Nicholson III

(DD 442: dp. 1,630; l. 348'; b. 35'4", d. 10'2", s. 37 k.;cpl. 276; a. 4 5", 1 dcp., 2 dct., 1 Y gun, 10 21" tt., cl. Gleaves)

The third Nicholson III (DD-442) was laid down 1 November 1939 by Boston Naval Shipyard; launched 31 May 1940; sponsored by Mrs. S. A. Bathriek, a great-grandaughter of Samuel Nicholson; and commissioned 3 June 1941, Comdr. J. S. Keating in command.

After a shakedown cruise in the eastern Atlantic, Nicholson escorted convoys through the U-boat-infested, storm-tossed Northern Atlantic first from Boston to Iceland and then to Scotland and England until fall 1942. In a brief training period off the Virginia coast, she prepared for the Casablanca invasion, but a turbine casualty prevented her participation in the initial landings. She arrived four days later, 12 November, to assist in the consolidation of the beachhead and to patrol. She took part in the Bizerte campaign and the initial assaults on Salerno, coming under heavy air attack from the Luftwaffe at both Bizerte and Salerno.

After five months in the Mediterranean, Nicholson returned to the United States for overhaul in preparation for Pacific deployment, for which she sailed from New York early in January 1944. When she reached New Guinea in February, she was assigned to escort LSTs in the Cape Gloucester campaign, already under way.

Throughout the long New Guinea campaign, a matter of successive assaults on coastal points and nearby islands, Nicholson gave gunfire support to troops ashore. She had similar duty in the Admiralties; when, during the conquest of Seeadler Harbor, she was assigned to draw fire from an enemy battery on Hanwei. Here she was hit by a 4" shell which struck in No. 2 ammunition handling room, killing 3 and wounding 4. She wiped out the enemy position.

In August 1944 Nicholson joined the 3d Fleet in the Marshalls. She screened fast carriers in raids on the Bonins, Formosa, and the Philippines, supporting the invasion of the Palaus and the neutralization of Yap. Returning to the Philippines, her group assisted the 7th Fleet during the invasion of Leyte and the decisive Battle for Leyte Gulf, from which Nicholson sailed for a Seattle overhaul.

Returning to the western Pacific in February 1945, Nicholson escorted ships passing between Guam and Ulithi, and arrived off Okinawa for its invasion late in March. Serving in the exposed radar picket line, Nicholson came through untouched by kamikazes, but rescued survivors from stricken destroyers Little and Morrison.

Rejoining the 3d Fleet for the final air operations against the Japanese home islands, Nicholson was off Honshu at the war's end. She entered Sagami Wan 29 August and Tokyo Bay 15 September. Returning to San Diego 6 November, she sailed for Panama and Charleston, S.C., arriving 23 November to join the Atlantic Reserve Fleet. She decommissioned 26 February 1946, was assigned as a Naval Reserve Training ship in the 3d Naval District 30 November 1948 and recommissioned 17 July 1950. She decommissioned once more and transferred to the Italian Navy 15 January 1951. Through 1969 she serves Italy as Aviere.

Nicholson received 10 battle stars for World War II service.