USS Thaddeus Parker (DE-369)
|Builder:||Consolidated Steel Corporation, Orange, Texas|
|Laid down:||23 May 1944|
|Launched:||26 August 1944|
|Struck:||1 September 1967|
|Fate:||sold for scrapping 9 July 1968|
|Class and type:||John C. Butler-class destroyer escort|
|Length:||306 ft (93 m)|
|Beam:||36 ft 8 in (11 m)|
|Draft:||9 ft 5 in (3 m)|
|Propulsion:||2 boilers, 2 geared turbine engines, 12,000 shp; 2 propellers|
|Speed:||24 knots (44 km/h)|
|Range:||6,000 nmi. (12,000 km) @ 12 kt|
|Complement:||14 officers, 201 enlisted|
USS Thaddeus Parker (DE-369) was a John C. Butler-class destroyer escort acquired by the U.S. Navy during World War II. The primary purpose of the destroyer escort was to escort and protect ships in convoy, in addition to other tasks as assigned, such as patrol or radar picket. Post-war, she returned home proudly with one battle star to her credit.
She was named in honor of Thaddeus Parker who was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart medal and the Silver Star Medal for his brave actions during the Guadalcanal campaign. She was laid down on 23 May 1944 at Orange, Texas, by Consolidated Steel Corp.; launched on 26 August 1944; sponsored by Miss Iva Lee Parker; and commissioned on 25 October 1944, Lt. Comdr. Duane R. Stoneleigh, USNR, in command.
World War II
Following shakedown training off Bermuda from 17 November to 16 December and yard work in Boston, Massachusetts, the new destroyer escort got underway on 29 December 1944 for the U.S. West Coast. She transited the Panama Canal on 7 January 1945 and arrived at San Diego, California, on the 6th.
Four days later, Thaddeus Parker headed for Hawaii as the escort for a troopship and reached Pearl Harbor on 26 January. On 5 February, the destroyer escort proceeded to Eniwetok. For the next two months, she escorted ships to Guam and Saipan. On 2 March, Thaddeus Parker departed Eniwetok with three other escorts and 12 troops transports that were loaded with marine replacements for battle casualties on Iwo Jima. She lay off that island for several days before being assigned to screening duties. The escort returned to Eniwetok on the 25th and, the following month, was ordered to Ulithi. On 12 May, she rendezvoused with a troop transport, south of the equator, and escorted it to the Palaus.
Thaddeus Parker was assigned to an antisubmarine screen in the vicinity of Peleliu and served as an air-sea rescue ship in Kossol Roads in the Palaus. She rescued a Marine pilot on 19 May and saved another on 18 July. On 27 June, she shelled enemy installations at the Koror Naval Base. The escort returned to Ulithi on 20 July and was assigned escort duty. She then made two voyages to Okinawa; the first, escorting a merchant convoy; the second, with the other ships of Escort Division 86.
Thaddeus Parker was at Okinawa when hostilities with Japan ceased; and she waited for almost a month before receiving orders on 11 September to proceed to Honshū, Japan. She was a unit of the southern Japan Occupation Forces from 14 September 1945 to 2 January 1946 when she began her return voyage to the United States. She was assigned to the 19th Fleet at San Diego, California, and was placed out of commission, in reserve, on 31 May 1946.
In March 1951, during the Korean War, Thaddeus Parker was removed from the Reserve Fleet and prepared for activation. She was recommissioned at San Diego on 21 September 1951 with Lt. Comdr. John L. Hansen in command. After shakedown training and post-shakedown repairs at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard, the ship returned to San Diego where she operated as a plane guard and participated in antisubmarine operations.
On 14 February, she and other reactivated ships sailed for the east coast to join the Atlantic Fleet. Newport, Rhode Island, was her new homeport. In the spring, she made a cruise to Bermuda and, later, escorted USS Block Island (CVE-106) to the Caribbean for training. She then returned to Newport and remained in the Narragansett Bay area until November when she steamed to Guantanamo Bay for refresher training which she interrupted to return home to Newport for Christmas leave. She returned to Guantanamo in January 1953 to complete the training. in April and May, she provided services to the Training Command at Key West, Florida.
In June, the escort made a midshipman cruise to South America, visiting ports in Brazil, Colombia, and the British West Indies. After operations out of Newport, Thaddeus Parker made another midshipman cruise the following year. This one took her to Europe from 11 July to 3 September 1954 and included visits to ports in Scotland and France. The ship then operated along the Atlantic seaboard, from Brazil to Nova Scotia until 11 November 1957 when she was assigned duty as a Naval Reserve Training Ship at New York City.
Cuban Crisis activation
Thaddeus Parker was activated for the Cuban crisis, operating off that island from 2 October 1961 to 1 August 1962, before being decommissioned again and returning to the Reserve fleet at Port Newark, New Jersey.
Almost a decade later, Thaddeus Parker was decommissioned and struck from the Navy list on 1 September 1967. She was sold on 9 July 1968 to Peck Iron and Metals Co., Portsmouth, Virginia, and scrapped.
Thaddeus Parker received one battle star 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.