"USS DYSON DD-572 Member of the "Little Beaver Squadron" Destroyer Squadron 23

Service in WW II 1943-1945
"Little Beavers"
Empress Augusta Bay
Cape St. George
Typhoon Cobra
Ship's Book
Presidential Citation
Ship's Party
USS Dyson Bell
Contact Us


Captain A. Burke
(31 Knot Burke)
"Little Beaver Squadron"
Fleet Captain

Captain R.A. Gano
USS Dyson

Dec. 1942 - Mar. 1944


Captain L. E. Ruff
USS Dyson

Mar. 1944 - Aug. 1945


Captain V. P. Healey

USS Dyson

Aug. 1945 - Jun. 1946


LT. W. J. Murray

USS Dyson

Dec. 1942 - Dec. 1945


Donald Verduin GM3C

USS Dyson

Sept. 1944 - Apr. 1946



Destroyer Squadron 23

The "Little Beavers" Squadron






“Little Beaver”

The companion to the title character in The Adventures of Red Ryder, 1938- 1964 newspaper comic strip by Fred Harmon. Subject of 27 feature films and, later, television programs. Adopted by Capt. Burke as an insignia for the squadron after viewing Torpedo Man James Bowler’s artwork decorating Claxton’s torpedo tubes, 25 October 1943


The ships of the "Little Beavers" Squadron

(Click on image for larger view)



    USS Charles Ausburne DD-570           USS Claxton DD- 571                    USS Converse DD-509                         USS Foote DD-511




          USS Spence DD-512                   USS Thatcher DD-514                       USS Stanly DD-478                           USS Dyson DD-572



"Little Beavers Squadron" Officers

"Little Beavers Squadron" Officers

Commander Luther K. Reynolds, Commanding Officer, USS Charles Ausburne (DD-570);
Commander R.W. Cavenaugh;
Captain Burke; and Commander R.A. Gano, Commanding Officer, USS Dyson (DD-572).
(standing, left to right):
Commander Henry J. Armstrong, Commanding Officer, USS Spence (DD-512);
Lieutenant J.W. Bobb;
Commander J.B. Morland; and
Commander J.B. Calwell.
All but Cdr. Gano and Capt. Burke have autographed the original print.
Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation. Collection of Admiral Arleigh A. Burke, USN.
U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.


Officers of the squadron enjoy a beer at "Cloob Des-Slot", Purvis Bay, Solomon Islands, on 24 May 1944
Those present are (from left to right):
Commander R.A. Gano, Commanding Officer, USS Dyson (DD-572);
Commander Luther K. Reynolds, Commanding Officer, USS Charles Ausburne (DD-570);
Captain Arleigh A. Burke, Squadron Commodore;
Commander B.L. Austin, Commander Destroyer Division 46;
Commander D.C. Hamberger, Commanding Officer, USS Converse (DD-509);
Commander Herald Stout, Commanding Officer, USS Claxton (DD-571); and
Commander Henry J. Armstrong, Commanding Officer, USS Spence (DD-512)


Destroyer Squadron TWO THREE

 (Desron 23)


A Destroyer Squadron Commander serves as the administrative commander or Immediate Superior in Command (ISIC) of the ships assigned to the squadron. Operationally, the DESRON conducts prompt and sustained combat or non-combat operations through service as the Sea Combat Commander for assigned Battle Group Commander; coordinating the employment of surface combatants, submarines and SUW/USW aircraft assigned to the Battle Group. Administratively, the DESRON supports the Type Commander and Commander Third Fleet by providing trained and materially ready combatants for deployment to warfighting Fleet Commanders, both permanently assigned ships and those temporally assigned for training and exercises.


Ships and units of the USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) Battle Group departed their home ports and bases in early November 1998. The Carl Vinson Battle Group included USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) and USS Oldendorf (DD 972) from DESRON 23, and USS McClusky (FFG 41) from Destroyer Squadron 1.

DD 966 Hewitt will de-commission in July 2001, and be replaced by DDG 85 McCampbell which comissions in August 2001.

The "Little Beaver" Destroyer Squadron 23 was activated 11 May 1943, when Captain M.J. Gilliam assumed command at the Boston Navy Yard. Of the original vessels of the squadron, only Foote (DD-511), Charles Ausburne (DD-570), and Spence (DD-512), were present. The remainder of the squadron Aulick (DD-569) Claxton (DD-571), Dyson (DD-572), Converse (DD-509) and Thatcher (DD-514), were operating on detached duty, as they had been since late December 1942 when most of them had completed their initial training.

