USS Forster (DE-334)
|Namesake:||Edward William Forster|
|Builder:||Consolidated Steel Corporation, Orange, Texas|
|Laid down:||31 August 1943|
|Launched:||13 November 1943|
|Commissioned:||25 January 1944|
|Decommissioned:||25 September 1971|
|Reclassified:||DER-334, 21 October 1955|
|Struck:||25 September 1971|
|Fate:||Loaned to South Vietnam, 25 September 1971|
|Name:||USCGC Forster WDE-434|
|Commissioned:||29 June 1951|
|Decommissioned:||25 May 1954|
|Fate:||Returned to USN, 25 May 1954|
|Name:||RVNS Trần Khánh Dư (HQ-04)|
|Acquired:||25 September 1971|
|Fate:||Captured by North Vietnam, 29 April 1975|
|Name:||VPNS Dai Ky (HQ-03)|
|Acquired:||29 April 1975|
|Status:||In service c. 1997, status unknown|
|Class and type:||Edsall-class destroyer escort|
|Length:||306 ft (93 m)|
|Beam:||36.58 ft (11.15 m)|
|Draft:||10.42 ft (3.18 m) full load|
|Speed:||21 knots (39 km/h; 24 mph)|
|Range:||9,100 nmi (16,900 km; 10,500 mi) at 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph)|
|Complement:||8 officers, 201 enlisted|
USS Forster (DE-334) was launched 13 November 1943 by Consolidated Steel Corporation, Orange, Texas; sponsored by Mrs. E. W. Forster, widow of Machinist Edward W. Forster, who was killed in action during the Battle of Savo Island, 9 August 1942 with the sinking of USS Vincennes. Forster was commissioned 25 January 1944 and served as an escort in the Atlantic and Mediterranean during World War II. She was decommissioned and placed in reserve at Green Cove Springs, Florida on 15 June 1946.
Coast Guard service
She was turned over to the United States Coast Guard on 20 June 1951. Forster (given the Coast Guard hull number WDE-434) served on ocean station duty out of Honolulu. This included duty on Ocean Stations VICTOR, QUEEN, and SUGAR and voyages to Japan. She also conducted search and rescue duties, including finding and assisting the following vessels in distress: the M/V Katori Maru on 17 August 1952, assisting the M/V Chuk Maru on 29 August 1953, the M/V Tongshui on 1 – 3 October 1953, and the M/V Steel Fabricator on 26 October 1953. She was returned to the Navy on 25 May 1954.
Return to US Navy service
USS Forster was converted from DE to DER 334 in the late 1950s to early 1960s and served as a part of the DEW (Defense Early Warning) Line in the North Pacific. She was stationed out of Pearl Harbor in the 1960s and served in the Western Pacific on "Operation Market Time" in 1968-69 patrolling the Vietnam coast for contraband shipping and providing sea to shore fire when called upon. She served on patrol In the Formosa Straits in 1969. She was transferred to the Atlantic fleet in late 1969.
Source: LT Harry Powell, USN served as Chief Engineer, Officer of the Deck and Command Duty Officer on Forster from February 1969 to December 1969,
Republic of Vietnam service
She returned to reserve in naval custody until recommissioned at Long Beach, California, 23 October 1956. In February 1966, Forster escorted the nine cutters comprising Division 13 of Coast Guard Squadron One from Naval Base Subic Bay to Vung Tau in South Vietnam. She served in the Navy until she was transferred on 25 September 1971 to South Vietnam. The Vietnamese reclassified her as a frigate and renamed her RVNS Trần Khánh Dư (HQ-04). In 1974, she participated in the Battle of the Paracel Islands.
Socialist Republic of Vietnam service
She was in a shipyard, in overhaul, when Saigon fell on 30 April 1975, and was captured by North Vietnamese forces. The U.S. Navy wrote her off as “Transferred to Vietnam, 30 April 1975.” The communists renamed her VPNS Dai Ky (HQ-03), she apparently was still seaworthy in 1997 and was used as a training ship. By 1999, she was reduced to a training hulk.
Military awards and honors
|Combat Action Ribbon|
|American Campaign Medal|
|Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal|
|European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal (with one bronze service star)|
|World War II Victory Medal|
|Navy Occupation Service Medal|
|National Defense Service Medal (with one bronze service star)|
|Antarctica Service Medal|
|Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (with one bronze service star)|
|Vietnam Service Medal (with one silver and two bronze service stars)|
|Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation with Palm (with four bronze service stars)|
|Vietnam Campaign Medal|
- Larzelere, p 76
- This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
- Larzelere, Alex (1997). The Coast Guard at War, Vietnam, 1965–1975. Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD. ISBN 978-1-55750-529-3.