Captain Stuart T. Hotchkiss, a Yale University graduate and a yachtsman for New Haven, Connecticut, was commissioned on 2 July 1936, in the U.S. Naval Reserves. Hotchkiss entered active duty on 20 April 1941 and commanded five ships during and after World War II: the USS
Barbet (1941), the USS
Bowdoin (1942–1943), the USS
Coolbaugh (1943–1945), the USS DD-939 (ex-German Z-39) (1945), and the USS
Hotchkiss has written four volumes of memoirs supported by correspondence, maps and charts, orders, clippings, and photographs detailing his activities and experiences from 1942 until 1946.
Volume I initially describes minesweeping exercises while commanding the USS
Barbet. The bulk of the volume describes experiences while on the USS
Bowdoin. Hotchkiss writes about expeditions to Greenland, including making soundings in fjords, establishing meteorological stations, and conducting diplomatic relations with the Danish government and the Eskimos.
Volume II describes Hotchkiss's transfer to the USS
Coolbaugh. It concerns duties of a commanding officer of a destroyer escort in the South Pacific near Hollandia and describes the ship's activities while performing convoy duty and patrolling. Also included are clippings and other information describing the battle for Guadalcanal.
Volume III describes the activities of Task Unit 77.4.1 under Radm. Sprague. Hotchkiss describes how his ship helped to neutralize enemy airfields at Mindaro (island south of Manila) and Leyte Gulf, leading to the successful invasion and occupation of the Philippines in 1945. Rescue of burn victims from kamikaze raids, for which he received a Legion of Merit medal, is also described. The alleged sinking of a Japanese submarine by his ship and an explosion on the USS
Mount Hood are also included.
Volume IV describes Hotchkiss's transfer to the USS DD-939 (ex-German Z-39), detailing his duties testing the ship's handling and engineering plant capabilities. During his command of the USS
Gridley, he comments on his personal experiences in Sicily, Casablanca, and Algeria; then he discusses taking the
Gridley through the Panama Canal and eventually to San Diego where the ship was decommissioned. The volume ends with Hotchkiss's discharge in 1946 and with paperwork concerning his appointment to the final rank of Captain USNR in 1950.
For related material see Oral History #115.