USS Eldridge (DE-173) c. 1944
|Namesake:||John Eldridge Jr.|
|Builder:||Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, Newark, New Jersey|
|Laid down:||22 February 1943|
|Launched:||25 July 1943|
|Commissioned:||27 August 1943|
|Decommissioned:||17 June 1946|
|Struck:||26 March 1951|
|Fate:||Sold to Greece, 15 January 1951|
|Class and type:||Cannon-class destroyer escort|
|Beam:||36 ft 10 in (11.23 m)|
|Draft:||11 ft 8 in (3.56 m)|
|Speed:||21 kn (39 km/h; 24 mph)|
|Range:||10,800 nmi (12,400 mi; 20,000 km) at 12 kn (22 km/h; 14 mph)|
|Complement:||15 officers and 201 enlisted|
Eldridge was born in Buckingham County, Virginia, on 10 October 1903 and graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1927. After flight training at Pensacola, Florida, he served at various stations on aviation duty. From 11 September 1941, he was Commander, Scouting Squadron 71, attached to Wasp (CV-7). Lieutenant Commander Eldridge was killed in action in the Solomon Islands on 2 November 1942. For his extraordinary heroism in leading the air attack on Japanese positions in the initial invasion of the Solomons on 7 August and 8 August 1942, he was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross.
Eldridge was laid down 22 February 1943, by the Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in Newark, New Jersey. Eldridge was launched on 25 July 1943, sponsored by Lieutenant Commander Eldridge's widow Mrs. John Eldridge Jr., and commissioned on 27 August 1943, with Lieutenant C. R. Hamilton, USNR, in command.
Between 4 January 1944 and 9 May 1945, Eldridge sailed on the vital task of escorting, to the Mediterranean Sea, men and materials to support Allied operations in North Africa and on into southern Europe. She made nine voyages to deliver convoys safely to Casablanca, Bizerte, and Oran.
Eldridge departed New York City on 28 May 1945, for service in the Pacific. En route to Saipan in July, she made contact with an underwater object and immediately attacked, but no results were observed. She arrived at Okinawa on 7 August, for local escort and patrol, and with the end of hostilities a week later, continued to serve as escort on the Saipan–Ulithi–Okinawa routes until November. Eldridge was placed out of commission in reserve 17 June 1946.
On 15 January 1951, she was transferred under the Mutual Defense Assistance Act to Greece where she served as Leon (D54). Leon was decommissioned on 5 November 1992, and on 11 November 1999, was sold as scrap to the Piraeus-based firm V&J Scrapmetal Trading Ltd.
The "Philadelphia Experiment" was an alleged naval military experiment at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, sometime around 28 October 1943, in which Eldridge was to be rendered invisible (i.e. by a cloaking device) to human observers for a brief period. It is also referred to as Project Rainbow.
In 1984 the movie The Philadelphia Experiment was released, presenting a fictionalized version of the incident. A sequel was filmed in 1993, titled Philadelphia Experiment II, and, in 2012, a made-for-television remake was released. The 1985 film Sky Pirates also referred to the incident as part of its plot-line.
- American Campaign Medal
- European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
- Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
- World War II Victory Medal (United States)
- Navy Occupation Service Medal with "ASIA" clasp
- "Eldridge (DE-173)". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Navy Department, Naval History and Heritage Command. 7 April 2016. Retrieved 8 August 2017. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
- "HELLENIC NAVY – LEON D-54 (1951–1992)". www.hellenicnavy.gr. Archived from the original on 28 September 2009. Retrieved 1 September 2009.[verification needed]
- Carroll, Robert Todd (3 December 2007). "Philadelphia experiment". The Skeptic's Dictionary. Retrieved 5 February 2008.
- Adams, Cecil (23 October 1987). "Did the U.S. Navy teleport ships in the Philadelphia Experiment?". The Straight Dope. Retrieved 20 February 2007.
- "Philadelphia Experiment". Naval Historical Center of the United States Navy. 30 September 2015. Retrieved 26 January 2016.