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Eichenberger (DE-202)

(DE-202: dp. 1,400; l. 306'; b. 36'10"; dr. 9'5"; s. 24 k.; cpl. 186; a. 3 3", 3 21" tt., 8 dcp., 1 dcp.(hh.), 2 dct.; cl. Buckley)

Charles Emil Eichenberger, Jr., born 12 May 1920 in Naranja, Fla., enlisted in the Naval Reserve 15 April 1941 and was appointed aviation cadet 13 June. Serving in Fighter Squadron 5 in Saratoga (CV-3), Ensign Eichenberger was killed in action 12 September 1942 in the fierce fighting of the Solomon Islands while pressing home an attack on enemy dive bombers.

Eichenberger (DE-202) was launched 22 July 1943 by Charleston Navy Yard; sponsored by Ensign Eichenberger's widow; and commissioned 17 November 1943, Lieutenant Commander N. Harrell in command.

Eichenberger departed Norfolk 26 January 1944, escorting a convoy to Espiritu Santo and a fueling group to rendezvous with the 5th Fleet before reporting to Milne Bay 7 April for escort, patrol, and reconnaissance supporting the forces invading New Guinea. She saw action in the landings at Biak and Humboldt Bay, and the initial landings at Wakde during May and June, and escorted convoys from Manus.

After patrolling the Palaus from 20 October to 9 November 1944, Eichenberger sailed from Hollandia 22 November with the first of two convoys to San Pedro Bay, Leyte. On 4 January 1945 she was bound for Mindoro when Ommaney Bay (CVE-79) was bombed. The escort vessel rescued two survivors and left a whaleboat and rescue party for the damaged carrier while she continued on with her task group. Returning, she found three of her men had been killed by explosions on board the burning carrier, but several of Ommaney Bay's men had been picked up from the water by the whaleboat. Eichenberger patrolled Mangarin Bay during support landings on Mindoro and escorted two supply convoys from Subic Bay to Mindoro. then returned to San Pedro Bay, Leyte, 24 February.

Eichenberger served in the Philippines for the remainder of the war on local escort and patrol duty operating primarily out of Subic Bay. She sailed for Okinawa 27 August and herded a convoy safely through a typhoon, arriving 8 September. After a similar voyage during which she rescued six men from a downed aircraft, Eichenberger returned to the Philippines to embark servicemen eligible for discharge, with whom she arrived at San Diego 23 October 1945. She was placed out of commission in reserve there 14 May 1946.

Eichenberger received four battle stars for World War II service.

Published: Wed Apr 13 12:28:40 EDT 2016