Alexander Dallas Bache--born on 19 July 1806 at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania--graduated from the Military Academy at West Point, New York, in 1825 and served in the Army for three years. He resigned his commission to accept a position as professor of natural science and chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania. Bache was also in charge of research at Philadelphia's Franklin Institute. In 1836, he became the first president of Girard College and, soon thereafter, embarked upon a two-year period studying European educational systems. Upon his return to the United States, Bache set about reorganizing Philadelphia public schools. In 1843, he became superintendent of the United States Coast Survey, an office he held for the rest of his life. Bache was a regent of the Smithsonian Institution from 1846. He died on 17 February 1867 in Newport, Rhode Island.
George Mifflin Bache--born on 12 November 1840 at Washington, D.C.--was appointed midshipman on 9 November 1857. Graduating from the Naval Academy just after the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, Passed Midshipman Bache went to sea in the sloop Jamestown that operated along the Atlantic coast of the Confederacy. Later, he served briefly in the steam sloop Powhatan before transferring to the squadron on the Mississippi River late in 1862. On 8 November 1862, he received orders to assume command of the stern wheel, casemate gunboat Cincinnati. Lt. Bache commanded the gunboat during operations leading up to the fall of Vicksburg, Miss., early in July of 1863. During those operations, however, his ship was sunk on 27 May 1863 while dueling Confederate batteries defending the river approaches to the city.
That summer, he took command of the sidewheel gunboat Lexington and led her in a number of engagements with Confederate forces. In 1864, he returned to the Atlantic blockade as executive officer of Powhatan. While assigned to that ship, Lt. Bache participated in both the unsuccessful and successful assaults on Fort Fisher, N.C., carried out in December 1864 and January 1865. In the latter attack, he was wounded but not severely. Following the Civil War, he served in Sacramento until she was destroyed on a reef at the mouth of the Godavary River, Madras, India, on 19 June 1867. Between 1869 and 1872, Lt. Comdr. Bache was assigned to the steam sloop Juniata on the European Station. After that, he went ashore to ordnance duty at the Washington Navy Yard until his retirement on 5 April 1875. Comdr. Bache died on 11 February 1896 at Washington, D.C.
The first Bache--a Coast and Geodetic Survey steamer originally known as A. D. Bache--was named for Alexander Dallas Bache while Bache (DD-470) was named for Comdr. George Mifflin Bache.
(DD-470: displacement 2,050; length 376'8"; beam 39'7"; draft 17'9"; speed 37 knots; complement 329; armament. 5 5", 4 1.1", 6 20 millimeter, 4 .50-caliber machine guns, 10 21" torpedo tubes, 6 depth charge projectors, 2 depth charge tracks; class Fletcher)
The second Bache (DD-470) was laid down on 19 November 1941 at Staten Island, NewYork, by the Bethlehem Steel Company; launched on 7 July 1942; sponsored by Miss Louise Bache; and commissioned at the New York Navy Yard on 14 November 1942, Comdr. John N. Opie, III, in command.
After completing shakedown training at Casco Bay, Maine, Bache rendezvoused with Convoy ON-154 bound from European waters to America on 29 December. In the course of that mission, she detected what appeared to be a submarine on 8 January 1943 and conducted three depth charge attacks in succession. While Bache claimed positive results, a search of postwar records failed to substantiate her claim. After seeing the convoy safely into Halifax, Nova Scotia, the warship returned to New York for post-shakedown repairs.
At the conclusion of that brief repair period, Bache moved south to Norfolk, Virginia, whence she departed on 6 February as part of the screen assigned to the British aircraft carrier HMS Victorious. The warships transited the Panama Canal on 11 February and arrived in Pearl Harbor on 4 March. Following voyage repairs, she carried out training in the local operating area until the middle of the second week in May.
On 10 May 1943, Bache stood out of Pearl Harbor in company with battleships New Mexico (BB-40), Mississippi (BB-41) and destroyer Lansdowne (DD-486), bound for the Aleutians and duty with the North Pacific Force. She arrived at Kuluk Bay, Adak, on 17 May, but, immediately upon taking on fuel and provisions, returned to sea to join the week-old campaign for Attu. Bache reached Massacre Bay the following day but remained there only until the 19th, returning to Adak on the 20th. Operating from that base, she patrolled the seas around Attu and Kiska, supporting the final stage of the conquest of Attu and the preparation of Kiska for its turn. When that turn came in the middle of August, however, it proved anticlimactic because the Japanese had already withdrawn their forces.
Bache carried out missions in the Aleutians until the last week in August. On the 24th, she stood out of Kuluk Bay in company with battleship Tennessee (BB-43), light cruisers Richmond (CL-9), Detroit (CL-9), and Raleigh (CL-7), and attack transport J. Franklin Bell (APA-16) for the voyage to San Francisco. The destroyer arrived at her destination on the last day of the month and spent two weeks there engaged in leave and upkeep. On 15 September, she got underway to return to the Aleutians. Bache reentered Kuluk Bay on 22 September and resumed operations from that base.
