USS Lamson (DD-367)

USS Lamson (DD-367) was a Mahan class destroyer that supported the fighting around Guadalcanal, fighting at the battle of Tassafaronga, supported the campaign on New Guinea and New Britain and the invasion of Leyte, where she was badly damaged by a kamikaze attack. After her repairs she spent the rest of the war on patrol and air-sea rescue duties off Iwo Jima.

The Lamson was named after Roswell Hawkes Lamson, who served in the US Navy during the Civil War, taking part in operations on the Wansemont River and the attacks on Fort Fisher.

The Lamson was laid down at the Bath Iron Works on 20 March 1934, launched on 17 June 1936 when she was sponsored by Miss Francis W. Andrews, and commissioned on 21 October 1936.

USS Lamson (DD-367) at Mare Island USS Lamson (DD-367) at Mare Island

Her shakedown cruiser took her to the Atlantic and Caribbean, before on 16 June 1937 she departed for the Pacific. She arrived at San Diego on 1 July 1937, and that became her home base for the next two years. She took part in the normal mix of operations, with summers in the far north and winters in California, along with fleet exercises that could take her further afield.  In March 1939 she was at Guantanamo Bay, where her commander, Commander Byron H Hanlon was photographed alongside his fellow commanders from Destroyer Division 3.

On 5 October 1939 she departed for Pearl Harbor, which became her base for the next two years.

In early December the Lamson left Pearl Harbor as part of Task Force 12 (Lexington (CV-2), Chicago (CA-29), Portland (CA-33), Astoria (CA-34), Porter (DD-356), Drayton (DD-366), Flusser (DD-368) and Lamson (DD-367). She was thus at sea when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. The Task Force was ordered to search for the Japanese fleet somewhere to the south of Hawaii, but found nothing. The Lamson was then sent to Johnston Island to rescue the civilian population.


On 6 January 1942 the Lamson departed from Pearl Harbor heading for Pago Pago, Samoa, part of a larger effort to secure the supply lines from the US to Australia and New Zealand. She arrived two weeks later, and carried out anti-submarine patrols in the area.

On 3 February the Lamson and Perkins provided a screen for the ANZAC cruiser force (USS Chicago, HMNZS Leander, HMNZS Achilles and HMAS Australia) as they met up with Task Force 11 for a conference between the senior officers. At the time TF11 was heading north-west to carry out a raid on Rabaul, but the task force was spotted by Japanese aircraft and the raid was abandoned.

In early March the Lamson moved to Fiji, which became her new base for anti-submarine warfare for across the summer of 1942.

On 16 October the Lamson and Mahan departed from Pearl Harbor with Task Force 16, heading towards the South Pacific and the fighting around Guadalcanal. On 19 October the two destroyers were detached to carry out a raid on Japanese patrol vessels operating south of the Gilbert Islands. On 22 October they were spotted by a Kawanishi E7K seaplane and a few minutes later they spotted a Japanese schooner, which they quickly sank. An hour later the 8,000 ton gunboat Hakkaisan Maru arrived on the scene, but she was sunk by the two US destroyers. The E7K then attempted to attack, but without success. On the following day the destroyers rejoined the main task force.

On 30 November the Lamson was part of Rear Admiral Wright’s Task Force 67 during the battle of Tassafaronga. The Lamson joined the force quite late, and was posted as the rearguard. During the battle she didn’t find any Japanese targets, but was accidentally fired on by a US cruiser. The Japanese lost one destroyer, while the Americans lost one cruiser sunk and three damaged during the clash.

On 29 December the Lamson departed from Espiritu Santo as part of a force that also contained the Chester (CL-27) and Farragut (DD-348), heading for Sydney.


For most of the first eight months of 1943 the Lamson was used to screen convoys heading for Guadalcanal.

On 19 August 1943 the Lamson arrived at Milne Bay to join Destroyer Squadron 5, part of the recently formed 7th Fleet. Her new role was to support the campaign on New Guinea.

USS Lamson (DD-367) and USS Haraden (DD-585) with battle damage USS Lamson (DD-367) and USS Haraden (DD-585) with battle damage

On 1 September the Lamson left Milne Bay as part of TG 76.6 (with the Perkins, Smith (DD-378), Lamson (DD-367), Mugford (DD-389) and Reid (DD-369), as part of the naval force supporting the landings at Lae, New Guinea. These took place on 4 September, and the Drayton and her force came under Japanese air attack. The Lamson took part in the pre-invasion bombardment, provided fire support and escorted reinforcements to the battle. She then repeated this for the landings at Finschhaven on 22 September,

On 29 November the Lamson was one of four destroyers that were sent to bombard Madang, the main Japanese naval base on New Guinea.

