USS Stern (DE-187)
USS Stern (DE-187) was a [[Cannon class destroyer escort #REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.Cannon-class]] destroyer escort built for the United States Navy during World War II. She served in the Atlantic Ocean and provided escort service against submarine and air attack for Navy vessels and convoys. She returned home at war's end with a three battle stars.
She was named in honor of Charles M. Stern, Jr., was on duty in battleship USS Oklahoma on 9 April 1941 and was killed when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. The ship was laid down on 12 August 1943 by the Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Co., Newark, New Jersey; launched on 31 October 1943; sponsored by Mrs. Joan M. Stern; and, commissioned on 1 December 1943, Comdr. James R. Hinton, USNR, in command.
World War II North Atlantic operations
Stern held her shakedown cruise off Bermuda and returned to New York for post-shakedown availability. After a short training period off Casco Bay, Maine, she escorted a convoy to Ireland and returned with another to New York. She stood out of that port, on 23 March 1944, with a convoy for North Africa and arrived at Casablanca on 2 April. On 7 May, she sailed for home with a return convoy and arrived at New York on the 17th. Stern made another round trip to Ireland, via Bermuda from 8 June to 2 August, and one more to Bizerte, Tunisia, which ended in New York on 7 October.
Transferred to the Pacific Theatre
Stern sailed for the west coast on 23 October and arrived at San Diego, California, on 10 November. Routed westward, she arrived at Pearl Harbor on 23 November and, after calling at the Marshall Islands, arrived at Ulithi, Caroline Islands, on 12 December. She was assigned to the at-sea logistics group (Task Group 30.8) of the U.S. 3rd Fleet. Stern operated with the 3rd Fleet from 16 to 25 December and from 29 December 1944 to 28 January 1945, supporting operations liberating Luzon. The ship returned to Ulithi on 8 February and was attached to the screen of the attack transport group of the task force which would invade Iwo Jima. The force arrived off that island early on the morning of the 19th, and the assault groups began landing under intense hostile fire. From that morning until 1 March, the escort protected American transports off Iwo Jima.
Supporting invasion of the Philippines
On that day, Stern was routed via Guam to the Philippine Islands. She arrived there on 8 March; was assigned to the screen of Task Group 51.1, the Western Islands Attack Group; and sailed for the Ryukyu Islands on 21 March.
Shooting down Japanese planes
Stern screened the attack transports heading for Kerama Retto and arrived there on 26 March. She then performed antisubmarine duty off the islands until 5 April when she was ordered to escort a resupply convoy to Guam. From there, she sailed to Leyte to join another Okinawa-bound task unit and was back off the island on 18 April. This tour off Okinawa was unbroken until July. On 13 and 18 May, she shot down two enemy planes each day, and splashed a single on the 27th.
Return to the U.S. East Coast
On 1 July, Stern sailed for the west coast of the United States, via Ulithi and Pearl Harbor. She arrived at San Pedro, California, on the 25th. She sailed from that port on 20 October, and proceeded, via the Panama Canal, to Norfolk, Virginia, for inactivation. By a directive issued in March 1946, Stern was to be sold as surplus of Naval requirements. The sale was cancelled and the escort was transferred to the Atlantic Reserve Fleet. She was placed in reserve, out of commission, on 26 April 1946 and berthed at Green Cove Springs, Florida.
Reactivation and decommissioning
Stern was reactivated on 1 March 1951 and, with five other destroyer escorts, transferred under the Military Assistance Program to the government of the Netherlands. Stern was struck from the Navy List on 7 March 1951. She served the government of the Netherlands as HNMS Van Zijll (F-811), until she was returned to the custody of the United States Navy in 1967. In 1968, Stern was sold to Simons Scheepssloperij N.V., Rotterdam, and scrapped.
Stern received three battle stars for World War II service.