On 27 November 1943, Bache departed Adak for the Hawaiian Islands. She moored in Pearl Harbor on 4 December but remained there only a week. On the 11th, Bache began the long voyage to the southwestern Pacific. Steaming by way of Funafuti in the Ellice Islands and Espiritu Santo in the New Hebrides, she arrived at Milne Bay, New Guinea, on 21 December. At Milne Bay, the destroyer was assigned to Task Force (TF) 74, a mixed force made up of American and Australian cruisers screened by American destroyers and commanded by Rear Admiral Victor A. C. Crutchley, VC, RN. Bache spent the next seven months supporting General Douglas MacArthur's conquest of the northern coast of New Guinea and consequent isolation of the large Japanese bases in the Bismarck Archipelago at Rabaul on New Britain and Kavieng on New Ireland.
Just three days after her arrival, the destroyer was underway in company with an invasion force bound for Cape Gloucester on the western end of New Britain to secure the eastern flank of the vital Dampier and Vitiaz Straits between that island and New Guinea. On 26 December, after delivering a preliminary bombardment, Bache and her colleagues in the cruiser-destroyer force stood by to shield the troops of the 1st Marine Division against the possibility of a descent by the Japanese Navy during their landing. In mid-January, she interrupted her support for the marines subjugation of western New Britain to provide similar services to soldiers of the 126th Regimental Combat Team (RCT), Army's 32d Infantry Division engaged in the capture of the area surrounding Saidor on the northern coast of New Guinea to protect the western flank of the Dampier and Vitiaz Straits. The destroyer remained off Saidor from 18 to 21 January and then returned to the vicinity of Cape Gloucester on the 23d.
With both sides of the straits between New Guinea and New Britain free of Japanese interference, General MacArthur looked north to the Admiralty Islands whose capture would further shield his right flank during the advance up the back of the New Guinea bird and provide an alternative base to heavily defended Rabaul. Accordingly, on 27 February, TF 74 stood out to sea from Cape Sudest, New Guinea, just ahead of a task force of high speed transports (APDs) and destroyers with embarked elements of the U.S. Army’s 1st Cavalry Division. The troops were to serve either as the initial invasion force if resistance in the Admiralties was sufficiently light or as a reconnaissance in force to be withdrawn if opposition proved too heavy.
Arriving off Los Negros Island about two hours into the morning watch of 29 February, Bache accompanied Nashville (CL-43) and Beale (DD-471) to a station north of Seeadler Harbor off Ndrilo Island to provide gunfire support for the landing. At 0740, she and her consorts opened fire and continued to pound suspected enemy positions for about 15 minutes. The landing force's initial successes obviated the need for a second bombardment scheduled for the beginning of the forenoon watch. With all apparently going well ashore, the warship cleared the area in company with the rest of the task force, less two destroyers that remained behind to provide call fire, and steamed back to Cape Sudest.
On 4 March, Bache returned to the vicinity of the Admiralties with TF 74. After bombarding an enemy gun emplacement on Hauwei Island, her task force took up a patrol station about 30 miles north of Manus. She remained on station with TF 74 for three days guarding the approaches to the Admiralties while the troops ashore consolidated their hold on Los Negros and moved over to Manus. On the 7th, her task force bombarded enemy positions at the entrance to Seeadler Harbor before leaving the Admiralties once again. Bache returned to Cape Sudest on 9 March.
With the Bismarck Archipelago barrier pierced and passage of the breach secured on its right flank by possession of the Admiralties, Allied forces in the southwestern Pacific stood poised on the tail of the New Guinea bird ready to spring onto its back. The local Japanese command expected the Allies to move thence to Hansa Bay, located about midway between Saidor and their own base at Wewak. As if to confirm the enemy’s illusions, 7th Fleet warships, supported by planes from V Air Force, attacked Wewak in mid-March and hit the Hansa Bay region on 10 April. Bache did not participate in the Wewak strike in March, but her guns joined those of Ammen (DD-527), Daly (DD-519), Hutchins (DD-476), and Mullany (DD-528) on 10 April for the bombardment visited upon the defenses around Hansa Bay, the targets of which also included Ulingen Harbor, Alexishafen, and Madang.
