USS Conklin

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History
United States
Laid down: 4 November 1943
Launched: 13 February 1944
Commissioned: 21 April 1944
Decommissioned: 17 January 1946
Struck: 1 October 1970
Fate: Sold for scrap, 12 May 1972
General characteristics
Displacement: 1,350/1,745 tons
Length: 306 ft (93 m) (oa)
Beam: 36 ft 10 in (11.23 m)
Draught: 13 ft 4 in (4.06 m) (max)
Propulsion: 2 boilers, 2 geared turbine engines, 12,000 shp, 2 screws
Speed: 24 knots (44 km/h)
Range: 6,000 nmi at 12 knots (22 km/h)
Complement: 14 officers, 201 enlisted
Armament:

USS Conklin (DE-439) was a John C. Butler-class destroyer escort acquired by the U.S. Navy during World War II. The primary purpose of the destroyer escort was to escort and protect ships in convoy, in addition to other tasks as assigned, such as patrol or radar picket. Post-war, after operating in the Pacific Ocean battle areas, her crew members returned home proudly with three battle stars to their credit.

Conklin (DE-439) was named in honor George Emerson Conklin who was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for his brave actions on Guadalcanal. She was launched 13 February 1944 by Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Newark, New Jersey; sponsored by Mrs. T. Conklin; and commissioned 21 April 1944, Commander D. C. Brown, USNR, in command.

Operational history[edit]

Conklin reached Pearl Harbor from the U.S. East Coast 30 July 1944, and after training, sailed to Eniwetok 17 August to convoy Kwajalein (CVE-98) back to Pearl Harbor. She put to sea again from Pearl Harbor 9 September for convoy escort duty between Kwajalein and Eniwetok until 3 October, when she arrived at Guam to serve as planeguard. After repairs to her sound gear at Eniwetok, she patrolled on antisubmarine duty off Saipan until 6 November, when she cleared for Ulithi and Leyte, guarding a convoy of reinforcement troops and supplies.

Reaching Leyte 14 November 1944, Conklin cleared the same day to join a hunter-killer group operating off the western entrance to Kossol Passage. Here on 19 November, she and McCoy Reynolds (DE-440) coordinated their depth charge attacks to send Japanese submarine I-37 to the bottom.[1]

Conklin then returned to escort duty to Eniwetok, Ulithi, and Guam, and on 21 January 1945, joined another hunter-killer group patrolling near Ulithi. On 23 January, she headed a team including Corbesier (DE-438) and Raby (DE-698) in the sinking of another submarine, Japanese submarine I-48.

Conklin sailed from Ulithi 14 February 1945 on escort duty to the Palaus and Manus, where she arrived 27 February to join the screen for the logistics group supporting mighty carrier Task Force TF 58, and from 20 March to 5 June, she was almost constantly at sea with this group for the Okinawa operation. Her duties included transferring passengers, mail, and freight, serving as planeguard, and escorting ships of the group to replenishment at Guam and Ulithi. On 5 June she was heavily damaged in a typhoon off Okinawa, during which one of her men was killed. many injured, and four washed overboard, one rescued by Conklin and one by another ship. She put into Guam for emergency repairs, and on 17 June sailed for a complete overhaul at Mare Island Navy Yard.

With this complete, she sailed to San Diego, California, where she was decommissioned and placed in reserve 17 January 1946. On 1 October 1970 she was struck from the Navy list, and, on 12 May 1972, she was sold for scrapping.

Conklin received three battle stars for World War II service.

Typhoon Of June 1945[citation needed][edit]

After a night of high seas, wind and storm, the typhoon of June 1945 reached its peak in the dark early morning hour of 5AM, at which time a freak wave hit the destroyer escort USS CONKLIN DE 439 and rolled her onto her side. The ship rolled more the 72 degrees, and lost all power. By rights the ship should have continued to roll and sink. A freak wave reportedly knocked the ship upright again.

Inside the crippled ship men were tossed like matchsticks in the dark, and Anthony J. Monti S1c was killed when he was thrown violently against a bulkhead. Outside, 4 brave men who had been attempting to pilot the ship were swept overboard from the Flying Bridge. Two of these were Lt. Peter Nicholas Meros, Gunnery Officer, and Rudolph Andrew Slavich S1c, who gave their lives. Also swept overboard were the young sailors Bridge Talker Frederick Morris GM2c and Signalman Striker Clifford Farr S1c. Morris drifted back to the ship on a raft and Farr was rescued by another vessel.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Despite the assertion in Conklin’s entry in DANFS that it was I-177, these two sources agree that it was I-37:
    • McCoy Reynolds entry in DANFS
    • 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.

External links[edit]