Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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  • Boats-Ships--Frigate
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  • Ship History
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Sheehan (DE-541)

John Francis Sheehan, born at Fall River, Mass., on 20 January 1910, enlisted in the Navy on 25 October 1928 and achieved the rate of Chief Quartermaster shortly before his death. He died in action on the night of 5 September 1942, when Gregory (APD-3) was sunk by gunfire from an enemy cruiser and three destroyers during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. A Navy pilot, mistakenly thinking Gregory an enemy submarine, dropped a string of flares over the surprised ship, silhouetting her against the blackness. She was desperately overmatched by four enemy ships; and, despite a gallant effort by her crew, was dead in the water within three minutes. After the crew had abandoned ship, the enemy began shelling the helpless survivors in the water, killing 11, including Chief Sheehan.

The name Sheehan was assigned to DE-541 on 28 September 1943. She was laid down by the Boston Navy Yard on 8 November 1943; launched on 17 December 1943; and sponsored by Mrs. Catherine Sheehan, mother of Chief Quartermaster Sheehan. However, work on the ship was suspended before she was completed, and she was assigned to the Atlantic Inactive Fleet on 30 August 1945. The contract for her construction was finally cancelled on 7 January 1946 and her hull sold for scrap on 2 July 1946 to John J. Duane Co., Quincy, Mass.

Published: Tue Apr 19 22:34:50 EDT 2016