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USS Daly (DD-519)

The USS Daly is the namesake of U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Major Daniel Joseph Daly, who was awarded two Medals of Honor. The first was as a Private during the China Relief Expedition in the battle of Peking, China on August 14, 1900. The second was as Gunnery Sergeant during the Haitian Campaign (1915) between October 24 and 25, 1915. 

The USS Daly was a Fletcher Class Destroyer built by Bethlehem Steel Company in Staten Island, New York. She was launched on October 24, 1942, and sponsored by Mrs. A. Ransweiler, niece of Sergeant Major Daly. The Daly was commissioned March 10, 1943 with Commander R. G. Visser in command.

The Daly displaced 2,050 tons, with a length of 376'6", a beam of 39'4" and a draft of 17'9", and carried a crew of 329, at a top speed of 35 knots. Twin screws on twin shafts from geared turbines and high-pressure water-tube boilers powered her delivering 60,000-shaft horsepower. Her armament included five 5" 38 guns, four 40 mm Bufors and four 20 mm Oerlikon Anti-Aircraft Guns and ten 21" torpedo tubes.

The Daly sailed on both oceans in the two-ocean war. She screened the Ranger (CV-4) in the Atlantic and Lexington (CV-16) from the East Coast through the Panama Canal to San Diego, arriving August 4, 1943. She participated in the operations at Kiska and Attu in the Aleutian Islands, from August 11 through November 18. She sailed from Pearl Harbor on December 9 for the Southwest Pacific reaching Milne Bay at the east tip of the Papuan Peninsula of New Guinea on December 18. She participated in operations at Cape Gloucester on the northwest tip of New Britain. She participated in operations at Cape Sudest on the northeast coast of the Papuan Peninsula southeast of Buna, and Saidor on the north coast of New Guinea facing the Vitiaz Strait. The Daly remained in the New Guinea area participating in operations at Saidor and Cape Gloucester, before sailing for Sydney, Australia on February 4, 1944. 

The Daly steamed to Milne Bay on February 22 to participate in operations in the Admiralty Islands at Los Negros Island at the eastern tip of Manus Island, and Seeadler Harbor bounded on three sides by Los Negros Island on the east and north and Manus Island on the south. She participated in operations along the north central coast of New Guinea at Wewak Harbor and Hollandia. She operated out of Seeadler Harbor against Sawar and Wakde, and assigned patrol duty between Aitape and west to Tanamerah. 

From May 15 to August 7, 1944 the Daly participated in operations in Western New Guinea, as the Southwest Pacific war worked its way up the chain. She steamed to Sydney, Australia on the 7th for a brief overhaul.

The Daly steamed from Sydney to Humboldt Bay at Hollandia in New Guinea, and on September 11 sorted from Humboldt Bay northwestward for the invasion of Morotai. MacArthurís forces were now north of the equator heading toward the Philippines. The Dally steamed to Seeadler Harbor on September 29, and on October 11 she was underway for the invasion of Leyte. The Daly participated in the surface Battle of Surigao Strait, a phase of the decisive Battle for Leyte Gulf.

The Daly returned to Seeadler Harbor at Manus Island on November 3, and on November 9 steamed toward the West Coast to San Francisco Bay and the Alameda Ship Yards for a major over-haul.

On December 28, 1944 Lieutenant (j.g.) Theodore Roosevelt Curby replaced shipís doctor George Augustine Sheehan. Curby was born in Maypearl, Texas and Sheehan in Brooklyn, New York. Both were from large families, Curby was the youngest of eight, and Sheehan the oldest of fourteen, and both were sons of medical doctors. Doc Curby would take medical responsibility for a crew of 329, slightly fewer than the 350 to 400 population of Maypearl. Two assaults remained before war would end in the Pacific. 

On April 28, 1945 Doc Curby was killed onboard the Daly during a six minute attack by five kamikaze aircraft in the vicinity of Okinawa. His commanding officer, Commander Richard R. Bradley, Jr. wrote Doc Curby's wife, Marjorie, on May 8. He wrote:

"I know that anything I can say now will only add to your burden, but I do want you to know how the ship felt about Dr. Curby.

"I was Doc's skipper and I know that there was not a better liked man on board. He had the confidence of every member of the crew, and was continuously giving them help and encouragement. His happy manner and constant cheerfulness was contagious, and had its effect on all hands.

"The ship was under attack by enemy planes, and Doc was at one of the guns, giving aid to a shipmate. One of the planes passed over the ship and crashed nearby. The explosion which followed sent shrapnel in every direction, a piece of which hit your husband. He passed away instantly without suffering.

"I am expressing the opinion of all of his shipmates when I say that your husband was one of the swellest guys we ever knew.

"Sincerely, 

"Richard R. Bradley, Jr."    

On August 14, 1945 Japan surrendered unconditionally, and on Sunday, September 2, Japan officially signed a surrender agreement aboard the battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay.

On October 18, 1945 Lieutenant (j.g.) Hilton R. Frank wrote Mrs. Marjorie C. Curby advising her of the intent of the crew of the USS Daly. They were presently compiling a book about the World War II activities of the Daly and crew. The book would be dedicated to Doc Curby, and the two other crewmembers that died on April 28, 1945. He asked Marjorie for a picture of Doc Curby to be included with the written dedication. The book was written and published, and copies mailed to the families.

The USS Daly was the namesake of a double Medal of Honor recipient, who was a tough Marine, and whose memory may have been an invisible force for the Daly. She was a tough ship with an even tougher crew earning eight Battle Stars over a course of twenty-seven months. The last two were earned with the help of Doc Curby.  


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