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

 

Protection from attack.

 

(AM-317: dp. 890; l. 221'2"; b. 32'2"; dr. 10'9"; s. 18 k.; cpl. 105; a. 1 3"; cl. Auk)

 

Defense (AM-317) was launched 18 February 1943 by General Engineering and Dry Dock Co., Alameda, Calif.; sponsored by Mrs. A. Duncanfield; and commissioned 10 January 1944, Lieutenant Commander G. Abbott, USNR, in command. She was reclassified MSF-317, 7 February 1955.

 

Sailing from San Francisco 24 March 1944 Defense escorted a convoy to Majuro, then swept mines and had escort duty off Tarawa, Gilbert Islands, from 9 to 19 April. She returned to Pearl Harbor the last day of April, and between 8 May and 9 July escorted two convoys, one to Majuro and one to Eniwetok. After conducting experimental minesweeping exercises at Pearl Harbor until 22 July, she got underway for San Francisco, arriving 30 July.

 

From August through December 1944 Defense provided a variety of services for ships in shakedown off San Diego, and joined in exercises in the Hawaiian Islands. Sailing from Pearl Harbor 27 January 1945, Defense arrived off Iwo Jima 16 February as the pre-invasion bombardment of the island began. She patrolled in the antisubmarine screen until late on 19 February, day of the landings, when she cleared to escort unladen transports to Saipan. From 1 to 7 March she again patrolled off Iwo Jima, and on 10 March arrived at Ulithi, staging point for the invasion of Okinawa. Nine days later she was underway for minesweeping operations out of Kerama Retto in preparation for the invasion landings on Okinawa 1 April. During the massive suicide plane attack 5 days after the initial landings, Defense took a group of four attackers under fire. She splashed one, drove one off, and was struck by the other two after they had been heavily damaged by her antiaircraft fire. Despite her own damage she went to the aid of two other stricken ships, rescuing 50 men from Newcomb (DD-586) and towing crippled Leutze (DD-481) to Kerama Retto.

 

After temporary repairs had been completed on 11 April 1945, Defense sailed for the Western Pacific for occupation duty at Okinawa, Guam, and various Japanese ports. She served in Japan until 6 March 1946 when she cleared Kobe for San Diego, arriving 21 April. Defense was placed out of commission in reserve there 31 May 1946.

 

Recommissioned 16 February 1952 at Long Beach, Calif., Defense sailed for Yokosuka 7 July, arriving 15 August. Operating in Korean waters in support of United Nations forces, she cleared the waters at Inchon and in the Wonsan-Chongjin-Songjin area of mines until 8 January 1953 when she cleared Yokosuka for Long Beach arriving 5 February. Along with another tour of duty in the Far East from 5 October 1953 to 2 June 1954, Defense operated along the coast of Southern California until again placed out of commission in reserve 15 April 1955.

 

Defense received two battle stars for World War II service and two the Korean War.