The Mighty Rock

Rockford’s namesake could be found steaming the seas during WWII.  The patrol frigate USS Rockford was launched at Wilmington, CA on September 27, 1943.  She was christened by Mrs. Ella Crotzer of Rockford, who was the mother of five servicemen: Robert, Harry, Donald, Wayne, and William.  The crewmen aboard called the ship the “Mighty Rock.”

The USS Rockford was put through its paces outside of Los Angeles before reporting to the Pacific Fleet.  In June 1944, she headed for Cairns, Australia.  Along the way, she encountered an enemy submarine and attacked with depth charges, and is believed to have caused some damage.  A few days later, she attacked again with hedgehogs with no result.  Upon reaching Cairns, the Rockford performed convoy escort duty as well as antisubmarine patrol duty off the coast of New Guinea.  In October, 1944, on course to Pearl Harbor, she attacked a Japanese submarine, which is believed to have sunk.  The “Mighty Rock” earned two battle stars for her service.

Ensign W.A. Thompson, who was stationed on the frigate, told the Rockford Morning Star “Be assured that the Rockford is getting plenty salty.  She’s crossed the equator and the international dateline; she’s been active in three war zones, she’s been at sea as long as 21 days without sight of land or a friendly vessel.  She isn’t as pretty as when she left the States, but she’s all in one piece and, we believe, the most trim looking hull in any port.”

The USS Rockford was decommissioned on August 27, 1945, and loaned to the Soviet Union for the next four years.  In 1950, she was loaned to South Korea and renamed Apnok.  She was returned in 1952 when she was damaged by a collision, and sunk as a target the next year.  A model of the USS Rockford can be seen on display at City Hall.

 Upcoming Event!!!  WWII Days

Saturday, September 22  11am – 5pm

Sunday September 23  11am – 4pm

The largest World War II era re-enactment in the United States with over 1,000 uniformed re-enactors from 40 states representing soldiers from the United States, Great Britain, France, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Japan, Italy and Germany along with 70 to 80 vintage tanks, halftracks and other 1940s era military vehicles!

Admission: $12 Adults, $6 Children (ages 3-17), Members and World War II Veterans are free!

Two Day Passes: $18 Adults, $9 Children (ages 3-17)

For more details, click here:


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