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Loeser (DE-680)

(DE-680: dp. 1,400; l. 306'; b. 37'; dr. 9'5"; s. 23.5 k.; cpl. 186; a. 3 3", 4 1.1", 8 20mm., 3 21" tt., 8 dcp., 2 dct., 1 dcp. (h.h.); cl. Buckley)

Arthur Edward Loeser was born 17 April 1903 at Rahway, N.J.; appointed to the Naval Academy 15 August 1923; and commissioned ensign 2 June 1927.

After serving in Saratoga (1927-29), Hopkins (1929-32), Rochester (1932), Asheville (1933), and Chicago (1934), he completed 2 years of postgraduate work at the Naval Academy. Two years in Mississippi were followed by two in Sampson as engineering officer. From June 1940 to August 1941 he served with Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Bath, Maine. On 2 September 1941 Lieutenant Commander Loeser reported aboard cruiser Atlanta as engineering officer.

Lieutenant Commander Loeser was killed in action 13 November 1942 when enemy torpedoes crippled Atlanta inthe Naval Battle of Guadalcanal.

Loeser (DF-680) was laid down 27 July 1943 by Bethlehem Steel Co., Quincy, Mass.; launched 11 September 1943; sponsored by Mrs. Marion Loeser, widow of Lieutenant Commander Loeser; and commissioned 10 October 19439 Lt. Comdr. Chester A. Kunz in command.

Following shakedown off Bermuda the new destroyerescort departed Norfolk 11 December 1943 for Pearl Harbor en route to escort duty in the South Pacific war zone. Arriving Funafuti, Ellice Islands, 16 January 1944, Loeser departed the 18th, escorting a transport to Guadalcanal. Returning to Funafuti 27 January, she sailed the next day for Efate, New Hebrides, and arrived 31 January. She steamed north 6 February for gunnery exercises off Espirito Santo, then departed later that month for Guadalcanal and 4 months of transport-escort duty in the Solomon Islands.

Loeser departed Guadalcanal for Espiritu Santo 28 June en route to Australia, arrived Sydney 18 July for repairs, and sailed 9 days later for Purvis Bay, Florida Islands. After 3 weeks in drydock, Loeser departed for Guam 21 August escorting Celeno (AK-76). LST-120 joined the convoy off Eniwetok Atoll, Marshall Islands, and they arrived Guam 5 September. Following 5 days of antisubmarine patrol off Guam, Loeser escorted three submarines back to Eniwetok, then departed 21 September for a roundabout passage via Guadalcanal to Hawaii.

Reaching Pearl Harbor 8 October, the ship underwent extensive engineering alteration during October and early November. Getting underway 6 November, Loeser made Guadalcanal the 18th, and arrived Manus, Admiralty Islands, 25 November for duty with Amphibious Group 3. She spent December in gunnery exercises off New Guinea, before departing Hollandia on the 30th for the invasion of Lingayen Gulf.

Loeser arrived off the Lingayen beachhead 11 January 1945, 2 days after D-Day, and during the following week escorted inbound transports through the treacherous swept channels leading into the gulf. From 18 January to 7 February, the versatile destroyer-escort went on the offensive to hunt the ubiquitous Japanese submarines lurking off Lingayen and endangering vital American supply lines. With the liberation of northern Luzon virtually completed, Loeser sailed for Subic Bay en route to Leyte and points east, reaching Ulithi, Caroline Islands, 19 February.

Loeser left Ulithi 5 March for the invasion of Iwo Jima. She arrived the 19th, and began 9 long days of antisubmarine patrol. She then steamed eastward, touching Eniwetok 2 April and arriving Pearl Harbor the 13th. During the final months of the Pacific war, the battle-tested destroyer-escort remained in Hawaiian waters and contributed her invaluable experience to the already rigorous submarine training program.

Loeser departed Hawaii for the west coast 26 August and arrived San Francisco 3 September. After overhaul and a 5 month tour with the San Diego Underway Training Unit, the ship joined the Atlantic Fleet at New London, Conn., 3 April 1946 for continued submarine training duty. She decommissioned 28 March 1947 and entered the Atlantic Reserve Fleet at Charleston, S.C.

When Communist aggression in Korea required the Navy to strengthen its active fleet, Loeser recommissioned at Charleston 9 March 1951, Lt. Comdr. Frederick L. Edwards, in command. After refresher training in the Caribbean, she rejoined the Atlantic Fleet at Norfolk. During the next 71⁄2 years of active service, the destroyer-escort served each spring with the Naval Operational Development Station-at Key West, underwent a major overhaul, and made two cruises to Europe. In 1952, the ship departed Norfolk 25 August, called at Edinburgh, Scotland, and Kristiansand, Norway, then returned home 12 October. During the 1954 European cruse, Loeser operated with mighty battleship Wisconsin (BB-64) and visited Dublin, Ireland, and Portsmouth, England.

Designated a Naval Reserve ship for the Little Creek, Va., area June 1958, Loeser decommissioned 1 December 1958 and was placed in an inservice status under Commandant 5th Naval District. With this new concept of Reserve training, Loeser maintained a Regular Navy nucleus crew that was augmented by reservists during the monthly weekend cruises or during time of national emergency. This system provided the closest possible coordination and communication between Regulars and reservists, preparing the reservists. as no shore-based activity could, to augment the Regular Navy in any situation.

The Selected Reserve Ship Program paid off handsomely when President Kennedy called up the reserves during the 1961 Berlin crisis. Taking up the challenge, Loeser recommissioned 2 October 1961, embarked her Reserve crew, and arrived Guantanamo Bay 19 October for refresher training. She departed for Newport 24 November but returned to the Caribbean 12 January 1962 for patrol duty along the eastern coast of Cuba. She remained on station until 24 March 1962; each vessel sighted was checked and identified to guard against any subversive elements in the Caribbean area.

After returning to Newport 28 March, the ship decommissioned 1 August 1962 and became the Naval Reserve ship for the Williamsburg, Va., area. Loeser shifted home port to the Washington Naval Shipyard 20 October 1964, where she served as Naval Reserve ship for the Washington, D.C., area until struck from the Navy list 23 August 1968.

Loeser received two battle stars for World War II service.

Published: Wed Apr 20 05:08:59 EDT 2016