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WWII Ship's Battle Stars vs. Campaign Medal Stars

Started by dag , Feb 06 2011 06:15 AM

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#1 dag

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 06:15 AM

I have just received a copy of my father-in-law's [equivalent of] DD214. He passed away in 1994. He was a Navy officer in WWII. He served on two destroyers as Engineering Officer during the war. The first ship he was on was sunk at Guadalcanal 13 November 1942 (he was wounded in that battle and was awarded the Purple Heart), his second ship saw service in the Mediterranean.

I'm trying to understand two of his awards:
Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal (4 Stars);
European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal (3 Stars).

His ship in the Pacific was the USS Monssen (DD436). During it's action in the Pacific, I found that it was awarded 4 battle stars. His ship in the Atlantic/Mediterranean was the USS Ludlow (DD438), it was awarded 6 battle stars.

So my question is, if I can identify the details of the ships' battle stars, would those be the source of the stars for his medals? He served on the Monssen through most, if not all, of it's Pacific service, therefore wondering if the ship's battle stars would equal his medal stars (both were 4). And I realize that the Ludlow had 6 stars, his medal only 3, he only served on that ship after serving on the Monssen, maybe only seeing the later campaigns.

And as a followup question, especially if ship's battle stars equal medal stars, how could I find out the details of those ships' battle stars (this may be a questions for another forum section)?

Thanks,
David

#2 Kadet

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 06:27 AM

In the Navy, ships are treated almost like human beings...they have names, are always referred to in a feminine gender (i.e,, she got under way at 0800 this morning) and are also given battle honors in the way a person is. Large versions of the ribbons are typically displayed on the bridge in the same way they would be worn on a uniform. So, you are correct about the stars. Your relative would only PERSONALLY be eligible to wear the ones from his service time on the ship. The ship itself rates them all.

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  • ribbons2.jpg

Edited by Andy Hopkins, 06 February 2011 - 06:32 AM.


#3 Dave

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 06:31 AM

Yes, if he was on the ship and the ship was credited for "X" campaign star, he should be awarded it as well. The stars and awards that the ship earns are also earned by the crew during the time they are permanently attached to the ship (there are some exceptions, but none applicable here).

As far as the details of each campaign, your best bet is to look in some of the histories of the Pacific/Atlanic campaigns if you want to get an in-depth background of what the ship did. If there is a survivors or veterans association for the ship, they'd be a good place to start too. For a good, general history that would answer many of your questions, I'd recommend checking out the History of United States Naval Operations during World War II by Samuel Eliot Morison http://www.amazon.co...t...2455&sr=1-1

There are other books out there, but if you want a good naval-centric overview, that's a good place to start. (If you want to buy a set, sometimes Hamilton Booksellers has them for cheap: http://www.hamiltonb.../UserTemplate/7 )

ALSO, in some personnel records I have, the ship entered in the details of the campaign into the member's service record. The best one I've seen for this is the USS MAHAN, putting details of what the ship did for each campaign in the service record to give them credit for the campaign award.

Hope that helps!

Dave

#4 Jack's Son

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 08:59 AM

Your Father-in-law saw a lot of action at critical times.
You and your wife should be very proud! :salute:

#5 67Rally

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 10:51 AM

Dag,

Jim Hornfischer's latest work, Neptune's Inferno details the campaigns in and around the Guadalcanal waters and has loads of research that involves the Monssen and just hit the streets last week.

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Jim's other works are spectacular histories:

The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors: The Extraordinary World War II Story of the U.S. Navy's Finest Hour
Ship of Ghosts: The Story of the USS Houston, FDR's Legendary Lost Cruiser, and the Epic Saga of her Survivors

#6 Johnnymac

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 10:58 AM

I have just received a copy of my father-in-law's [equivalent of] DD214. He passed away in 1994. He was a Navy officer in WWII. He served on two destroyers as Engineering Officer during the war. The first ship he was on was sunk at Guadalcanal 13 November 1942 (he was wounded in that battle and was awarded the Purple Heart), his second ship saw service in the Mediterranean.

I'm trying to understand two of his awards:
Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal (4 Stars);
European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal (3 Stars).

His ship in the Pacific was the USS Monssen (DD436). During it's action in the Pacific, I found that it was awarded 4 battle stars. His ship in the Atlantic/Mediterranean was the USS Ludlow (DD438), it was awarded 6 battle stars.

So my question is, if I can identify the details of the ships' battle stars, would those be the source of the stars for his medals? He served on the Monssen through most, if not all, of it's Pacific service, therefore wondering if the ship's battle stars would equal his medal stars (both were 4). And I realize that the Ludlow had 6 stars, his medal only 3, he only served on that ship after serving on the Monssen, maybe only seeing the later campaigns.

And as a followup question, especially if ship's battle stars equal medal stars, how could I find out the details of those ships' battle stars (this may be a questions for another forum section)?

