USS San Pedro (PF-37)

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For other ships of the same name, see Kaya (ship).
USS San Pedro in World War II
USS San Pedro in World War II
Career (United States)
Name: USS San Pedro (PG-145)
Namesake: San Pedro, California
Builder: Consolidated Steel Corporation, Wilmington, California
Reclassified: PF-37, 15 April 1943
Laid down: 17 April 1943
Launched: 11 June 1943
Sponsored by: Miss Virginia Ann Massee
Commissioned: 23 October 1943
Decommissioned: 12 July 1945
Honors and
awards:
4 battle stars, World War II
Fate: Transferred to the Soviet Navy, 12 July 1945[1]
Acquired: Returned by Soviet Navy, 17 October 1949
Fate: Transferred to the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, 2 April 1953
Acquired: Returned by Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, 26 July 1978
Fate: Sunk as target
Struck: 1 December 1961
Career (Soviet Union)
Name: EK-5
Acquired: 12 July 1945[1]
Commissioned: 12 July 1945[2]
Fate: Returned to U.S., 17 October 1949
Career (Japan)
Name: JDS Kaya (PF-288)
Acquired: 2 April 1953
Renamed: YAC-23, 1966
Decommissioned: 1 April 1977
Fate: Returned to United States, 26 July 1978
General characteristics
Class & type: Tacoma-class frigate
Displacement: 1,264 long tons (1,284 t)
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)
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 San Pedro (PF-37), a Tacoma-class frigate in commission from 1943 to 1945, thus far has been the only ship of the United States Navy to be named for San Pedro, California. She later served in the Soviet Navy as EK-5 and in the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force as Kaya (PF-8), Kaya (PF-288) and as YAC-23.

Construction and commissioning[edit]

Originally classified as a patrol gunboat, PG-145, San Pedro was reclassified as a patrol frigate, PF-37, on 15 April 1943. She was laid down under Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 1448) at the Consolidated Steel Corporation in Wilmington, California, on 17 April 1943, launched on 11 June 1943, sponsored by Miss Virginia Ann Massee, and commissioned on 23 October 1943 with Lieutenant Commander C. O. Ashley, USCG, in command.

Service history[edit]

U.S. Navy, World War II, 1943-1945[edit]

Following shakedown, San Pedro departed for the Southwest Pacific. She performed escort duty briefly in the Admiralty Islands at the beginning of April 1944, and at the end of the month became part of forces attempting to consolidate the western New Guinea area. Her first mission took her to Hollandia, and she subsequently advanced to Biak in June 1944, Noemfoor Island in July 1944, and Cape Sansapor in August 1944. During September 1944, she escorted a convoy of tugs and barges to Morotai with sufficient equipment to set up a fully equipped base for PT boats.

On 18 October 1944, San Pedro departed with a convoy bound for the initial assault on Leyte in the Philippine Islands. She helped repulse Japanese air attacks beginning on 24 October 1944, shooting down two aircraft before the end of the month. While operations continued ashore, San Pedro escorted resupply convoys between Hollandia and Leyte. On 5 December 1944, a single Japanese plane attacked one of these convoys near Leyte, torpedoed the Liberty ship SS Antoine Saugrain,[3] and escaped by flying through the convoy at masthead height. It then led a companion in for a re-attack and scored a second and fatal hit on the hapless merchant ship. San Pedro rescued 178 survivors and, at the same time, helped repulse a third attack on the sinking ship.

San Pedro departed the Southwest Pacific on 17 December 1944 and headed toward Boston, Massachusetts, for overhaul.

Upon completion of repairs, San Pedro got underway from Casco Bay, Maine, on 28 March 1945 as part of Escort Division 25 – which also included her sister ships USS Long Beach (PF-34) (the flagship), USS Belfast (PF-35), USS Glendale (PF-36), USS Coronado (PF-38), and USS Ogden (PF-39) – bound for Seattle, Washington, via the Panama Canal. The six patrol frigates arrived at Seattle on 26 April 1945. They got underway again for Kodiak in the Territory of Alaska on 7 June 1945. Ogden had to return to Seattle for repairs, but Belfast and the other four frigates arrived at Womens Bay, Kodiak, on 11 June 1945.[4]

On 13 June 1945, San Pedro, Long Beach, Belfast, Glendale, Coronado, and their sister ships USS Charlottesville (PF-25), USS Allentown (PF-52), USS Machias (PF-53), and USS Sandusky (PF-54) got underway from Kodiak for Cold Bay, Alaska, where they arrived on 14 June 1945 to participate in Project Hula, a secret program for the transfer of U.S. Navy ships to the Soviet Navy in anticipation of the Soviet Union joining the war against Japan. Training of San Pedro '​s new Soviet Navy crew soon began at Cold Bay.[5]

Soviet Navy, 1945–1949[edit]

San Pedro was decommissioned on 12 July 1945 at Cold Bay and transferred to the Soviet Union under Lend-Lease immediately[1] along with nine of her sister ships, the first group of patrol frigates transferred to the Soviet Navy. Commissioned into the Soviet Navy immediately,[2] San Pedro was designated as a storozhevoi korabl ("escort ship") and renamed EK-5 in Soviet service. On 15 July 1945, EK-5 departed Cold Bay in company with nine of her sister ships – EK-1 (ex-Charlottesville), EK-2 (ex-Long Beach), EK-3 (ex-Belfast), EK-4 (ex-Machias), EK-6 (ex-Glendale), EK-7 (ex-Sandusky), EK-8 (ex-Coronado), EK-9 (ex-Allentown), and EK-10 (ex-Ogden) – bound for Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky in the Soviet Union. EK-5 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-5 among them. Negotiations for the return of the ships was protracted, but on 17 October 1949 the Soviet Union finally returned EK-5 to the U.S. Navy at Yokosuka, Japan.[7]

Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, 1953–1978[edit]

Reverting to her former name, San Pedro lay idle until the United States loaned her to Japan on 2 April 1953, and she entered service in the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force as Kaya (PF-8) (かや (PF-8)?, "torreya nucifera")[8]. Kaya was redesignated PF-288 on 1 September 1957[8]. The U.S. Navy struck her from the Navy list on 1 December 1961 and transferred her outright to Japan on 28 August 1962. Later reclassified as an "auxiliary stock craft" and renamed YAC-23[8], the ship was decommissioned on 1 April 1977, and returned to United States custody on 26 July 1978. She was sunk as a target ship.

Awards[edit]

The U.S. Navy awarded San Pedro four battle stars for her World War II service.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c The Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships San Pedro article states that San Pedro was transferred on 13 July 1945 and NavSource Online: Frigate Photo Archive San Pedro (PF 37) ex-PG-145 and hazegray.org San Pedro repeat this. However, 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 transfer date was 12 July 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.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ Cressman, Robert (2000). "Chapter VI: 1944". The official chronology of the U.S. Navy in World War II. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-55750-149-3. OCLC 41977179. Retrieved 6 December 2007. 
  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, pp 24-25.
  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, p. 25.
  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. 27, 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]