Construction and Commissioning

The keel for the Forrest Sherman class destroyer USS EDSON (DD-946) was laid at Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine, on 3 December 1956. EDSON is one of the relatively few ships of the U.S. Navy named for a United States Marine, in this case Major General Merritt Austin Edson.

Edson was launched on 4 January 1958 by General Edson’s widow, Ethel Robbins Edson, who broke the traditional bottle of champagne over the ship’s bow. EDSON’S final fitting out and sea trials occupied the next ten months, and on 7 November 1958, EDSON was commissioned under the command of CDR Thomas J. Moriarty, USN. She then sailed in early 1959 to the Caribbean and through the Panama Canal to reach her original homeport of Long Beach, California, on 2 March 1959.

For the next two decades, EDSON served as a valuable member of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, earning a reputation as a Top Gun ship and the nickname, “The Destroyer.” Her ship’s crest included a skull copied from the shoulder patch worn by then Colonel Edson’s First Marine Raider Battalion.

Edson’s last decade of service began by sailing to her new homeport of Newport, Rhode Island. There, on 15 December 1988, EDSON was decommissioned by CDR Gideon W. Almy III, USN, the eighteenth and final Commanding Officer. EDSON then served for many years as part of the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum in New York City, prior to be returned to the U.S. Navy.

USS Edson – Ship Construction and Specs
Awarded: January 27, 1956
Keel laid: December 3, 1956
Launched: January 4, 1958
Commissioned: November 7, 1958
Decommissioned: December 15, 1988
Builder: Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine
Propulsion system: Four – 1200 lb. boilers, Two steam turbines; two shafts
Propellers: Two • Length: 418.3 feet (127.5 meters)
Beam: 45.3 feet (13.8 meters) • Draft: 22 feet (6.7 meters)
Displacement: Approx. 4,000 tons full load
Speed: 32+ knots
Aircraft: None
Armament: Three Mk-42 5-inch/54 caliber guns; Mk-32 ASW torpedo tubes, (two triple mounts)
Crew: 17 officers, 218 men