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    Normandy Invasion Ship - USS O'Brien (DD-725).
    USS O'Brien (DD-725), an Allen M. Sumner-class destroyer, commissioned in 1944, was the fourth warship named for Capt. Jeremiah O'Brien of Revolutionary War fame, who captured the HMS Margaretta. O'Brian's service took her from Normandy to the South Pacific.

    The ensign of the O'Brien is a 70" X 114" 48-star, double appliqué, bunting flag with sewn stripes, finished with a header and grommets. The flag bears a maker's mark on the upper obverse hoist and an inscription on the reverse hoist: "USS O'Brien (DD725) OMAHA For 64 Wounded."

    After the O'Brien was commissioned, she was assigned convoy duty to Europe until assigned to Operation Neptune, the maritime component of Operation Overlord, the allied liberation of Europe. She was part of the Western Task Force, Assault Force "U", Escort Group "125.6" tasked with escorting the landing craft for Utah Beach. She arrived off of Utah at about 07:30 on 6 June and engaged German shore batteries. Shortly afterwards, her skipper, Commander William W. Outerbridge, overheard the radio traffic detailing the chaos ensuing with the Omaha Beach landings to the west. Outerbridge shifted the O'Brien to support Omaha. Upon arriving at Omaha, about 4,000 yards offshore, the O'Brien encountered numerous bodies in the water and was able to rescue many of the wounded. Outerbridge realized that the devastating German fire was being directed and used the O'Brien's guns, along with two other destroyers, with great effect, to remove the German artillery spotters, saving numerous American lives.
    Later in June, the O'Brien was assigned to shore bombardment of Cherbourg and was again able to use her gunfire with tremendous effect causing the Germans to shift their fire from the USS Texas to the O'Brien, hitting her near the bridge. She laid down a smoke screen and withdrew with 13 killed and 19 wounded. After repairs in Boston, the O'Brien was assigned to the Pacific for the liberation of the Philippines. At Ormoc Bay, she came to the assistance to the USS Ward which was ablaze after a kamikaze attack. After fighting the Ward's fires to no avail, Commander Outerbridge was involved in one of the most bittersweet coincidences of the war. Ordered to sink the Ward by gunfire, he had been its former skipper on 7 December, when he sank the first Japanese midget submarine over an hour before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. After rescuing 198 survivors from the heavily damaged LST-426, the O'Brien was assigned patrol duties for the invasion of Luzon. In January of 1945, the O'Brien was struck by kamikazes and withdrew for repairs. She rejoined the fleet in preparation for the Okinawa Campaign when she was again struck and severely damaged with 50 killed and 76 wounded. She withdrew and was sent to Mare Island, where she was when the war ended. She returned to Japan for occupation duty. This ensign represents a unique opportunity to obtain a flag from a ship that served in both major theaters of the war with an association with Pearl Harbor, Normandy and the War in the Pacific.

    During WWII, the O'Brien was awarded: the American Campaign Medal; European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with one campaign star; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with five campaign stars; World War II Victory Medal and Navy Occupation Service Medal with the Asia Clasp.

    The flag of the O'Brien is in Fair condition - used, worn with a frayed fly edge exhibiting losses and small holes.

    This flag was formerly in the collection of Dr. Clarence Rungee, and is accompanied by his original museum inventory sheet with identifying information.

    For those who did not receive a hard copy of the auction catalog, we present here the introductory comments and history of Dr. Rungee and his remarkable collection. If you scroll further, you will also find various contemporary newspaper articles, as well as a selection of the many letters of donation and transmittal which accompanied the collection and a categorization of the collection.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2019
    14th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 12
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 518

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