USS Belknap ( DD251 / AV8 / APD34 )

27 Mar

(Edit 12/16/2015) — I have created a new weblog specifically for discussion of the USS Belknap. Please visit! I have posted an updated crew list with the names of 176 men who served aboard the Belknap.


My grandfather, Lewis Swart, served aboard the U.S.S. Belknap during WWII, and achieved the rank of Chief Petty Officer.

W.C. Stuart and L.L. Swart

In the last few weeks, I’ve been corresponding with descendants of other gallant sailors who were aboard this vessel. We’ve discovered some fascinating stories and uncovered a few mysteries!

I’m looking for other shipmates who served with my grandfather or their descendants. Please contact me if you are connected to the Belknap!

The ship served as an escort vessel in the Atlantic during the early years of the war, but was involved in the liberation of the Philippines in 1944 & 1945.

While in the Lingayen Gulf in January 1945, she was struck by a Japanese kamikaze, which exploded on the deck of the ship.

Thirty-eight men died and 49 were wounded.

U.S.S. Belknap

Also aboard the Belknap were the “frogmen” of Underwater Demolitions Team 9 (UDT-9). Several of these men were also killed.

I have been compiling a list of the crew, and I would like to make it as complete as possible. Please help if you can! I’m also seeking stories, photographs, and other documents.

Crewmen  of the U.S.S. Belknap (names found to date.)

LAS= Lost at Sea.   MIA= Missing in Action.

Alfonso John Fransisco SC 2c. 5515374 MIA
Bessom Edward F. SOM 2c. 2037384 Killed1/12/45
Constantine Alfred F. F 3c 8989796 LAS Killed 1/12/45
Cook Lewis D. Sea 1c. 8944544 MIA
Dossett Luther D. WT 1c 6343372 Killed1/12/45
Grauer Carl
Hoffman Kenneth L. MM 2c 3378325 LAS
Johnson Benny Wounded
Kimble Edward Wilson Sea 1c. 9274705 KIA 1/12/45
Kingsley James E. LTJG 227761 LAS
Mattes John J. EM 1c 7075794
Moon Harvey R. WT 2c 2691321 LAS
Oliver William G. WT 3c
Parker Robert M. Y 3c 2023341 LAS KIA 1/12/45
Pelletier Raymond G.A.
Pietrowski John S. GM 3c 6084926 LAS
Ponder Roy R. WT 3c 6043384 LAS
Rodriguez James L. MOMM 2c 5556107 LAS
Shumaker Richard A. Sea 2c 7236732 LAS
Skeen Charles A. F 2c 8898416 Killed1/12/45
Snow Francis C. F 1c 2091912 LAS
Swart Lewis Lester CPO wound 1/12/45
Sweeth William J. Sea 2c 8102894 LAS
Trainor James J. GM 2c 6467382 LAS
Volters Charles A. F 1c 2247120 MIA
Warren Cedric T. Std 2c 8151246 LAS
Weider Frank P. F 1c 7624575 LAS Bur @ Sea.
Whitney George Seaman 2c.
Wilmoth Reubin M. Sea 2c 6597464 LAS
Withers William StM 1c 9068093 Died 1/12/45
Woitowicz Theodore F 1c 8118291 LAS

Members of UDT-9 aboard the U.S.S. Belknap during the fall of 1944 and January 1945.

Castillo Guadalupe Sea 1c. 9425018 LAS
Dickson Hiram B. Ensign Still Living
Gamache Wilfred Dolar CCM 8031577 LAS Killed1/12/45
Hopkins Robert Lee CM 3c 8872391 LAS
Lewis William R. SM 3c 8768328 LAS
Malfeo Marvin Antonio Ensign 0-332004 Killed1/12/45
Rossart Joseph William MM 2c 8906175 MIA Killed1/12/45
Scoggins F. P. SK 1c 8473300 MIA
Sugden William Lloyd GM 3c 8709316 LAS

Posted by on March 27, 2010 in USS Belknap


35 responses to “USS Belknap ( DD251 / AV8 / APD34 )

  1. Kurt Churchill

    April 3, 2010 at 1:39 am

    My father Charles B. Churchill served from mid 44 until de-commissed. wt3c
    Please contact me

    • Ian Swart

      May 27, 2010 at 3:20 pm

      You can email me at idswart(at)

      • steve p. noga

        August 23, 2012 at 5:51 pm

        Ian, My Uncle Edward W. “reds” Kimble died on the USS BELKNAP from a kamikazi attack which I presume is the 11-12 january 1945 attack. im trying to gather information on my relatives who served in WORLD WAR II. i remember my aunt having a picture portrait of “Reds” who was next to ypungest of 8 from Baltimore Md. your sight has provided valuable info as I didnt know his full name or service number. Any other photos of crew? I can be reached at 410-703-6683

      • Michael E. Ward

        November 11, 2014 at 11:32 pm

        You can add C. (Charles) Richard Graham to your list of UDT9 members. His rank, I believe was RTS1 and he is still living in Chestnut Ridge NY. I do not know his service number, but was called Dick by his friends.

