Preserving The Oral HistorIES of Combat Veterans

COMBAT STORIES FROM World War II

Albert Sturgess, Jr. | USS Radford (DD-446)

5:06   |   He was first in his class at Midshipmen's school and he got his first choice of assignments, a destroyer. Hank Sturgess joined the USS Radford at Tulagi while the battle for Guadalcanal was raging nearby. He got an immediate baptism of fire on a routine patrol. (This interview made possible with the support of ALBERT SMALL.)

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Keywords   :     Albert Hank Sturgess Jr.    USS Radford (DD-446)    destroyer    Midshipmen's school    Northwestern University    torpedo    Noumea New Caledonia    USS Tryon (APH-1)    Eugene Talmadge    Solomon Islands    Guadalcanal    Iron Bottom Sound    Japanese    USS De Haven (DD-727)

Videos ( 12 )
WWII
  • Albert Sturgess, Jr.  |  WWII  |  USS Radford (DD-446)  |  5:50

    Hank Sturgess was in college when he joined the Navy and they told him to finish and then report to Midshipmen's school. A brief stay at Notre Dame was followed by a an intense, shortened session at Northwestern University. He was ready for the Pacific fleet. (This interview made possible with the support of ALBERT SMALL.)

  • Albert Sturgess, Jr.  |  WWII  |  USS Radford (DD-446)  |  4:33

    Hank Sturgess was trained as a torpedo officer, but when he joined the crew of the destroyer USS Radford, the skipper said what he needed was a radar officer. The new technology was secret and destined to be highly important for the rest of the war. It was on the job training for the young ensign, who helped convince a skeptical admiral that it would work. (This interview made possible with the support of ALBERT SMALL.)

  • Albert Sturgess, Jr.  |  WWII  |  USS Radford (DD-446)  |  4:47

    He had no technical knowledge about RADAR, but Hank Sturgess was a fast learner in using it. Part of his job was keeping track of friendly ships and planes. His ship was fast and heavily armed with guns, torpedoes and depth charges. (This interview made possible with the support of ALBERT SMALL.)

  • Albert Sturgess, Jr.  |  WWII  |  USS Radford (DD-446)  |  7:26

    The goal was to intercept and destroy Japanese ships. RADAR Officer Hank Sturgess had help finding the enemy convoys from the coast watchers, civilian residents with hand cranked radios who acted as spotters. His ship was assigned a dangerous mission, to move in at night right in front of one of these task forces and lay a mine field. (This interview made possible with the support of ALBERT SMALL.)

  • Albert Sturgess, Jr.  |  WWII  |  USS Radford (DD-446)  |  6:53

    The destroyer USS Radford was being refueled and restocked when word came of a large Japanese task force moving in. During the battle that ensued, the ship made a frontal assault on the enemy, firing a bank of torpedoes and speeding off. As they maneuvered away, RADAR officer Hank Sturgess got a contact on his screen that could not be identified. Part 1 of 3. (This interview made possible with the support of ALBERT SMALL.)

  • Albert Sturgess, Jr.  |  WWII  |  USS Radford (DD-446)  |  6:16

    The men of the USS Radford were desperately trying to rescue as many of the men in the water as they could. The men were from her sister ship, the USS Helana, and three times the rescuers had to break away to fend off Japanese attacks. After a near miss from an enemy torpedo, Hank Sturgess and the rest of the Radford's crew managed to pull 500 survivors from the water. Part 2 of 3. (This interview made possible with the support of ALBERT SMALL.)

  • Albert Sturgess, Jr.  |  WWII  |  USS Radford (DD-446)  |  5:10

    With 500 survivors of the sinking of the USS Helana on board, the men of the USS Radford received a hero's welcome back at Tulagi. Hank Sturgess felt badly about leaving some men behind, but with the help of a civilian coast watcher, most of them were eventually recovered. Part 3 of 3. (This interview made possible with the support of ALBERT SMALL.)

  • Albert Sturgess, Jr.  |  WWII  |  USS Radford (DD-446)  |  6:10

    The USS Radford was part of an ad hoc task force dispatched to deal with Japanese ships spotted in the area. When the cruiser Leander from New Zealand suffered a crippling blow from a torpedo, the Radford escorted her back home to Auckland. This led to a training layover in New Guinea for RADAR officer Hank Sturgess which included a Bob Hope show and maybe the best party he would see until the war was over. (This interview made possible with the support of ALBERT SMALL.)

  • Albert Sturgess, Jr.  |  WWII  |  USS Radford (DD-446)  |  6:38

    As the Navy prepared to move beyond the Solomon Islands, a large fleet assembled at Fiji. Hank Sturgess had Shore Patrol duty the first night of leave on the island. It started out well, bit soon the sick sailors began showing up. Back at sea, an important task on his ship was the rescue of downed airmen. This led to a peculiar arrangement with the aircraft carrier crews. (This interview made possible with the support of ALBERT SMALL.)

  • Albert Sturgess, Jr.  |  WWII  |  USS Radford (DD-446)  |  7:21

    During one battle, the destroyer USS Radford was guarding some small carriers when a Japanese submarine got in close and sank one. Soon, Hank Sturgess picked up a blip on SONAR and the fast ship closed in to seek revenge. On another occasion, a well known pilot was missing and the men of the Radford joined the search. (This interview made possible with the support of ALBERT SMALL.)

  • Albert Sturgess, Jr.  |  WWII  |  USS Radford (DD-446)  |  7:25

    The USS Radford became part of MacArthur's fleet at New Guinea and began protecting troop transports and making shore bombardments. On one mission, they were covering slow ammunition barges when a lookout yelled. In came four kamikazes. (This interview made possible with the support of ALBERT SMALL.)

  • Albert Sturgess, Jr.  |  WWII  |  USS Radford (DD-446)  |  6:38

    Hank Sturgess had mastered the new RADAR technology in the heat of battle, and after one last mission, he returned stateside to become an instructor. He was an officer on the USS Radford, a very highly decorated ship. Before he could rejoin the fleet, the joyous news of the Japanese surrender sent him home instead. (This interview made possible with the support of ALBERT SMALL.)

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