The magnitude of the distance the Allies traversed in their first step along the island's northern coast dumbfounded the Japanese. Not only bypassing the outposts near Hansa Bay, the trio of amphibious blows landed far beyond the Wewak installation as well on a portion of the coast bounded by Tanamerah Bay in the west and Aitape in the east. At that point, TF 74 split into two parts, nominally along national lines. The Australian warships, augmented by two American destroyers, remained as TF 74, while Bache and the other American ships formerly assigned to TF 74 came together in Rear Admiral Russell S. Berkey's TF 75, built around light cruisers Phoenix (CL-46), Nashville, and Boise (CL-47). Designated Covering Force "B" for the Hollandia mission, her unit parted company with the main force about midnight on 21 April and reached its objective, Humboldt Bay, at about 0500 on the 22d. At around 0600, Bache and her consorts commenced a 15-minute preliminary bombardment. Those efforts, as well as the contributions added by TF 58 aircraft, prompted most of the supposed defenders to abandon their assignment and head for safer surroundings. As a consequence of the enemy's headlong flight, the assault troops enjoyed a landing that in amphibious circles might be regarded as a walkover, and Japanese resistance never really materialized. Indeed, the relative ease of the occupation allowed Bache and her colleagues in TF 75 to make a side trip some 120 miles up the coast on 26 April where they shelled three Japanese airstrips between Sarmi and the Wakde Islands.
Early in May, the warship returned to Seeadler Harbor to prepare for the next hop in the leapfrog up the back of the New Guinea hen. Before embarking on that phase of the huge island's subjugation, however, she joined Abner Read (DD-526) and Beale to conduct a subsidiary mission in the vicinity of the bypassed Japanese base at Wewak where enemy shore batteries were hampering the work of Aitape-based PT boats. On 9 May, the three destroyers departed Manus for Aitape where, on the 11th, they embarked four PT boat officers to help them locate the targets. Bache and her colleagues carried out their bombardment on the 12th, returned the impromptu spotters to Aitape, and headed back to Manus.
Bache reentered Seeadler Harbor in time to complete preparations for the Wakde-Sarmi step of the climb up the New Guinea ladder and sortie with the covering forces on 15 May. The destroyer and her colleagues took station off the objectives early on the morning of the 17th. The destroyer took part in the pre-invasion bombardment and later, after the troops went ashore, rendered gunfire support to them upon request. After a brief trip to Hollandia for fuel and provisions, she returned to the Wakde-Sarmi area on 21 May and patrolled to the north and west with TF 75 while the troops ashore consolidated their beachhead and prepared to move inland against a much more resolute defense than had been encountered at Hollandia. The fact that the enemy defense consisted of unsupported ground forces allowed the Army to proceed on its own once the beachhead was fully secured and to release most of its naval support to participate in the next amphibious operation on the New Guinea timetable, the seizure of Biak, one of the Schouten Islands located just to the east of the peninsula that makes up the head of the New Guinea bird.
Accordingly, Bache left the Wakde-Sarmi area and arrived back in Humboldt Bay on 24 May to join the Biak assault force. The following day, she returned to sea with that force to carry out the mission. Arriving off Biak on the 27th, the destroyer provided antisubmarine protection for the cruisers during their prelanding bombardment. After the landing, she moved in to bring her own guns to bear on enemy positions to assist the troops' movement inland. Bache patrolled off Biak until the end of May guarding the assembled warships against the submarine threat and supplying occasional gunfire support.
After the invasion, the Japanese reversed their decision to leave Biak to its own devices and launched Operation "Kon" to reinforce the island's garrison. Bache returned to Humboldt Bay with TF 75 on 31 May to fuel and provision in preparation for the expected onslaught. On 7 June, the destroyer sortied from Humboldt Bay with TF 75 and shaped a course back to Biak. The cruiser-destroyer force took up station to the northeast of the island early in the evening of the 8th. An American patrol plane spotted the Japanese surface force attempting to bring reinforcements to Biak at about 2200, and Bache's force picked it up on radar about 80 minutes later. Not long thereafter, the enemy made visual contact on the Allied surface force, let go the barges they were towing to Biak, and launched torpedoes before retiring at high speed.
The Allied lead destroyers, Bache among them, charged toward the retreating enemy at flank speed and began firing at extreme range in the hope of closing the distance by forcing the Japanese to maneuver to avoid their salvoes. The enemy destroyers returned the fire and even launched another torpedo attack. The only damage--other than fragments from near misses--sustained by either side in the running duel, however, came at about 0210 on the 9th when Shiratsuyu suffered a direct hit from one of Destroyer Division (DesDiv) 47's salvoes. The enemy destroyer slowed briefly but picked up speed again soon thereafter. About 15 minutes later just before 0230, the Allied force broke off the stern chase in compliance with orders issued to protect its ships from attack by friendly aircraft. Task Force 75 rendezvoused with TF 74 later that morning, and then Bache headed for Manus in the Admiralty Islands.
Following upkeep at Manus and drills in nearby waters, she returned to the bypassed enemy base at Wewak on the New Guinea coast with sister ship Ammen and Australian heavyt cruisers HMAS Australia and HMAS Shropshire, and destroyers HMAS Arunta and HMAS Warramunga. During the two nights between 18 and 20 June, the two cruisers and four destroyers pounded the Japanese stronghold in an effort to dampen the garrison's enthusiasm for an assault on the Aitape defense perimeter. Bache also screened HMS Ariadne while that British cruiser-minelayer sowed mines in the approaches to the isolated Japanese outpost.
