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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORY AND HERITAGE COMMAND
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Batesburg

A town in Lexington County, S.C., located about 32 miles west of Columbia.

(PCE 903: dp. 903 (f.); l. 184'6"; b. 33'1"; dr. 9'5"; s. 15.7 k.; cpl. 99; a. 1 3", 6 40mm., 5 20mm., 2 dct., 4 dcp., 1 dcp. (hh.); cl. PCE 881)

PC 903 was laid down on 18 February 1943 at Portland, Oreg., by the Willamette Iron and Steel Corp., reclassified a patrol escort, PCE 903, on 28 March 1943; launched on 6 September 1943; ordered fitted out as a "weather patrol and plane guard vessel" on 5 October 1944; and commissioned on 16 May 1945.

Following shakedown out of San Pedro, Calif., and further training out of the Sound School at San Diego, PCE 903 underwent post shakedown availability at Terminal Island, Calif., before sailing for Hawaii on 8 August. Reaching Pearl Harbor on 16 August, the ship commenced her duties early in September. She operated out of Pearl Harbor on weather stations and frequented the vicinities of Midway and Johnston Islands for the next four years. On 5 October 1949, the Chief of Naval Operations directed that PCE 903 be reassigned to Naval Reserve Training (NRT) duties in the Atlantic Fleet.

After completing her last restricted availability at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard on 9 November 1949, PCE 903 departed Oahu on the 15th and reached San Diego on the 23d. Clearing that west coast port on 29 November for Panama, PCE 903 departed Balboa on 13 December; transited the canal; and, upon her arrival at Charleston, S.C., on the 19th, reported to the Commandant, 6th Naval District, for duty. Decommissioned on 10 January 1950 and placed "in service" as an NRT vessel, PCE 903 was assigned to Naval Reserve Facilities, Pensacola, Fla. She operated in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, visiting Vera Cruz, Mexico; Kingston, Jamaica; Havana, Cuba; and Nassau, Bahamas; as well as American ports such as Key West and Charleston. Recommissioned on 21 November 1950, the ship spent the next five years training reservists out of Pensacola, her ports of call including Jacksonville, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Panama City, Key West, and Pensacola, Fla.; Gulfport, Miss.; and Mobile, Ala.; as well as Havana, Nassau, and the Mexican ports of Tampico and Vera Cruz. Visits to Charleston, S.C., Washington, D.C., and Portland, Maine, during the summer of 1954 highlighted her operations for that particular year.

She was decommissioned and placed “out of commission, in reserve,” at Charleston on 6 September 1955. While still inactive, the ship was named Batesburg on 1 February 1956. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 1 June 1961, and the ship was transferred to the Republic of Korea (ROK) on 13 December 1961. Renamed Sa Chon and classified as PCE 59, the ship served in the ROK Navy until 1979.

Robert J. Cressman



28 February 2006