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Moberly (PF-63)


The county seat of Randolph County, Missouri.

(PF‑63: displacement 1,430; length 303'11"; beam 37'6"; draft 13'8"; speed 20 knots; complement 214; armament 3 3-inch, 4 40 millimeter, 9 20 millimeter, 2 depth charge tracks, 8 depth charge projectors, 1 depth charge projector (hedgehog); class Tacoma; type S2‑S2‑AQ1)

A city in north central Missouri and county seat of Randolph County.

Moberly (PF‑63), originally designated as PG‑171, was reclassified PF‑63 on 15 April 1943; laid down as Scranton under Maritime Commission contract by Globe Shipbuilding Co., Superior, Wis., 3 November 1943; launched 26 January 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Howard J. Snowden; renamed Moberly 28 June 1944; placed in service from 1 to 7 September during transfer to Houston, Tex., for completion of construction by Brown Shipbuilding Co.; and commissioned at Houston 11 December 1944, Lt. Comdr. Leslie B. Tollaksen, USCG, in command.

After shakedown off Bermuda, Moberly reported to the Atlantic Fleet 8 February 1945 for escort duty. Assigned to TG 60.1, she departed Norfolk, Va., 22 February in the screen of North African bound convoy UGS‑76. She reached Oran, Algeria, 10 March, thence sailed the 18th with westbound GUS‑76. Transferred to TG‑60.7 on 29 March, she joined the eastbound convoy UGS‑82 in mid-Atlantic and returned to Oran 8 April. Once again, the frigate sailed for the United States 17 April. The escorts left the convoy off New York about noon 5 May and beaded for Boston.

In company with Atherton (DE‑169) and Amick (DE168), Moberly approached Buzzards Bay late that afternoon, only 2 days before Germany surrendered. At 1854, on orders from CTG 60.7 in Ericsson (DD‑440), then at the southern entrance to the Cape Cod Canal, the ships turned about to search for a German submarine off Block Island. At 1740, U‑853 had torpedoed and sunk Black Point within sight of Point Judith, R.I., as the American collier headed for Boston.

With Lieutenant Commander Tollaksen in tactical command, the ships reached the area at 1920; and, after forming a scout line off Block Island, they began a sweep to seaward at 2010. Within 15 minutes Atherton detected the snorkel submarine, bottomed in a depth of 18 fathoms. The DE dropped magnetic depth charges at 2028 and during the next 30 minutes fired two full spreads of hedgehogs.

Working as an effective hunter‑killer group, Atherton and Moberly continued the search and destroy operations. At 2341 the escort launched hedgehogs which brought large amounts of oil, air bubbles, and debris to the surface. The two ships delivered four more attacks in the early hours of 6 May, and by dawn oil and flotsam littered the ocean. The ships recovered such conclusive evidence as planking, life rafts, a chart tabletop, clothing, and an officer's cap, which indicated the accuracy and severity of the earlier attacks. To be certain however, they pounded the lifeless U‑boat throughout the morning; thence, at 1240 TG 60.7 headed for Boston with "brooms at mastheads."

Moberly operated between Boston and New York until 31 July when she sailed with three other frigates for the Pacific. She transited the Panama Canal 8 August and reached Pearl Harbor the 23d. Six days later Moberly and Gladwyne (PF‑62) sailed for the Marshall Islands to begin weather station and plane guard patrols. The frigates reached Majuro 5 September, and during the next 6 months they alternated on patrolling their assigned area out of Majuro and later out of Kwajalein.

Moberly returned to the west coast early in April 1946 and subsequently served in the 13th Naval District. She decommissioned 12 August 1946. Authorized by the Secretary of the Navy for disposal 29 August, Moberly was struck from the Navy list 23 April 1947. She was sold for scrapping to Franklin Shipwrecking Co., Hillside, N.J., 27 October 1947.

Moberly received one battle star for World War II service.

Published: Mon Dec 28 11:01:12 EST 2015