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Oberrender (DE-344)

(DE-344: dp. 1,745; l 306-; b. 36-7-; dr. 13-4-; s. 24.3 k.; cpl. 222; a. 2 5-, 4 40mm., 10 20mm., 2 dct., 8 dcp., 1 dcp. (h.h.); cl. John C. Butler)

Thomas Olin Oberrender, Jr., born in DuBois, Pa., 24 September 1906, graduated from the Naval Academy in the Class of 1927. After serving in cruisers Rochester, Tulsa, and Louisville and other ships, he attended postgraduate school from 1934 to 1936, followed by duty in battleship Nevada. Assigned as engineering officer in destroyer Hull in 1938, he became her executive officer the following year. After a brief period of duty ashore he reported on board the new cruiser Juneau in November 1941, when the ship was just fitting out. When she commissioned the following February, he was her engineering officer. Lt. Comdr. Oberrender died 13 November 1942 when Juneau was torpedoed and sunk in action in the Solomon Islands.

Oberrender (DE-344) was laid down by the Consolidated Steel Corporation, Orange, Texas, 8 November 1943; launched 18 January 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Thomas Olin Oberrender, Jr., widow of Lt. Comdr. Oberrender; and commissioned 11 May 1944, Lt. Comdr. Samuel Spencer in command.

Following commissioning and fitting out, Oberrender sailed 28 May 1944 for Bermuda, where she conducted shakedown until early July. She steamed via Norfolk and Aruba for the Panama Canal, which she transitted on 1 August.

Assigned to protect convoys plying between Pearl Harbor and Eniwetok, the new destroyer escort completed two runs to the Marshalls by 30 September. After a stop at Manus, Admiralties, Oberrender escorted Rear Admiral Sprague's jeep carriers to the Philippines for the invasion of Leyte. A brief trip to Morotai, however, caused her to miss the epic Battle of Leyte Gulf.

The ship was in Seeadler Harbor, Manus, 10 November only 1100 yards from Mount Hood when that ammunition ship blew up. Damages incurred from flying debris and exploding ammunition forced Oberrender to remain at Manus for the rest of November. The next month found her back in fighting trim, and for three more months she conducted escort and patrol duties in the Dutch East Indies and Philippines areas.

As United States forces pushed closer to the Japanese home islands, Oberrender moved along in the van. Through April and into May, Okinawa was the focus of attention. There, on 9 May, a Japanese suicide plane crashed the plucky escort on her starboard side. A bomb carried by the plane penetrated the forward fireroom, where it exploded and caused extensive heavy damage. Twenty-four Sailors were killed, wounded, or listed as missing as a result of the blast. Towed to Kerama Retto, Oberrender was beyond repair. She decommissioned 11 July 1945 and was struck from the Navy List on 25 July. Stripped of all worthwhile equipment, her hulk was sunk by gunfire on 6 November of that year.

Oberrender earned 3 battle stars for World War II service.

Published: Mon Apr 18 20:42:37 EDT 2016