USS Harold C. Thomas (DE-21)
|Name:||USS Harold C. Thomas|
|Builder:||Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Vallejo, California|
|Laid down:||30 April 1942|
|Launched:||18 December 1942, as HMS Essington (BDE-21)|
|Commissioned:||31 May 1943|
|Decommissioned:||26 October 1945|
|Renamed:||USS Harold C. Thomas, 19 February 1943|
|Struck:||28 November 1945|
|2 battle stars (World War II)|
|Fate:||Sold for scrapping, 25 November 1946|
|Type:||Evarts-class destroyer escort|
|Beam:||35 ft (11 m)|
|Draft:||11 ft (3.4 m) (max)|
|Speed:||19 knots (35 km/h; 22 mph)|
|Range:||4,150 nmi (7,690 km)|
|Complement:||15 officers and 183 enlisted|
USS Harold C. Thomas (DE-21) was an Evarts-class destroyer escort constructed for the United States Navy during World War II. It was promptly sent off into the Pacific Ocean to protect convoys and other ships from Japanese submarines and fighter aircraft. At the end of the war, she returned to the United States proudly with two battle stars.
She was launched on 18 December 1942 by the Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Vallejo, California, as HMS Essington (BDE-21) for the British Royal Navy; later designed for U.S. Navy use; and commissioned on 31 May 1943, Comdr. H. Reich in command.
World War II Pacific Theatre operations
After three voyages escorting merchantmen from San Francisco, California, to Pearl Harbor, Harold C. Thomas served with ComSubTraPac from 2 to 20 November 1943. Sailing from Pearl Harbor on 20 November with a convoy of merchantmen and cargo ships, she reached Abemama, Gilbert Islands, on 28 November, a week after Vice Admiral R. A. Spruance began the occupation of those islands. Harold C. Thomas spent the rest of the year in the Gilberts on patrol and escort duty.
After undergoing availability early in 1944, Harold C. Thomas sailed as flagship for Escort Division 10, on 29 February. Reaching Eniwetok, Marshall Islands, on 11 March, she did escort work until 30 March when she became part of a hunter-killer carrier group on anti-submarine patrol east of the Marshalls. Returning to Pearl Harbor on 6 May, the destroyer escort spent the remainder of the year in the vital but unsung work of shepherding merchantmen, cargo ships, and transports through the back staging area, up to their assembly points for invasion forces. This duty took Harold C. Thomas to the Marshall, Admiralty, Palau, and Marianas Islands. She also performed some submarine training work at Pearl Harbor. On 21 November Harold C. Thomas rescued seven men from a PBM flying boat which had crashed at sea off Majuro Atoll.
Departing Pearl Harbor on 21 January 1945, she reached San Francisco, California, six days later and proceeded to San Diego, California, for badly needed repairs. Harold C. Thomas returned to Pearl Harbor on 5 April and spent the rest of the war in submarine training and escort duty.
Attending the Signing at Tokyo Bay
The long Pacific war ended on 1 September with the signing of the unconditional surrender on board Missouri (BB-63) in Tokyo Bay, and Harold C. Thomas sailed for the States 20 days later, putting into San Pedro, California, on 27 September.
She decommissioned on 26 October 1945. She was sold to the Pacific Bridge Co., San Francisco, California, on 25 November 1946 and was scrapped on 26 March 1947.
|Combat Action Ribbon (retroactive)|
|American Campaign Medal|
|Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (with two service stars)|
|World War II Victory Medal|
- Photo gallery of USS Harold C. Thomas (DE-21) at NavSource Naval History