USS Rhodes (DE-384)
|Namesake:||Allison Phidel Rhodes|
|Builder:||Brown Shipbuilding, Houston, Texas|
|Laid down:||19 April 1943|
|Launched:||29 June 1943|
|Commissioned:||25 October 1943|
|Decommissioned:||10 July 1963|
|Reclassified:||DER-384, 28 October 1954|
|Struck:||1 August 1974|
|Fate:||Sold for scrapping 12 March 1975|
|Class and type:||Edsall-class destroyer escort|
|Length:||306 feet (93.27 m)|
|Beam:||36.58 feet (11.15 m)|
|Draft:||10.42 full load feet (3.18 m)|
|Speed:||21 knots (39 km/h)|
|Complement:||8 officers, 201 enlisted|
USS Rhodes (DE-384) was an Edsall-class destroyer escort built for the United States Navy during World War II. She served in the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean and provided destroyer escort protection against submarine and air attack for Navy vessels and convoys. Post-war she served the Navy as a radar picket ship.
She was named in honor of Lieutenant (junior grade) Allison Phidel Rhodes who was killed in action as USS Atlanta (CL-51) fought her last battle, the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, on 13 November 1942. She was laid down by the Brown Shipbuilding Company at Houston, Texas on 19 April 1943, and was launched 29 June 1943. Her sponsor was Mrs. C. E. Rhodes, mother of Lieutenant (junior grade) Rhodes, and was commissioned on October 1943, Lieutenant Commander E. A. Coffin of the United States Coast Guard in command.
World War II North Atlantic operations
Following shakedown off Bermuda, Rhodes, manned by a Coast Guard crew and assigned to CortDiv 23, steamed to Norfolk, Virginia, thence to New York City to escort a convoy back to Norfolk. Returning to Norfolk 2 January 1944, she served as a training ship for prospective destroyer escort crews until the 13th, then sailed east, escorting convoy UGS-30 to Gibraltar, where ships of the Royal Navy relieved CortDiv 23. Returning 23 February, she departed Norfolk 13 March for Bizerte escorting the 98-ship convoy UGS-36.
Attacked by Luftwaffe Aircraft
Two days out of Bizerte, 1 April, the convoy was attacked by German bombers and torpedo planes. In the quarter-hour engagement, the escorts and naval gun crews splashed five of the Luftwaffe's "eagles" and kept damage to the "prey" to one cargo ship, which was subsequently towed to Oran. On the 3d the convoy reached Lake Bizerte and on the 11th got underway for New York, arriving 2 May.
Availability, and exercises at Casco Bay, preceded another convoy run to Bizerte where Allied forces were gathering to push further into Axis-occupied Europe. Rhodes completed that run at Boston, Massachusetts, 11 July and, after availability, shifted to the North Atlantic sealanes, escorting six convoys to the United Kingdom and France during the remainder of the war in Europe.
Transferred to the Pacific Ocean
After V-E day, Rhodes was transferred, with her division, to the Pacific. Transiting the Panama Canal in mid-June 1945, she sailed north, arriving at Adak 8 July and reporting to Commander, Alaskan Sea Frontier, for duty as an escort and air-sea rescue vessel. Detached a week later and temporarily assigned to Task Force TF 92, she escorted that fleet's service group during anti-shipping strikes in the Sea of Okhotsk and the bombardment of the Kuriles (15–21 July). Then resuming operations for the Alaskan Sea Frontier, she remained in the Aleutians until mid-November, when she sailed for Okinawa. Arriving at Buckner Bay 25 November, she joined the U.S. 7th Fleet and in December got underway for Tsingtao, where she supported occupation troops until 11 February 1946. She then sailed for the east coast of the United States.
Rhodes retransited the Panama Canal 19 March and arrived at Charleston, South Carolina, to begin inactivation on the 25th. Assigned to the Florida Group, Atlantic Reserve Fleet, she moved south in April and decommissioned 13 June 1946.
Conversion to Radar Picket Ship
Rhodes remained berthed at Mayport, Florida, until 24 July 1954, when she got underway for Norfolk to begin conversion to a radar picket escort ship. Reclassified DER-384, 1 December 1954, she recommissioned 1 August 1955 and on 12 September reported for duty in the Atlantic Fleet.
Assigned to ComCortRon 16, Rhodes conducted exercises in the Caribbean until late November, then returned to Norfolk, Virginia, where she remained into the new year, 1956. Then sailing north, she arrived at Newport, Rhode Island, her homeport, 10 January and commenced 8 years of service on the Atlantic Barrier Patrol, the seaward extension of the Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line. During that period she served on various stations from Argentia to the Azores, interspersing such duty with exercises and operations in the Caribbean, including, in October–November 1962, participation in the Cuban Quarantine. In 1963 Rhodes was again ordered inactivated and in April she steamed to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to begin preparations.
Rhodes earned one battle star during World War II.
- This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.