Destroyers

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DD 222 Bulmer (CVE 21)

DD 222 USS Bulmer, a Clemson class destroyer escort, was commissioned on 16 August 1920.When the United States entered WWII, Bulmer was still assigned to the Asiatic Fleet and stationed in the Philippines. DD 222  Bulmer took part in the Battle of Bali Sea on 4 Feb 1942. From Jun 1942-May 1943, she operated as an escort vessel for convoys sailing between Pearl Harbor and San Francisco.

Bulmer was assigned to the Atlantic Fleet in May and arrived at New York on 14 Jun. Her first Atlantic assignment was as a unit of Task Group 21.12 (TG 21.12) from 14 Jun-22 Sep. During this sweep of the North Atlantic, aircraft from Core sank U-487 on 13 Jul 1943.

DD 222 Bulmer joined task group 21.16 as part of the CVE 21 USS Block Island hunter-killer group. She then commenced convoy escort duty between northeastern Atlantic ports and North Africa until Jul 1944. Bulmer was decommissioned on 16 Aug 1946 and sold.

DD 230 Paul Jones (CVE 21)

DD 230 USS Paul Jones, a Clemson class destroyer, was commissioned 19 Apr 1921. Until the outbreak of WWII she served in the Asiatic Fleet. She received the news of the attack on Pearl Harbor 8 December 1941, at Tarakan, Borneo, and immediately prepared for action. She took part in Pacific operations in Java, Bali, and Timor before being assigned escort duty between California and Pearl Harbor which continued until the end of March 1943.

Sailing in company with DD 218 Parrott and DD 213 Barker, DD 230 Paul Jones departed San Francisco 30 March, transited the Panama Canal and reported to New York where she commenced convoy escort duty 28 May 1943 between North African ports and the U.S.

On 5 Oct 1943 the destroyers DD 230 Paul Jones, DD 218 Parrott, DD 213 Barker, and DD 222 Bulmer escorted CVE 21 USS Block Island as they left Hampton Roads, VA as Task Group 21.16 . This was CVE 21's first combat cruise. DD 230 also participated in the second cruise, 15 Dec 1943. Convoy assignments and training operations continued until the end of WWII. She was decommissioned 5 Nov 1945.

DE 326 Thomas J. Gary (CVE 106)

DE 326 USS Thomas J. Gary, an Edsall-class destroyer escort, was commissioned on 27 Nov 1943. She escorted a number of transatlantic convoys until May 1945. She completed her last Atlantic convoy upon her arrival at New York on 7 May 1945. On 1 Aug 1945, she departed Oahu with Escort Division 57 and steamed for Guam where she again got underway, this time with Carrier Division 27. As the force steamed toward the Philippines, word of Japan's surrender reached the ship. Following her arrival at San Pedro Bay on 17 August, Thomas J. Gary remained in port until the 29th when she departed Leyte to screen the aircraft carriers of Task Group (TG) 77.1 during their passage to Korea. CVE 106 Block Island with CVE 29 Santee and four destroyers sailed for Leyte Gulf on 13 Aug 1945.

En route, the task group was diverted to Formosa. DE 326 Thomas J. Gary was designated to assist in the liberation of Allied prisoners of war who had been held on that island. On 3 Sep, she embarked 19 marines from Block Island charged with arranging the details of the evacuation of the POWs. Her division commander was also responsible for making the preliminary arrangements for the occupation of Formosa.

Before dawn of 5 Sep off the coast of Formosa, DE 326 Thomas J. Gary and DE 329 Kretchmer were detached from the escort carrier task group. Resistance from die-hard Japanese was still a distinct possibility.

As the two ships approached the waters most apt to be mined, the American sailors maintained a state of readiness to repel possible attack. Four Combat Air Patrol planes provided cover, and two anti-mine sweep planes from the carriers relayed word of the sightings of possible mines as the destroyer escorts picked their way through the hazardous approaches to Kiirun. The ships maintained a condition of modified general quarters and stationed armed guards on shore. A detail headed by Thomas J. Gary's communications officer took over the local Japanese radio station to insure reliable communications between the task group and Japanese authorities in Kiirun. At 1630 hours, a train arrived bearing Allied prisoners of war who were quickly transferred to the waiting destroyer escorts.

DE 326 rendezvoused with the CVE 106 and CVE 29 carriers and transferred the newly freed POWs to the larger ships.

She was decommissioned on 7 Mar 1947 and placed in reserve. On 24 Jul 1956, she was converted to radar picket escort ship; and, on 1 Nov 1956, she was designated DER-326. She served the U.S. Navy until 1973 when she was transferred to Tunisia. She sustained a major fire in Apr 1992 and is no longer operational.

DE 327 Brister (CVE 106)

DE 327 USS Brister, an Edsall class destroyer, was commissioned 30 Nov 1943. Between Jun 1944 and Jun 1945, Brister made seven Atlantic escort crossings to Italy and England. On 8 Jun 1945 she departed New York City for the Pacific, arriving at Pearl Harbor, HI after a stop in San Diego. She was active in Far East patrol and escort operations until April 1946. USS Brister assisted CVE 106 in the evacuation of POWs from Formosa. She was stricken from US Navy records 23 Sep 1968.


DE 328 Finch (CVE 106)

DE 328 USS Finch, an Edsall class destroyer, was commissioned 13 Dec 1943. From Aug 1943 through Mar 1947 Finch participated in various Atlantic, Mediterranean, and Pacific operations. She was part of group of several ships including CVE 106 USS Block Island, who evacuated POWs from camps on the island of Formosa. She was decommissioned 6 Mar 1947.

In the movie Tora Tora Tora the USS Finch played the part of the USS Ward.


DE 329 Kretchmer (CVE 106)

DE 329 USS Kretchmer, an Edsall-class destroyer escort, was commissioned 13 Dec 1943. She escorted Atlantic convoys during the summer of 1944 through Apr 1945. After victory in Europe, she was assigned Pacific Fleet duty. Clearing Pearl Harbor 1 Aug 1945, Kretchmer was en route to the Philippines when hostilities stopped on 14 Aug.

After arriving she was assigned to a task group that included CVE 106 Block Island and was sent to Formosa. DE 329 along with DE 326 Thomas J. Gary was designated to assist in the liberation of Allied prisoners of war who had been held on that island. Before dawn of 5 Sep off the coast of Formosa, DE 326 and DE 329 were detached from the escort carrier task group. Resistance from die-hard Japanese was still a distinct possibility as they approached the island.

The destroyer escorts picked their way through mines that guarded the approaches to Kiirun. Allied prisoners of war were quickly transferred from the terrible conditions of Japanese POW camps to the waiting destroyer escorts. The destroyers rendezvoused with the CVE 106 and CVE 29 carriers and transferred the newly freed POWs to the larger ships.

Serving in the Far East until 1 April 1946, the destroyer escort engaged in occupation and repatriation operations. Kretchmer was decommissioned 20 Sep 1946. After extensive conversion, DE 329 Kretchmer was recommissioned as DER-329 on 22 Sep 1956.

In the aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kretchmer departed Newport 23 Nov 1962 for picket duty off the southern coast of the United States. She operated as plane guard and screen for CV 9 USS Essex .

Kretchmer joined other vessels off the South Vietnam coast in Operation Market Time, keeping coastal traffic under surveillance to prevent the shipment of Communist arms and supply to South Vietnam by sea. By the end of a year of patrol, the ship had investigated some 17,000 contacts, and boarded over 1,000 small craft.

She was decommissioned 1 Oct 1973.

 

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