On 29 June, the destroyer stood out of Seeadler Harbor on her way to participate in the last two major amphibious operations of the campaign for New Guinea. Before invading the Vogelkop peninsula proper on its northwestern coast at Cape Sansapor, General MacArthur concluded that his forces needed airfields farther west than those the Allies already possessed, and the island of Noemfoor, though relatively well defended, met his requirements perfectly. Bache and the cruiser-destroyer force arrived off the invasion beaches at Kamiri on Noemfoor’s northwestern coast early on the morning of 2 July, and pummeled the objective with a preliminary bombardment that enabled the assault troops to secure all their initial objectives and obviated the immediate need for Bache and her consorts to provide gunfire support for the troops’ initial movement inland. Accordingly, she headed for Humboldt Bay that same day and arrived there on the 3d.
After maintenance and overhaul work at Hollandia and Manus, Bache returned to the northern coast of New Guinea in mid-July once again to help defend the eastern flank of the Allied enclave at Hollandia against pressure from the bypassed enemy garrison at Wewak. Her part in that endeavor consisted of patrols along the coast to interdict Japanese barge and truck traffic carrying reinforcements and supplies to their forces trying to breach the Aitape roadblock and contest Allied possession of the Hollandia region. Training exercises and further patrols along New Guinea's northern coast occupied Bache's time until the end of the month when she helped cover the unopposed landing on the Vogelkop peninsula at Cape Sansapor, the last rung on the New Guinea ladder.
Early in August, Bache left New Guinea for Sydney, Australia, where she spent two weeks of repairs while her crew enjoyed some respite from the rigors of war. Revitalized, the destroyer returned to the northern shores of New Guinea at the end of the month to resume patrols along stretches of the coast still held by isolated enemy forces and to prepare for the Allies' next move on the southwestern Pacific chessboard, the jump from the head of the New Guinea bird into the Molucca Islands at Morotai. Bache departed Humboldt Bay on 13 September and headed for the point near the Vogelkop where the warships covering the seizure came together for the approach.
The force arrived off Cape Gila on the southwestern coast of Morotai early on the morning of D-Day, 15 September, and the cruiser-destroyer force to which Bache belonged parted company with the main group to cross the strait between Morotai and Halmahera to bombard a Japanese strongpoint reported to be located at Galela. After pounding the target for more than an hour without reply, the destroyer accompanied her consorts back across the strait to provide gunfire support for the landing itself. Her guns, however, remained silent because an absent enemy allowed the assault troops to occupy the objective unmolested. Since her gunfire support proved unnecessary, Bache retired from Morotai and rendezvoused with TG 77.1 near Mios Woendi on the 16th.
For almost a month, she occupied her time with training exercises in the vicinity of the Admiralty Islands, evolutions punctuated by repair periods in Seeadler Harbor at Manus. By 12 October, the destroyer was back at Humboldt Bay readying herself for the invasion of the Philippines at Leyte. On the 13th, Bache's Close Covering Group, TG 77.3, stood out of the bay in company with the Northern LST Group whose landings on Leyte near Tacloban at the head of San Pedro Bay it was to support. The warship and her colleagues escorted the Northern Attack Force into Leyte Gulf during the night of 19 and 20 October, and together they made their way toward the northwestern corner of the gulf. While the amphibious forces approached their stations and took up their positions, the battleships of the Fire Support Unit, North, subjected the target area to a withering barrage. At the conclusion of that overture, Bache and her compatriots in TG 77.3 moved in to play their supporting roles in the opening act of the performance. Her cruiser-destroyer force opened fire at about 0900, and, about 30 minutes later when the assault craft started their runs toward shore, Bache and her mates shifted their attention inland.
Bache remained “on call” in San Pedro Bay for four days to provide gunfire support for the troops ashore whenever they requested it. Near the end of that period, however, danger loomed over the southern horizon. By mid-day on the 23d, vague fears of a surface threat to the amphibious units assembled in Leyte Gulf began to take more tangible form as contact reports from submarines and aircraft confirmed the approach of at least three separate Japanese naval forces. The following afternoon, Vice Admiral Kinkaid organized his warships in the gulf to bar the enemy’s way. Bache’s unit headed south to await the forces of Vice Admiral Nishimura and Vice Admiral Shima in Surigao Strait, the passage between Leyte and Dinagat. Posted on the right flank forward of the battle line, she participated in the second torpedo attack by destroyers on Nisihimura’s advancing warships between 0329 and 0336 in the morning of 25 October. The torpedoes that she and her squadron mates launched scored hits on the enemy. One hit battleship Yamashiro and slowed her briefly while another delivered the coup de grace to destroyer Michishio, damaged almost an hour earlier by DesRon 54 in the first destroyer torpedo attack.
