USS Rockford sunk infamous Japanese Submarine


Before I start, who knew Rockford had a ship named after it?? I mean, it's honestly not that surprising considering our WWII manufacturing hub-ness, but still this is pretty cool.

Longer than a football field, the USS Rockford (PF-45) was built in Los Angeles between 1943 and 1944 to serve as a patrol frigate in the Pacific. There, she saw battle time.

Only a week after reporting to the Pacific Fleet, on her way to Australia, the USS Rockford spotted a Japanese submarine. She launched depth charges and successfully damaged it. She safely made it to Cairns, Australia by late July. For the next two months, the USS Rockford worked antisubmarine patrol and convoy-escort duty off of New Guinea.

After making a brief trip to the Admiralty Islands and on her way to scheduled repairs in San Francisco, she along with the USS Ardent spotted a large submarine unusually close to the United States' West Coast (around 100 miles southwest of Los Angeles). They believed it could only be the infamous Japanese submarine I-12.

A couple weeks earlier, the I-12 shocked the American Navy with its sinking of the SS John A. Johnson, an unaccompanied freighter on its way to Honolulu. The I-12 shot two torpedoes into the hull of the SS Johnson which promptly ripped in half. After survivors made it to the lifeboats, the I-12 surfaced and began to ram and machine-gun them; killing 10 men altogether.

The USS Rockford and the USS Ardent avenged these men in mid-November when they jointly launched depth charges on the submarine. Massive explosions and Japanese debris confirmed a definite kill, and both ships were awarded battle stars.

It is widely agreed that the submarine the two ships attacked was the I-12, but some reports believe the I-12 lasted a couple more months before vanishing. Either way a Japanese submarine was destroyed and the USS Rockford and USS Ardent were awarded for their victory.

After the war, the USS Rockford was transferred to the Soviet Union until relations between our two countries soured and we demanded the return of our vessels.

The U.S. Coast Guard website explains the rest of her fate, "She was then loaned to Korea 23 October 1950 to enforce the blockade against North Korea and harass the enemy. She... returned to the U.S. Navy 3 September 1952 and assigned a status of inactive out of commission in reserve. Rockford was struck from the Navy list 26 May 1953 and sunk as a torpedo target 30 September 1953."

Although she may now rest at the bottom of the ocean, the USS Rockford's valor and might still shine. A large scale model of her sits outside of Council Chambers on the second floor of City Hall.

#History

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