Frederick C. Davis
Frederick Curtice Davis, born 21 October 1915 in Rock County, Wis., enlisted in the Naval Reserve 7 July 1939, and was commissioned ensign 4 September 1940. Serving with an observation squadron in Nevada (BB-36), Ensign Davis was killed during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor 7 December 1941, and was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for his heroism at the moment of his death, when he was running forward to take charge of an antiaircraft machinegun battery, since no planes were on board.
(DE-136: 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.),2dct; cl. Edsall)
Frederick C. Davis (DE-136) was launched 24 January 1943 by Consolidated Steel Co., Orange, Tex., sponsored by Mrs. Dorothy H. Robins; and commissioned 14 July 1943, Lieutenant Commander O. W. Goepner, USNR, in command.
Frederick C. Davis sailed from Norfolk 7 October 1943 to escort a convoy to Algiers. She was assigned to escort duty between north African ports and Naples, and on 6 November first came under enemy air attack. A wave of torpedo and medium bombers damaged three ships in her convoy but were driven off by the escort's antiaircraft fire before further damage could be done. Again under air attack on 26 November, Frederick C. Davis splashed at least two of the enemy aircraft.
Continuing her escort duty in the western Mediterranean, Frederick C. Davis took part in an attack on 16 December 1943 which resulted in the sinking of U-73 by two of her group. On 21 January 1944, the escort sortied from Naples for the Anzio landings, during which her superlative and courageous performance was to win her a Navy Unit Commendation. After providing protection from submarines and aircraft to ships giving fire support to the assault on the 22d Frederick C. Davis maintained a patrol off the besieged beachhead for the next 6 months, leaving only for brief periods of replenishment at Naples. Equipped with special equipment to jam the control frequency of the enemy's rocket-propelled, radio-directed glider bombs, Frederick C. Davis fought off innumerable enemy air attacks, protecting shipping in the anchorage and the men enduring the drawnout fighting ashore. Particularly during the earlier stages of this bitter operation, Frederick C. Davis came under shellfire from shore batteries. Shrapnel caused slight damage to the ship, but only one man was wounded during this lengthy service.
After a return to escort duty in the Mediterranean in June and July 1944, Frederick C. Davis cleared Naples 9 August for Corsica, her staging point for the assault on southern France. Here again she provided her special jamming services to protect the headquarters snip for the operation, Catoctin (AGC-5). She remained off the assault area on antisubmarine patrol and controlling shipping until 19 September, then returned to New York Navy Yard for overhaul.
Returning to duty in the western Atlantic early in 1945 Frederick C. Davis served on coastal convoy escort and antisubmarine patrol service and in mid-April joined a special surface barrier force, formed to protect the Atlantic coast from the threat of close penetration by snorkel-equipped German submarines. It was one of these, U-546, which was contacted 24 April by Frederick C. Davis. Within minutes, as the destroyer escort prepared to attack, the submarine torpedoed her, hitting on the port side, forward. Five minutes later, she broke in two, and efforts to preserve the buoyancy of the stern, where the damage was less and the majority of survivors were located, failed. Her survivors abandoned the ship, with a loss of 115 men. They were taken from the water within 3 hours, and other escorts sank her attacker the same day.
In addition to her Navy Unit Commendation, Frederick C. Davis received four battle stars for her World War II service.