  2. Shirley Hoffner

    July 5, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    I see the name Robert Hopkins on your list. His daughter is my half-sister. “Hoppy” (nickname) was killed on the Belknap by a kamikaze. My father who was also with UDT9 was his best friend. My dad’s name was Robert Hoffner and has passed now too and I’m trying to find out how to get of copy of the citation my dad was given when he got the bronze star. Hope to hear from you. Sadly, I can’t seem to find much info anywhere on these poor guys.

    • J. R. Jones

      July 19, 2011 at 9:13 pm

      My dad was also a member of UDT-9. I have a copy of his citation but how he got it I don’t know. I am visiting the seal museum next week.

      J.R. Jones

      • Tom Sowell

        December 22, 2015 at 5:02 am

        Wouldn’t happen to be the J R Jones from Lake Highlands and East Texas State would you?

      • Joanne Burrill

        December 22, 2015 at 8:31 pm

        No, i’m Joanne Burrill, currently in Seattle.
        My Brothers’ father was W. Gamache CCM on UDT 9. Killed in the Lyngayan in 1945.

      • Tom Sowell

        December 22, 2015 at 8:46 pm

        One of the respondents on the thread was a J R Jones, Jr. His father was on the Belknap. I thought I was responding to him. I apologize for the confusion.
        Tom Sowell

  3. John Turner

    October 8, 2010 at 2:15 am

    My father in law was transferred from the George E. Badger to the Belknap and served on her from Jan. 12, 1941 to Jan. 28, 1943 as Seaman Second Class. He was then transferred to the Converse till the end of the war. His name is Charles Boldreghini.

  4. Ian Swart

    October 8, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    Thanks for leaving a comment! I will add your father in law to my crew list!

  5. omer w johnson

    December 6, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    I was on the Belknap the day she was hit and may be able to fill you in on some of the details. We used to have annual reunions. I was in charge of the last several until we ran out of bodies. I knew Chief Swart although not real well. I believe the crew list you have has some inacuracies which I may be able to help you clear up.

  6. Tom Basler

    December 29, 2010 at 3:25 am

    I believe my father (Gordon F. Basler) was on the Belknap when it was hit. He was not injured. UDT 9 Platoon 2 (none of Pl #2 was killed according to my records. I have a Japanese flag taken from one of the Japanese “swimmers” that were in the Harbor trying to sabotage ships.
    He said after the War that he was on a stairway on the Belknap when they were hit & the man next to him, just became small pieces of blood & flesh and that the deck
    was slippery with blood as well. He had been on the beach before that doing recon.

  7. Gene Combs

    March 7, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    Does anyone remember Ben J. Brooks when he was skipper of the Belknap. It was sometime during WW2. He was later the first skipper of USS Begor (APD-127) from March to November 1945.

    • Talbot Brooks

      January 22, 2012 at 11:56 pm

      Benjamin Talbot Brooks was my grandfather. He passed away in 1997.

      • Ian Swart

        March 29, 2012 at 7:25 pm

        Thank you for the information!

  8. J. R. Jones

    July 19, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    My father James R. Jones was a member of UDT-9 and was severely wounded during the attack by the Kamikaze. He passed away in 1992. I am going to visit the UDT-Seal Museum July 28, 2011.

    J.R. Jones Jr.

  9. Aunt Chris

    August 28, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    We just had a birthday party for my neighbor (87) his name is Fred Ketchum and he was also on the belknap and was on board when the Kamikaze hit. Freds e-mail is I will also forward this site to Fred. If you have touble contacting Fred please feel free to contact me.

    • wbeck28

      September 7, 2017 at 4:45 am

      My father in law Paul Eiesenman was on The Belknap when it was Kamakazied he was a gunners mate and when the ship was it he was wounded his jaw was almost blown off they thought he was dead and they layed him with the dead someone saw him breathing and sent him to another ship in a basket he spent many months in the hospital and fully recoverd got married in 1948 had 5 kids spent 36yrs at Goodyear He organized many ships reunions till he got alzimers he died in 1998. you good not tell of his injuries unless he told you also he showed me some before and after pictures very bad stuff Bill beck

      • Ian Swart

        September 13, 2017 at 3:27 pm

        Thank you for sharing your memories. You might also check out I tried to send you an email, but it bounced back.

