"Where the Fleet Goes,
We've Been"

“A people who do not honor the deeds of their worthy dead will do nothing worthy of being honored by their descendants.” - Macaulay

In Memory of
U.S. Navy Electrician’s Mate, Second Class
Herbert Joseph Stoddard
Norris, South Dakota
Mellette County
July 13, 1921 – July 9, 1944
Killed in Action aboard the USS Swerve off the Coast of Italy

Herbert J. Stoddard was born July 13, 1921 , to Herbert E. and Inez Stoddard, Norris , South Dakota . He had a sister, Marjorie, and a brother, Harold. Herbert attended White River High School , where he played football and was in the band. He graduated in 1940, after which he worked at Inland Steel Company for one year while attending Caens Electric School in Chicago , Illinois .

On November 30, 1942 , Herbert Stoddard volunteered for the Navy and entered active service at Chicago , Illinois . He was trained in power supply and achieved the rank of Electrician’s Mate, Second Class. Stoddard first went overseas in September of 1943 but returned at the end of October. He then was dispatched again for foreign service on January 23, 1944 , aboard the USS Swerve (AM-121), a newly commissioned minesweeper.

On July 9, 1944 , while participating in the Allied assault at Anzio , Italy , in the Mediterranean Sea , the USS Swerve was sunk by enemy action. It is believed to have struck a mine. Electrician’s Mate Second Class Herbert Stoddard was one of those lost that day. According to his Commanding Officer, Stoddard stayed at his post, keeping the power going to the radio, which allowed his ship to send a distress message and to orderly evacuate the ship. However, the ship turned over while he was still at his post. He ended by saying, “I hope it will be a consolation to you to know that Herbert’s death in action and in the line of duty, he made the supreme sacrifice for his shipmates, for his country, and for the greater security of those he left behind.”

Herbert Stoddard is listed on the Tablets of the Missing at the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery , Nettuno , Italy . He also has a memorial stone at the National Cemetery near Sturgis. He was awarded the Purple Heart.

This entry was respectfully submitted by Joel Lemay, White River Middle School , 8 th Grade. Information for this entry was provided by Marge Sesso, Rapid City , SD , sister, by an application for a SD veteran’s bonus payment, by the Murdo Coyote, 9/7/44 issue, and


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