USS Brownson
DD 518 (Fletcher class)

Photo Contributed By: William E. Clayton

Builder:        Bethlehem Steel, Staten Is.
Laid Down:  	February 15, 1942
Launched:       September 24, 1942
Commissioned:  	February 3, 1943
Fate:           Sunk by Japanese Aircraft off 
                Cape Gloucester, New Guinea 12/26/43

We are seeking information on the USS Brownson and her crews. Files and photos may be E-mailed to us and we will incorporate them into these pages.

The E-Mail:


James J. DeAngelis (1912 - 2005) My father-in-law, James J. DeAngelis, who was commissioned on the USS Brownson (DD-518), and who was only one of a handful of the remaining survivors from this destoyer which was sunk in 1943, passed away on September 1, 2005. Jim's historical recounting of the Navy and his time serving the United States of America were enjoyed by family and friends for many, many years and were truly the highlights of his last remaining months.

Jim or (Jake) enlisted in the U.S. Navy on October 12, 1942. He was sent for training in Norfolk, Virginia and in late November/early December 1942 he was assigned to the Battleship Wyoming.

He was then transferred to the Flushing Avenue Brooklyn Naval Yard while he was awaiting assignment aboard the USS Brownson DD-518 - Fletcher Class Destroyer Division. On December 25, 1943 this vessel was sunk when a Japanese bomb split the ship between the stacks. He was rescued by the USS Daly DD-519 (sister ship). During the rescue he and his fellow shipmates were under fire by Japanese fighters.

A newspaper article highlighted the attack on the Brownson.

    U.S. Destroyer Sunk Identified As Brownson

    Washington, Jan. 13 1944 - The Navy reported today that a destroyer sunk by Japanese planes at Cape Gloucester, New Britain, December 27, was the 2,100-ton U.S.S. Brownson. At the same time the Navy announced that there were 30 survivors of the U.S.S. Saint Augustine, a gunboat sunk off Cape May, N.J. January 6. Next of kin of all casualties aboard the two ships have now been notified. The sinking of the Brownson by enemy bombers during the landings of United States troops at Cape Gloucester, previously was announced without the ship being named. The Navy said that 208 members of her crew survived. Built by Bethlehem Steel, at Staten island, N.Y., the Brownson was commissioned February 3, 1942. She was commanded by Commander Joseph Benedict Maher, Woodmont, Connecticut, who was among the survivors.

After the rescue, Jim or (Jake) was sent to Milne Bay, New Guinea on an OTIS sub tender. It was there that he waited for three days to board another ship back to the States. The USS Watts transported him to Treasure Island, San Francisco Naval Base in California. He was given 30 days survivor's leave and went back home to be with his family.

After shore leave his next assignment was shore duty in Toledo Ohio at the Naval Training Station. He was stationed in Ohio for the next three months after which he was reassigned to the Great Lakes, Chicago for the duration of his enlistment. He was a cook during his entire naval career.

Respectfully submitted,

Nancy J. DeAngelis

William E. Clayton 6/27/06:

This is a picture of my Dad.. William E. Clayton – he served aboard the USS Brownson DD518. He was what was commonly known as a “plank owner”. My Dad passed away from cancer October 16, 2006. In keeping with his wishes and my desire to continue the legacy of the Brownson, I currently have in my possession a video of the battle – The Battle of New Britain – showing the Brownson being hit and sinking...also shows survivors being picked up. He also had a book actually started by Richard Joslyn, an officer aboard the Brownson. My Dad & I have been adding to the book as we received information regarding survivors or information. Inside contains the survivors list and casualty/fatality list, etc.

If you are interested in receiving the video and/or book, please email me. It is important to keep this history alive.

Proud Daughter of a Brownsonite !

Jody Carpenter


I will try to obtain a photo of my brother, Robert Leach, who was killed on the USS Brownson off Cape Glouchester. I wasn't yet two years old when he was killed and I have no information concerning his death. I wish to gather any and all information I can regarding the ship and survivors.

Perhaps a surviving member of that crew who knew Bobby could consider talking to me. Bobby was, and continues to be, my hero in death. Any information you have would be greatly appreciated.

Tom Leach

My grandfather, Charles F. Chandler was one of the survivors of the Brownson. He was a flight surgeon on the ship and recieved a Purlple Heart (which I now have and is my most prize possesion) for his bravery in helping rescue many of the survivors.

He passed away October of 1999 at the age of 84 yrs and we miss him greatly. My wife and I just had a baby girl that we named Charlie Christine Jones in his memory.

I've been seeking as much information about the Brownson as I can find. If you have any other information I'd greatly appreciate it. As well, If I find any other information I'll pass it on to you.

Thanks for this web site. It gives those of us that care about our past and our families legacies a place to investigate.

Ian Jones
Seattle WA

Subject: USS Brownson DD 518
Date: Sat, 07 Feb 2004
From: Sue Grossman-Tottle


I have been trying to research my family history and have recently found the name of the ship that my uncle, quartermaster thirdclass George Grossman was on. In trying to research the ship, the U.S.S. Brownson I have had many difficulties, due to the fact that there were two of them and all the info is on the later one. But on your website I have confirmed by the date and the place that it is indeed the ship that my uncle was on. I only have limited info on him, and would love to know anything else about him or his ship that you can tell me. I have pictures of him, and I know from my father that there are newsreel pictures of the ship and my uncle. I don't know if you have any pull and can get them for your website or not. I would be glad to be of help if I can. I also have an old newspaper clipping that talked of the Skipper surviving the Brownson. My uncle was listed as MIA on 12/26/43, was awarded the purple heart and from what I understand there is a memorial that his name is on at Fort William McKinley, Manilla the Phillipines.

If you can use any of this info you are welcome to it and I would be happy to receive any that you could share with me.


Sue Grossman-Tottle

William E. Clayton

DD 518 -
- DD 518
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