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USS Harpoon was a U.S. Navy Shark-class destroyer (the first of 15 built in this class). She was launched 17 January 1942 and commissioned on 15 March 1942. The Shark-class were the first U.S. Navy ships to be commissioned during WWII and the first to feature the Maverick-8 Gun Control System with automatic aiming on both air and surface targets. Harpoon was sunk in its first battle, The Battle of Midway.



On 4 June 1942, Harpoon was assigned to flank USS Scavenger while engaging the enemy. In the afternoon hours, Scavenger, having taken several hits, was ordered to retreat. Around 1500, a heavy exchange of fire ensued between U.S. and Japanese fleets, during which time Harpoon was spearheading an assault mission aimed at disabling the Japanese destroyer escorts. She was able to evade most shelling in the first round, sustaining only moderate damage. At approximately 1530, Harpoon’s gun exploded as a result of a hit by a Japanese shell, triggering a boiler room explosion and resulting in temporary loss of power. At 1545, two additional shells hit the ship, resulting in several subsequent explosions and a rapid sinking. At approximately 1700, only 11 survivors of the 209 crew were recovered by the U.S. submarine S-22. One of the survivors perished aboard the submarine while enroute toward the carrier USS Stellar, where medical help could be provided. A commemorative monument was erected at the Norfolk Navy Base in honor of the seamen lost aboard the Harpoon.

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