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Robert A. Owens

 

Robert A. Owens, born at Greenville, S.C., 13 September 1920, enlisted in the Marine Corps 10 February 1942. Trained at Parris Island, S.C., and New River, N.C., he served in the field from 17 September 1942, until his death on Bougainville, 1 November 1943. Sergeant Owens was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor and the Navy Cross for his action at Cape Torokina, where he charged a Japanese 75mm. regimental gun, which seriously threatened the success of the operations by sinking landing craft and inflicting numerous casualties on the troops. Entering the gun bunker through the fire port, he drove the guncrew out of the rear door before falling to their bullets.

 

(DDK - 827: displacement 2,420; length 391; beam 41; draft 19; speed 35 knots; complement 309; armament 4 3, 8 20mm., 2 depth charge tracks, 4 depth charge projectors, 1 depth charge projector (hedgehog-type), 2 rocket launchers, 4 21 torpedo tubes; class Carpenter)

 

Robert A. Owens (DD-827) was laid down 29 October 1945 by the Bath Iron Works Corp., Bath, Maine; launched 15 July 1946; sponsored by Miss Patricia Hannegan; reclassified DDK-827 on 28 January 1948; and commissioned at Boston 5 November 1949, Comdr. Rexford V. Wheeler, Jr., in command.

 

Following shakedown in February 1950, Robert A. Owens, one of the first hunter-killer destroyers so designated, was reclassified DDE-827 on 4 March 1950. She operated in the western Atlantic and the Caribbean until late 1952 when she deployed to the Mediterranean. From that time into the 1960s, she operated with the 6th Fleet for 6 months out of every 18. During the remaining 12 months, she conducted antisubmarine patrols off the Atlantic coast and in the Caribbean. In the fall of 1957 she added the North Sea to her operational area as she joined in NATO exercises.

 

In the 1960s Robert A. Owens continued to rotate between 2d and 6th Fleets. In November 1960 and February 1962, she assisted in the recovery operations for Project Mercury space capsules, Mercury 2 and Mercury 6. After the latter, Robert A. Owens sailed east to join TG Bravo for eastern Atlantic antisubmarine operations. Reclassified DD-827 on 7 August 1962, she was a unit of the Cuban Quarantine Task Force 136 during October and November. In January and February 1963, she conducted ASW operations in the Atlantic. March brought another period of patrol off Cuba; and, in April, Robert A. Owens again got underway for extended deployment. Duty in the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, and the Indian Ocean followed and on 23 December she entered the Norfolk Naval Shipyard for Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization overhaul.

 

Completing overhaul on 15 November 1964, Robert A. Owens served as schoolship for the Fleet Sonar School and, after refresher training at Guantanamo Bay, joined the Recovery Force for Gemini-Titan (GT3) in March 1965 and Gemini-Titan (GT4) in June. On 27 November, she sailed for an extended deployment to the 6th Fleet and Middle East Force, returning to Fleet Sonar School ship duty in May 1966. She then operated in the Atlantic until deploying to the Mediterranean during the first 5 months of 1967. The balance of the year was spent in Atlantic operations, schoolship duties, and overhaul which was completed 11 March 1968.

 

Robert A. Owens then participated in the search for Scorpion (SSN-589) 28 May to 13 June, and conducted ASW operations before deploying to the 6th Fleet from 5 September 1968 to 27 January 1969. She then operated in the Atlantic and Caribbean without an extended deployment for the balance of that year. Between 1 January 1970 and 31 December 1972, she has alternated two Mediterranean deployments with normal operations in the Atlantic and Caribbean, out of her home port, Norfolk.

Robert A. Owens was decommissioned on 16 February 1982 and transferred to the Republic of Turkey through the Security Assistance Program (SAP) that same day. She served as Alcitepe (D 346) with the Turkish Navy until early 1999.


14 October 2005