On 15 December she took part in the pre-invasion bombardment of Arawe on New Britain.

On 26 December she supported the forces landing on Cape Gloucester, New Britain (Operation Backhander). During the attack Japanese air attacks sank the Brownson (DD-518) and damaged several ships, including the Lamson. Even so the Lamson was able to take part in the rescue operation for the survivors from the Brownson.


On 2 January 1944 the Lamson took part in a bombardment of Saidor.

She was then sent back to the US for a brief overhaul at Mare Island. She was photographed off Mare Island on 24 May 1944, painted in camouflage Measure 31, Design 23D. During the overhaul she was given two extra twin 40mm anti-aircraft guns just behind her torpedo tubes,  

The Lamson arrived at Eniwetok on 8 August to join the 5th Fleet. For the next two months she was used for patrols and anti-submarine duties in the Marshall Islands. She was then returned to the 7th Fleet.

On 25 October the Lamson departed from Pearl Harbor as part of the invasion fleet for Leyte. She served as a patrol, screening and picket ship and spent November defending supply convoys against kamikaze attacks.

On 4 December the Drayton, Flusser, Lamson and Shaw, along with eight LSMs and three LCIs departed from Leyte Gulf heading for San Pedro Bay, where they were to land troops at a beach held by Filipino guerrillas. This was part of a wider plan to landing Ormoc Bay to avoid more fighting in the interior of Leyte. The troops were landed late on 4 December, but on 5 December the naval force was attacked by Japanese aircraft while on their way back to base

On 7 December the Lamson was screening a convoy carrying troops to Ormoc Bay on Leyte. The force was attacked by kamikazes, and one ‘Dinah’ hit the Lamson’s superstructure, killing 25 and wounding 54. She was set on fire, but a nearby tug helped put out the fires. Some of her crew had to jump overboard, and swam to the nearby Flusser (DD-368).  The Lamson was towed to Leyte Gulf. On 13 December temporary repairs were completed, and her crew were able to come back on board. She was then able to depart for the Puget Sound Navy Yard.


The Lamson arrived at Puget Sound Navy Yard on 16 January 1945 for repairs and a refit. During this refit her waist torpedo tubes were replaced with a pair of 40mm quad AA guns, and she was repainted in a simple colour scheme.

The Lamson returned to Eniwetok on 10 May, and spent the rest of the war on patrol and air-sea rescue duties off Iwo Jima.

On 29 May she rendezvoused with the submarine USS Sea Dog (DD-401) to collect a seriously ill crew member.

After the end of the war the Lamson was used to supervise the surrender of the Bonin Islands. She then spent one month on occupation duties at Sasebo, before departing for San Diego, arriving on 29 November 1945.

The Lamson was chosen for use as a target ship during the atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll. She was sunk in the first of these, Atomic Bomb Test Able of 1 July 1946, when she was the furthest ship from the explosion to sink.

Lamson received five battle stars for World War II service, for the battle of Tassafaronga, Guadalcanal, Eastern New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago and Leyte

Displacement (standard)

1,487.9 standard

Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

37.8kts at 44,477shp at 1,749t on trials (Mahan)


2-shaft General Electric turbines
4 boilers
46,000shp design


6,500nm at 12kts design
7,300nm at 12kts on trials (Mahan)
6,940nm at 12kts at 2,200t wartime
4,360nm at 20kts at 2,200t wartime


341ft 3in


35ft 6.5in


Five 5in/38 DP guns
Twelve 21in torpedoes in three quad mounts
Four 0.50in AA guns
Two depth charge tracks

Crew complement


Laid down

20 March 1934


17 June 1936


21 October 1936

Sunk at Bikini Atoll

1 July 1946

U.S. Destroyers: An Illustrated Design History, Norman Friedmann . The standard history of the development of American destroyers, from the earliest torpedo boat destroyers to the post-war fleet, and covering the massive classes of destroyers built for both World Wars. Gives the reader a good understanding of the debates that surrounded each class of destroyer and led to their individual features.
cover cover cover

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (15 December 2021), USS Lamson (DD-367) ,

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