Bache and her consorts then retired to give the cruisers and battleships a clear field of fire. Once the left flank destroyers executed the third torpedo attack and cleared the area, the battle line and the cruisers provided the denouement of the destruction begun by the destroyers. Of Nishimura's two battleships, one heavy cruiser, and four destroyers, only the cruiser and a destroyer, both heavily damaged, emerged from that encounter, and the cruiser, Mogami, did not last long, for, damaged by gunfire from heavy cruisers Minneapolis (CA-36), Portland (CA-33), Louisville (CA-28), light cruisers Columbia (CL-56) and Denver, and collision with heavy cruiser Nachi, south of Bohol Island, P.I., was scuttled later in the day by destroyer Akebono. Vice Admiral Shima's foray into Surigao Strait proved desultory, and Bache and her colleagues, having already yielded the field to the heavy units after launching torpedoes at Nishimura's approach, never came in contact with the enemy's second, halfhearted, attempt to force the strait. Upon confirming to his own satisfaction that Nishimura's force was effectively destroyed, Shima retreated.
The magnitude of the American victory increased as word of the successes won in the actions fought farther north off Samar and Cape Engaño filtered into the gulf during the few days that Bache remained there guarding the amphibious force against submarine and air attack. Near the end of October, the destroyer embarked upon a voyage that soon brought even more joy to her crewmen when they learned that their destination was the United States. Steaming by way of Ulithi Atoll and Pearl Harbor, she reached the west coast late in November. After an extended repair period and refresher training, Bache, accompanied by Daly, left San Diego on 26 January 1945 to rejoin the Pacific Fleet.
The overhaul kept Bache out of the Luzon campaign that began at Lingayen Gulf early in January 1945. She reported for duty with the 5th Fleet upon arrival at Eniwetok on 20 February and reached Iwo Jima eight days later, escorting a net-laying unit. During the week she spent off Iwo, Bache shelled enemy strong points to help the marines ashore subdue the stubborn remnants of the fanatical Japanese resistance. When not so occupied, she guarded the transports against the threats of air and submarine attacks. Near the end of the first week in March, the destroyer left the Volcano Islands in the screen of a convoy evacuating wounded marines and sailors to Saipan.
With the struggle for Iwo Jima winding down, Bache proceeded to Leyte, one of several locations where elements of the huge Okinawa invasion force came together and prepared for their mission. She stood out of Leyte Gulf late in March escorting part of TF 55, the Southern Attack Force, and set a course for Okinawa. Bache arrived off the objective early in the morning of 1 April-- L day for Okinawa as the 5th Fleet landed soldiers of the U.S. Army’s XXIV Corps and marines of the III Amphibious Corps on the island’s western coast at beaches to either side of the mouth of the Bisha River. At that point, the destroyers in the screen received other assignments, and Bache drew duty screening the transports from attack by Japanese submarines and aircraft.
Both the troops ashore and their brethren supporting them in the warships afloat marveled at the enemy's feeble responses to the initial assault. The relative ease of that first thrust, however, only masked the gathering storm; and the calm lasted but a few days. On shore, the soldiers began to run into stiffer opposition as the first week drew to a close; and, by the opening of the second week, so had the marines. The land campaign became a ponderous slugfest that dragged on until early July. At sea, the "Divine Wind" blew on the fleet surrounding Okinawa for the first time on 6 and 7 April and rose to a destructive crescendo in the ensuing six weeks. To warn against the approach of those airborne fanatics, the Navy surrounded Okinawa with radar picket stations where destroyers and destroyer escorts stood guard with smaller warships in support.
Bache's first brush with the kamikaze occurred around sundown on 3 May when suiciders attacked radar picket stations 9 and 10 located in the southwestern quadrant of the air defense perimeter. Bache backed up Macomb (DD-458) on station 9. Combat air patrol (CAP) apparently failed to contact the bogies, and they pressed home their attacks. A Tony dove on Bache and, despite hits from the antiaircraft barrage, singlemindedly pursued his goal. Her gunfire spoiled his aim at the last moment, however, and he only succeeded in slicing through some of her forward lifelines and causing some superficial damage to the forecastle before crashing into the sea. Macomb, on the other hand, fared worse. Another Tony crashed one of her after 5-inch mounts, spraying her stern with liquid fire. The explosion and fire killed six of her crewmen, wounded another fatally, and injured 14 others.
Macomb managed to quell the inferno on her stern without Bache’s assistance, but good fortune eluded the ships patrolling picket station 10. Just as the action on her own station began to subside, Bache intercepted appeals for help sent by the contingent on station 10 where all four ships suffered damage to various degrees. Two of them, Little (DD-803) and LSM(R)-195, sank almost immediately. Aaron Ward (DM-34) sustained severe damage but managed to stay afloat, and Shannon (DM-25) towed her into the anchorage at Kerama Retto. LCS(L)-25, though not nearly as badly damaged as her compatriots on station 10, lost three crewmen killed or missing and had another dozen wounded when a kamikaze missed her but exploded in the water close aboard. Bache rushed to the scene, rescued 69 of LSM(R)-195's survivors, and took them to nearby hospital ships.
