U.S.S. Harding (DD-625)

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U.S.S. Harding (DD-625)

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USS Harding (DD-625)


World War, 1939-1945


The second USS Harding (DD-625) was launched on June 28, 1942, by the Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding Corporation and commissioned by the United States Navy on May 25, 1943. The Harding served as a ship destroyer responsible for antisubmarine patrolling and escorting battleships in the Atlantic earlier during World War II before transitioning to the Pacific in the later part of the war. The Navy decommissioned the ship on November 2, 1945, and was sold for scrap on April 16, 1947, by the Luia Brothers Co., Inc. of Philadelphia. Harding received three battle stars for World War II service.

A notable crewmember was George Downings Jr. (1925-1946). Downings was born and raised in St. Johns County, Florida. Before joining the military, he lived in Saint Augustine, Florida. On March 4, 1943, Downings enlisted in the United States Naval Reserve in Jacksonville, Florida. Downings served as a Navy Messman, later called a Steward. In his duty, Downings was responsible for feeding and cleaning up after Navy officers. He eventually reached the rank of Steward’s Mate First Class. Downings served on various vessels, including the U.S.S. Harding, the U.S.S. O’Brien, and the U.S.S. Moale. Downings continued to serve in the Navy until December 25, 1945. He passed away on July 5, 1946, at the age of 21. He is buried in Saint Augustine National Cemetery in Section D, Plot 57.

In 2017, the University of Central Florida was one of three universities selected to launch the National Cemetery Administration’s Veterans Legacy Program Project. The program engaged a team of scholars to make the life stories of veterans buried in the Florida National Cemetery available to the public. The project engages UCF students in research and writing and fosters collaboration between students, faculty and local Central Florida schools to produce interactive curriculum for K-12 students. The corresponding website exhibit uses RICHES Mosaic Interface to create a digital archive of related data. The public can use the project-developed augmented-reality app at more than 100 gravesites at the Florida National Cemetery, where they can access the UCF student-authored biographies of veterans.


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Stoddard, James

External Reference

Abney, Barb. "VA Selects UCF Historians to Archive Stories of Deceased Veterans Veterans." UCF Today, March 13, 2017. Accessed August 9, 2017. https://today.ucf.edu/va-selects-ucf-historians-archive-stories-deceased-veterans/.
Black, Jeremy. World War Two: A Military History. London [u.a]: Routledge, 2003.



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