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BSC SI Shipyard Charles Evans Cron ron.evans@usa.xerox.com The DD Daly-519 and the DD Brownson-518 were 2 of the Fletcher class Destroyers built at BSC (sister ships). Below is the story of the Brownson. My Pop, a CPO was on the Daily that picked up the Browson survivors.
What's the chances of a S.I. boy being assigned to a SI built ship, that by the way his 3 brothers and his father worked on, and be in the same battle in New Guinea, and pick up the survivors of it's own sister ship that left the BSC yard the same week his ship did, but never saw each other again until that battle?. Pop always shook his head about that coincidence. The Daily was later hit by a Komakazi but was repaired in Australia and sent back out. I still have some of his memorabilia from that, his one and only, shore leave (RIP).
Ron


Loss of U.S.S. Brownson DD-518

In company with DD's HUTCHINS, DALY, and BEALE, the BROWNSON (Lieutenant Commander J. B. Maher) had escorted a troop and supply convoy from Cape Cretin, New Guinea, to the Cape Gloucester objective. This escort group was under Captain K. M. McManes, ComDesRon 24, pennant in HUTCHINS.

After reaching the landing area BROWNSON was ordered to conduct an independent patrol outside the reefs. For two hours, nothing to report. Then, at 1419, with the ship about eight miles north of Cape Gloucester, BROWNSON's radar picked up several enemy planes. They were members of a flock endeavoring to break through the Allied air screen for a strike at the invasion shipping. High in the clouds a fierce dogfight was going on-P-38's tangling with "Vals." Searching the sky with glasses, BROWNSON'S skipper saw two Jap planes hurtle down through the ceiling like smoking meteors. But nine or ten of the enemy eluded the Allied fighters and roared down to bomb the ships. Senior Destroyer Commander Captain Carter disposed the DD's to meet the attack, and they were maneuvering to do so when two "Val" dive-bombers swooped down on BROWNSON'S stern.

BROWNSON'S gunners lashed at the planes with 40 mm. and 20 mm. fire. One of the "Vals," scorched by tracer, went floundering off on a tangent. But the other ripped through the AA fusillade. Two bombs struck the BROWNSON near the base of her No. 2 stack. The destroyer staggered under a cloud of smoke and debris, then slumped in the sea mortally injured and afire.

BROWNSON was not the only ship blasted in this lightning attack. SHAW was badly maimed by the explosion of a 500-pound bomb which fell close aboard, and the shrapnel of near misses gave MUGFORD and LAMSON a clawing. The Jap air armada of some 80 planes paid dearly for the strike-at least half of the "bogies" were shot down by intercepting American fighters and AA gunnery-but BROWNSON was a heavy toll in exchange.

Lieutenant Commander Maher remarked BROWNSON's damage as devastating. "I rushed out of the pilot-house," he reported afterward, "and saw that the entire structure above the main deck, and the deck plating from the center of No. 1 torpedo "fount aft to the No. 3 five-inch mount, was gone." The ship's back was broken. As she buckled amidships, her bow and stern came up like the folding blades of a jackknife.



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