Less than a fortnight later, again operating southwest of Kerama Retto on radar picket station 9, Bache came under an attack by a small group of suiciders at about 1850 on 13 May 1945. Bache’s antiaircraft gunners teamed up with CAP pilots to splash two of the kamikazes, but a third snagged her after stack, swinging the fuselage into the destroyer amidships. The bomb he carried exploded above the weather deck, hurling fragments in all directions and igniting the plane's fuel. The crash destroyed Bache's sickbay, pay office, and emergency radio station and wiped out everyone in those three spaces. Bomb fragments penetrated the main deck into the forward engine room where they perforated the high-pressure turbine exhaust, resulting in numerous burn casualties. The destruction of the number two stack, which shut down her after fire room, and the high-pressure turbine casualty, which knocked out the forward engine room, robbed her of half her engineering plant. Thus, though she retained sufficient power to fight fires, Bache could not return to Kerama Retto on her own.
Shepherded into the anchorage by tugs, Bache commenced temporary repairs in anticipation of the voyage back to the United States for a complete overhaul, while her crew mourned the death of 25 shipmates and 16 others missing and presumed dead and prayed for the speedy recovery of the 32 men who had suffered wounds of varying severity. Repaired sufficiently well to sail for home, Bache left Okinawa in convoy OKS-5 on 25 May 1945. Her odyssey via Saipan, Guam, San Diego and the Canal Zone came to an end on 13 July 1945 when she reached the New York Navy Yard. After an extensive refit, she received orders to proceed to Charleston, S.C., where she was placed in reserve on 4 February 1946. Bache remained in that commissioned but inactive status until 27 January 1947 when she was decommissioned and laid up in the Charleston Group, Atlantic Reserve Fleet.
Bache was left Charleston under tow of the auxiliary tug ATA-210 on 21 June 1950, and arrived at the Boston Naval Shipyard on 27 June. Redesignated as an escort destroyer (DDE-470), Bache was recommissioned at her conversion yard on 1 October 1951, Comdr. John W. Reed in command. The warship spent the rest of 1951 outfitting at Boston. Early in 1952, she voyaged south to the West Indies where she carried out her shakedown training. After post-shakedown repairs at Boston in the spring of 1952, Bache reported for duty with the Atlantic Fleet in May. Late in January 1953, she returned to the West Indies for the large annual fleet exercise called "Springboard." After preliminary drills with Midway (CVA-41) off the Florida coast near Mayport, she continued on to the vicinity of Puerto Rico where the maneuvers were carried out in late February and early March. The warship arrived back in Norfolk on 13 March and stayed there for a little more than a month. On 17 April, she stood out of Chesapeake Bay bound for exercises in the waters around the British Isles, followed by a short cruise in the Mediterranean Sea. During that deployment, she visited Londonderry in Northern Ireland and Plymouth, England, before transiting the Strait of Gibraltar to call at Golfe Juan, France, and Naples, Italy. The destroyer departed Naples on 13 June, shaped a course back to the United States, and reentered Norfolk on the 26th.
Operations along the east coast occupied her time until the end of September. On 2 and 3 October, Bache made the short voyage to New York where she began a three-month overhaul, her first since rejoining the active fleet. After refresher training off the Cuban coast near Guantanamo Bay early in 1954, the destroyer returned to Norfolk in March to prepare for an assignment overseas. On 11 May, she embarked on a tour of duty in the Mediterranean Sea. Service with the 6th Fleet kept her busy until early that fall when she headed back to the United States. Bache reached Norfolk again on 10 October 1954. She remained in port for almost two months, returning to sea on 6 December for 12 days of plane guard duty with Midway.
The warship spent the last two weeks of 1954 and the first five weeks of 1955 at Norfolk. On 3 February, she got underway for the West Indies to participate in the 1955 edition of Springboard. Bache reentered her homeport again on 5 March and stayed there for five weeks. She put to sea once more on 9 May and shaped a southward course for a training cruise that took her back to the familiar islands of the West Indies and into the Gulf of Mexico. In July, after another sojourn at Norfolk, she returned to the vicinity of Bermuda where she carried out operations with recently commissioned Nautilus (SSN-571). After assisting in the evaluation of the capabilities of the first nuclear-powered submarine, Bache stood into Norfolk once more on 6 August. A month later, she returned to sea for an abbreviated deployment overseas to participate in two NATO exercises, Operation "Centerboard" and Operation "New Broom IV," both of which were carried out in the Atlantic off Portugal. Leaving Lisbon on 10 October, the destroyer reentered Norfolk on the 23d.
Following an upkeep and repair period that lasted through the end of the year, Bache resumed local operations off the Virginia capes early in January 1956. In mid-February, the warship headed south to participate in the annual Springboard evolutions carried out in the waters between Cuba and Puerto Rico. Back in Norfolk on 22 March, she conducted type training and similar evolutions in the immediate vicinity through the end of May. On the 31st, Bache left Hampton Roads bound for the Gulf of Mexico where she engaged in further training missions punctuated by visits to Pensacola, New Orleans, and Galveston. The destroyer departed the latter port on 5 July and headed home, arriving back in Norfolk on the 9th.
