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Open Access Articles- Top Results for USS Kretchmer (DE-329)

USS Kretchmer (DE-329)

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<tr> <th height="30" style="background-color:#B0C4DE;text-align:center;vertical-align:middle;font-size:110%;">Career (US)</th> <th style="background-color:#B0C4DE;text-align:center;vertical-align:middle;font-size:110%;">100x35px</th> </tr><tr style="vertical-align:top;"><td>Builder:</td><td> Consolidated Steel Corporation, Orange, Texas</td></tr><tr style="vertical-align:top;"><td>Laid down:</td><td> 28 June 1943</td></tr><tr style="vertical-align:top;"><td>Launched:</td><td> 31 August 1943</td></tr><tr style="vertical-align:top;"><td>Commissioned:</td><td> 13 December 1943</td></tr><tr style="vertical-align:top;"><td>Decommissioned:</td><td> 1 October 1973</td></tr><tr style="vertical-align:top;"><td>Reclassified:</td><td> DER-329, 21 October 1955</td></tr><tr style="vertical-align:top;"><td>Struck:</td><td> 30 September 1973</td></tr><tr style="vertical-align:top;"><td>Fate:</td><td> Sold for scrapping 14 May 1974</td></tr> <tr> <th colspan="2" height="30" style="background-color:#B0C4DE;text-align:center;vertical-align:middle;font-size:110%;">General characteristics </th></tr>Template:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramlineTemplate:Infobox ship characteristics/paramline

USS Kretchmer (DE-329) was an [[Edsall class destroyer escort #REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.Edsall-class]] destroyer escort built for the U.S. Navy during World War II. She served in the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean and provided destroyer escort protection against submarine and air attack for Navy vessels and convoys.

She was named in honor of Ensign Raymond Joseph Kretchmer who was killed in action during the Battle of Savo Island. She was laid down 28 June 1943, by Consolidated Steel Corporation, Orange, Texas; launched 31 August 1943; sponsored by Miss Betty Kretchmer, sister of Ensign Kretchmer; and commissioned 13 December 1943, with Lieutenant R. C. Wing, in command.

World War II North Atlantic operations

After a Bermuda shakedown Kretchmer departed Charleston, South Carolina, 15 February 1944, for operations in the Caribbean. Based at Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, she escorted convoys to Cuba and Bermuda until sailing for Key West, Florida, 2 May. Assigned to an air wing training detachment, Kretchmer operated with torpedo bombers for 3 weeks, before departing Charleston 8 June escorting a convoy to Europe. Sailing via Curaçao, D.W.I., Kretchmer screened shipping bound for Naples, Italy, in preparation for the assaults on southern France. After returning to the United States 16 July, the escort ship made one more cruise to Naples during the summer.

Transfer to the Pacific Fleet

Between 20 September 1944 and 27 April 1945, Kretchmer sailed as escort to five convoys from New York to United Kingdom ports. After victory in Europe, she prepared for Pacific Fleet duty arriving Pearl Harbor 5 July. Clearing Pearl Harbor 1 August, Kretchmer was en route to the Philippines when hostilities stopped on 14 August.

Serving in the Far East until 1 April 1946, the destroyer escort engaged in occupation and repatriation operations, including the evacuation of Allied prisoners of war from Formosa during September 1945. Kretchmer also served on escort duty, mine patrol, and mail runs between Chinese ports. Departing Hong Kong 1 April 1946, she returned home by way of the Indian Ocean and Mediterranean, arriving Charleston, South Carolina, 29 May. Kretchmer decommissioned at Green Cove Springs, Florida, 20 September 1946.

Conversion to picket ship

After extensive conversion, Kretchmer recommissioned as DER-329 on 22 September 1956, Lt. Comdr. C. F. Fadeley in command. After shakedown in the Caribbean, the radar picket arrived at Boston, Massachusetts, 18 December to commence operations in the Northern Radar Barrier. Based at Newport, Rhode Island, from 1957 to 1962, she remained on picket duty, making regular patrols to provide early warning to the continental air defense systems. Kretchmer also made cruises to northern Europe in 1958, 1961, and 1962, and in August 1961 rescued six men from foundered Icelandic fishing vessel MV Sleipnir.

Cuban Missile Crisis activity

In the aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kretchmer departed Newport 23 November 1962 for picket duty off the southern coast of the United States. While operating as plane guard and screen for USS Essex (CV-9) in Key West, Florida, waters, Kretchmer rescued two shrimp fishermen from disabled fishing vessel MV Ala, after they had been fired upon by Cuban MiG aircraft. On 21 February 1963, while Kretchmer was guarding Ala, a MiG-17 made four passes at the disabled fishing craft before turning tail ahead of U.S. Marine aircraft.

