USS Strickland (DE-333)
|Namesake:||Everett C. Strickland|
|Builder:||Consolidated Steel Corporation, Orange, Texas|
|Laid down:||23 August 1943|
|Launched:||2 November 1943|
|Commissioned:||10 January 1944|
|Decommissioned:||17 June 1960|
|Reclassified:||DER-333, 1 October 1951|
|Struck:||1 December 1972|
|Fate:||Sold for scrapping 10 September 1974|
|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 Strickland (DE-333) was an Edsall-class destroyer escort built for the U.S. 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 U.S. Navy in other tasks, including that of a radar picket ship.
She was named in honor of Ensign Everett C. Strickland who was killed on 9 August 1942 during the Battle of Savo Island. She was laid down on 23 August 1943 by the Consolidated Steel Corp., Orange, Texas; launched on 2 November 1943; sponsored by Mrs. Everett Strickland; and commissioned on 10 January 1944, Lt. Comdr. A. J. Hopkins in command.
World War II North Atlantic operations
Strickland sailed for Bermuda on her shakedown cruise and thence to Norfolk, Virginia. She stood out of that port on 24 March in the screen of convoy UGS-37, consisting of 60 merchant ships and six LSTs, en route to Bizerte. The voyage to Gibraltar was uneventful; but, once the Allied ships entered the Mediterranean, they were trailed by German planes. The Luftwaffe struck late in the evening of 11 April when the convoy was off Cape Bengut, Algeria, with a force of approximately 25 Dornier 217s and Junker 88s making bombing and torpedo runs. Strickland, on the starboard flank of the convoy, splashed a Junker that was making a strafing run on her. During the action, USS Holder was torpedoed and badly damaged. The ship's return trip to the United States was uneventful, and she arrived at New York on 11 May.
Strickland continued on the Norfolk-to-Bizerte run for five months and, in October, shifted to the North Atlantic lanes, escorting tankers and troop transports to England and France. She continued these runs until mid-May 1945 when she returned to New York to be refitted for duty in the Pacific. She stood out of New York on 20 June for a 10-day training period at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and onward routing via the Panama Canal to Hawaii.
Transfer to the Pacific Fleet
Strickland arrived at Pearl Harbor on 25 July and was conducting training exercises when Japan capitulated. She escorted an aircraft carrier to Eniwetok, Marshall Islands, on 29 August, and accompanied three merchant ships from there to Japan, arriving in Tokyo Bay on 2 October. She sailed from there to Guam and, until January 1946, visited Iwo Jima, Truk, and Okinawa. She returned to San Diego, California, on 25 January 1946 and was routed to the East Coast for inactivation. Strickland arrived at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on 11 February and moved down to Charleston, South Carolina, the following month. She remained at Charleston from 10 March to 5 December when she was towed to Green Cove Springs, Florida. The destroyer was decommissioned on 15 June and placed in reserve with the Atlantic Fleet.
Reactivated as a radar picket ship
In December 1950, the Navy decided to reactivate the ship and convert her into a radar picket escort ship. Strickland was towed to Norfolk, Virginia, on 29 March 1951 for conversion. She was recommissioned as DER-333 on 2 February 1952. After shakedown off Guantánamo Bay, the destroyer returned to Norfolk for availability from 1 to 27 June; and then reported to Escort Squadron 16 at Newport, Rhode Island, where she began duty with the Eastern Air Defense Command. With her new and complex electronics installation, Strickland worked hand-in-hand with the U.S. Air Force in a network of radar stations that were scanning the coasts of the United States. Operating from her homeport, the ship served at various picket stations on the North Atlantic seaboard until October 1955 when she was overhauled at the New York Naval Shipyard. With updated radar equipment, Strickland held training off Guantanamo Bay; then returned to Newport on 18 March 1956 for assignment to the picket line. During the summer of 1956, she had the distinction of being the first DER to man a regularly assigned picket station on the Distant Early Warning (DEW) line. She continued her picket duties in the Atlantic until July 1957.
On 15 July, Strickland, with four other DERs, stood out of Newport en route to the Pacific. They arrived at Pearl Harbor, her new homeport, on 18 August. The ship then began patrolling picket stations on the Pacific extension of the DEW line. From 2 October 1957 to 24 March 1958, she was in Pearl Harbor. After installation of stronger radar and communications systems, she returned to her former duties on the barrier stations in the Pacific Ocean area until ordered to return to the United States for inactivation.
Strickland was decommissioned on 17 June 1960 and assigned to the Reserve Fleet. She was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 1 December 1972.
Strickland received one battle star for World War II service.