USS Walter B. Cobb (APD-106)

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Career (US)
Namesake: Coxswain Walter B. Cobb (1919–1942), U.S. Navy sailor and Silver Star recipient
Builder: Bethlehem Shipbuilding Co-Hingham, Massachusetts
Laid down: 15 January 1944
Launched: 23 February 1944
Commissioned: 25 April 1945
Decommissioned: 29 March 1946
Reclassified: redesignated APD-106 on 15 July 1944
Fate: In reserve at Mayport, Florida
Career (US)
Commissioned: 6 February 1951
Decommissioned: 15 May 1957
Struck: 15 January 1966
Fate: Transferred to the Republic of China, 22 February 1966; sank 21 April 1966 after collision while under tow to Taiwan
General characteristics
Class & type: Crosley-class high-speed transport
Displacement: 1,450 tons
Length: 306 ft (93 m) overall
Beam: 36 ft 10 in (11.2 m)
Draft: 13 ft 6 in (4.1 m)
Propulsion: 2 Combustion Engineering DR boilers
Turbo-electric drive with 2 General Electric steam turbines
2 solid manganese-bronze 3600 lb. 3-bladed propellers, 8.5 ft. diameter, 7 ft 7-inch pitch
12,000 hp (8.9 MW)
2 rudders
Speed: 23 knots (43 km/h)
Range: 359 tons oil
3,700 nmi. at 15 knots
6,000 nmi. at 12 knots
Troops: 4 LCVPs, 162 troops
Complement: 204 (12 officers, 192 enlisted)
Armament: 1 × 5 in (127 mm)
6 × 40 mm (3×2)
6 × 20 mm (6×1)
2 depth charge tracks

USS Walter B. Cobb (DE-596/APD-106) was a Crosley-class high speed transport of the United States Navy, named after Coxswain Walter B. Cobb (1919–1942), who was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for his gallant service in the Battle of Savo Island aboard USS Mugford (DD-389) and USS Ralph Talbot (DD-390). Cobb was a Pearl Harbor Survivor on USS West Virginia (BB-48). He went on to serve on USS Mugford where, on 7 August 1942, he was blown off the ship during a Japanese aerial attack. Uninjured, he was picked up by USS Ralph Talbot. On 9 August, the Ralph Talbot was hit by a Japanese aerial attack in which Cobb was killed.[1][2]

History[edit]

Walter B. Cobb (DE-596) was laid down on 15 January 1944 at Hingham, Massachusetts, by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation; launched on 23 February 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Huey Cobb; reclassified as a high-speed transport and redesignated APD-106 on 15 July 1944; and commissioned on 25 April 1945, Lt. Comdr. R. E. Parker, USNR, in command.

Following shakedown in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Walter B. Cobb departed Hampton Roads, Va., on 24 June, bound for the California coast; emerged from the Panama Canal on 1 July; and arrived at San Diego a week later. She conducted amphibious training exercises out of that port into August, preparing for the assault on the Japanese home islands. Shifting to Oceanside, California, on the 13th, Walter B. Cobb embarked Underwater Demolition Team (UDT) 27. But the following day, 14 August, Japan capitulated, obviating further invasions.

There now remained the occupation of the erstwhile enemy's land. Walter B. Cobb got underway for Japan on the 17th, steamed via Pearl Harbor, and entered Tokyo Bay on 4 September. Her embarked UDT 27 reconnoitered beaches, marked and mapped landing areas, and generally helped to set the stage for the occupation landings in the Tokyo area. The ship then returned, via Guam and Eniwetok, to Pearl Harbor and joined in the massive sealift of demobilized military men, Operation "Magic Carpet."

Walter B, Cobb made a cruise between Pearl Harbor and San Diego before sailing on 30 October 1945 for the Philippines. Proceeding via Guam, she arrived at Manila on 13 November 1945; later touched at Subic Bay, Samar, and Leyte; and made two other visits to Manila before departing the Philippines on 22 January 1946. She sailed to San Pedro, California, and thence moved south to the Canal Zone before making port at New York on 9 March. Decommissioned on 29 March 1946, at Green Cove Springs, Florida, the ship was subsequently towed to Mayport, Florida, in April 1948, for berthing. She remained in reserve there until the communist invasion of South Korea in the summer of 1950.

As a result of the Navy's increased need for ships, Walter B. Cobb was recommissioned on 6 February 1951, Lt. Comdr. William D. Craig, USNR, in command. The ship conducted shakedown in Guantanamo Bay before engaging in amphibious exercises off Little Creek, Virginia, her new home port. From 1951 to 1954, Walter B. Cobb was homeported at Little Creek, Va., and made two Mediterranean deployments, as well as three midshipmen's cruises—to England and Ireland; to Canada and Cuba; and to Brazil. After landing exercises at Little Creek and at Onslow Beach, North Carolina, Walter B. Cobb got underway from Little Creek on 30 November 1954, bound for the west coast.

Fate[edit]

Homeported at Long Beach, California, Walter B. Cobb spent her next tour of duty primarily deployed to the Far East—from the spring of 1955 through the summer of 1956. She conducted local operations and exercises out of Yokosuka, Sasebo, and Kure before she returned, via Pearl Harbor, to the west coast of the United States for decommissioning. On 15 May 1957, Walter B. Cobb was placed out of commission and in reserve at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Vallejo, California. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 15 January 1966.

Sold to Taiwan on 22 February 1966, Walter B. Cobb and USS Gantner (APD-42) were accepted by the Republic of China Navy on 15 March 1966. The Chinese dispatched tug Ta Tung to tandem-tow the two transports to Taiwan. While en route to the western Pacific, the two APD's collided on 21 April 1966 and both suffered heavy damage. Gantner was towed to Treasure Island, California, but Walter B. Cobb, however, listed progressively from 18 to 40 degrees while settling aft. At 2340 on 21 April 1966, the former high-speed transport filled with water and sank, stern first, in 2,100 fathoms of water.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Walter B". history.navy.mil. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  2. ^ "Walter B. Cobb, Veteran of the USS West Virginia (BB-48)". usswestvirginia.org. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 

External links[edit]