Kretchmer continued picket and training operations in the Atlantic until 21 May 1965, when she entered Boston Naval Shipyard for overhaul prior to deployment in the western Pacific. The ship departed Newport, Rhode Island, for Guam, arriving 2 August after a stopover at Pearl Harbor.

Vietnam operations

One month later, 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. Her motor whaleboat came under heavy small arms fire during a roundup operation in November. No American casualties resulted and Krctchmer's search party seized a large number of suspected guerrilla infiltrators.

By the end of a year of patrol, the ship had investigated some 17,000 contacts, and boarded over 1,000 small craft. On 10 December Kretchmer steamed into Apra Harbor, Guam, where she remained until her departure 22 February 1966 for a 7-month deployment with the 7th Fleet. She continued "Market Time" patrol off the northwest coast of Vietnam and provided gunfire support for the Marines and Army on shore. She left Subic Bay 29 September for her homeport, Guam, where she remained through part of October. Kretchmer then departed for further radar picket escort duties off Vietnam through 1966 into 1967. Her continued presence on the South China seacoasts delineated the commitment of the United States to the preservation of the independence of South Vietnam.

Taiwan Patrol operations

When she wasn't on Market Time, she was usually on patrol of the Taiwan Straits. In the latter half of 1969, she was caught in winds topping 70 knots and high seas while in the Straits. She made negative headway towards Red China at 2 to 3 knots with 5 knots rung up for keeping into the seas. She nearly capsized when caught abeam the seas. She received a serious warning from China as she entered China's declared boundaries. There was topside humor at the time, "You want us, come and get us."

Hawaii and shooting at (across the bow) a state senator

In 1969, she shifted homeport from Guam to Peal Harbor. While in Pearl she had a major upkeep of her weapons systems. The 3 inch guns were reburbished and she went to a squadron gunshoot. En route she deployed a makeshift target. As she was coming around for a practice shoot, a cabin cruiser with nobody at the helm came into view and kept coming in spite of the ship's whistle. The captain had the forward 3 inch fire a round in front of the boat with a wide berth. With no response, a second round was fired and a head popped up. Immediately, the boat turned around and the Kretchmer shot up its target and joined the gunshoot. Both her main batteries fired like they hadn't in years.

Upon return to Pearl the ship was met by the civilians who had worked on the guns and congratulated the gunners. Then they showed them the Honolulu newspaper article which reported that the ship had fired on a state senator. It was the senator's wife who was upset. She wasn't with him; and he was drunk at the time.

Key West, ASW School and the Soviets in Cuba

In early 1970, Kretchmer transferred to the Atlantic Fleet via the Panama Canal but first stopped off in San Francisco and Acapulco. Her new homeport was Key West with DesDiv 601 and was an ASW training ship. During this time, she fired off hedgehogs as a weapons evaluation and later was to drop depth charges between two submarines at periscope depth for the submarine CO/XO school. Of the two subs, one was conventional and the other nuclear.

The first depth charge drop was successful. However, the rack had warped and had paint buildup. To get the second charge ready the ASW Officer and leading gunners mate rocked a third depth charge against number two and finally got it positioned. However, they discovered that everyone else had vacated the fantail. When the detail returned, the second charge was armed and dropped. However, it was at a shallower depth, and its detonation damaged the ship's reduction gear. The post WWII depth charges are teardrop in shape, have more explosive power and drop quicker than the WWII drums.

In May 1970 a Soviet task force of surface combatants, submarines and a tender entered the seas east of Cuba. On short notice the Kretchmer was deployed, and in concert with a destroyer, shadowed the task force as it entered the southern Cuban port of Cienfuegos. During the Soviet visit, the Kretchmer maintained picket outside international Cuban boundaries. One night a contact was detected coming out of the harbor at high speed, and the crew went to general quarters for surface action. As the gunboat approached, the Kretchmer lit it up with her arc searchlight and showed the gunboat that the ship was manned and ready as well. As the gunboat stood down, two F-8 Crusader jets from Guantanamo came in between the two vessels at "tree top level" with afterburners blazing long tails. That the Kretchmer had gone to general quarters was the last transmission to Washington DC until the jets arrived.

The incident is not reported as part of the public histories of the Soviet/Cuban naval activities in the '70s. However the officers had been briefed that there was never going to be another Pueblo incident---the ship would not be allowed to be taken.

Upon her return to Key West, the Division Commander received a blistering response from the dependents who had not been given any news of the ship. Yet, the public knew of the Soviet Fleet in Cuba and the festivities which were broadcast by Cuban TV of the Soviet Admiral cutting sugarcane during a people's harvest. When the Soviets put to sea, the CO of the Kretchmer sent a flashing light signal which included mention of seeing the admiral during the harvest. Up to that point a banter of flashing light messages between the admiral and the CO was a daily routine. After that message, there was no further response from the Soviet.

She was decommissioned 1 October 1973 and stricken 30 September 1973. She was sold for scrapping 14 May 1974.

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