Sicily; Normandy; South of France; Okinawa—four operations that characterized the careers of many 1,630-ton Gleaves-class destroyers, none more in the thick of it than twice-damaged USS Shubrick, DD 639.

The fourth Shubrick was laid down on 17 February 1942 at Norfolk Navy Yard and launched a mere 60 days later, by 17 days the shortest time on the slipway of any US destroyer built during the 1930s and ’40s. She was sponsored by Mrs. Grosvenor Bemis, great-great-granddaughter of Rear Admiral Shubrick, and commissioned on 7 February 1943, Lt. Comdr Louis A. Bryan in command.

Visit the late George Morley’s Shubrick web site.

After shakedown, Shubrick sailed for North Africa with a large convoy to prepare for Operation “Husky,” the invasion of Sicily. Beginning 10 July, operated off Gela and Bizerte in shore bombardment and convoy escort duty. After escorting cruiser Savannah to Palermo, Shubrick was hit amidships by a 500-pound bomb on the night of 4 August, killing 9, wounding 20, flooding her machinery spaces and leaving her without power. After emergency repairs in Palermo Harbor, she was towed to Malta for drydocking, then returned on one screw to New York Navy Yard, arriving 9 October.

With repairs and reresher training in complete in January 1944, the “Shubrick Cannon Ball” made two round trips to Europe escorting convoys joining the Normandy bombardment group in Belfast. After escorting battleship, Nevada, and five cruisers to the Normandy beaches, Shubrick took her own fire support station and, at 0550 on 6 June, opened fire on her preassigned targets. She continued her fire as the troops landed, then checked her fire at 0630 to avoid hitting friendly forces. She remained off the Normandy beaches for over a month, performing escort duties, fire support missions, and anti-motor-torpedo-boat and antisubmarine patrols, with trips to England for replenishment.

On 27 June, she escorted six American PT-boats to Cherbourg. There, the patrol craft reconnoitered enemy defenses by drawing their fire. Shubrick herself came under fire before the mission was completed. She left Normandy for the last time on 11 July and, five days later, joined a task group bound for the Mediterranean.

On 12 August, Shubrick sailed from Malta with four escort carriers and five other destroyers to provide air cover for the landings in southern France on 15 August. Aside from float lights dropped on the evening after the landings, the force encountered no enemy opposition and was disbanded on 30 August. On 6 September, Shubrick sailed from Oran for overhaul in the United States.

After overhaul, Shubrick made a convoy trip to Taranto, Italy, and then conducted training along the east coast of the United States. On 1 February 1945, she passed through the Panama Canal to join the Pacific Fleet. After additional training, she departed from Pearl Harbor on 21 April escorting the battleship Mississippi to Okinawa. On 12 May, she and one other destroyer supported the landings at Tori-Shima Island and shot down two attacking aircraft. Shubrick completed one radar picket patrol in mid-May, but, on her way to her second, she was attacked at 0010, 29 May 1945, by two aircraft, one of which crashed into the ship. The bomb carried by the plane blew a 30-foot hole in the starboard side, and further damage was done when one of the ship's depth charges exploded. At first the situation looked grim. Van Valkenburgh (DD-656) came alongside at 0113 and removed classified material and all wounded and unnecessary personnel. However, the crew finally controlled the flooding, and Shubrick was towed to Kerama Retto by ATR-9. The ship lost 35 men killed and missing, and 25 wounded in the attack.

Shubrick underwent emergency repairs until 15 July, when she began the trip back to the United States, again on one engine, arriving at Puget Sound Navy Yard on 10 August. On 17 August, due to the end of the war, the Bureau of Ships decided not to repair the damage. The destroyer was decommissioned on 16 November 1945 and struck from the Navy list on 28 November. Later sold to the National Metals and Steel Co., Terminal Island, Calif., for scrapping, her hulk was removed on 28 September 1947.

Shubrick earned four service stars during World War II.

Source: Naval History & Heritage Command including Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.