(DD-870: dp. 2,425; l. 390'6"; b. 41'1"; dr. 18'6"; s. 35 k.; cpl. 367; a. 6 5", 5 21" tt.; cl. Gearing)
Augustus Francis Fechteler, born in Prussia 1 September 1857, was a member of the Naval Academy class of 1877. His distinguished career of service in important posts included command of the 2d, 6th and 7th Divisions of the Atlantic Fleet, the Norfolk Navy Yard, and the 5th Naval District. He was awarded the Navy Cross for exceptionally meritorious service in duty of great responsibility as Commander of the 6th Division and the Norfolk Navy Yard during World War I. Rear Admiral Fechteler died at the Naval Operating Base, Hampton Roads, Va., 26 May 1921.
His son, Frank Casper Fechteler, born 8 July 1897 in San Rafael, Calif., was a member of the Naval Academy class of 1918, ordered to duty in 1917. He served in Paducah through World War I, and after the war was trained as an aviator. His last duty was in Langley (CV-1). While preparing to compete in the Pulitzer Trophy Race of 1922, Lieutenant Fechteler was killed in an airplane crash near Detroit 18 September 1922.
The second Fechteler (DD-870) was launched 19 September 1945 by Bethlehem Steel Co., Staten Island, N.Y.; sponsored by Miss Joan S. Fechteler, sponsor of the first Fechteler; and commissioned 2 March 1946, Commander A. A. Wellings in command. She was re-classified DDR-870, 9 April 1953.
Homeported at Norfolk, Va., Fechteler operated with carriers in the Virginia Capes area, and made a brief winter cruise to Argentia, Newfoundland. On 6 January 1947 she sailed from Norfolk for the west coast, and on 26 May sailed from San Diego for her first tour of duty in the Far East. Serving in the occupation, she called at several Chinese ports, as well as at Okinawa, Hong Kong, Yokosuka, and Guam. She returned to San Diego 22 January 1948, to resume west coast training operations.
Fechteler completed a second tour of duty in the Far East in 1949, and in June 1950, when the Korean War broke out, was at sea off San Francisco on exercises. At once she sailed for Pearl Harbor, where she stood by in preparation for the possible spreading of the conflict, and on 14 July returned to San Diego to prepare for Korean service. She served in the Far East on two war-time deployments, the first from 13 November 1950 to 8 August 1951, the second from 23 February 1952 to 29 September 1952. During both of these, she screened TF 77 in its air operations, sailed with the escort and patrol force, and gave bombardment and close gunfire support to the troops ashore.
Fechteler was decommissioned and placed in reserve 1 April 1953, for conversion to a radar picket destroyer. Recommissioned 1 December 1953, she sailed 10 May 1954 for duty in the Far East until 6 September, when she sailed on westward to join the Atlantic Fleet at Newport, arriving 27 October. In addition to participating in the Atlantic schedule of east coast and Caribbean exercises, she also joined in a midshipman cruise in the summer of 1955, voyaging to Malaga, Spain; Plymouth, England; and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Once more assigned to the Pacific Fleet, Fechteler sailed from Newport 14 May 1956 for Long Beach, which she reached 28 June. In 1956, 1957-58, 1958-59, and 1960, she cruised in the Far East on duty with the 7th Fleet, serving both on the Taiwan Patrol, and with carrier task forces as a radar warning ship.
Fechteler received five battle stars for Korean War service.