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

Cities in Connecticut, Missouri, Oklahoma, and West Virginia.

(PC-620: dp. 280; l. 173'8"; b. 23'0"; dr. 10'10"; s. 20.2 k. (tl.); cpl. 65; a. 2 3", 2 20mm., 2 dcp (mousetrap), 2 dct; cl. PC-461)

PC-620 was laid down on 27 February 1942 at Nashville, Tenn., by the Nashville Bridge Co.; launched on 12 August 1942; and commissioned at New Orleans, La., on 8 January 1943, Lt. Comdr. Rowland H. Groff, USNR, in command.


The subchaser spent the next two weeks at New Orleans fitting out and completing her acceptance trials. On 22 January, she departed New Orleans on her shakedown cruise to Key West and Miami. She operated from the Subchaser School in Miami until mid-February when she headed north to New York. PC-620 left Miami on 17 February and arrived at Staten Island, N.Y., on the 25th. For the next nine months, she escorted coastwise convoys between New York and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The warship concluded her last run between those two ports at Guantanamo Bay on 26 November 1943.


Ordered to duty in the Pacific, she sailed to Panama where she arrived on 5 December. The subchaser made the canal transit 10 days later and then stood out of Balboa on 20 December on her way to the southwestern Pacific. Travelling via Bora Bora in the Society Islands and Tongatapu in the Friendly Islands, PC-620 reached Espiritu Santo in the New Hebrides on 26 January 1944. At that point she began escorting convoys between the New Hebrides and the southern Solomons. That duty, punctuated by a single 10-day liberty call at Sydney, Australia, in January 1945, occupied her time for a little over 13 months. Early in March 1945, the subchaser's base of operations shifted to Noumea, Caledonia. She carried out patrols in the local operating area until the end of April.


At that time, PC-620 moved north to Guam in the Mariana Islands. She departed Noumea on 1 May escorting Celeno (AK-79) to Eniwetok in the Marshall Islands. The subchaser saw Celeno safely into the lagoon at Eniwetok on 11 May and then resumed her voyage to the Marianas. She reached Guam on 16 May and began a seven-month association with the submarine training program based there. Though the war ended in August, PC-620 continued to serve at Guam nearly through the end of the year. In December, however, she finally received orders to return to the United States. The subchaser got underway from Guam on 20 December 1945 and, sailing by way of Eniwetok again, entered Pearl Harbor on 3 January 1946. She made some voyage repairs at Pearl Harbor and then continued the journey home. She arrived in San Diego on 17 January and remained there until 11 February when she headed for the Panama Canal. PC-620 transited the canal on 23 February and, after four days at Colon, resumed her voyage to the east coast. A medical emergency, however, interrupted that leg of the trip and forced her to alter course to Barranquilla, Colombia. During that departure from her itinerary, the subchaser ran aground off Barranquilla and damaged her propellers. As a consequence, She returned to Colon early in March for repairs.


PC-620 finally arrived in Key West, Fla., on 17 April and began preparations for inactivation. Between 21 and 23 May, she made the transit from Key West to Green Cove Springs, Fla. The warship was placed out of commission, in reserve, at Green Cove Springs on 16 August 1946. She remained with the Atlantic Reserve Fleet for a little more than 11 years. Though named Bethany on 15 February 1956, the submarine chaser saw no active service under the name. It was struck from the Navy list less than two years later on 5 September 1957. Early in the summer of 1958, she was sold to the Boston Metals Co., of Baltimore, Md., for scrapping.

Raymond A. Mann



16 February 2006