Clark Franklin Rinehart, born in Ridgeway, Mo., 30 May 1910, enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve 30 April 1937, was appointed aviation cadet 22 July 1937, designated naval aviator 8 June 1938, appointed ensign for aviation duties in the U.S. Naval Reserve ranking from 1 August 1938, commissioned ensign in the U.S. Navy ranking from 1 June 1939; and appointed lieutenant (junior grade) for temporary service ranking from 1 November 1941. He was assigned successively to the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Fla.; Bombing Squadron 2 on board Lexington (CV-2); and Fighting Squadron 2 again on board Lexington. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross for extraordinary achievement in aerial combat as pilot of a fighter plane in action against Japanese forces in the Battle of the Coral Sea, 7 and 8 May 1942. His plane failed to return 8 May 1942.
(DE-196: displacement 1,620 (full load); length 306’0”; beam 36’7”; draft 11’8”; speed 21 knots; complement 216; armament 3 3”, 6 40mm., 10 20mm., 2 depth charge tracks, 8 depth charge projectors, 1 depth charge projector (hedgehog-type); cl. Levy)
Rinehart (DE-196) was laid down by the Federal Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co., Newark, N.J., 21 October 1943; launched 9 January 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Dorothy Ruth Rinehart; and commissioned at New York 12 February 1944, Lt. Partee W. Crouch in command.
Following shakedown off Bermuda and brief service as a schoolship out of Norfolk, Rinehart commenced her primary work as a convoy escort when she sailed to New York 8 May 1944 to pick up the New York section of a North Africa-bound convoy. Arriving Bizerte, Tunisia, 1 June, she steamed for New York 9 days later with a return convoy. She made a second voyage from Norfolk to Bizerte and back to New York 24 July to 7 September.
Rinehart cleared New York on 14 October 1944 for the first of five convoy escort voyages to ports in Great Britain and France. She sailed from New York to Liverpool, England, and back (14 October to 9 November 1944); from Boston to Plymouth, England, to New York (2 to 31 December 1944); from New York to Liverpool and back (18 January to 14 February 1945); from Boston to Le Havre, France, and Southampton, England, and back to New York (8 March to 4 April 1945); and from Boston to Gourock, Scotland, and back to New York (24 April to 19 May 1945). During this last voyage, she rescued a man overboard from merchant tanker Sea Don on 1 May.
After an overhaul, Rinehart cleared New York with the rest of Escort Division 55 for refresher training at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Continuing on to the Pacific, she transited the Panama Canal 1 July, and, after a stop at San Diego, arrived at Pearl Harbor 21 July.
Following training in Hawaiian waters, Rinehart sailed from Pearl Harbor 8 August 1945 as escort for an Eniwetok-bound convoy. She delivered her charges safely at that port 16 August and was assigned to patrol on the barrier line between the convoy lanes. She also served as ready duty ship and on 12 September recovered LCVP-3832 which was adrift off the island.
On 26 September 1945, Rinehart headed for Wake Island where she assumed radio and station ship duty upon her arrival the following day. She was relieved of this duty 4 October and sailed back to Eniwetok by way of Bikini where she replenished three YMSs stationed there. The escort revisited Bikini during 19-21 October for a similar mission, then returned to Wake Island on 24 October 1945 to serve as port director and radio ship. During heavy weather on the 28th and 29th, Rinehart barely avoided joining SS Pierre Victory on a coral reef. Her mooring buoys were ripped loose, but skillful manuvering [sic; maneuvering] enabled her to stay clear and aid the merchant ship get off the reef and into safe water to ride out the storm.
Rinehart put to sea from Wake Island 1 December 1945 and embarked Navy passengers at Eniwetok Atoll for transportation to Pearl Harbor where she arrived 15 December 1945. After acting as weather station ship off Pearl Harbor, she got underway from that port on 2 February for the east coast of the United States. Steaming in company with Thornhill (DE-195), she touched at San Pedro, Calif., transited the Panama Canal on 1 March, and arrived in the Boston Navy Yard on 7 March 1946. She cleared Boston Harbor with Thornhill on 13 April and reported for inactivation at Green Cove Springs, Fla., on 16 April 1946. She remained in inactive status until 17 July 1946 when she decommissioned and was assigned to the Florida Group of the U.S. Atlantic Reserve Fleet. Rinehart was transferred to the Netherlands under terms of the Military Assistance Program on 1 June 1950. She was struck from the Navy list 26 September 1950. She served in the Royal Netherlands Navy as De Bitter until retired in December 1967.
29 September 2005