USS Harry F. Bauer (DM-26)

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Career
Builder: Bath Iron Works
Launched: 9 July 1944
Commissioned: 22 September 1944
Decommissioned: 12 March 1956
Struck: 15 August 1971
Fate: sold for scrap, 1 June 1974
General characteristics
Class & type: Robert H. Smith-class destroyer
Displacement: 2,200 tons
Length: 376 ft 6 in (114.76 m)
Beam: 40 ft 10 in (12.45 m)
Draft: 18 ft 10 in (5.74 m)
Speed: 34 kts
Complement: 363 officers and enlisted
Armament: 6 5”, 12 40mm., 8 20mm., 2 depth charge tracks, 4 depth charge projectors

USS Harry F. Bauer (DD-738/DM-26/MMD-26) was a Robert H. Smith-class destroyer minelayer in the United States Navy. She was named for Lieutenant Commander Harry F. Bauer (1904–1942).

Harry F. Bauer was launched as destroyer DD-738 by Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine, 9 July 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Gladys Boyd Bauer, widow of Lt. Comdr. Bauer; converted to minelayer DM-26 and commissioned 22 September 1944, Commander Richard Claggett Williams, Jr., in command. The executive officer was Robert M. Morgenthau.

World War II Service[edit]

Following shakedown training out of Bermuda and minelayer training off Norfolk, Virginia, Harry F. Bauer sailed 28 November 1944 via the Panama Canal arriving San Diego, California 12 December. After additional training both there and at Pearl Harbor she departed Hawaii on 27 January 1945 as a unit of Transport Group Baker for the invasion of Iwo Jima, next stop in the island campaign toward Japan. As Vice Admiral Richmond K. Turner's invasion troops stormed ashore 19 February, Harry F. Bauer acted as a picket vessel and carried out antisubmarine patrol to protect the transports. As the campaign developed, the ship also conducted shore bombardment, destroying several gun emplacements, tanks, and supply dumps. She proceeded to Ulithi on 8 March to prepare for the last and largest of the Pacific island operations, the Battle of Okinawa.

Harry F. Bauer arrived off Kerama Retto 25 March and helped screen minecraft during preliminary sweeps of the invasion area. Under intensive air attack during this period, she shot down several Japanese planes, three on the night of 28–29 March alone. On the day of the assault, 1 April 1945, she joined the picket ships offshore, and for over two months of antisubmarine and anti-aircraft duty was under almost continuous attack. A torpedo crashed through her ballast tank 6 April, but failed to explode, and she again shot down three aircraft on the night of 29 April 1945. While in company with USS J. William Ditter (DM-31) 6 June, she was attacked by eight aircraft. Each ship accounted for three; one crashed close aboard Harry F. Bauer, flooding two compartments. Although damaged herself, the ship escorted the crippled J. William Ditter to Kerama Retto. Survey of her damage during repairs revealed an unexploded bomb in one of her flooded compartments.

After repairs at Leyte, Harry F. Bauer arrived at Okinawa on 15 August, the day of the Japanese surrender. With the prospect of massive minesweeping in Japanese waters incident to the occupation, she sailed 20 August for the East China Sea, where she engaged in minesweeping operations until arriving Sasebo 28 October. Sailing for the United States 1 December she arrived San Diego 22 December.

Post World War II and fate[edit]

Sailing to Norfolk 8 January 1946, Harry F. Bauer began operations with the Atlantic Fleet. These consisted of antisubmarine cruises in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, tactical training and fleet maneuvers. During October–November 1948 she took part in 2nd Fleet exercises in the Atlantic, and in June–July 1949 participated in a Naval Academy training cruise with USS Missouri (BB-63).

In 1950 Harry F. Bauer made her first cruise to the Mediterranean Sea, departing 9 September and returning to Charleston, South Carolina 1 February 1951. During the years that followed she continued with tactical operations, that took her to the Caribbean and Northern Europe. She ended active steaming in September 1955 and decommissioned 12 March 1956 at Charleston, entering the Atlantic Reserve Fleet, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Harry F. Bauer was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 15 August 1971 and sold for scrap on 1 June 1974.

Harry F. Bauer received a Presidential Unit Citation for the Okinawan campaign and four battle stars for World War II service.

As of 2009, no other ship has been named Harry F. Bauer.

References[edit]

This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.

External links[edit]