Born 7 April 1920 at Escalon, Calif., Herbert A. Calcaterra enlisted in the Navy 14 December 1939. Motor Machinist's Mate First Class Calcaterra was commended 7 July 1942 for his performance as a member of the crew of Pompano (SS-181), and was awarded the Silver Star Medal posthumously for conspicuous gallantry as a member of a 3" gun crew until fatally wounded during an action against an armed enemy patrol ship 4 September 1942.
(DE-390: dp. 1,200; l. 306'; b. 36'7"; dr. 8'7"; s. 21 k.;cpl. 186; a. 3 3", 3 21" tt, 8 dcp., 1 dcp.(hh.), 2 dct.; cl. Edsall)
Calcaterra (DE-390) was launched 16 August 1943 by Brown Shipbuilding Co., Houston, Tex.; sponsored by Mrs. G. M. Stites; commissioned 17 November 1943, Commander H. J. Wuensch, USCG, in command; and reported to the Atlantic Fleet.
Assigned to the vital duty of escorting convoys between the United States and the Mediterranean, Calcaterra made eight round trips between 13 February 1944 and 10 June 1945. The ships she guarded provided the men and equipment which insured the success of the invasions of Italy and southern France. Twice the escort vessel met the challenge of enemy opposition when she depth charged a suspected submarine contact and fired on two aircraft. Her alert action helped prevent damage or loss to the ships under convoy.
On 9 July 1945 Calcaterra headed for the Pacific to tackle a new job, but the war ended shortly before her arrival at Pearl Harbor. She lifted passengers back to the west coast, then sailed on to the Atlantic. Calcaterra was placed out of commission in reserve at Green Cove Springs, Fla., 1 May 1946.
Reclassified DER-390, 28 October 1954, Calcaterra was converted to a radar picket ship at Norfolk and recommissioned 12 September 1955. Based on Newport, the radar picket ship has almost continuously served in the violent weather of the North Atlantic to maintain her link in the extension of the Distant Early Warning system. Except for exercises with the fleet in the Atlantic and Caribbean, and a cruise to Europe (August-October 1958), Calcaterra continued this duty through 1960.