Design and launch
Brownson was designed by Gibbs and Cox, Naval Architects, New York office. It's keel was laid down by the Bethlehem Steel Corporation at Staten Island in New York on 13 February 1945; launched on 7 July 1945, sponsored by Ensign Caroline Brownson Hart, USNR, granddaughter of Admiral Brownson; and commissioned on 17 November 1945, Commander William R. Cox in command.
Brownson conducted shakedown in the Atlantic and Caribbean and was then placed in a reduced operational status at Bath, Maine for six months. Resuming active operations in October 1946, she participated in Operation Highjump between November 1946 and April 1947. On 10 February 1947, a boat party attempted to make a landing in the Antarctic on Charcot Island but was unsuccessful because of heavy field ice within three miles of the coastline. Brownson spent the summer and fall of 1947 operating out of Newport, R.I.. In February 1948 she took part in the 2nd Fleet exercises in the Caribbean and then Joined the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean. She returned to Newport in June 1948 and spent June 1948 to May 1949 conducting reserve cruises.
In May 1949 she entered Boston Naval Shipyard for an extensive modernization which lasted until March 1950. She conducted refresher training in the Caribbean and in the summer of 1950 made a Midshipman cruise in the Caribbean. She then participated in fleet exercises, operating out of Newport.
During night operations on Bermuda on 8 November 1950 Brownson collided with Charles H. Roan (DD-853). She returned to Boston for repairs and further modernization. Leaving the yard in February 1951 she joined the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean. The period between October 1951 and August 1952 was spent in the vicinity of Newport. In August 1952 she went to the North Atlantic with the 2nd Fleet for NATO's Operation Mainbrace. In October 1952 she rejoined the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean. Returning to Newport in February 1953, she operated along the Atlantic seaboard and in the Caribbean until August 1954, with the exception of one Midshipmen cruise and participation in Operation Springboard.
She departed Newport 2 August for an extended tour in the Far East with the 7th Fleet. In the Far East Brownson cruised in Japanese, Philippine, and Korean waters until January 1955. Departing the Far East she returned to the east coast, via the Suez Canal, arriving at Newport 14 March 1955.
Brownson received the FRAM I modifications in 1959-60. This included removal of gun mount 53, where a DASH (Drone, Antisubmarine Helicopter) deck/hangar was placed. It was also lengthened about 20 feet, and received ASROC, among other things. It returned from service in Viet Nam via the Suez Canal in 1967. It was later modified in the Boston NSY in 1967 with a large, low frequency, rubberized, prototype SONAR dome just forward of midships and a smaller SONAR receiver, aft but also along the keel, to achieve '3D' SONAR 'pictures'. It spent several months operating out of Newport with the DESDEV (Destroyer Development Group) evaluating the SONAR system. This required that it get underweigh during heavy storms to evaluate the new dome under conditions of high sea states. It underwent REFTRA (Refresher Training) in Gitmo in winter 1968-69, joined the Sixth Fleet north of Egypt that spring, and participated in NATO fleet exercises.
Brownson was decommissioned and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 30 September 1976 and sold for scrap on 10 June 1977.
- This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
- navsource.org: USS Brownson
- hazegray.org: USS Brownson
- USS Brownson Association
- Brownson South-Pole Expedition
- Brownson History
- Crew asbestos exposure
- Jeff Prowse model of the Brownson
- Brownson patch
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