USS Earl K. Olsen (DE-765)

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Career
Name: USS Earl K. Olsen
Namesake: Earl Kenneth Olsen
Builder: Tampa Shipbuilding Company, Tampa, Florida
Laid down: 9 March 1943
Launched: 13 February 1944
Commissioned: 10 April 1944
Decommissioned: 17 June 1946
Recommissioned: 21 November 1950
Decommissioned: 25 February 1958
Struck: 1 August 1972
Fate: Sold for scrap, 15 October 1973
General characteristics
Class & type: Cannon-class destroyer escort
Displacement: 1,240 long tons (1,260 t) standard
1,620 long tons (1,646 t) full
Length: 306 ft (93 m) o/a
300 ft (91 m) w/l
Beam: 36 ft 10 in (11.23 m)
Draft: 11 ft 8 in (3.56 m)
Propulsion: 4 × GM Mod. 16-278A diesel engines with electric drive, 6,000 shp (4,474 kW), 2 screws
Speed: 21 knots (39 km/h; 24 mph)
Range: 10,800 nmi (20,000 km) at 12 kn (22 km/h; 14 mph)
Complement: 15 officers and 201 enlisted
Armament: • 3 × single Mk.22 3"/50 caliber guns
• 1 × twin 40 mm Mk.1 AA gun
• 8 × 20 mm Mk.4 AA guns
• 3 × 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes
• 1 × Hedgehog Mk.10 anti-submarine mortar (144 rounds)
• 8 × Mk.6 depth charge projectors
• 2 × Mk.9 depth charge tracks

USS Earl K. Olsen (DE-765) was a Cannon-class destroyer escort built for the United States Navy during World War II. She served in the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean and provided escort service against submarine and air attack for Navy vessels and convoys. At war's end, she continued service as a training ship.

She was named in honor of Earl Kenneth Olsen, who lost his life while attempting to bring a fellow officer to safety during the night Battle of Tassafaronga, off Guadalcanal, 30 November–1 December 1942. Lieutenant Commander Olsen was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross.

Earl K. Olsen was launched on 13 February 1944 by Tampa Shipbuilding Co., Inc., Tampa, Florida; sponsored by Mrs. H. E. Olsen, mother of Lieutenant Commander Olsen; and commissioned on 10 April 1944, Lieutenant Commander W. F. DeLong, USNR, Commanding; Lieutenant R. G. Nichols, USN, Executive Officer.

World War II North Atlantic operations[edit]

After serving as school ship for the Fleet Sound School at Key West, Florida, from 24 June to 13 August 1944, Earl K. Olsen sailed to Casco Bay, Maine, for refresher training before reporting to Boston, Massachusetts, on 24 August, for convoy duty.

Between 28 August 1944 and 24 May 1945, she made six voyages escorting convoys between Boston, New York, and United Kingdom ports. On the fifth voyage as the convoy sailed for Southampton, USAT J. W. McAndrew and the French aircraft carrier Béarn collided on 13 March in a violent storm. Earl K. Olsen rescued two men and escorted the two stricken ships into Ponta Delgada, Azores, for emergency repairs while Olsen rejoined her convoy.

Transfer to the Pacific Theatre[edit]

At the close of the war in Europe, Earl K. Olsen, now under the command of Lieutenant Commander Robert G. Nichols USN, sailed from New York on 8 June 1945 to join the Pacific Fleet, training at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, during her passage to Pearl Harbor. She arrived on 19 July. Heading west again on 6 August, she escorted ships to island ports and arrived at Manila on 3 September. The same day she commenced the first of four voyages to escort LSTs to Yokohama, and then operated in the Philippines until 9 January 1946.

End-of-War activity[edit]

Earl K. Olsen returned to San Pedro, California, on 24 February 1946, and sailed on 10 March for Norfolk, Virginia, arriving the 26th. On 11 April she got underway for Green Cove Springs, Florida, arriving the 13th, to decommission. Her Captain at decommissioning was Lieutenant Commander Robert G. Nichols USN. She was placed out of commission in reserve on 17 June 1946.

Reassigned as training ship[edit]

Assigned to Naval Reserve duty on 13 December 1946, Earl K. Olsen was towed to Tampa, Florida, and served with reduced complement. Recommissioned on 21 November 1950, she reached Charleston, South Carolina, her new home port, on 7 January 1951. With her complement increased, she continued to train Naval Reservists, but with a larger cruising range, visiting the Caribbean, France, Spain and Portugal two summers, 1951 and 1955. From 18 July 1953, she continued Reserve training duty out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, punctuated by fleet exercises.

Final deactivation[edit]

Reporting for inactivation on 23 November 1957, Earl K. Olsen was placed out of commission in reserve again on 25 February 1958, at Philadelphia. She was sold on 15 October 1973 and broken up for scrap.

References[edit]

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