North High Polar Bears North High School Wall of Honor
William Dennis Newcomb
Class of January, 1951
William Dennis Newcomb

Research done by Claradell Shedd, class of 1953.

William Dennis Newcomb
Bill graduated from North High in January, 1951. At the time, his next of kin was Mrs. Grace Newcomb, 3504 Bowdoin Street, Des Moines, IA. His service number was 3241071.
William Dennis Newcomb
Year   Rank   Status
January, 1951   Graduated x Graduated from North High, Des Moines, IA
Apr. 13, 1951 x Enlisted/
US Navy
x Enlisted in the US Navy at *KRNT Recruiting Station in Des Moines, IA.
April, 1951 x Basic Training/
x **San Diego Naval Training Center. Twelve weeks.
July, 1951 x Training x Treasure Island, CA. Radar training. Three months.
Sept.,1951 x Training x Combat Information Center Training (part of radar training school); San Diego, CA. Two weeks.
x Enroute x San Diego to Hawaii, Midway, Yokosuka and ***Sasebo, Japan, Hong Kong, Subic Bay, Philippines, and Korea via ****USS Duncan (DDR-874). In Korea, November, 1951. Task Force 77; 7th Fleet. Nine months.
Fall, 1952 x Enroute x Korea to San Diego. Nine months in San Diego and then back again to itinerary shown above. Nine months in Pacific Theater and then returned to San Diego. (USS Duncan (DDR-874)
1954 x Enroute x Third trip to Korea and then returning to San Diego. (USS Duncan (DDR-874)
April 1, 1955 x US Navy/
x *****Radarman 2nd Class; Discharged on April 1, 1955 in San Diego.
date x Enroute x Train to Des Moines, IA
Sept., 1955-
x x Drake University to include summer school. General business/finance degree. Graduated in Spring, 1959. Married to Pat McCormack, Class of 1955, on June 10, 1956.
1959-1990 x Employment x Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance. Claims adjustor. 31 years.
Dec., 1989 x Retired x Retired as Division Claims Manager.
x Civilian x Living in Des Moines, IA. Married to Nancy Berkman Bettis, 1975.
KRNT Recruiting Station Naval Training Center, San Diego Sasebo, Japan
*Des Moines Armed Forces
Examining and Entrance Station (AFEES at KRNT)
**Naval Training Center, San Diego ***Sasebo, Japan
****USS Duncan (DDR-874) - 1952
USS Duncan Patch (DDR-874) USS Duncan (DDR-874); 1952
USS Duncan Insignia (DDR-874)
Break from work in
radar room of USS Duncan (DDR-874)
****USS Duncan (DD-874)
Duncan, converted to a radar picket destroyer during her post-shakedown overhaul, sailed from Norfolk on 2 June 1945 for the Pacific, and after touching at San Diego and Pearl Harbor, joined Cabot (CVL-28) for screening and plane guard duty during the strikes on Wake Island of 1 August. After calling at Eniwetok, she continued to Okinawa to join the 7th Fleet for patrol duty off the Chinese and Korean coasts during the landing of occupation troops at Tsingtao, Taku, and Incheon. Duncan served in the Far East on occupation duty until 25 March 1946 when she sailed for the west coast, arriving at San Diego on 28 April.

For the next year Duncan trained along the west coast, keeping high her operational skills and readiness. In May 1947 she departed San Diego for a five-month cruise to the Far East, where she visited Okinawa, Japan, and China. On her return to the States, Duncan resumed coastal operations with both aircraft and submarines. On 1 March 1948 she suffered 2 killed and 14 injured in an explosion on board. After repairs at Long Beach, California, the destroyer rejoined the fleet for training until January 1949, when she again sailed for the western Pacific, this time for eight months. Duncan was reclassified DDR-874 on 18 March 1949.

Duncan operated between San Diego and Pearl Harbor until November 1950 when she steamed into Korean waters to join the 7th Fleet. Duncan served a total of three tours off Korea during the fighting. She sailed as plane guard for carriers and as anti-submarine escort for battleships; she fired shore bombardments in support of minesweepers and to interdict enemy communications; she patrolled against North Korean minesweepers and fishing craft. Through all she added her significant contribution to the vast sea-borne support of the United Nations troops ashore.

The USS Duncan received seven battle stars for Korean war service.

*****Radarman 2Class
The radarman was generally required to attend and complete a U.S. Navy Class "A" radar school at a designated Naval Training Centers (NTC) in the United States. Once assigned to a ship or shore station, the radarman was required to operate and maintain the installed radar and electronic warfare equipment. Radarmen were especially trained in emergency repair procedures, as vessels they were assigned to went into combat areas.

US Navy Seal

7th Fleet

William Dennis Newcomb
Radarman 2nd Class
7th Fleet
US Navy

William Dennis Newcomb
US Navy Insignia

Radarman 2nd Class

United Nations Service Medal/Korea; National Defense Service Medal;
Korean War Service Medal w/three stars; Navy Occupational Medal w Asia Bar;
Korean Defense Service Medal; China Service Medal; Korean Presidenial Unit Citation
The comprehensive list of names from North High's 1893-2018 graduation classes are from Claradell Shedd's North Des Moines High School website. The names of all North High School graduates can be found online at William Dennis Newcomb's class page can be viewed at
01/29/11: Urbandale, IA. Died 03/21/11.
Music: "Anchors Aweigh" by the U.S Navy Band
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