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Rhodes

 

Allison Phidel Rhodes, born in Walhalla, S.C., 8 December 1919, was appointed ensign, U.S. Naval Reserve, 2 June 1941 and after training was ordered to Atlanta (CL-51). Reporting for duty in that vessel 10 January 1942, he served in her during the Battle of Midway, the landing on Guadalcanal, and the Battle of the Eastern Solomons. Lieutenant (junior grade) Rhodes was killed in action as his ship fought her last battle, the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, 13 November 1942.

 

(DE - 384: displacement 1,490 (full load); length 306; beam 367; draft 127; speed 21 knots; complement 186; armament 3 3, 2 40mm., 8 20mm., 12 21 torpedo tubes [sic], 2 depth charge tracks, 8 depth charge projectors, 1 depth charge projector (hedgehog-type); class Edsall)

 

Rhodes (DE-384) was laid down by the Brown Shipbuilding Co., Houston, Tex., 19 April 1943; launched 29 June 1943; sponsored by Mrs. C. E. Rhodes, mother of Lieutenant (junior grade) Rhodes; and commissioned 25 October 1943, Lt. Comdr. E. A. Coffin, USCG, in command.

 

Following shakedown off Bermuda, Rhodes, manned by a Coast Guard crew and assigned to CortDiv 23, steamed to Norfolk, thence to New York to escort a convoy back to Norfolk. Returning to Norfolk 2 January 1944, she served as a training ship for prospective destroyer escort crews until the 13th, then sailed east, escorting convoy UGS-30 to Gibraltar, where ships of the Royal Navy relieved CortDiv 23. Returning 23 February, she departed Norfolk 13 March for Bizerte escorting the 98-ship convoy UGS-36. Two days out of Bizerte, 1 April, the convoy was attacked by German bombers and torpedo planes. In the quarter-hour engagement, the escorts and naval guncrews spashed [sic; splashed] five of the Luftwaffe's "eagles" and kept damage to the "prey" to one cargo ship, which was subsequently towed to Oran. On the 3d the convoy reached Lake Bizerte and on the 11th got underway for New York, arriving 2 May.

 

Availability, and exercises at Casco Bay, preceded another convoy run to Bizerte where Allied forces were gathering to push further into Axis controlled Europe. Rhodes completed that run at Boston 11 July and, after availability, shifted to the North Atlantic sealanes, escorting six convoys to the United Kingdom and France during the remainder of the war in Europe.

 

After V-E day, Rhodes was transferred, with her division, to the Pacific. Transiting the Panama Canal in mid-June 1945, she sailed north, arriving at Adak 8 July and reporting to Commander, Alaskan Sea Frontier, for duty as an escort and air-sea rescue vessel. Detached a week later and temporarily assigned to TF 92, she escorted that fleet's service group during antishipping strikes in the Sea of Okhotsk and the bombardment of the Kuriles (15-21 July). Then resuming operations for the Alaskan Sea Frontier, she remained in the Aleutians until mid-November, when she sailed for Okinawa. Arriving at Buckner Bay 25 November, she joined the 7th Fleet and in December got underway for Tsingtao, where she supported occupation troops until 11 February 1946. She then sailed for the east coast of the United States.

 

Rhodes retransited the Panama Canal 19 March and arrived at Charleston to begin inactivation on the 25th. Assigned to the Florida Group, Atlantic Reserve Fleet, she moved south in April and decommissioned 13 June 1946.

 

Rhodes remained berthed at Mayport until 24 July 1954, when she got underway for Norfolk to begin conversion to a radar picket escort ship. Reclassified DER-384, 1 December 1954, she recommissioned 1 August 1955 and on 12 September reported for duty in the Atlantic Fleet.

 

Assigned to CortRon 18, Rhodes conducted exercises in the Caribbean until late November, then returned to Norfolk where she remained into the new year, 1956. Then sailing north, she arrived at Newport, her homeport, 10 January and commenced 8 years of service on the Atlantic Barrier Patrol, the seaward extension of the DEW Line. During that period she served on various stations from Argentia to the Azores, interspersing such duty with exercises and operations in the Caribbean, including, in October-November 1962, participation in the Cuban Quarantine. In 1963 Rhodes was again ordered inactivated and in April she steamed to Philadelphia to begin preparations.


Decommissioned 10 July 1963, the destroyer escort was struck from the Navy list on 1 August 1974 and sold for scrap to Union Minerals and Alloys Corp., New York, N.Y., on 1 March 1975.

 

Rhodes earned one battle star during World War II.



29 September 2005