Regular overhaul at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard occupied her time from the middle of July until early November. On 10 November, Bache put to sea for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and a month of post-overhaul refresher training. Back in Norfolk a week before Christmas, she drilled in the local operating area through the first 11 weeks of 1957.
On 18 March, she embarked upon a voyage in the course of which she circumnavigated the African continent. Unable to use the Suez Canal, closed as a result of the hostilities between Israel and Egypt that followed in the wake of Nasser's nationalization of the waterway the preceding summer, the warship deployed to the Indian Ocean via the long route around southern Africa. Steaming by way of the Azores, Bache reached the African coast at Freetown, Sierra Leon, on 30 March. She visited Simonstown, Union of South Africa, from 10 to 12 April before rounding Cape Agulhas, Africa's southernmost point, on her way to Mombassa, Kenya. After leaving Mombassa, the destroyer sailed to Aden whence she and Eaton (DDE-510) patrolled the Red Sea for the next month. At the end of that assignment, she headed for the reopened Suez Canal. Bache transited the canal at the beginning of June and arrived at Piraeus, Greece, on the 4th. Between 5 and 14 June, she crossed the Mediterranean Sea to Spain where she spent the ensuing four weeks making calls at the ports of Valencia, Cartagena, and Barcelona. Following a two-day stop at Gibraltar, she embarked upon the voyage across the Atlantic on 14 July and stood into Norfolk again on 26 July.
Bache's homecoming lasted less than six weeks, however, for she put to sea again on 3 September bound for the British Isles. She arrived in Plymouth, England, on the 14th and spent the rest of the month engaged in NATO Exercise Stand Firm. At the conclusion of the evolution, the destroyer paid a 10-day visit to Cherbourg. On 10 October, she left the French port to return to the United States. Bache entered Chesapeake Bay once more on 22 October and resumed normal operations along the east coast.
Near the end of March 1958, Bache received word of the cancellation of her scheduled deployment to the Mediterranean in favor of an assignment with Task Group Alfa, an experimental group formed to develop and teach new and advanced antisubmarine defense techniques and procedures. For more than five years, her work with the ASW developmental group kept her tied fairly closely to the east coast and precluded any tours of duty farther away from the United States than the West Indies.
That extended developmental assignment, however, did not prevent her from participating in internationally significant events for, after Fidel Castro's insurgents succeeded in overthrowing the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista in Cuba in 1959, ships of the U.S. Navy performed almost constant patrols off that troubled island. Bache carried out her first such mission between 13 and 26 April 1961, and her second tour of duty in Cuban waters lasted from the end of June until mid-August of 1962. On 30 June 1962, Bache reverted to her former classification as a destroyer and resumed the designation, DD-470. Later that year, after reconnaissance flights over the island revealed the presence of offensive nuclear missiles, President John F. Kennedy declared a "quarantine" of Cuba to prevent the importation of additional missiles and to secure the removal of those already in place. Bache served on the Cuban missile crisis "blockade" from 25 October to 5 November 1962.
After an additional year of service along the east coast and in the West Indies, Beale completed preparations in November of 1963 to embark upon her first major overseas deployment in more than half a decade. On the 29th, she stood out of Norfolk on her way across the Atlantic Ocean. The warship arrived in Pollensa Bay, Majorca, on 11 December and carried out turnover formalities the following afternoon. During her first seven weeks with the 6th Fleet, normal activities such as exercises and port visits occupied her time. Late in January 1964, however, orders sent her from Athens, Greece, to join a contingency force assembled to respond to trouble on the island of Cyprus. After five days of service off Cyprus, another crisis arose on the island of Zanzibar in the Indian Ocean off the eastern coast of Africa. Bache rushed through the Suez Canal and the Red Sea to Zanzibar where she spent a week on station with a second contingency force. Relieved of that duty, she called at Mombasa, Kenya, in mid-February before proceeding to Abadan, Iran, where she embarked U.S. Ambassador to Iran Julius C. Holmes and members of his staff for a series of goodwill visits to ports along the Iranian coast. During the first half of March, she also made calls at ports in Pakistan and India. Near the end of the month, the destroyer returned to the Mediterranean and resumed duty with the 6th Fleet until mid-May. After turnover at Pollensa Bay, Bache transited the Strait of Gibraltar on the 14th and shaped a course for Hampton Roads.
Ten days later, she arrived at Norfolk and commenced post-deployment standdown. The destroyer remained in port for over a month, getting underway again early in July for an Independence Day visit to Baltimore, Md. Following the celebration, she embarked upon the familiar routine of training missions along the east coast and in the West Indies. That employment took up her time for the remainder of 1964, while a regular overhaul at Norfolk occupied her during the first few months of 1965. In May of 1965, political turmoil in the Dominican Republic interrupted her refresher training out of Guantanamo Bay for a few days, but Bache soon completed her cruise to the West Indies and resumed normal operations from Norfolk.
