann in command.
Hale conducted shakedown training in the Caribbean and training exercises on the East Coast before departing Halifax for the Pacific combat zone 21 September. She arrived Pearl Harbor via the Panama Canal 9 October 1943.
Hale departed 8 November 1943 for the invasion of the Gilbert Islands, the first step in America's amphibious sweep across Micronesia. She screened aircraft carriers in strikes on Tarawa 18?20 November, took part in the bombardment of Betio Island 19 November, and supported the landings by Marines next day. During the air attacks that followed, Hale's gunners accounted for several aircraft. After covering the retirement of damaged carrier Independence (CVL-22) for 2 days she rejoined the carrier striking force for attacks against the Marshall Islands, next target of the Pacific amphibious forces.
Hale to Pearl Harbor 8 December to train the next assault and sailed 21 December for the Ellice Islands. She departed 21 January 1944 for the invasion of the Marshalls, pounding Maloelap and Wotje atolls 29 January to 22 February, before and after the landings.Executive officer LT CDR D.W. Wilson assumed command 2 March. Underway from Kwajalein 11 March, she sailed to Guadalcanal to perform anti-submarine patrol during the loading operations, and departed 27 March escorting reinforcements to Cape Torokina, Bougainville.
After acting as antisubmarine screen and screening ship for escort carriers supporting the Hollandia landings in New Guinea, Hale returned to Seeadler Harbor 4?7 May. She then steamed to the Solomons for the final rehearsals for the Marianas campaign. The ship then took part in pre-invasion strikes on Guam, returned briefly to Eniwetok 14 July, to support the Guam landings 21 July.
Hale returned to Eniwetok 4 August 1944, and departed 6 days later for assault and support operations in Hawaiian waters preparatory to the Leyte landings. She got underway with troop transports bound for Manus on 15 September, and departed 14 October with the Southern Attack Force bound for the Philippines. On 18 October her group was joined by Nashville (CL-43), with General Douglas MacArthur embarked. Hale entered Leyte Gulf early 20 October and helped troop units take Dulag airfield by providing accurate fire support. She then joined Rear Admiral Clifton A. F. Sprague's escort carriers 25 October after their valiant fight in the battle off Samar. The destroyer next joined escort screening units for troop reinforcements at Morotai and landed them at Tacloban, Leyte, 14 November. After another such voyage from Hollandia to Leyte in November, aiding the buildup in the Philippines, Hale sailed 24 November via New Guinea, the Marshalls, and Pearl Harbor arriving San Francisco 22 December 1944.
Hale returned to the Pacific war in early 1945, arriving Pearl Harbor 25 February. Sailing to Ulithi, she departed 14 March with Rear Admiral Forrest Sherman's Essex (CV-9) carrier task force to attack enemy air installations prior to the landings on Okinawa. The group suffered casualties, including Franklin (CV-13) and Wasp (CV-18) from air attack 19?21 March as Hale's gunners shot down several of the attackers. Departing the seas off Japan proper, the carrier force screened by Hale and other destroyers turned to Okinawa, flying close support and bombardment missions before, during, and after the initial assault 1 April. During the harrowing period off Okinawa Hale rescued two fighter pilots, drove off innumerable kamikaze attacks and survived a near miss during a bombing attack. The veteran destroyer departed Okinawa 11 April and after stops at Ulithi and Guam arrived Leyte Gulf in the screen of South Dakota (BB-57) 1 June 1945. She then escorted Washington (BB-56) to Guam and met tug Munsee (AT-107), towing the bow section of cruiser Pittsburgh (CA-72), torn off in the great typhoon off Okinawa, and brought her to Apra Harbor. The ship then sailed to join the 3d Fleet at Leyte Gulf 21 June.
Hale departed as a unit of Admiral Marc Mitscher's famed Task Force 38, 1 July 1945, bound for crippling strike against Japan itself. Hale took part in shore bombardment of factories at Hamamatsu 29 July.
As the war against Japan ended 15 August, Hale tool up duties as air-sea rescue ship offshore during the landing of occupation forces. She entered Tokyo Bay 16 September 1945, and departed 1 October for the United States carrying 100 veterans. She arrived Seattle 19 October 1945 and was placed in commission in reserve at San Diego until decommissioning 15 January 1947.
Hale received six battle stars for World War II service.