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Sinking of the USS Hobson

The USS Hobson was built in the Charleston ship yard in South Carolina and was launched for the first time on September 8, 1941. The Hobson fought in various battles during World War II, including the invasion of Normandy. Following World War II, the Hobson was involved in fairly peaceful endeavors until the start of the Korean War. In the early 1950’s the Hobson was involved in two military exercises off the coast of Puerto Rico and North Carolina.

The Hobson is most known not for its military endeavors, but for a tragic incident involving another American ship. On April, 26 1952 the Hobson encountered the event that would lead it to fame. During the night, while most of the crew was sleeping, the captain of the Hobson, confused due to the darkness, gave the order to change course several times, unknowingly leading her straight into the path of another ship. The USS Wasp, a carrier, collided with the much smaller destroyer-minesweeper, the Hobson, near the Azores Islands in the Atlantic. The force caused the Hobson to roll and split in half, tossing the crew into the ocean. The ship lay beneath a blanket of water, at the bottom of the ocean within a total of four minutes. Of the 176 crew members who lost their lives, 150 were estimated to be sleeping at the time of the collision; never even given a chance at survival. The captain of the Hobson, the most likely culprit of this disaster, went down with his ship. Following the crash, Wasp crewmembers, hastened to pull survivors from the wreckage. They managed to rescue 61 American military personnel from an eternal slumber at sea.

The sinking of the USS Hobson became one of the great tragedies of the Cold War. It led to the greatest amount of loss of American lives since World War II to that date. Americans realized that they were not always safe, and that dangers could be found in unexpected places. In the future, they had to become more prepared defensively.

Researched by Megan Overman
Volunteer for the Cold War Museum
Cosby High School


Luchan, Arthur. “USS Hobson DD464.” 2000. 21 May 2008 .

Roberts, Steve. “The Hobson Incident.” USS Wasp. 28 May 2008 .

“The Hobson Collision - II.” 2000. USS Wasp Association . 21 May 2008 .

“USS Hobson (DD-464, later DMS-26), 1942-1952.” Naval Historical Center. 09 March, 2001. Naval Historical Center. 21 May 2008 .

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