Story of the"Little Beaver" Logo

    Destroyer Squadron 23 first came together as a complete unit in October of 1943 at Purvis Bay in the Solomon Islands. Also at that time Captain Arleigh Burke took command as COMDESRON 23. During his first squadron inspection, while aboard the CLAXTON, he noticed that a Claxton sailor was painting the figure of a little indian boy on torpedo mount no. 2,in a fighting stance with bow and arrow. He recognized it as being the Indian boy "Little Beaver", sidekick of Red Ryder in the comic strip "Red Ryder", which was quite popular at that time. This strip was drawn by Fred Harmon. The sailor doing the painting was James Bowler who also did the hashmarks on the Claxton's gun director.

    Captain Burke liked what he saw and decided to adopt it as the Squadron Logo. Each ship of the squadron had this logo painted on the side of each bridge wing. The Squadron quickly became known as the "Little Beavers". At that time the squadron was attached to Task Force 39 under the command of Admiral Tip Merrill. The Force also included four Light Cruisers of CRUDIV 12. Legend has it that Captain Burke saw the relationship of the squadron as being the "sidekicks" to the Cruisers much as Little Beaver was to Red Ryder.

    The Logo became a very widely known symbol in Navy circles during World War II. Quite often official dispatches would refer to the squadron as the "Little Beavers" rather than as DESRON 23. Even today there is probably no device so widely known in the Naval Service as the "Little Beaver" logo, unless it be the Anchors and Stars.

    Below is a replica of the cartoon drawn by Fred Harmon in April 1944 and dedicated to "31 knot Burke...To whose heroic leadership his countrymen will forever remain indebted".



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