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Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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  • Boats-Ships--Frigate
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(DE-1014: dp. 1,280; l. 314'6"; b. 36'9"; dr. 9'3"; s. 25 k.; cpl. 170; a. Classified; cl. Dealey)

John Philip Cromwell was born 11 September 1901 in Henry, III., and graduated from the Naval Academy in 1924. He served in Maryland (BB-46), in several submarines, and commanded S-20 (SS-125). On the staff of Commander, Submarines, Pacific Fleet, at the entry of the United States into the war, he commanded Submarine Division 203 and 44, then was assigned command of Submarine Division 43 and additional duty in command of Submarine Division 44, with his pennant in Sculpin (SS-191).

When Sculpin was scuttled by her crew after severe damage from enemy depth charges off Truk 19 November 1943, Captain Cromwell elected to remain on board rather than risk capture and endanger the security of the submarine tactics and strategy, scheduled fleet movements, and the important plans for the invasion of the Gilbert Islands which he might have been forced to reveal under torture or drugs. For his heroic sacrifice, Captain Cromwell was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Cromwell (DE-1014) was launched 4 June 1954 by Bath Iron Works Corp., Bath, Maine; sponsored by Miss A. Cromwell; and commissioned 24 November 1954, Lieutenant Commander E. J. Cummings, Jr., in command.

From her home port at Newport, Cromwell joined in antisubmarine exercises in waters from Iceland to the Virgin Islands, took part in fleet exercises in the Caribbean, and served as schoolship for the Fleet Sonar School at Key West. In September and October 1957, she joined in NATO exercises which took her to ports in England and France, and between May and October1958, had her first tour of duty in the Mediterranean. During that eventful summer, she joined in patrolling the eastern Mediterranean during the Lebanon crisis.

Between February and April 1959, Cromwell sailed on a cruise which took her through the Panama Canal to a number of ports on the west coast of South America, and exercises with ships of the Peruvian Navy. In August, September, and October 1959 she crossed the Atlantic once more for NATO operations, and during the first half of 1960 concentrated on amphibious exercises with Marines along the North Carolina coast. Cromwell took part in NATO exercises in the fall of 1960, then returned to east coast operations for the remainder of the year.