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Spangenberg (DE-223)

(DE-223: dp. 1,400; l. 306'0"; b. 37'0"; dr. 13'6"; s. 23.6 k. (tl.); cpl. 213; a. 3 3", 6 40mm.; cl. Buckley)

Kenneth Jerome Spangenberg was born on 14 May 1922 in Allentown, Pa. He enlisted in the Navy on 11 September 1940 at Philadelphia and, after basic training at Newport, R.I., was assigned to San Francisco (CA-38). Gunner's Mate Third Class Spangenberg died as a result of wounds received during the night action of 12 and 13 November 1942 off Savo Island in the Solomons. "Although mortally wounded by hostile shell fire, Spangenberg, with grim determination in the face of intense pain and waning strength, continued to man his battle station until the engagement ended." For his extraordinary heroism, Gunner's Mate Spangenberg was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross.

Spangenberg (DE-223), a destroyer escort, was laid down on 5 April 1943 by the Philadelphia Navy Yard; launched on 3 July 1943; sponsored by Mrs. Gussie Spangenberg; and commissioned on 15 April 1944, Lt. Thomas H. P. Whitney in command.

After completing trials around Philadelphia and Norfolk and shakedown in the vicinity of Bermuda, Spangenberg returned to Norfolk on 1 June. She served temporarily as school ship for student officers and as escort to coastwise merchant traffic before beginning duty with transatlantic convoys. On 13 July, the destroyer escort joined Escort Division 66 (CortDiv 66) and put to sea the next day from Hampton Roads, Va., in the screen of a convoy bound for the Mediterranean Sea. The convoy, UGS 48, made a fairly quiet passage until the day before it reached Bizerte, Tunisia. At 0100 on 1 August, a flight of about 20 German bombers attacked the formation. Spangenberg was able to lay a good smoke screen which helped to prevent the German attack from damaging the American ships. This was Spangenberg's only brush with the Luftwaffe. The convoy made Bizerte on 2 August, and Spangenberg stayed for 11 days before sailing for the United States on the 13th. She reached Boston on the 28th.

From 9 to 17 September, CortDiv 66 conducted training exercises at Casco Bay, Maine. Spangenberg returned to Hampton Roads on 20 September and, two days later, sailed in the screen of convoy UGS 55, headed for North Africa. She was at Bizerte from 12 to 18 October; then she screened the convoy back to the United States and arrived in Boston on 6 November. Spangenberg and the other ships of CortDiv 66 conducted more exercises at Casco Bay and, at the end of November, moved to Argentina, Newfoundland, to act as killer group for Task Unit 27.1.2. She conducted antisubmarine searches around Argentina and Halifax until February of 1945 and, on one occasion, made a depth charge attack on a sound contact but scored no kill. The destroyer escort spent the month of February operating with friendly submarines in Block Island Sound, Long Island Sound, and in the area south of Block Island.

Spangenberg began an availability period at Boston on 3 March. After a short cruise to Casco Bay on 20 and 21 March, she got underway for Horta in the Azores, en route to England. She arrived in Liverpool on 3 April. From that port, she moved to Londonderry in Northern Ireland. There CortDiv 66, under British control, operated as an antisubmarine escort group out of Londonderry and out of Milford Haven, England. Spangenberg returned to the United States at New York on 1 June 1945 and was converted to a radar picket destroyer escort.

At the completion of her conversion and post-conversion trials, Spangenberg sailed from New York for Port Arthur, Tex., to participate in the Navy Day celebration. On 3 November, she headed toward Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for three weeks of refresher training. The destroyer escort departed Cuban waters on the 26th and returned to Norfolk, Va. For the next 18 months, Spangenberg sailed up and down the eastern coast of the United States engaged in training exercises. During that period, she left that area only once, in May and June of 1947, to carry scientists of the Naval Research Laboratory south of the equator to observe an eclipse of the sun. She returned the scientists to Washington on 9 June, stopped at Norfolk for a month, and then reported to Charleston, S.C., on 18 July 1947 for inactivation. Spangenberg remained berthed at Charleston as a unit of the Atlantic Reserve Fleet for almost 18 years. In March of 1949, she was redesignated a radar picket destroyer escort, DER-223, but, on 1 December 1954, reverted back to a destroyer escort, DE-223. Spangenberg's name was struck from the Navy list on 1 November 1965 and, on 4 October 1966, her hulk was sold to the North American Smelting Co. of Wilmington, Del., for scrapping.

Published: Thu Apr 14 08:10:32 EDT 2016