|Namesake:||Frank Woodrow O'Flaherty|
|Builder:||Consolidated Steel Corporation, Orange, Texas|
|Laid down:||4 October 1943|
|Launched:||14 December 1943|
|Commissioned:||8 April 1944|
|Struck:||1 December 1972|
|Fate:||Sold for scrap 27 November 1973|
|Class and type:||John C. Butler-class destroyer escort|
|Length:||306 ft (93 m)|
|Beam:||36 ft 8 in (11.18 m)|
|Draft:||9 ft 5 in (2.87 m)|
|Propulsion:||2 boilers, 2 geared turbine engines, 12,000 shp (8,900 kW); 2 propellers|
|Speed:||24 knots (44 km/h; 28 mph)|
|Range:||6,000 nmi (11,000 km; 6,900 mi) at 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph)|
USS O'Flaherty (DE-340) was a John C. Butler-class destroyer escort in the United States Navy. It was named after Ensign Frank Woodrow O'Flaherty (26 November 1918 – 4 June 1942), a pilot with USS Enterprise, who died during the Battle of Midway and was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for "extraordinary heroism".
The John C. Butler-class destroyer escorts were designed as anti-submarine escort ships for ocean convoys, and as a result carried little anti-surface armament, in response to the wartime need for large numbers of cheap convoy escorts. The class was part of an initial requirement for 720 escorts to be completed by the end of 1944, which was significantly reduced.
As a John C. Butler-class destroyer escort, O'Flaherty was 306 feet (93.3 m) long with a beam of 36 feet 10 inches (11.2 m) and a draft of 13 feet 4 inches (4.1 m). She displaced 1,350 long tons (1,372 t) standard and 1,745 long tons (1,773 t) full load, with a complement of 14 officers and 201 enlisted men.
O'Flaherty was propelled by two Westinghouse geared steam turbines powered by two "D" Express boilers, which created 12,000 shaft horsepower (8,900 kW) for a designed maximum speed of 24 knots (44 km/h; 28 mph). She had a range of 6,000 nautical miles (11,000 km; 6,900 mi) at 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph).
Armament and sensors
O'Flaherty mounted a main battery of two 5"/38 caliber guns to protect against surface and aerial threats, directed by the Mark 51 Gunnery Fire-Control System. In addition, she mounted two twin 40 mm Bofors anti-aircraft guns and ten 20 mm Oerlikon anti-aircraft cannon, controlled by the Mark 51 anti-aircraft fire-control system. She also carried two depth charge racks, eight K-gun depth-charge throwers and one Hedgehog spigot mortar as anti-submarine weapons, but was built without three 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes that earlier members of her class received, discarded as unnecessary to her anti-submarine role. The destroyer escort was equipped with QC series sonar and SL-1 surface search radar.
Construction and service
O'Flaherty's keel was laid down by Consolidated Steel Corporation of Orange, Texas, on 4 October 1943; launched on 14 December 1943; sponsored by Ensign Lavada M. O'Flaherty, N.N.C., sister of Ensign O'Flaherty; and commissioned on 8 April 1944, with Lieutenant Commander D. W. Farnham in command.
After shakedown off Bermuda in May and June 1944, O'Flaherty accompanied battleship USS New York to Trinidad, British West Indies, on Midshipman training cruises for the Naval Academy. Then she transited the Panama Canal and steamed, via San Diego, to Pearl Harbor. She safeguarded the escort carrier USS Rudyerd Bay to Majuro from 20 to 26 July. The remainder of that month was spent shepherding merchantmen to Eniwetok via Tarawa.
From Eniwetok she escorted the escort carrier USS Santee to Guam, arriving there on 4 August. There she witnessed her first action, becoming involved in Operation Forager the invasion and reoccupation of Guam through the power of the mighty Pacific Fleet.
Leaving Guam, she returned to Eniwetok for a long stint on the "Milk-Run," escorting convoys between Eniwetok and Manus. At midnight 4 October, O'Flaherty was directed to proceed on a 600-mile (1000-kilometre) dash in search of the survivors of a PBM Mariner crashed at sea, and with the aid of search planes located and rescued the 12 crew members approximately 48 hours later.
On 26 October, with the installation of new CIC equipment, O’Flaherty was made a unit of Escort Division 64, formed as a hunter-killer group around escort carrier USS Corregidor to check out reported enemy submarine movements between Pearl Harbor and California. Later, she operated with escort carriers USS Makassar Strait and USS Wake Island in similar operations.
Following the Lingayen operation, O'Flaherty retired to Ulithi. Gathering there was one of the greatest displays of Naval might in the world. O'Flaherty was shifted to the 5th Fleet. From 10 February through 14 March, the aircraft carriers supported the Iwo Jima invasion with air strikes and provided aerial spotters for the big guns of the battleships and cruisers. Many ships suffered damage during the operation, but O'Flaherty was unscathed.
Two days before Iwo Jima was declared secure, on 16 March, O'Flaherty departed to participate in the invasion of Okinawa. As a unit of TG 52.1, Destroyer Division 120, she screened the Amphibious Support Force composed of escort carrier task units. Here on 2 April she drew her first blood.
As a Japanese Zero was making its run into the formation, O'Flaherty brought it down with her aft 40 mm guns. The following day, when two of the raiders made screaming dives for the Wake Island, one struck her near the waterline. A third just missed a screening destroyer, and O'Flaherty' fire drove off a fourth to be brought down by US Navy fighters.
O'Flaherty participated in the Okinawa operation from 21 March to 22 June except for a short period, in April undergoing repairs at Guam. She then performed picket and auxiliary escort duty until the Japanese surrender. Afterwards, she operated out of Guam until receiving orders to return to the United States late in 1945.
O'Flaherty operated off California until she was decommissioned at San Diego, California, in January 1947. She remained in reserve berthed at Mare Island, Vallejo, California until she was stricken from the Navy List on 1 December 1972. O'Flaherty was sold for scrap on 27 November 1973.
O'Flaherty received four battle stars for World War II service.
- This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
- Friedman, Norman (1981). Naval Radar. London: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-238-2.
- Friedman, Norman (1982). U.S. Destroyers: An Illustrated Design History. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-733-X.
- Gardiner, Robert; Chesneau, Roger, eds. (1980). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships, 1922–1946. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-913-8.
- "O'Flaherty (DE-340)". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Naval History & Heritage Command. 18 April 2016. Retrieved 20 October 2018.