USS Hopkins (DD-249)

USS Hopkins (DD-249/DMS-13) was a Clemson-class destroyer in the United States Navy during World War II. She was the third ship named USS Hopkins and the third named for Esek Hopkins.

Hopkins was launched 26 June 1920 by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation; sponsored by Miss Sarah Babbitt, a descendant of Esek Hopkins; and commissioned 21 March 1921 at Philadelphia, Lieutenant Commander C. A. Bailey commanding.

After shakedown Hopkins arrived at Newport, Rhode Island, 31 May for battle practice training during the summer. In November, she was assigned to Destroyer Squadron 15 for tactical training with the Atlantic Fleet along the East Coast.

Hopkins sailed from Hampton Roads 2 October 1922, and reached Constantinople 22 October for duty in Turkish waters. She protected American interests and cooperated with the relief mission in the Near East, ranging to Beirut, Jaffa, and Smyrna. She departed Constantinople 18 May 1923 for New York, arriving 12 June. For the next seven years, Hopkins operated out of New England ports in the summer, Charleston, South Carolina, in the winter, and the Caribbean Sea in the spring. During the spring of 1930, Hopkins participated in force battle practice with aircraft.

On 3 February 1932, Hopkins was one of the two naval ships rendering medical aid to earthquake victims at Santiago, Cuba. She departed 5 February to join the Pacific Fleet at San Diego, California. She had escort duty for President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s cruise to Canada in July 1936, then resumed training along the Western Seaboard.

Hopkins returned to Norfolk, Virginia in April 1939, and performed Neutrality Patrol from September 1939 until sailing for San Diego 37 May, and from there to Pearl Harbor. She converted to a high-speed minesweeper (DMS-13) in the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard.

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Hopkins was at Johnston Island for war maneuvers, but immediately headed back to Hawaii. She continued patrol of the Hawaiian Sea Frontier, with a short break for overhaul in the States, until late summer 1942, when she joined the invasion fleet bound for Guadalcanal. As America’s first offensive of the Pacific war began 7 August, Hopkins swept the transport area and covered the landings on Tulagi. During a heavy enemy air attack 9 August, she shot down two enemy planes, and in the following months, Hopkins escorted transports, swept mines, and carried badly needed supplies to Guadalcanal.

On 7 June 1945, Hopkins steamed for overhaul at Leyte, Philippine Islands where she remained until cessation of hostilities. Hopkins then rendezvoused with units of the 3rd Fleet headed for Tokyo Bay. After two days of sweeping the entrances to Tokyo Bay, Hopkins anchored in sight of Mount Fuji 30 August 1945. Hopkins rode out two typhoons with winds raging to 125 knots before her departure from Tokyo Bay 10 October 1945 for the Eastern Seaboard of the United States.

Hopkins arrived in Norfolk 28 November and decommissioned there 21 December 1945. She was sold for scrapping 8 November 1946 to Heglo Sales Corporation, Hillsdale, New Jersey.

Hopkins was awarded two Navy Unit Commendations for heroism off Guadalcanal and in Lingayen Gulf. She also received 10 battle stars for her service in World War II. Hopkins is the most decorated member of the Clemson-class destroyers.

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About Ol' Big Jim

Ol' Big Jim, has been a storekeeper, an embalmer, a hospital orderly, a medical biller, and through it all, a teller of tall tales. Many of his stories, like his first book, New Yesterdays, are set in his hometown of Piedmont, Alabama. For seven years, he lived in the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, Amman, Jordan where he spends his time trying to visit each one of the thousands of Ammani coffee shops and scribbling in his ever-present notebook. These days, you can find him back stateside, still filling notebooks.
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1 Response to USS Hopkins (DD-249)

  1. well told, Jim

    Liked by 1 person

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