Rhode Island Tercentenary Issue First Day Cover
300th Anniversary of the Settlement of Rhode Island
Issued on May 4, 1936 in Providence, RI - Scott #777

Unofficial Cancel - USS Hamilton (DD-141) - Newport, RI
1st Rhode Island Tercentenary Commission Cachet - Planty 777-18a
(Scroll Down for a Complete History of the USS Hamilton)

The USS Hamilton (DD-141) was in her homeport of Newport, Rhode Island on May 4, 1936; thus, this is a legitimate Unofficial City Cancel.

The keel of the USS Hamilton (DD-141) was laid down on June 8, 1918 at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, California. The ship was sponsored by Miss Dolly Hamilton Hawkins and launched on January 15, 1919. Hamilton was commissioned on November 7, 1919 with Lieutenant Commander R. G. Gorman in command.

The ship was initially based in San Diego, where she participated in battle practice and maneuvers along the California coast with Destroyer Squadron 17. In the summer of 1920 she also took part in torpedo and smoke screen operations off the Hawaiian Islands. Battle practice and other readiness operations ranging across the Pacific to Hawaii continued until the ship was decommissioned at San Diego on July 20, 1922.

USS Hamilton was recommissioned on January 20, 1930 and after a shakedown cruise reached her new home port of Norfolk, Virginia on November 26. She served with the Scouting Force operating along the East Coast throughout 1931, and then returned to San Diego in January 1932. After a year of plane guard duty and battle exercises along the California coast, Hamilton again shifted to the East Coast, reaching Norfolk on January 29, 1933. Based at Newport, Rhode Island; Hamilton served with the Scouting Force in local operations and exercises until 1939. When war broke out in Europe in the fall of that year; Hamilton joined other four-stackers on the Grand Banks Patrol, which sent American ships as far North as Iceland and Greenland to protect our own and neutral shipping. Hamilton continued this duty until converted to a fast minesweeper in June 1941. Reclassified DMS-18 on October 17, 1941, she resumed patrol duty along the East Coast and into the North Atlantic.

When America entered the war after December7, 1941; Hamilton's pace accelerated greatly. Wartime duties now took the old Four-Stacker on coastal convoys from New York through U-boat infested waters as far south as the Canal Zone.

The Caribbean and the waters off Cape Hatteras were particularly rich ground for Nazi submarines and Hamilton, more than once sighted and attacked U-boats on the surface or detected by sound contacts. On June 9, 1942, Hamilton rescued 39 survivors of the USS Gannet (AVP-8), torpedoed just north of Bermuda.

In the Fall of 1942, Hamilton took part in Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of North Africa. Hamilton sailed for North Africa on October 24th with Rear Admiral H. K. Hewitt's Task Force 34. Two weeks later, she was cruising off the Moroccan coast providing antisubmarine protection and fire support for the first waves of invasion barges as the Allies stormed ashore at Casablanca, Oran, and Algiers on November 8, 1942.

Hamilton remained along the North African shore on minesweeping and escort duty out of Casablanca until December when she sailed for the Brooklyn Navy Yard, arriving on December 26. During most of 1943, Hamilton was primarily engaged in costal convoy duty.

On December 3, 1943; Hamilton departed Norfolk, Virginia and transited the Panama Canal on her way to the Pacific Theatre. She reached San Diego on December 16 and shortly thereafter, departed for Pearl Harbor and a brief training period. Hamilton then sailed for Kwajalein Island in the Marshall Islands in support of the Marine Invasion Force.

After the successful conclusion of that invasion, Hamilton returned to Noumea, New Caledonia, to prepare for the invasion of the Admiralty Islands. At Noumea, Hamilton joined forces with three other Four Stackers converted to fast minesweepers; Hovey, Long, and Palmer to form an important preliminary sweep unit. The mission of the four ships was to enter enemy harbors three to five days before the invasion force to clear out mines and provide safe anchorage.  Hamilton was the only ship of the original four to survive the war.

Under unceasing enemy fire, Hamilton and her group entered Seeadler Harbor, Admiralty Islands on March 2, 1944 to begin sweeping operations. After the invasion was launched, she remained in the area screening transports and patrolling on ASW duty until early April when she returned to Noumea to prepare for the invasion of Aitape. After sweeping operations there, before the April 22nd invasion, Hamilton served on general sweeping duty in the Solomons and then readied for the Mariana campaign.

Hamilton continued to provide support in harbor clearing operations during 1944 and 1945 and was a vital part in the successful invasions of Saipan, Guam, Peleleiu, the Philippine Islands, and Iwo Jima. During operations in the Rossol Passage off Peleleiu Island, Hamilton and her companions exploded 116 mines in three mine fields and were awarded the Navy Unit Commendation.

Arriving at Manus in the Admiralty Islands on October 31; Hamilton underwent repairs and then sailed for the Lingayen Gulf on December 23. As the minesweepers steamed through the channel on January 6, 1945; wave after wave of Kamikaze, (Devine Wind) aircraft attacked the American fleet bent on destroying it no matter what the cost. Hamilton emerged from the desperate kamikaze attacks unscathed, although she saw other ships struck time and time again. After the invasion forces landed at Lingayen Gulf on January 9; Hamilton provided transport screening and escort duties until February 1st, when she sailed for Saipan.

Leaving Saipan, Hamilton then took part in the invasion of Iwo Jima beginning on February 16. The ship took no casualties of her own during the sweeping operations, but she had to aid her sister-ship Gamble left powerless by a direct bomb hit on the 18th. In addition to helping the wounded ship fight her myriad fires; Hamilton took on board and cared for the more seriously injured sailors. After the marines stormed ashore on February 19th; Hamilton continued patrolling the coast of the island until February 27. The old warrior then returned to Iwo Jima as a convoy escort on March 7. Three days later, Hamilton left Iwo Jima and headed for home. Steaming for Eniwetok, she changed course to rescue 11 men from a downed B-29 on March 11.

Hamilton reached Pearl Harbor on March 25 and after a brief training period headed stateside and entered San Francisco Bay on April 8, 1945. Scheduled for overhaul and modernization, she went into drydock at Richmond, California, but was subsequently reclassified as AG-111 (Miscellaneous Auxiliary) on May 6, 1945 and taken out of drydock. Hamilton spent the few remaining months of the war participating in experimental minesweeping work along the California coast out of Santa Barbara. Two weeks before the Japanese surrender, Hamilton sailed to the destroyer base at San Diego, where she was decommissioned on October 16, 1945 and sold for scrap on November 21, 1946. 

The USS Hamilton, (DD-141, DMS-19, AG-111) earned nine battle stars for her World War II service.

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