  10. Tom Higgins

    November 18, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    My Grand father inlaw served onboard the Belknap when the Kamikaze attack happened. I’m not sure of his rank ,but he was an officer. His name is John Kennedy no relation to JFK.. He’s still here with us, he’s 87 and his wife and he Vacation very summer on Crystal Lake In NH at the foot of Mt Belknap. I got him one of those Veteran baseball hats With the Ships Name and # with its outline. He wears it everywhere, And loves when people thank him for his service. I’m a USAF vet myself, great to see this site, Thank you

  11. Tom Higgins

    November 19, 2011 at 12:30 am

    omer w johnson ,I just Read your post and told My grandfather inlaw John Kennedy and he would like to contact you. Here is my email

  12. F P Scoggins III

    December 10, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    My grandfather SK1 F P Scoggins was in UDT 9 and was killed in the kamikazee attack. Some of his shipmates visited my grandmother after the war and gave her an account of what happened. I also obtained the Belknap’s captain’s report and the UDT9 commanders action report. I am willing to share these with you if you desire.

    F P Scoggins III

  13. Ann Stewart

    January 1, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    Alexander Coutts Stewart, my husband’s father, was a lieutenant in the US Naval Reserve on the USS Belknap( APD 34) in 1945.He was from Brooklyn, NY. He was on the ship when it was attacked and survived the attack but was wounded. He is no longer alive ,but my husband still has his purple heart and dog tags. His father would not talk in detail about the events of that night so we are happy to find this site and appreciate learning more through other accounts.

  14. Harvey Christensen

    November 21, 2012 at 6:13 am

    HI I’m researcing for our dear neighbor. Her dad was Marion E Kelley of UDT#9. He was on board the Belknap. He died in 1989. He received his bronze star ar Leyete. We would like to find out his Patoon # and anybody who knew him. We have several photos of him and his buddies.

  15. Rosalie Pavone

    November 21, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    My father, Michael Sollecito, served on the Belknap Both in the North Atlantic and the Pacific. He was also on board when it was kamikazed and survived. I have heard stories from him about his experiences during the war. He also attended several reunions. The doctor on board wrote a book about the Belknap and its war experience. I don’t remember the title and believe my brother has my father’s copy. I will try to get that information for you. Another crew member, Joseph Pezzuco, was a cook on the ship. My father and Joe remained close friends during their lifetime. Both passed away in 2003

  16. Bill Childs

    January 12, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    Ralph Childs, Jr., was XO (in the Atlantic) and then Captain of the Belknap (in the Pacific). He passed in 1984. I remember meeting Ben Brooks while growing up in the Houston area.

  17. Ian Swart

    March 6, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    Thank you all for leaving additional comments and names of those who served aboard the Belknap. I do appreciate it.

    • james bryan

      January 20, 2015 at 2:01 pm

      My uncle, Southworth Bryan, served on Belknap, and was onboard in Linguyen Gulf, Jan, 1945 when struck by kamikazee, commanded the aft anti-aircraft gun station. The painting seen on image search for USS Belknap, is mine, from research and notes from his children. My uncle died in a plane crash in 1957.

  18. Lynne Clark

    July 24, 2013 at 3:26 am

    My cousin was Francis C. Snow. He was killed in the kamikaze attack. Does anyone remember him or have any info on him?

    • Ian Swart

      August 29, 2014 at 4:55 am

      According to the ship muster roll dated right after the attack, Francis Snow was wounded and transferred to the U.S.S. Zeilin.

  19. Steve Zardas

    August 9, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    My brother, GM Manny Zardis, USN, served on Belknap from around Mar 1941 until Nov 1943 when he was transferred to USS Samuel N Moore DD747 under construction in Staten Island. He was discharged in 1946, and died in 2000 in Malden MA.

    Steve Zardas

  20. Christine Schwarz

    December 7, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    My father is Omer W. Johnson who was on the Belknap during the attack. He is soon to turn 89 and still very active and healthy. Would love to here more re what you have found out;

  21. Andree Pariseau-Monroe

    October 22, 2014 at 2:47 am

    My father Lawrence Pariseau served on the USS Belknap and was wounded during the attack. He passed away on January 9,2000.

  22. Joanne Burrill

    December 10, 2015 at 11:49 pm

    My mother’s husband was Wilfred Gamache,CCM. The saddest part about that action, was that the team was “safe aboard ship”. They were due to be mustered out, my mother expected her husband to come home ti her and their son within a two month period.
    He came from a wonderful family, who accepted her second husband ( my Dad) and treated him like a son. My Dad also served in the Pacific in the Army and had actually met Wilfred in cuvilian life.
    There is a great book calkec “The Naked Warriors” that details each UDT. Unfortunately it is currently out of print.


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