John Joseph Brennanborn in Philadelphia on 14 June 1920attended that city’s LaSalle College and earned a BA degree before enlisting in the Naval Reserve on 6 July 1940. He trained in the former battleship Wyoming (AG-17) before he terminated his enlistment to accept an appointment as a midshipman in the Naval Reserve on 10 August 1940. Brennan was a member of the first class to be educated at the Naval Reserve Midshipman’s School, New York. He trained for three months at the floating armory that had been created out of the former battleship, Illinois, and reported for duty on the Neutrality Patrol in Quincy (CA-39) on 29 November 1940.
After serving in that heavy cruiser for almost a year, he was detached on 15 December 1941 to join Armed Guard Crew Number 34 at the Armed Guard Center, New York. He reported for duty on 20 December 1941 and, on the last day of 1941, received orders detailing him to command the armed guard unit of the freighter Otho. On 3 April 1942, while the ship steamed alone off the eastern seaboard, U-754 torpedoed her and sent her to the bottom. Ens. Brennan was among those killed.
(DE-13: dp. 1,140; l. 289’5”; b. 35’1”; dr. 11’0”; s. 21.5 k. (tl.); cpl. 198; a. 3 3”, 4 40mm., 9 20mm., 8 dcp., 1 dcp. (hh.), 2 dct.; cl. Evarts)
Brennan (DE-13) was laid down on 28 February 1942 at the Mare Island Navy Yard as British destroyer escort Bentinck (BDE-13); launched on 22 August 1942; reallocated to the United States early in January 1943; renamed Brennan on 6 January 1943; and commissioned on 20 January 1943, Lt. Comdr. Harry A. Adams, Jr., USNR, in temporary command until relieved the next day by Lt. Comdr. Mark E. Dennett.
Following shakedown training off southern California, the destroyer escort got underway for duty in the Atlantic. Brennan arrived in Miami, Fla., on 1 March, to serve as a training ship for student officers and prospective crews of destroyer escorts. She operated in the Florida Strait and in the West Indies for the remainder of her career, frequently touching at ports in Haiti, Jamaica, and Cuba. On 2 May 1944, while in the Florida Strait north of Cuba, Brennan collided with merchant ship Gulfmaid, causing minor damage to both ships. The injury to the destroyer escort’s superstructure was not even repaired until July when she had an availability in Charleston.
On 15 September 1945, Brennan got underway for the New York Navy Yard to be prepared for inactivation. She was decommissioned there on 9 October, and her name was struck from the Navy list on 24 October 1945. She was sold for scrap in July 1946.
Mary P. Walker
7 December 2005