In the fall of 1965, the warship began preparations for a radical departure from her familiar routine. On 29 September, she stood out of Norfolk in company with DesRon 36 and embarked on the long voyage to the Far East. After transiting the Panama Canal, Bache steamed by way of Pearl Harbor to Yokosuka, Japan, and thence to South Vietnam where she began her first tour of duty in a combat zone since World War II as harbor defense ship at Danang. The destroyer carried out her first combat mission in more than two decades on 14 November when she shelled suspected enemy positions in the hills surrounding Danang. Less than a fortnight later, at about noon on the 23d, she joined O'Brien (DD-725) near Thach Tru in Quang Ngai province, and together they helped a detachment of allied troops to repulse a determined Viet Cong assault on their outpost. While O'Brien, engaged since the previous night in supporting such isolated positions in the defensive perimeter surrounding An Thinh airfield, saw the 26-hour ordeal through to its conclusion, Bache relinquished her place to Fletcher (DD-445) around sundown and retired to the Philippines for liberty and upkeep. Nearly a month after her collaboration with O'Brien on 20 December, closed the coast of South Vietnam again and delivered another barrage in support of beleaguered South Korean and South Vietnamese troops in the vicinity of Tuy Hoa, a small city on the coast of South Vietnam just north of Cape Varella.
Bache's support for the ground troops heavily engaged around Tuy Hoa lasted through the end of 1965 and occupied the first few days of 1966. On 4 January, though, she left the combat zone to make a port call at Kaohsiung, Taiwan, where she underwent a period of upkeep before joining the fast carriers in the Gulf of Tonkin. Bache screened Kitty Hawk (CVA-63), after which she steamed to Subic Bay in the Philippines for another maintenance period before heading to Hong Kong for liberty. From the British Crown Colony, Bache embarked upon the long voyage back to Hampton Roads early in March. Steaming by way of the Indian Ocean, the Suez Canal, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Atlantic Ocean, she completed a circumnavigation of the globe when she stood into Norfolk on 8 April 1966.
The destroyer remained in port for more than two months after she returned home from her lone tour of duty in the Vietnam conflict. She returned to sea at the end of the third week in June to participate in antisubmarine warfare experiments with Wasp (CVS-18). On 1 July, Bache entered the Norfolk Naval Shipyard where she spent most of the month having her forward gun mount replaced in its entirety. She put to sea once again on the 25th and laid in a course for Key West, Fla., where she served as a training platform for the Sonar School. Thirteen days into that assignment, however, damage to her main propulsion plant forced her to head back to the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, where she arrived on 6 August. After 27 days in the yard, Bache began a schedule of normal operations out of Norfolk on 6 September with a dependents' cruise. Late in September, she departed Norfolk for the New England coast where she joined Essex (CVS-9) and units of DesRon 12 for ASW exercises. Back in Norfolk on 8 October, the destroyer operated locally until 28 November when she stood out of Chesapeake Bay on her way to the West Indies and Operation "LANTFLEX 66." At the conclusion of that extensive exercise, Bache returned to Norfolk on 16 December and spent the remainder of the year in port for the holidays.
During the first 10 months of 1967, Bache occupied herself with duties very similar to those that she had carried out in the last half of 1966. After a tender availability alongside Sierra (AD-18), she put to sea on 13 January for a week of ASW drills with Randolph (CVS-15). Later that month, she returned to sea for an extended period of operations along the Florida coast and in the Gulf of Mexico, which she punctuated with visits to Jacksonville, Pensacola, and Mayport in Florida as well as with a Mardi Gras stop at New Orleans. The warship arrived back in Norfolk on 25 February and resumed local operations. She continued so engaged through the summer of 1967. In September, Bache entered the drydock at the Norfolk Shipbuilding & Drydock Corp. for repairs to her hull and superstructure preparatory to her scheduled deployment to the Mediterranean Sea in November.
On 14 November, the warship passed between Capes Henry and Charles and shaped a course for the Mediterranean Sea. Steaming in company with a quartet of DesRon 32 destroyers that included Bache's sister ship and frequent colleague Beale, she arrived in Pollensa Bay, Majorca, on the 24th. She spent her first two months with the 6th Fleet operating in the western half of the Mediterranean. On 28 January 1968, Bache departed Naples for the island of Rhodes in the eastern basin of the "middle sea." She reached her destination on 5 February and anchored in the harbor. The following day, a severe storm lashed the island; that evening, her anchor chain parted. In the fury of winds and waves, the warship went hard aground on the rocks off the Rhodes Yacht Club. Declared a total loss, Bache was decommissioned on 26 February 1968. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 1 March 1968, and she was dismantled at Rhodes by June of 1969.
Bache (DD-470) earned eight battle stars during World War II and two battle stars for service in the Vietnam conflict.
Raymond A. Mann
8 March 2006