Late in May, COMDESRON 23 sailed for the Pacific to join other vessels of the squadron which had preceded him. On 2 June 1943, he reported for duty to Commander in Chief, Pacific at Balboa, and sailed for Noumea. Here on 29 June, Destroyer Squadron 23 became part of Admiral William F. HALSEY'S 'Hit hard, hit fast, hit often!' THIRD Fleet, which had been formed 15 March 1943. Less Aulick, temporarilly out of action after running aground in poorly charted waters, Destroyer Squadron 23 assumed duty on patrol and escort in the Southwest Pacific, calling at Efate, Noumea, Guadalcanal, and Espiritu Santo. From August 1943, the squadron's operations were concentrated in the Guadalcanal area. As the Battle for Guadalcanal raged, the squadron escorted precious men and material to the island, and sortied up the infamous "Slot" in the efforts to break up Japanese attacks and efforts to reinforce the island.

Arleigh A. Burke (31 Knot Burke)

Little Beaver Squadron

Fleet Captain

Destroyer Squadron 23 won its great fame, and a Presidential Unit Citation, under its second commander, who broke his flag 23 October 1943. This was Captain Arleigh A. Burke. A firm believer in the "attack-attack-attack" school of destroyer tactics, Admiral Burke led his squadron into action in the Bougainville operations when on the night of 1 November 1943, the squadron bombarded the Buka-Bonis area and proceeded to cover the landings at Empress Augusta Bay. Here Japanese surface and air forces precipitated the Battle of Empress Augusta Bay, first of the actions for which Destroyer Squadron 23 was cited. In this battle, Foote and Thatcher were heavily damaged by the enemy, and put out of action for the remainder of the Solomons Islands Campaign.

Destroyer Squadron 23 continued to cover the movement of forces into the Empress Augusta Bay region, fighting off Japanese air attacks, attacking Japanese vessels, bombarding Buka and Bonis once again. On 24 November 1943, came the Battle of Cape St. George where the squadron took on six enemy destroyers. In what has been described by tacticians as the "near perfect surface actions, the 'Little Beavers' sank four enemy destroyers, and damaged two, one badly, without injury to themselves. In this action, Admiral Burke gave the squadron its name, and soon after, an appropriate squadron insignia was designed by Fred Harmon, creator of the "Red Ryder" comic strip.

The "Little Beavers" added even more glory to their name through the remainder of the Bougainville operations, at Green Island, Rabaul, Kavieng, and Truk. During the period 1 November 1943 to 23 February 1944, for which the Presidential Unit Citation was awarded, the Squadron participated in 22 separate engagements, and reduced the Japanese Navy by one cruiser, nine destroyers, one submarine, and several smaller ships sunk and destroyed approximately 30 aircraft. In addition, a number of other surface and aircraft were damaged, and great damage inflicted in shore bombardment actions.
On 27 March 1944, Admiral Burke was relieved by Commander R.W. Cavenagh, who had temporary command of the Squadron until 8 April 1944, when Captain T.B. Dugan assumed command. Destroyer Squadron 23's operations in the Pacific continued through the Liberation of the Philippines, where Spence was lost in a typhoon 18 December 1944. Months of action off Okinawa saw the Squadron distinguish itself on patrol and radar-picket duties. Here, on 12 April 1945, Stanly was badly damaged by a piloted bomb. At Okinawa, Captain Dugan was relieved on 26 July 1945 by Captain H.H. McIlheny, who had temporary command until 13 August 1945, when Captain W.C. Ford reported as Commander Destroyer Squadron 23.

The veterans of Destroyer Squadron 23 returned to the United States in the fall of 1945 and on 19 October were met at the Washington Navy Yard by Admiral Burke and Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal, who presented the Presidential Unit Citation to the Squadron. In February 1946, the Squadron was inactivated and the ships placed in mothballs at Charleston, South Carolina.

Since their inception during the dark days of World War II, the "Little Beavers" of DESRON 23 have served our nation with Honor, Courage and Commitment. Fame did not come easily to the warriors of the Little Beavers. The squadron, under the command of Captain Arleigh A. Burke, joined Admiral Halsey's forces in the Solomon Islands campaign in the southwest Pacific and participated in twenty- two separate engagements for which it was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation. It remains the only Destroyer Squadron in U. S. Navy history so honored.

The original team of Charles Ausburne, Dyson, Stanly, Claxton, Foote, Spence, Thatcher and Converse are now replaced by Fitzgerald, Thach, Oldendorf, John Young, Decatur and Hewitt. While the names have changed, the professionalism, camaraderie and intense pursuit of Surface Warfare excellence remain constant. Captain Burke's battle plan was known as the "Doctrine of Faith" for its unprecedented delegation of responsibility to commanding officers. That doctrine will continue to be the cornerstone of DESRON 23 operations.

Admiral Burke chose the Little Beaver as a symbol of the squadron because of his tenacity in battle, loyalty, honesty and spirit. He had a keen appreciation for the importance of the balance between material readiness and operational excellence.


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