Boatswain's Mate Samuel Merritt Gantner, born 24 December 1919 in Fresno, Calif., enlisted in the Navy 12 May 1937. While serving as gun captain on battleship Nevada he was killed in action during the attack on Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941. He was posthumously commended for distinguished devotion to duty and extraordinary courage in action against the Japanese aerial raiders.
(DE-60: dp. 1,400; l. 306'; b. 37'; dr. 9'5"; s. 23.5 k.; cpl. 186; a. 33", 41.1", 8 20mm., 3 21' tt.; 2 dct, 8 dcp. 1 dcp. (h.h.), cl. Buckley)
Gantner (DE-60) was launched 17 April 1943 by the Bethlehem Steel Co., Quincy, Mass.; sponsored by Mrs. Samuel M. Gantner, widow of Boatswain's Mate Gantner; commissioned at the Boston Navy Yard 23 July 1943, Lt. Comdr. Barklie M. Henry in command.
After shakedown out of Bermuda, Gantner escorted SS George Washington from Puerto Rico to New York, arriving 1 December 1943. She departed New York 26 December 1943 as a part of the escort for a convoy which reached Londonderry, Northern Ireland 8 January 1944. She returned to New York 24 January and by 8 October had made seven more trans-Atlantic escort voyages from that port to Londonderry.
Following repairs in the Boston Naval Shipyard and battle practice in Casco Bay, Gantner departed Boston 3 November 1944 escorting Pinto (ATF-90) and towing ARDC-1 to Cristobal, Canal Zone. She then proceeded to Miami, Fla., to serve as floating schoolship in waters extending to the Bahamas and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. She departed Miami 19 February 1945 for conversion to a high speed transport (APD-42) in the New York Naval Shipyard. She was reclassified (APD-42) 23 February 1945.
Gantner departed New York 14 May 1945 for amphibious warfare landing exercises in the Chesapeake Bay area until 2 June, then proceeded via the Panama Canal and San Diego to Pearl Harbor where she reported for duty with the 5th Amphibious Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, 28 June. After training underwater demolition teams in Maalea Bay until 3 August, she embarked UDT-3 at San Diego and sailed for the Far East via Hawaii and the Marshall Islands to Japan, entering Tokyo Bay 4 September. Her frogmen reconnoitered beaches and reported on suitability of landing Army occupation forces at Shiogama Wan and Ominato Ko, Honshu, Japan. From 30 September to 7 October 1945, her swimmers made surveys for the Port Director, Otaru, Hokkaido with the help of United States Army advance parties ashore.
Gantner departed Tokyo Bay 12 October 1945 to embark a returning Marine contingent at Apra Harbor, Guam, and sailed thence via the Marshalls and Hawaii to San Diego where she disembarked military passengers 1 November 1945. For the next three years she was based at San Diego, largely employed as an amphibious warfare training ship for marines. From 26 January to 6 March 1946 she made a cruise from San Diego with the 1st Marine Division Reconnaissance Detachment for cold weather manuevers that took her to Kodiak, Juneau, Tolstoi Bay, and Clarence Straits, Alaska. Her amphibious schedule on the California coast was again interrupted 28 October-18 November 1948 by a cruise northward to act as guard ship on weather and air-sea rescue patrol station for Navy patrol planes scouting north to Seattle, and thence back to San Francisco.
Gantner resumed her amphibious training out of San Diego until 19 January 1949 when she sailed for Shanghai, China. She reached her destination 14 February and served on station at the Chinese ports of Shanghai, Nanking and Tsingtao. Departing the last named port 7 April, she escorted Rendova (CVE-114) to Yokosuka, Japan, then sailed via Guam and Pearl Harbor for the west coast, arriving San Diego 4 May 1949. She decommissioned 2 August 1949 and was assigned to the San Diego Group, Pacific Reserve Fleet. She was struck from the Navy List 15 January 1966. On 22 February 1966 Gantner was sold to Nationalist China under the Military Assistance Program.