USS Eldridge (DE-173)

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USS Eldridge (DE-173)
DE-173 USS Eldridge
USS Eldridge (DE-173) ca. 1944
United States
Namesake: John Eldridge, Jr.
Ordered: 1942
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 as Leon (D54)
General characteristics
Class and type: Cannon-class destroyer escort
  • 1,240 long tons (1,260 t) (standard)
  • 1,620 long tons (1,650 t) (full load)
  • 306 ft (93 m) o/a
  • 300 ft (91 m) w/l
Beam: 36 ft 10 in (11.23 m)
Draft: 11 ft 8 in (3.56 m)
Installed power: 6,000 hp (4,500 kW)
Speed: 21 kn (24 mph; 39 km/h)
Range: 10,800 nmi (12,400 mi; 20,000 km) at 12 kn (14 mph; 22 km/h)
Complement: 15 officers and 201 enlisted

USS Eldridge (DE-173), a Cannon-class destroyer escort, was a ship of the United States Navy named for Lieutenant Commander John Eldridge, Jr., a hero of the invasion of the Solomon Islands. Its keel was laid down by the Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in Newark, New Jersey. Eldridge was launched on 25 July 1943, sponsored by Eldridge's widow Mrs. John Eldridge Jr., and commissioned on 27 August 1943 with Lieutenant C. R. Hamilton, USNR, in command.

Service history[edit]

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. It 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, it made contact with an underwater object and immediately attacked, but no results were observed. It 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 SaipanUlithi–Okinawa routes until November. Eldridge was placed out of commission in reserve 17 June 1946.

On 15 January 1951, it was transferred under the Mutual Defense Assistance Act to Greece where it served as HS Leon (D-54). 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.[1][verification needed]

Philadelphia Experiment[edit]

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.

The story is widely regarded as a hoax.[2][3] The United States Navy maintains that no such experiment occurred and details of the story contradict well-established facts about Eldridge.[4]



  1. ^ "HELLENIC NAVY – LEON D-54 (1951–1992)". Retrieved 1 September 2009. 
  2. ^ Carroll, Robert Todd (3 December 2007). "Philadelphia experiment". The Skeptic's Dictionary. Retrieved 5 February 2008. 
  3. ^ Adams, Cecil (23 October 1987). "Did the U.S. Navy teleport ships in the Philadelphia Experiment?". The Straight Dope. Retrieved 2007-02-20. 
  4. ^ "Philadelphia Experiment". Naval Historical Center of the United States Navy. 30 September 2015. Retrieved 26 January 2016. 

External links[edit]

USS Eldridge DE173 War Diary On Microfilm