Augustus Francis Fechteler, born in Prussia 1 September 1857, was a member of the Naval Academy class of 1877. His distinguished career of service in important posts included command of the 2d, 6th and 7th Divisions of the Atlantic Fleet, the Norfolk Navy Yard, and the 5th Naval District. He was awarded the Navy Cross for exceptionally meritorious service in duty of great responsibility as Commander of the 6th Division and the Norfolk Navy Yard during World War I. Rear Admiral Fechteler died at the Naval Operating Base, Hampton Roads, Va., 26 May 1921.
His son, Frank Casper Fechteler, born 8 July 1897 in San Rafael, Calif., was a member of the Naval Academy class of 1918, ordered to duty in 1917. He served in Paducah through World War I, and after the war was trained as an aviator. His last duty was in Langley (CV-1). While preparing to compete in the Pulitzer Trophy Race of 1922, Lieutenant Fechteler was killed in an airplane crash near Detroit 18 September 1922.
(DE-157: dp. 1,400; l. 306'; b. 36'10"; dr. 9'5"; s. 24 k.; cpl. 186; a. 3 3", 3 21" tt.; cl. Buckley)
Fechteler (DE-157) was launched 22 April 1943 by Norfolk Navy Yard; sponsored by Miss Joan S. Fechteler, granddaughter of Rear Admiral Fechteler and niece of Lieutenant Fechteler; and commissioned 1 July 1943, Lieutenant Commander C. R. Simmers in command.
Between 8 September 1943 and 31 December, Fechteler made two voyages on the key convoy route New York-Netherlands West Indies-North Africa, escorting vulnerable tankers carrying fuel and other oil products essential to modern warfare. After overhaul at New York City, she took part in experimental antisubmarine exercises in Narragansett Bay, from which she sailed 28 February 1944 for the Azores and Londonderry, North Ireland. Arriving 6 March 1944, she joined the escort of a New York-bound convoy, reaching the United States 22 March.
On 1 April 1944, Fechteler sailed from New York for Hampton Roads, where she joined a convoy for Bizerte, arriving 22 April after coming under heavy enemy air attack 2 days previous. Homeward bound, Fechteler was torpedoed 5 May in the Western Mediterranean. As the ship began to break in two, and sink, it was abandoned. Twenty-nine were killed and 26 wounded. Laning (DE-159) and other ships of the convoy rescued 186 survivors.
Fechteler received one battle star for World War II service.