Commander Hugh William Hadley

  • Branch: Navy
  • Hometown/City: Coronado, CA
  • Date of Birth: 02-17-1901
  • Date of Death:
  • Conflict: WWII
  • Unit: Transport Division 12 Pacific
  • Port/Base: Coronado, CA

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  • My grandad to whom I never knew, I was his namesake, so my grandmother, Marion Ells Hadley told me everything about him.
    He was appointed to the Naval Academy from Moro,OR. in 1918. Commissioned Ensign 29 MAY 1922, he served on board many ships, including USS Pennsylvsnia, and USS S-27, and various shore stations in the pre-war years. After serving as Executive Officer of USS Roper 1936-1939 and on board USS Maryland 1941-1942, he was appointed Commander and assigned to command Transport Division 12 in the Pacific. Hadley's attack transports made nightly runs into Guadalcanal to support American troops there, and while on USS Little 5 SEPT 1942 he was surprized by 3 Japanese destroyers off Lunga Point. His out-gunned ship fought valiantly, but was sunk along with attack transport USS Gregory. Commander Hadley was killed in the action and was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for his outstanding performance in the bitter Solomons Campaign. As stated " For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity as Commander of a Transport Division during action against the enemy the Japanese forces in the Solomon Islands. Under frequent air,surface, and submarine attack by a desperate and persistent foe,although handicapped by limitation of fire power and reduction of armament, successfully disembarked troops during initial landing operations and thereafter fed vital reinforements and supplies to the Tulage and Guadalcanal garrisons. During the tense period prior to development of our own local air defense facilities, he and his command were continually established positions. Subsequently conducting night patrols and furnishing anti-submarine screen for cargo vessels, Commander Hadley, by his superb seamanship and heroic devotion to duty, contributed materially to the success of our strategic operations in the island area. He gallantly give up his life in the service of his country."
    On 25 NOV 1944, my grandmother, Marion Ells Hadley, commissioned the USS Hugh W. Hadley DD-774, a destroyer with daughters Jean and Vaughn in attendance. In coincidence this destroyer held up my grandfathers morals, and service to the US Navy. Thus the story of the USS Hugh W. Hadley DD-774 can be viewed and seen by the public of the men who were in service of this gallant ship.

    Hugh Hadley Birdwell, Grandchild