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

 

A man who fought with deadly weapons, as in the amphitheater, for popular amusement. Hence, one who engages in any kind of spirited contest

 

II

 

(AM-319: dp 890; l. 221'2"; b. 32'; dr. 10'; s. 18 k; a. 13")

 

The second Gladiator, originally BAM-6, was launched 7 May 1943 as AM-319 by the General Engineering & Drydock Co., Alameda, Calif.; sponsored by Mrs. Madeline A. Silva; and acquired and simultaneously commissioned 25 February 1944, Lt. Comdr. Robert W. Costello in command.

 

Gladiator sailed from San Francisco 1 May 1944 with a convoy for Pearl Harbor and subsequently made four round trip escort voyages from Hawaii—one to Kwaja-lein and three to Eniwetok—from 22 May-11 September 1944. Underway again 16 October, she reached Ulithi 12 November and commenced patrol and escort duty in those waters. Voyages to Eniwetok, Kossol Roads, and Saipan, were frequently made to shepherd merchantmen to and from those strategic ports until Gladiator sailed from Ulithi 19 March 1945 for combat at Okinawa.

 

Closing the beaches of Okinawa 24 March when Vice Admiral Lee's battle ships were bombarding the island, Gladiator began minesweeping operations and screening duties. On April 6 she came under attack from a Japanese bomber and shot it down with the help of four American fighters that were on the bomber's tail during its approach. Another plane was splashed 6 days later when Gladiator's automatic weapons brought it down close aboard on the starboard beam; debris rained about the ship. A third enemy plane was shot down 22 April, crashing into the sea after passing just fifty feet above the ship's deck; but one man was killed and five wounded by the plane's strafing. Gladiator continued minesweeping duties off Okinawa until sailing 19 May with a convoy for Saipan and Guam, subsequently returning to Okinawa 21 June. From 8-25 July 1945 she conducted minesweeping operations in the East China Sea, destroying six mines, and put in at Guam 11 August for major overhaul.

 

Gladiator departed Guam 24 November and reached San Francisco 15 December 1945. She steamed to San Pedro, Calif., 30 May 1946 and after being towed to San Diego 2 October 1946 decommissioned at that port 2 days later.

 

Recommissioned 29 February 1952 at Long Beach, Calif., Gladiator sailed 2 September for Japan, closing Sasebo 1 month later, and steaming to Wonsan, Korea, 27 October. She swept mines in those dangerous waters until returning to Sasebo 10 November and subsequently, until the spring of 1953, divided her time between mine-sweeping operations at Wonsan, Inchon, and Hungnam and replenishment and training exercises in Sasebo and Yokosuka.

 

Gladiator departed Sasebo 19 March 1953 and put in at Long Beach 10 April. She engaged in peacetime activities—overhaul at San Francisco, training exercises off southern California, a round trip cruise from Long Beach to Acapulco and Balboa (15 January-12 February 1954), and a cruise to Bellingham, Wash., and return (28 June-10 July 1954)—before decommissioning at Long Beach 15 March 1955. Redesignated MSF-319, Gladiator entered the reserve fleet berthed at Green Cove Springs, Fla. She was later transferred to the Pacific Reserve Fleet at San Diego, Calif., where she remains.

 

Gladiator received two battle stars for World War II service.