Daily Event for September 13


On Sept. 13, 1950 during the Korean War five US Navy destroyers sailed into the hostile waters off Inchon, Korea to take out the shore guns in advance of the Marine landings planned for the 15th. The USS Mansfield DD-728, USS DeHaven DD-727, USS Lyman K. Swenson DD-729, USS Collett DD-730 and the USS Gurke DD-783 stood off the coast and bombarded targets on Inchon and Wolmi-Do Island. Three of them got a little too close in their zeal to silence the shore guns.

All well within range the Lyman K. Swenson, Collett and Gurke were damaged by the  Korean guns. The Collett was hit between 4 and 7 times causing five casualties but thankfully no deaths. Gurke was hit three times receiving some minor damage but once again no deaths. That leaves the Swenson, while she did not receive a direct hit, shell splinters from two near misses killed two of her crew including Lt. (jg) David H. Swenson. It has been recorded that he was the nephew of the ship's namesake Capt. Lyman K. Swenson, however this has been shown to be incorrect (see message and letter below). Capt. Swenson was the commanding officer of the USS Juneau CL-52 and was killed when the Juneau was sunk by the I-26 on Nov. 13, 1942.

The destroyer group received the Navy Unit Citation for the action at Inchon. The Lyman K. Swenson, which had served in World War 2, Korea and later in Vietnam was ultimately sold to Taiwan and used for spare parts.

© 2006 Michael W. Pocock
MaritimeQuest.com
(Correction made Apr. 8, 2011)


USS Lyman K. Swenson DD-729 off Boston, Massachusetts July 1944.

 

Burial at sea of Lt. (jg) David H. Swenson on board the USS Toledo CA-133. The USS Lyman K. Swenson
DD-729 is seen in the background.

 

MaritimeQuest received the following message on Mar. 27, 2011

I am the webmaster for the USS Lyman K. Swenson Sailors Association website. I recently had occasion to review the Swenson history information you have on your website. Upon doing so I noticed an error in your information. In your information you indicate that Lt. David Swenson, who was KIA during the Inchon operations, was the nephew of the namesake of the ship. This is incorrect. Granted, it is the information, or rather disinformation, that was disseminated at the time of the incident, but David Swenson was not related in any way, shape, or form, to Lyman Knute Swenson.

The official Navy description of a photo of Lt. Swenson being buried at sea contained this information until I brought it to their attention in 2001. They have since removed that reference from that photo. See below communication. Please feel free to visit our website, www.DD729.com where you can find more accurate information regarding the Swenson. Such as, Lyman K. Swenson's family name was actually spelled “Swensen” but was misspelled by a Navy yeoman upon his enlistment and, of course, was never corrected.

Sincerely,
Gregg Smoyer
Webmaster, USS Lyman K. Swenson Sailors Association