And Now You Know: The Bell at the Veteran’s Memorial

Published 9:00 am Saturday, June 2, 2018

By Mike Louviere

In 2004, First Church of the Nazarene in Orange dedicated a memorial to veterans, Heritage Veteran’s Memorial. Each Memorial Day since then there has been a formal program to recognize veterans from any era of service and any branch of service.

In 2011, a large brass bell was added to the memorial grounds. The bell was once a part of the USS Dyson, DD572. The Dyson was the fourth ship built under the contract to build 12 Fletcher Class Destroyers at Consolidated Steel Shipyard in Orange.

The keel of the Dyson was laid on June 25, 1941. She was launched April 15, 1942 and commissioned December 30, 1942. The ship was named for Rear Admiral Charles Wilson Dyson and christened by his widow.

The Dyson went from Orange to New York and from there to the Pacific Theater. She joined TF (Task Force) 36 at Noumea.

In October, 1943 she joined Destroyer Squadron (DesRon) 23, the Little Beaver Squadron under command of Admiral Arleigh, (“40 Knot”), Burke, and fought at Bouganville.

March 1944, found the Dyson as part of TF 58 in combat at Hollandia, Solomon Islands, Truk, Saipan, Guam, and screening carriers at the Battle of the Philippine Sea. As part of TF 38 the Dyson was part of the Invasion of Luzon. February with TF 78 she helped recapture Corregidor. In May 1945 the Dyson served as patrol, radar picket, and air sea rescue at Okinawa.

At the end of the war she sailed to Washington D.C, where on October 17, 1945, DesRon 23 was presented with the Presidential Unit Citation for Outstanding Service. DesRon 23 was presented the citation for its service in the Solomon Island Campaign.

Dyson then went into reserve on March 31, 1947.

In February she was lent to the Federal Republic of Germany and was served there until February1982 when she was stricken from service and transferred to Greece.

She was cannibalized for spare parts and eventually scrapped.

In addition to the PUC, the Dyson earned 11 Battle Stars.

At some point, probably when decommissioned by the US Navy, the ship’s bell was removed. It was given to Vice Admiral Roy Alexander Gano, who at the rank of Commander was the first captain of the Dyson. Gano served aboard the Dyson from December 30, 1942, the commissioning date to March 12, 1944.

The Dyson had six captains following Gano during her service.

After Gano’s death, his family loaned the bell to the foundation responsible for maintaining the USS Kidd, another Fletcher Class destroyer on display at Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

After several years, a search began for someone who had served on the Dyson and would be able to find a place to display the bell. Eventually Eugene Goudeau was discovered. Goudeau had served on the Dyson and was excited to find that the bell existed.

Goudeau could be given the bell because it had not been officially given to the Kidd foundation, only loaned.

Goudeau then found the bell could be given a prominent display at Heritage Veteran’s Memorial. An artifact of the Dyson would be coming to its place of birth, donated by Goudeau.

After about eight months, the structure to hang the bell and the small plaza for its display was ready. Since 2011, the bell has been a part of the Memorial Day program to honor veterans.

There are only 11 World War II destroyers preserved and on display in the U.S. The USS Kidd, DD661 is one of only three Fletcher Class destroyers remaining. The first destroyers in Orange were Fletcher Class; the last destroyers built were the Gearing Class. There are only two Gearing Class destroyers remaining, They are Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. DD850 and the Orleck, DD886. The Orleck is on display at Lake Charles, Louisiana and is also the last destroyer built in Orange that saw active service in WWII.

“And now you know”