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Naifeh (DE-352)

(DE-352: dp. 1,350; l. 306-; b. 36-8-; dr. 9-5-; s. 24 k.; cpl. 186; a. 2 5-, 4 40mm., 10 20mm., 3 21- tt., 8 dcp., 1 dcp. (hh.), 2 dct.; cl. John C. Butler)

Alfred Naifeh, born at Covington, Tenn., 5 January 1915, was commissioned Ensign 5 July 1941 and reported on board Meredith as Destroyer Division Disbursing Officer 27 February 1942. He was promoted to Lieutenant (j.g.) 1 October 1.942. After Meredith was sunk in the Battle of the Solomons, Lt. (j.g.) Naifeh worked through the night keeping wounded and exhausted survivors on life rafts. As a result of his continuing valiant efforts to save his shipmates, he was completely overcome by exhaustion which ultimately resulted in his death 16 October 1942. For his devotion to duty and courage, Lt. (j.g.) Naifeh was posthumously awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal.

Naifeh (DE-352) was laid down 29 December 1943 by Consolidated Steel Corp., Orange, Tex.; launched 29 February 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Rathia Naifeh, mother of Lt. (j.g.) Naifeh; and commissioned 4 July 1944, Lt. J. S. Albert in command.

After commissioning, Naifeh trained and conducted shakedown off Burmuda, then had training ship duty out of Norfolk. The ship departed Brooklyn 6 October 1944 on the first of 2 voyages escorting convoys to Europe and North Africa. Naifeh departed New York 13 January 1945 and steamed via the Panama Canal to the Pacific, arriving Manus Island, Admiralties, 20 February.

The escort was assigned to the Philippine Sea Frontier, and was based at Leyte Gulf. She was primarily occupied in convoy duty until the end of the war, escorting tankers and other auxiliaries to New Guinea, Ulithi, Palau, Guam, Manila, and Okinawa. Naifeh performed other duties such as weather ship, search and rescue work, and carrying mail. Once she displayed the three star flag of Commander Philippine Sea Frontier as Vice Admiral Kauffman was embarked on an inspection tour of the islands. She rescued the crew of Glenns Ferry 10 October 1945 after the merchantman had grounded near Batag Island, Philippines. Naifeh stood by with a watch set on the grounded ship until a salvage crew arrived from Manila.

She was detached from the Philippine Sea Frontier 27 November 1945 and proceeded to San Diego, arriving 17 December. She decommissioned 27 June 1946 and entered the Pacific Reserve Fleet at San Diego.

With the start of the Korean conflict, she recommissioned 26 January 1951. Naifeh left San Diego 16 April, assigned to the United Nations Escort and Blockade Force. She took station off Songjin Harbor, North Korea, 28 June. The next months were occupied in shelling Communist military and logistics facilities, along with patrol action to clear the area of floating mines, junks, and possible submarines. She then screened escort carrier Sicily (CVE-118) and HMS Glory off the west coast of Korea.

Naifeh returned to San Francisco in November 1951. From early March 1952 to July, she was engaged in training exercises off the West Coast. In early July, the destroyer escort sailed from San Diego for Korea to rejoin TF 95, Blockade and Escort Group Naifeh was assigned to the northeast coast of Korea in the Songjin-Chongjin area. Here she fired on enemy shore positions, railroads, and industrial targets.

Once bracketed by enemy shore fire, she successfully maneuvered out of range. With other assignments, she aided Republic of Korea Navy torpedo boats in interdiction missions against enemy supply lines. In late fall, Naifeh was flagship of the Wonsan Element Commander, protecting U.S. and Korean minesweepers and firing on shore targets. When Lewis (DE-535) was hit by artillery fire, Naifeh provided protective counterbattery fire as she laid a smoke screen to cover her withdrawal. In addition to blockade duty, the escort fired on North Korean supply movements in the Wonsan area. She returned to San Diego in December 1952.

Naifeh again deployed to WestPac in mid-November 1953, operating off Japan, Okinawa, and Taiwan. May 1954 was spent with Marines conducting landing exercises off Pusan, Korea. She left Sasebo 7 June 1954, arriving San Diego 26 June for a summer in operational training off the West Coast, highlighted by PACTRAEX and a visit to Seattle. Naifeh left San Diego 21 November, arriving Yokosuka 9 December for patrol duty off the eastern coast of Korea and antisubmarine training. She assisted in the evacuation of the Tachen Islands in late January and February 1955, and returned to San Diego 1 June.

In early March 1956, the ship sailed for her fourth WestPac deployment. Based at Guam, the ship acted as a search and rescue ready duty ship and participated in five surveillance patrols of the Northern Marianas, Bonin, and Caroline Islands before returning to Long Beach 24 August. The remainder of 1956 and early 1957 were occupied with training operations off the California coast.

Leaving Long Beach, the destroyer escort once again deployed to the western Pacific, arriving Guam 30 April. In the first part of May, Naifeh made a patrol in the Bonin Islands. She departed Guam 18 May and sailed for Sasebo, where she arrived 23 May. She operated out of Sasebo and Subic Bay on patrol duties for the rest of her deployment until 12 July when she departed Yokosuka and sailed to San Diego, arriving 28 July.

Naifeh then engaged in coastal operations off the West Coast until 17 June 1960, when she decommissioned at San Francisco. Berthed at Mare Island until 1 January 1966, when she was struck from the Naval Vessel Register, she was towed to San Diego in early 1966 for stripping prior to being used as a target to destruction. In July, Naifeh was sunk as a target off San Clemente Island by a combination of naval gunfire and aircraft.

Naifeh received three battle stars for Korean service.

Published: Mon Apr 18 21:08:06 EDT 2016