USS Nicholson (DD-442)
|Career (United States)|
|Builder:||Boston Navy Yard|
|Laid down:||1 November 1939|
|Launched:||31 May 1940|
|Commissioned:||3 June 1941|
|Decommissioned:||15 January 1951|
|10 battle stars|
|Fate:||Transferred to Italy,
15 January 1951
|Struck:||22 January 1951|
|Acquired:||15 January 1951|
|Fate:||Sunk as a target, 1975|
|Class & type:||Gleaves-class destroyer|
|Length:||348 ft 4 in (106.17 m)|
|Beam:||36 ft 1 in (11.00 m)|
|Draft:||13 ft 2 in (4.01 m)|
|Propulsion:||50,000 shp (37 MW);
|Speed:||35 knots (65 km/h)|
|Range:||6,500 nautical miles at 12 kt
(12,000 km at 22 km/h)
|Complement:||16 officers, 260 enlisted|
|Armament:|| 4 × 5 in (127 mm) DP guns,
6 × 0.5 in. (12.7 mm) guns,
10 × 21 in (53 cm) torpedo tubes,
2 × depth charge projectors,
1 × depth charge tracks
Nicholson was laid down 1 November 1939 by Boston Naval Shipyard; launched 31 May 1940; sponsored by Mrs. S. A. Bathriek, a great-granddaughter of Samuel Nicholson (1743–1811); and commissioned 3 June 1941, Commander J. S. Keating in command.
Atlantic service 
After a shakedown cruise in the eastern Atlantic, Nicholson escorted convoys through the U-boat-infested, storm-tossed North Atlantic first from Boston to Newfoundland and then to Scotland and England until fall 1942. In a brief training period off the Virginia coast, she prepared for the Casablanca invasion, but a turbine casualty prevented her participation in the initial landings. She arrived four days later, 12 November, to assist in the consolidation of the beachhead and to patrol. She took part in the Bizerte campaign and the initial assaults on Salerno, coming under heavy air attack from the Luftwaffe at both Bizerte and Salerno.
Convoys escorted 
|HX 160||17-25 Nov 1941||from Newfoundland to Iceland prior to US declaration of war|
|ON 41||4-10 Dec 1941||from Iceland to Newfoundland; war declared during convoy|
|HX 173||3-10 Feb 1942||from Newfoundland to Iceland|
|ON 67||19-28 Feb 1942||from Iceland to Newfoundland|
|AT 17||1-12 July 1942||troopships from New York City to Firth of Clyde|
|AT 18||6-17 Aug 1942||troopships from New York City to Firth of Clyde|
Pacific service 
After five months in the Mediterranean, Nicholson returned to the United States for overhaul in preparation for Pacific deployment, for which she sailed from Boston early in January 1944. When she reached New Guinea in February, she was assigned to escort LSTs in the Cape Gloucester campaign, already under way.
Throughout the long New Guinea campaign, a matter of successive assaults on coastal points and nearby islands, Nicholson gave gunfire support to troops ashore. She had similar duty in the Admiralties; when, during the conquest of Seeadler Harbor, she was assigned to draw fire from an enemy battery on Hauwei Island. Here she was hit by a 4" shell which struck in No. 2 ammunition handling room, killing three and wounding four. She wiped out the enemy position.
In August 1944 Nicholson joined the 3rd Fleet in the Marshalls. She screened fast carriers in raids on the Bonins, Formosa, and the Philippines, supporting the invasion of the Palaus and the neutralization of Yap. Returning to the Philippines, her group assisted the 7th Fleet during the invasion of Leyte and the decisive Battle for Leyte Gulf, from which Nicholson sailed for a Seattle overhaul.
Returning to the western Pacific in February 1945, Nicholson escorted ships passing between Guam and Ulithi, and arrived off Okinawa for its invasion late in March. Serving in the exposed radar picket line, Nicholson came through untouched by kamikazes, but rescued survivors from stricken destroyers Little (DD-803) and Morrison (DD-560).
Rejoining the 3d Fleet for the final air operations against the Japanese home islands, Nicholson was off Honshū at the war's end. She entered Sagami Wan 29 August and Tokyo Bay 15 September. Returning to San Diego 6 November, she sailed for Panama and Charleston, S.C., arriving 23 November to join the Atlantic Reserve Fleet. She decommissioned 26 February 1946, was assigned as a Naval Reserve Training ship in the 3d Naval District 30 November 1948.
Post-war service 
While serving as reserve training ship at Brooklyn Navy Yard, Nicholson served as the backdrop for the big-screen musical On the Town starring Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, Vera Ellen, Ann Miller and Betty Garret. The ship was shown in the beginning of the movie and also in the last scene.
Nicholson was recommissioned 17 July 1950, then decommissioned once more and transferred to the Italian Navy 15 January 1951.
The Nicholson was sold to the Italian Navy 15 January 1951 and renamed Aviere. She was converted to an experimental gun ship in 1970. She was stricken and sunk as a target in 1975.
- This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.