Thanks,
David


USS Monssen (DD436) CLASS - GLEAVES As Built.
Displacement 2395 Tons (Full), Dimensions, 348' 4"(oa) x 36' 1" x 13' 2" (Max)
Armament 4 x 5"/38AA, 6 x 0.5" MG, 10 x 21" tt.(2x5).
Machinery, 50,000 SHP; Westinghouse Geared Turbines, 2 screws
Speed, 35 Knots, Range 6500 NM@ 12 Knots, Crew 208.
Operational and Building Data
Laid down by Puget Sound Navy Yard July 12 1939.
Launched May 16 1940 and commissioned March 14 1941.
Fate Sunk by Japanese Warships off Guadalcanal November 13 1942



USS Ludlow (DD438) CLASS - GLEAVES As Built.
Displacement 2395 Tons (Full), Dimensions, 348' 4"(oa) x 36' 1" x 13' 2" (Max)
Armament 4 x 5"/38AA, 6 x 0.5" MG, 10 x 21" tt.(2x5).
Machinery, 50,000 SHP; Westinghouse Geared Turbines, 2 screws
Speed, 35 Knots, Range 6500 NM@ 12 Knots, Crew 208.
Operational and Building Data
Laid down by Bath Iron Works, Bath Me. December 18 1939.
Launched November 11 1940 and commissioned March 5 1941.
Decommissioned May 20 1946.
Stricken January 24 1951.
To Greece January 22 1951, renamed Doxa.
Fate Stricken and broken up for scrap in 1972.



#7 dag

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 09:28 PM

Thanks for all the replies, they were most helpful.

I have read numerous accounts on the USS Monssen, and a few on the USS Ludlow. I have also studied the "Operation and Engagement Stars, World War II" that was listed on another thread that had the link:
http://www.ibiblio.o...attleStars.html
This site is most interesting in that it contained a "List of Authorized Operations and Engagements", i.e. Battle Stars. However, in studying the service history on these two ships, it is difficult to nail down the exact "stars" that they earned.

Does anyone know of a source that lists battle star details by ship?

#8 Jack's Son

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 09:34 PM

Thanks for all the replies, they were most helpful.........
....Does anyone know of a source that lists battle star details by ship.

Try a Google search under each ships name, and then the ship's association.
They are readily available on the web.

#9 Tom Nier

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 11:04 AM

The 1948 edition of the US Navy Awards Manual lists the final, official WW2 battle star credits for all Navy & Marine Corps units. Monssen DD436 earned four stars for the 1st & 3rd Savo Island battles, plus Defense of Guadalcanal & Eastern Solomons (P8, P9, P11, & P15). This service ended on 11-15-1942, when Monssen was sunk.

Your relative would have necessarily missed Ludlow's (DD438) first credit of E1 (North Africa) which ended on 11-11-1942. But he could have served in Ludlow's next three credits of E2 (Sicily), E3 (Salerno), & E4 (Anzio), which occurred over July 1943 to February 1944. He may have then been transferred from Ludlow to other duty by May 1944 when Ludlow earned her last two credits of E001 (1 day action on 5-19-1944) & E7 (Southern France). This scenario would have given him the three battle stars on his EAME ribbon.

Or, your relative could have reached Ludlow later in January 1944, and earned her last three credits, E4, E001 & E7.

#10 dag

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 03:25 PM

The 1948 edition of the US Navy Awards Manual lists the final, official WW2 battle star credits for all Navy & Marine Corps units. Monssen DD436 earned four stars for the 1st & 3rd Savo Island battles, plus Defense of Guadalcanal & Eastern Solomons (P8, P9, P11, & P15). This service ended on 11-15-1942, when Monssen was sunk.

Your relative would have necessarily missed Ludlow's (DD438) first credit of E1 (North Africa) which ended on 11-11-1942. But he could have served in Ludlow's next three credits of E2 (Sicily), E3 (Salerno), & E4 (Anzio), which occurred over July 1943 to February 1944. He may have then been transferred from Ludlow to other duty by May 1944 when Ludlow earned her last two credits of E001 (1 day action on 5-19-1944) & E7 (Southern France). This scenario would have given him the three battle stars on his EAME ribbon.

Or, your relative could have reached Ludlow later in January 1944, and earned her last three credits, E4, E001 & E7.


THANKS so much for this info. I tried to determine the Battle Stars from numerous accounts I have found on both ships, still struggled on one or two for each. This definitely gives me what I needed. I am trying to find out from family to see if anyone knows approximately when he would have served on the the Ludlow - he has two surviving brothers. There may have been a long delay after the Monssen sunk due to the severity of the wounds he received at Guadalcanal, not sure when he put to sea with the Ludlow, or as you said, he may have left the Ludlow before she earned the final two battle stars. His DD214 does state he served at NTS NOB, Norfolk, Virginia (listed third after the Monssen & Ludlow).

Thanks again,
David


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