USS HENRY W. TUCKER was a Gearing-class destroyer of the United States Navy. She was named for Pharmacist’s Mate Third Class Henry W. Tucker (1919–1942) who was killed in action during the Battle of the Coral Sea on 7 May 1942 and posthumously awarded the Navy Cross.
The USS Henry W. Tucker was in commission in the US Navy from 1945 to 1973 and saw service in World War II, the Korean Conflict, the “Cold War” and Vietnam. Through much of her career she was a DDR (Radar Picket Ship) and was involved in many activities, such as the atomic bomb tests in the Pacific, the NASA Apollo program, and the U-2 flights.
In 1973, she was decommissioned and sold to the Brazilian Navy and became the Marcilio Dias D25. She was in commission in Brazil from 1973 to 1992. After nearly 50 years continuous service, she was decommissioned and was sunk in target practice by a torpedo of Brazilian design fired from a submarine of Brazilian design, which was an historic event.
FOOTNOTE on the man Henry Warren Tucker
Henry Warren Tucker was born 5 October 1919 in Birmingham, Ala. He enlisted in the Naval Reserve 24 June 1941 and after being trained as a pharmacist's mate reported to the oiler Neosho 15 January 1942. On 7 May 1942, in the opening phase of the Battle of the Coral Sea, Neosho and her escorting destroyer were attacked by three waves of Japanese planes. The escort sank and Neosho was so severely damaged that the skipper ordered all hands to prepare to abandon ship. Many of the oiler's crew, believing that "abandon ship" orders had been given, went over the side at once. As the men struggled through the water trying to reach the few undamaged life rafts, Henry W. Tucker swam among them, treating the burned and wounded. Disregarding his own safety, he helped many of his shipmates to safety on the life rafts while refusing a place himself, at the cost of his life. For his gallant and devoted service to his wounded comrades, Pharmacist's Mate Third Class Henry W. Tucker was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross.