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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
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Trumpeter

 

George Nelson Trumpeter—born on 2 September 1919 in Monaco, Pa.—enrolled in 1938 at the Carnegie Institute of Technology College of Engineering and, during, his three years there, participated in the Reserve Officer Training Program. On 5 March 1941, he enlisted in the Naval Reserve as a seaman second class and within two weeks began elimination flight training at Naval Reserve Aviation Base, Philadelphia. In April, he was transferred to the Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, Fla.; and, in May, he received an appointment as an Aviation Cadet. In October, he became a naval aviator and, on 5 December 1941, was commissioned an ensign and assigned to Advanced Carrier Training Group, Atlantic Fleet, Norfolk. On 1 October 1942, he was promoted to the rank of Lt. (jg.).

 

Assigned for duty with the Southern Attack Force of Operation "Torch," Lt. Trumpeter flew his F4F fighter from the deck of escort carrier Santee (CVE-29) on the morning of D-day, 8 November 1942. Taking off in light winds at 0545 in Santee's first launch of the day, he joined a flight of six Wildcats for combat air patrol over the transport and carrier areas of Safi. Lt. Trumpeter was lost while returning from this mission and was listed as killed in air combat action.

 

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Originally, Trumpeter (CVE-37) was to be built under a Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 248), but the supervision of the contract for her construction was reassigned to the Navy on 30 April 1942. First classified as an aircraft escort vessel, AVG-37, the ship was redesignated an auxiliary aircraft carrier, ACV-37, only five days before her keel was laid down on 25 August 1942 at Tacoma, Wash., by the Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding Corp. Launched on 15 December 1942, the ship was again redesignated on 15 July 1943. this time as CVE-37.

 

Turned over to the United Kingdom at Portland, Oreg., on 4 August 1943, the Bogue-cluss carrier served with the Royal Navy in the North Atlantic in 1943 and 1944. In the latter year, she was assigned to convoy duty in the icy and treacherous Arctic. In March 1945, she escorted JW65 on the danger-fraught Russian convoy route. That convoy lost two merchant ships and the British sloop Lapwing to German U-boats at the mouth of Kola Inlet. She completed her wartime service in Norwegian waters in 1945.

 

Trumpeter arrived at Norfolk on 20 March 1946, was decommissioned by the Royal Navy on 6 April, and was returned to the custody of the United States the same day. She was struck from the Navy list on 21 May 1946 and, on 2 May 1947, was sold to the Waterman Steamship Co., Mobile, Ala.

 

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DE-279—originally named Trumpeter—was renamed Kempthorne in June 1943 when the Bureau of Ships decided that, upon completion, the Evarts-class destroyer escort would be turned over to the United Kingdom. Laid down on 5 June 1943 by the Boston Navy Yard, the warship was launched on 17 July 1943 and was formally transferred to the United Kingdom on 23 October 1943 under terms of the Lend-Lease agreement.

 

Kempthorne (K.483) served the Royal Navy in the North Atlantic as a "Captain"-class frigate through the end of World War II. In May 1945, she was one of two British warships which presided over the surrender of the German U-boats at Trondheim, Norway. While still in England, Kempthorne was returned to the custody of the United States on 20 August 1945 and was commissioned in the United States Navy the same day for the voyage home. The destroyer escort arrived at Philadelphia on 8 September 1945 and was decommissioned at the navy yard there on 17 October. Struck from the Navy list on 1 November 1945, Kemp-thorne was scrapped by 28 May 1946.

 

I

 

(DE-180: dp. 1,240; 1. 306'; b. 36'8"; dr. 11'8"; s. 20.9 k. (tr.); cpl. 216; a. 3 3", 2 40mm., 10 20mm., 2 dct., 8 dcp., 1 dcp. (hh.), 3 21" tt.; cl. Cannon)

 

Trumpeter (DE-180) was laid down on 7 June 1943 at Newark, N.J., by the Federal Shipbuilding and Dry-dock Co.; launched on 19 September 1943; sponsored by Mrs. Hazel Vivian Trumpeter, mother of Lt. Trumpeter; and commissioned on 16 October 1943, Comdr. John R. Litchfteld in command.

 

While Trumpeter was completing outfitting at New York Navy Yard only three days after her commissioning, sparks from a workman's burner set off a small fire on a line between the dock and the port side of the ship. An alert fire watch at the scene quickly extinguished the fire, and damage to the new destroyer escort was averted. On the 28th, she underwent dock trials and deperming and finished the month with underway trials in New York harbor.

 

Early in November, Trumpeter departed New York, setting her course for Bermuda. She moored in Port Royal Bay on the 6th and in the following weeks participated in extensive shakedown and indoctrination exercises. Antisubmarine tactics, convoy escort technique, gunnery, night illumination, cruising and screening exercises occupied her days. Each evening, she returned to Bermuda to anchor in Great Sound. Antisubmarine runs, practice fueling at sea, towing, mail-passing and emergency steering drills readied the new destroyer escort and her crew for the rigors of wartime Atlantic operations.

 

At last, on 2 December, Trumpeter got underway for New York where she underwent alterations and voyage repairs. On 16 December, she departed New York and set her course northeast. The same day, she moored at Quonset Point Naval Air Station and reported for temporary duty with the Antisubmarine Development Detachment, Atlantic Fleet (ASDEV-LANT). There she took part in testing newly developed antisubmarine gear until 17 January when she departed Narragansett Bay for New York. After repairs to one of her main propulsion generators, she resumed her duties at Quonset Point, remaining there until 13 February when she detached from ASDEVLANT and made way for New York. Following routine upkeep, she got underway with Task Group (TG) 27.2 on the 20th, steaming southward with two escort carriers and two DE's, bound for Brazil.

 

Late in the morning on the first day of March, she arrived at Recife, reported for duty with the 4th Fleet; then continued on to arrive at Rio de Janeiro on the 7th. She moored at Bahia on the 17th for 10 days availability and routine upkeep. On the 28th, she got underway with Straub (DE-181) and Gustafson (DE-182) ; then, on the 31st, she rendezvoused with Solomons (CVE-67) and reported to CTG 41.6 for her first antisubmarine patrol.

 

For the next five months, Trumpeter conducted patrols out of Brazilian ports with antisubmarine task groups. The escort carrier hunter-killer group was an innovation in antisubmarine warfare which effectively blunted the efficiency of German submarines in the Atlantic shipping lanes. Each group, composed of one escort carrier and its screen of destroyer escorts or old destroyers, aggressively sought out and destroyed enemy submarines in Atlantic waters with notable success. When Trumpeter began patrols in March 1944, however, German submarine activity was not so extensive as it had been earlier in the war; and many of her patrols were uneventful. In June, while Trumpeter was patrolling in midAtlantic with Solomons, a plane from the carrier detected the presence of a German submarine. Planes dispatched from Solomons eventually sank the submarine. While Trumpeter remained behind to screen the carrier, Straub and Herzog (DE-178) set out for the area of the sinking, some 40 miles away, to rescue survivors. The two DE's picked 23 Germans from the waters, but the flier, whose bold low altitude bombing run had finished off the U-boat, was still missing when the search was ended.

 

Trumpeter's routine of patrol interspersed with periods of repair and upkeep was varied in August with four days of antisubmarine exercises and night battle practice out of Recife. She departed on 1 September and, on the 3d, joined Memphis and Cannon (DE-99) en route to Rio de Janeiro. During two weeks in that port, she underwent availability and prepared for her first Atlantic crossing. Finally, on 22 September 1944, she departed Brazilian waters escorting transports General M. C. Meigs (AP-16) and General W. A. Mann (AP-112) carrying troops of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force bound for the European theater of war.

 

On 4 October, she anchored in Gibraltar Bay but, less than six hours later, was again underway for the east coast. Arriving at New York on 13 October, she commenced 30 days of availability and drydocking; then, on 14 November, she set her course for South America, conducting firing practice as she steamed southward. At 1700 on the 23d, she saw the welcome sight of the Fortaleza harbor blimp, proceeded to that Brazilian port, paused briefly, and then steamed on to arrive at Recife on 25 November. In December, she engaged in gunnery practice and, later in the month, made routine patrols out of Recife with Marblehead (CL-12) and Micka (DE-176). On the 24th, she moored at Bahia and remained there undergoing availability until 2 January when she got underway again for patrol. In the next three months, she continued Atlantic patrols; then, early in March, she escorted Omaha (CL-4) from Recife to Montevideo.

 

Trumpeter departed Uruguay on 22 March 1945, steamed northward, and arrived at New York on 8 April. Following availability and dry-docking, she took part in antisubmarine exercises in Casco Bay. On 24 April, while patrolling off the New England coast, she struck an underwater object which damaged her sonar gear, making it necessary for her to detach from the task group (TG 22.6) and put in to Norfolk for repairs. She rejoined the task group on the 26th and into May continued antisubmarine patrols. On 8 May, she arrived at New London to begin antisubmarine warfare exercises. Later in the month, she proceeded to New York where she joined the screen of UGS 94 when it departed the United States on the 22d. Stopping briefly in the Azores, Trumpeter steamed for Mediterranean ports. The convoy members dispersed to their various destinations on 7 and 8 June, and the destroyer escort continued on to Oran for a short stay before departing the Mediterranean. After refueling at Horta, she steamed on, arrived at Boston on 19 June, and began a prolonged period of availability.

 

Underway again on 23 July, she set her course for the Caribbean and, on the 27th, arrived at Guantanamo Bay for refresher training in gunnery, antisubmarine warfare, damage control, and shore bombardment. On 10 August, she departed Cuba and steamed, via the Canal Zone, to San Diego. Following a period of availability, Trumpeter departed the west coast on the 27th on orders from the llth Naval District. She arrived at Pearl Harbor on 2 September and alternated exercises with carrier rescue duties until late in October when she began weather station patrols in the North Pacific.

 

She returned to the Hawaiian Islands in December and, on the 18th, got underway for the Canal Zone. She arrived at Boston early in January 1946 and remained in east coast ports until February when she reported to the 16th Fleet at Green Cove Springs, Fla., to await inactivation.

 

She was decommissioned on 14 June 1946. Her disposal was deferred pending a possible transfer to a foreign government, but the transaction failed to materialize, and Trumpeter's inactivation was completed in December 1947. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 1 August 1973, and her hulk was authorized for sinking as a target in Atlantic Fleet tests.