USS Evansville (PF-70)

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For other ships of the same name, see USS Evansville and Keyaki (ship).
Career (United States)
Name: USS Evansville (PG-178)
Namesake: Evansville, Indiana
Reclassified: PF-70, 15 April 1943
Builder: Leatham D. Smith Shipyard, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
Yard number: 313
Laid down: 28 August 1943
Launched: 27 November 1943
Sponsored by: Mrs. Don Davis
Commissioned: 4 December 1944
Decommissioned: 4 September 1945[1]
Fate: Transferred to the Soviet Navy, 4 September 1945
Acquired: Returned by Soviet Navy, 1949
Recommissioned: 29 July 1950
Decommissioned: 28 February 1953
Fate: Transferred to Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, 31 October 1953
Acquired: Returned by Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, 15 October 1976
Fate: Scrapped, 1977
Career (Soviet Union)
Name: EK-30[2]
Acquired: 4 September 1945
Commissioned: 4 September 1945[3]
Fate: Returned to United States, 1949
Career (Japan)
Name: JDS Keyaki (PF-295)
Acquired: 31 October 1953
Renamed: YAC-21, 1970
Reclassified: Auxiliary stock craft (YAC), 1970
Decommissioned: 31 March 1976
Fate: Returned to United States, 15 October 1976
General characteristics
Class & type: Tacoma-class frigate
Displacement: 1,430 long tons (1,453 t) light
2,415 long tons (2,454 t) full
Length: 303 ft 11 in (92.63 m)
Beam: 37 ft 6 in (11.43 m)
Draft: 13 ft 8 in (4.17 m)
Propulsion: 2 × 5,500 shp (4,101 kW) turbines
3 boilers
2 shafts
Speed: 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph)
Complement: 190
Armament: • 3 × 3"/50 caliber guns (3×1)
• 4 × 40 mm guns (2×2)
• 9 × 20 mm guns (9×1)
• 1 × Hedgehog anti-submarine mortar
• 8 × Y-gun depth charge projectors
• 2 × depth charge tracks

USS Evansville (PF-70), a Tacoma-class frigate in commission from 1944 to 1945 and from 1950 to 1953, was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for Evansville, Indiana. She also served in the Soviet Navy as EK-30 and in the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force as JDS Keyaki (PF-15), JDS Keyaki (PF-295) and YAC-21.

Construction and commissioning[edit]

Evansville was launched on 27 November 1943 by the Leatham D. Smith Shipbuilding Company at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, sponsored by Mrs. Don Davis, daughter of the Mayor of Evansville, Indiana. She was commissioned on 4 December 1944, with Lieutenant Commander G. T. Applegate, USCG, in command.

Service history[edit]

U.S. Navy, World War II, 1944-1945[edit]

Evansville steamed down the Mississippi River and after calling at Mobile, Alabama, reached Charleston, South Carolina, on 31 December 1944. Through the next six months, she had escort duty along the United States East Coast and to Bermuda, patrolled off New York, and served briefly as a weather ship on ocean weather stations.

Earmarked for transfer to the Soviet Navy in Project Hula, a secret program at Cold Bay in the Territory of Alaska for the transfer of U.S. Navy ships to the Soviet Navy in anticipation of the Soviet Union joining the war against Japan, Evansville departed New York City on 9 July 1945, transited the Panama canal, and steamed to San Diego, California and Seattle, Washington, before proceeding to Cold Bay. Training of her new Soviet crew soon began.[4]

Soviet Navy, 1945–1949[edit]

Following the completion of training for her Soviet crew, Evansville was decommissioned on 4 September 1945[1] at Cold Bay and transferred to the Soviet Union[1] under Lend-Lease immediately along with her sister ships USS Gloucester (PF-22), USS Newport (PF-27), and USS Bath (PF-55), the last of 28 patrol frigates transferred to the Soviet Navy in Project Hula. Commissioned into the Soviet Navy immediately,[3] Newport was designated as a storozhevoi korabl ("escort ship") and renamed EK-30[2] in Soviet service.[5]

On 5 September 1945, all ship transfers to the Soviet Union were ordered stopped, although training for ships already transferred was allowed to continue. Accordingly, EK-30 remained at Cold Bay along with EK-26 (ex-Gloucester), EK-28 (ex-Newport), and EK-29 (ex-Bath) for additional shakedown and training until 17 September 1945, when all four ships departed in company bound for Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky in the Soviet Union, the last four of the 149 Project Hula ships to do so. Too late for World War II service with the Soviet Navy, EK-30 served as a patrol vessel in the Soviet Far East.[6]

In February 1946, the United States began negotiations for the return of ships loaned to the Soviet Union for use during World War II. On 8 May 1947, United States Secretary of the Navy James V. Forrestal informed the United States Department of State that the United States Department of the Navy wanted 480 of the 585 combatant ships it had transferred to the Soviet Union for World War II use returned, EK-30 among them. Negotiations for the return of the ships were protracted, but in October or November 1949 the Soviet Union finally returned EK-30 to the U.S. Navy at Yokosuka, Japan.[7]

U.S. Navy, Korean War, 1950–1953[edit]

Reverting to her original name, Evansville lay idle in the Pacific Reserve Fleet at Yokosuka until the U.S. Navy recommissioned her for service in the Korean War on 29 July 1950. During the war, she patrolled out of Yokosuka and in Korean waters until decommissioned on 28 February 1953.

Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, 1953–1976[edit]

On 31 October 1953, the ship was transferred under the Mutual Defense Assistance Program to Japan for service in the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, which she served as JDS Keyaki (PF-15) (けやき (PF-15)?, "zelkova serrata")[8]. The JMSDF reclassified her as PF-295 on 1 September 1957[8]. Reclassified as an "auxiliary stock craft" (YAC) and renamed YAC-21[8], the ship was decommissioned on 31 March 1976 and returned to U.S. custody on 15 October 1976 for disposal. She was scrapped in 1977.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c The Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships Evansville II article states that Evansville was transferred to the Soviet Union on 4 September 1945 but not decommissioned by the U.S. Navy until 9 September 1945, and both NavSource Online: Frigate Photo Archive Evansville (PF 70) ex-PG-178 and hazegray.org Evansville repeat this. Russell, Richard A., Project Hula: Secret Soviet-American Cooperation in the War Against Japan, Washington, D.C.: Naval Historical Center, 1997, ISBN 0-945274-35-1, pp. 34-35, which includes access to Soviet-era records unavailable during the Cold War, agrees that the transfer date was 4 September 1945; as sources, Russell cites Department of the Navy, Ships Data: U.S. Naval Vessels Volume II, 1 January 1949, (NAVSHIPS 250-012), Washington, DC: Bureau of Ships, 1949; and Berezhnoi, S. S., Flot SSSR: Korabli i suda lendliza: Spravochnik ("The Soviet Navy: Lend-Lease Ships and Vessels: A Reference"), St. Petersburg, Russia: Belen, 1994. However, the table showing all Project Hula transfers in Russell, p. 39, gives a transfer date of 9 September 1945, although text in Russell, pp. 34-35, makes clear that Evansville and three other patrol frigates were transferred on 4 September 1945 and were the last ships transferred in Project Hula, and that all Project Hula transfers were ordered halted on 5 September 1945. According to Russell, Project Hula ships were decommissioned by the U.S. Navy simultaneously with their transfer to the Soviet Navy – see photo captions on p. 24 regarding the transfers of various large infantry landing craft (LCI(L)s) and information on p. 27 about the transfer of USS Coronado (PF-38), which Russell says typified the transfer process – indicating that Evansville '​s U.S. Navy decommissioning, transfer, and Soviet Navy commissioning all occurred simultaneously on 4 September 1945.
  2. ^ a b NavSource Online: Frigate Photo Archive Evansville (PF 70) ex-PG-178 states that Evansville was named EK-28 in Soviet service, but Russell, Richard A., Project Hula: Secret Soviet-American Cooperation in the War Against Japan, Washington, D.C.: Naval Historical Center, 1997, ISBN 0-945274-35-1, p. 39, which includes access to Soviet-era records unavailable during the Cold War, reports that the ship's Soviet name was EK-30. As sources, Russell cites Department of the Navy, Ships Data: U.S. Naval Vessels Volume II, 1 January 1949, (NAVSHIPS 250-012), Washington, DC: Bureau of Ships, 1949; and Berezhnoi, S. S., Flot SSSR: Korabli i suda lendliza: Spravochnik ("The Soviet Navy: Lend-Lease Ships and Vessels: A Reference"), St. Petersburg, Russia: Belen, 1994.
  3. ^ a b According to Russell, Richard A., Project Hula: Secret Soviet-American Cooperation in the War Against Japan, Washington, D.C.: Naval Historical Center, 1997, ISBN 0-945274-35-1, which includes access to Soviet-era records unavailable during the Cold War, Project Hula ships were commissioned into the Soviet Navy simultaneously with their transfer from the U.S. Navy; see photo captions on p. 24 regarding the transfers of various large infantry landing craft (LCI(L)s) and information on p. 27 about the transfer of USS Coronado (PF-38), which Russell says typified the transfer process. As sources, Russell cites Department of the Navy, Ships Data: U.S. Naval Vessels Volume II, 1 January 1949, (NAVSHIPS 250-012), Washington, DC: Bureau of Ships, 1949; and Berezhnoi, S. S., Flot SSSR: Korabli i suda lendliza: Spravochnik ("The Soviet Navy: Lend-Lease Ships and Vessels: A Reference"), St. Petersburg, Russia: Belen, 1994.
  4. ^ Russell, Richard A., Project Hula: Secret Soviet-American Cooperation in the War Against Japan, Washington, D.C.: Naval Historical Center, 1997, ISBN 0-945274-35-1, p. 35.
  5. ^ Russell, Richard A., Project Hula: Secret Soviet-American Cooperation in the War Against Japan, Washington, D.C.: Naval Historical Center, 1997, ISBN 0-945274-35-1, pp. 35, 39.
  6. ^ Russell, Richard A., Project Hula: Secret Soviet-American Cooperation in the War Against Japan, Washington, D.C.: Naval Historical Center, 1997, ISBN 0-945274-35-1, pp. 34, 35, 39.
  7. ^ Russell, Richard A., Project Hula: Secret Soviet-American Cooperation in the War Against Japan, Washington, D.C.: Naval Historical Center, 1997, ISBN 0-945274-35-1, pp. 37-38, 39.
  8. ^ a b c The Naval Database.

External links[edit]