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Earl K. Olsen

 

Earl Kenneth Olsen, born 2 July 1903 in Brooklyn, N.Y., was a member of the Naval Academy Class of 1926. After varied duty afloat and ashore, he was ordered to Pensacola (CA-24) on 9 February 1939. Lieutenant Commander Olsen was serving as engineering officer during the night battle of Tassafaronga, off Guadalcanal, 30 November-1 December 1942. When a torpedo hit flooded the engine room, he coolly and efficiently directed evacuation of survivors. Attempting to carry another officer to safety, he himself succumbed to smoke and toxic gases. Lieutenant Commander Olsen was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross.

 

(DE-765: dp. 1,240; l. 306'; b. 36'8"; dr. 8'9"; s. 21 k.; cpl. 186; a. 3 3", 3 21" tt., 8 dcp., 1 dcp.(hh.), 2 dct; cl. Cannon)

 

Earl K. Olsen (DE-765) was launched 13 February 1944 by Tampa Shipbuilding Co., Inc., Tampa, Fla.; sponsored by Mrs. H. E. Olsen, mother of Lieutenant Commander Olsen; and commissioned 10 April 1944, Lieutenant Commander W. F. DeLong, USNR, in command.

 

After serving as schoolship for the Fleet Sound School at Key West 24 June to 13 August 1944, Earl K. Olsen sailed to Casco Bay, Maine, for refresher training before reporting to Boston, 24 August, for convoy duty. Between 28 August 1944 and 24 May 1945, she made six voyages escorting convoys between Boston, New York, and United Kingdom ports. On the fifth voyage as the convoy sailed for Southampton, USAT J. W. McAndrew and the French aircraft carrier Beam collided 13 March in a violent storm. Earl K. Olsen rescued two men and escorted the two stricken ships into Ponta Delgada, Azores, for emergency repairs while Olsen rejoined her convoy.

 

At the close of the war in Europe, Earl K. Olsen sailed from New York, 8 June 1945, to join the Pacific Fleet, training at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, during her passage to Pearl Harbor. She arrived 19 July. Heading west again on 6 August, she escorted ships to island ports and arrived at Manila, 3 September. The same day she commenced the first of four voyages to escort LSTs to Yokohama, and then operated in the Philippines until 9 January 1946.

 

Earl K. Olsen returned to San Pedro, Calif., 24 February 1946, and sailed 10 March for Norfolk, arriving the 26th. On 11 April she got underway for Green Cove Springs, Fla., arriving the 13th, to decommission. She was placed out of commission in reserve, 17 June 1946.

 

Assigned to Naval Reserve duty 13 December 1946, Earl K. Olsen was towed to Tampa and served with reduced complement. Recommissioned 21 November 1950, she reached Charleston, S.C., her new home port, 7 January 1951. With her complement increased, she continued to train Naval Reservists, but with a larger cruising range, visiting the Caribbean, France, Spain and Portugal two summers, 1951 and 1955. From 18 July 1953, she continued Reserve training duty out of Philadelphia, punctuated by fleet exercises. Reporting for inactivation on 23 November 1957, Earl K. Olsen was placed out of commission in reserve again, 25 February 1958, at Philadelphia.