George Emerson Conklin, born in Hamlin, Pa., 3 January 1921, enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps 13 February 1942. Although mortally wounded in action on Guadalcanal 5 October 1942, he remained at his gun until he could no longer man it, then disassembled it and scattered its parts so as to make it useless to the enemy before he died. For this heroic devotion to duty, he was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross.
(DE-439: dp. 1,350; l. 306'; b. 36'8"; dr. 9'5"; s. 24 k.; cpl. 186; a. 2 5", 3 21" tt., 8 dcp., 1 dcp.(hh.), 2 dct.; cl. John C. Butler)
Conklin (DE-439) was launched 13 February 1944 by Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Newark, N.J. ; sponsored by Mrs. T. Conklin; and commissioned 21 April 1944, Commander D. C. Brown, USNR, in command.
Conklin reached Pearl Harbor from the east coast 30 July 1944, and after training, sailed to Eniwetok 17 August to convoy Kwajalein (CVE-98) back to Pearl Harbor. She put to sea again from Pearl Harbor 9 September for convoy escort duty between Kwajalein and Eniwetok until 3 October, when she arrived at Guam to serve as planeguard. After repairs to her sound gear at Eniwetok, she patrolled on anti-submarine duty off Saipan until 6 November, when she cleared for Ulithi and Leyte, guarding a convoy of reinforcement troops and supplies.
Reaching Leyte 14 November 1944, Conklin, cleared the same day to join a hunter-killer group operating off the western entrance to Kossol Passage. Here on 19 November, she and McCoy Reynolds (DE-440) coordinated their depth charge attacks to send Japanese submarine 1-177 to the bottom. Conklin then returned to escort duty to Eniwetok, Ulithi, and Guam, and on 21 January 1945, joined another hunter-killer group patrolling near Ulithi. On 23 January, she headed a team including Corbesier (DE-438) and Raby (DE-698) in the sinking of another submarine, I-48.
Conklin sailed from Ulithi 14 February 1945 on escort duty to the Palaus and Manus, where she arrived 27 February to join the screen for the logistics group supporting mighty carrier TF 58, and from 20 March to 5 June, she was almost constantly at sea with this group for the Okinawa operation. Her duties included transferring passengers, mail, and freight, serving as plane-guard, and escorting ships of the group to replenishment at Guam and Ulithi. On 5 June she was heavily damaged in a typhoon off Okinawa, during which one of her men was killed, many injured, and two washed overboard, one of whom was later rescued by another ship. She put in to Guam for emergency repairs, and on 17 June sailed for a complete overhaul at Mare Island Navy Yard. With this complete, she sailed to San Diego, where she was decommissioned and placed in reserve 17 January 1946.
Conklin received three battle stars for World War II service.