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Eldridge (DE-173)

(DE-173: displacement 1,240 tons; length 306 feet; beam 36 feet 8 inches; draft 8 feet 9 inches; speed 21 knots; complement 186; armament 3 3-inch guns, 3 21-inch torpedo tubes, 8 depth charge projectors, 1 hedge hog projector, 2 depth charge tracks; class Cannon)

John Eldridge, Jr., born 10 October 1903 in Buckingham County, Va., graduated from the Naval Academy in 1927. After flight training at Pensacola, Fla., he served at various stations on aviation duty. From 11 September 1941 he was Commander, Scouting Squadron 71, attached to Wasp (CV-7). Lieutenant Commander Eldridge was killed in action in the Solomons 2 November 1942. For his extraordinary heroism in leading the air attack on Japanese positions in the initial invasion of the Solomons, 7 and 8 August 1942, he was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross.

Eldridge (DE-173) was launched 25 July 1943 by Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Newark, N.J.; sponsored by Mrs. John Eldridge, Jr., widow of Lieutenant Commander Eldridge; and commissioned 27 August 1943, Lieutenant C. R. Hamilton, USNR, in command.

Between 4 January 1944 and 9 May 1945 Eldridge sailed on the vital task of escorting to the Mediterranean men and materials to support Allied operations in north Africa and on into southern Europe. She made nine voyages to deliver convoys safely to Casablanca, Bizerte, and Oran.

Eldridge departed New York 28 May 1945 for service in the Pacific. En route to Saipan in July, she made contact with an underwater object and immediately attacked but no results were observed. She arrived at Okinawa 7 August for local escort and patrol, and with the end of hositilities a week later, continued to serve as escort on the Saipan-Ulithi-Okinawa routes until November. Eldridge was placed out of commission in reserve 17 June 1946. On 15 January 1951 she was transferred under the Mutual Defense Assistance program to Greece, with whom she serves as Lion.

Published: Thu Apr 07 09:50:52 EDT 2016