Veteran’s Day: Kenneth R. Olson, U.S. Navy

My Dad with his parents, Carla & Fritz Olson before when he first enlisted at age 18.

Today, on Veteran’s Day, I’d like to honor my father, Kenneth Roland Olson who served his country in the U. S. Navy. He enlisted after graduating from high school in 1954 and began his term of 4 years, plus 2 in reserve .

A significant part of his time was spent upon  the U.S.S. John Paul Jones DD-932. This destroyer was commissioned from Boston, Massachusetts on April 5, 1956. He was deployed as a seaman and I believe he served as a secretary.

John Paul Jones (DD-932) was laid down 18 January 1954 by Bath Iron Works Corp., Bath, Maine; launched 7 May 1955; sponsored by Mrs. Robert B. Carney, wife of Admiral Carney; and commissioned at Boston 5 April 1956, Comdr. R. W. Hayler, Jr., in command. DD-932 was the first U. S. Navy warship named after the famed naval hero, John Paul Jones.

John Paul Jones, second of the initial class destroyers of post-war design, conducted exhaustive shakedown training out of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, after which she departed for a cruise to Northern Europe and the British Isles. During this voyage Commander Hayler and members of the crew visited the birthplace of John Paul and presented the ship’s emblem to the people of Kirkcudbright. She returned to her home port, Newport, 8 October 1956.

The new destroyer departed for her first cruise with Sixth Fleet 25 March 1957. In May she took part in a graphic illustration of the power of that naval force, swiftly projected where needed, as leftist attempts to overthrow King Hussein of Jordan were foiled by American warships offshore. After helping to avert this crisis, John Paul Jones sailed for Newport once more, arriving 6 June 1957. NATO maneuvers in the North Atlantic followed in October. After another brief cruise to the Mediterranean, she arrived Fall River 27 November, and in January 1958 she took part in fleet exercises in the Caribbean.

In the spring of 1958 John Paul Jones operated with Canadian ships on training maneuvers in the Atlantic. After further training off the East Coast and in the Caribbean, she sailed again for the Mediterranean 17 March 1959. This tour with the vital 6th Fleet on its peace-keeping mission ended 24 July when the ship arrived Boston.

USS John Paul Jones (DD-932)—”Give Me a Fast Ship for I Intend To Go In Harms Way.”

John Paul Jones

USS John Paul Jones Association

Naval History of USS John Paul Jones DD-932

Tin Can Sailors – History of USS John Paul Jones DD-932


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