Seventy-five years ago today, USS BROCK (APD-93) departed Leyte, escorting a convoy back to Okinawa. This is her history. John Wiley Brock was born on 15 August 1914, in New Brockton, Alabama. He enlisted in the Navy on 12 May 1936, at Birmingham. Promoted to aviation ordnanceman 3d class on 16 February 1938, Brock was transferred to Torpedo Squadron (VT) 6 soon afterward, on 15 April. He underwent flight training as a naval enlisted pilot (NAP). Then he rejoined VT-6 on 10 May 1940. Following detached duty, he ultimately reported to VT-6 for a third time, on 2 August 1941, serving aboard USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6).
Commissioned an ensign on 21 April 1942, Brock took part in the Battle of Midway, on 4 June 1942. That morning, he took off from Enterprise (CV-6) in one of VT-6's 14 Douglas TBD-1s. VT-6 went in, unsupported by fighters or dive-bombers. Brock lifted the nose of his plane to bring his fixed machine gun to bear on an enemy fighter, only to be shot down moments later. His TBD-1 (6-T-14) crashed into the sea, and neither Brock nor his radio-gunner, Aviation Radioman 3d Class J. M. Blundell, survived. For his part in the "bold and heroic" attack carried out by VT-6 at Midway, Brock was awarded the Navy Cross posthumously.
His namesake was originally laid down as the Rudderow class destroyer escort USS BROCK (DE-234), on 27 October 1943, at the Charleston (S.C.) Navy Yard. She was launched on 20 January 1944, and was sponsored by Mrs. James W. Brock, the mother of Ens. Brock. The hull was reclassified a fast transport and redesignated APD-93 on 17 July 1944. She was commissioned on 9 February 1945, with Lcdr. Harrison H. Holton in command.
Following shakedown, the post-shakedown repairs, and alterations at the Norfolk Navy Yard, BROCK embarked passengers on 8 April. She then got underway, and transited the Panama Canal on 14 April. BROCK reached Pearl Harbor on 2 May, and soon thereafter conducted amphibious demolition exercises with an embarked underwater demolition team (UDT). On 12 May, BROCK sailed for the Marshall Islands in company with the old converted four-stacker USS KANE (APD-18), and on 24 May, BROCK dropped anchor. Her officers and men enjoyed liberty at Mog Mog before sailing for Leyte.
BROCK joined company with KANE, and sailed on 7 June to escort a convoy to Okinawa. There, BROCK drew duty on a screening station off of the southeastern coast of Okinawa. She operated in those waters until the 19th, when she switched to a station between Ie Shima and Okinawa proper. On the evening of 23 June, BROCK rescued a downed pilot. On the 26th, BROCK detected a "bogey" at 0113, 15 miles away and closing. As she tracked the intruder, BROCK's captain cut speed to five knots, to reduce her wake. The bogy was 1,000 yards off of the ship when he veered sharply toward her starboard quarter. BROCK's starboard 20mm and 40mm opened fire at the J4M "Jack" fighter. The "Jack" paralleled BROCK's until 1,500 yards ahead, when he went out of control and splashed.
On 1 July, BROCK departed Okinawa, bound for the Philippines, arriving at Leyte on 6 July. BROCK carried out local patrols for the remainder of the war. Winding up that duty late in August, the warship set course for Hollandia, Dutch New Guinea, on the 20th and crossed the equator for the first time on the 23rd. Then her 33 "shellbacks" duly initiated nearly 200 "pollywogs," including the captain. She returned to Leyte on the last day of August. Underway on the 7th for Japan, she escorted 22 attack transports headed for occupation duty in Japan.
BROCK reached Tokyo Bay on 13 August. During the voyage back to Leyte, BROCK spotted and sank a mine ahead of the convoy. She entered drydock there on the 10th, and received a coat of haze gray over the "green dragon" camouflage that had become standard for her class. She remained on occupation duty until 15 December, when she sailed for the United States.
After stops at Nagoya, Eniwetok, Pearl Harbor, and San Diego, BROCK reached San Pedro, Calif., on 10 January 1946. Following repairs and alterations, BROCK proceeded north to Boston. Arriving on 5 March, she then began a pre-inactivation overhaul. Arriving at Green Cove Springs, on 11 April, the ship joined the Florida Group, Atlantic Reserve Fleet.
For the next year, BROCK served as one of the "mother ships," providing steam, power, messing, and berthing to various ships of the inactive fleet. Decommissioned on 5 May 1947, BROCK was placed in reserve on 4 June 1947, and remained there for nearly 13 years. On 1 June 1960, her name was struck from the Navy list, and she was sold to the government of Colombia in January 1962 for use as a floating power plant.