|History: The USS Chevalier
USS Chevalier Commissioned
In 1940, President Roosevelt authorized sixty-eight
naval ships to be built in Bath, Maine. USS Chevalier
was chosen to be named among 30 destroyers, and later
was christened at the Bath Iron Works in July 1942 to
honor Lieutenant Commander Godfrey Chevalier.
In the Pacific War Zone
USS Chevalier Patch
While on active duty in the Pacific war zone near
Guadalcanal, the USS Chevalier was hit by a torpedo when
attacked by Japanese ships. The enemy torpedo blew off
the front of the USS Chevalier from its bow to the
bridge, crippling and sinking the ship on October 6,
1943. In its short life, the USS Chevalier sank two
Japanese men-of-war and played a key role in protecting
our allied forces in the Pacific.
On that fatal night, 56 men were killed and the
remaining ship’s crew of 264 officers and men were
rescued by the other Navy vessels on this mission. Two
Medford sailors Robert Coleman and Paul Horvath survived
this ordeal and returned home safely in December 1943.
Both men had served on the USS Chevalier since it was
USS Chevalier Association
In 1985, men who had served on the USS Chevalier
gathered for a reunion and subsequently formed the USS
Chevalier Association. Each year in October, they and
their families come together from all over the country
to have a memorial service for their fallen comrades.
At the time of Medford’s Centennial Celebration in May
1992, the USS Chevalier Association learned about the
Chevalier Memorial Auditorium, named for Medford’s
highly decorated war hero. And so it was that the
survivors of the USS Chevalier came to Medford on
October 6, 1992 to honor their shipmates in the memorial
auditorium. Reverend Al Everton of the West Medford
Baptist Church coordinated the service which was also
attended by many people in the community.
Today, in the auditorium lobby there are two ship models
of the USS Chevalier on display that were presented by
the Association in appreciation to the City of Medford.