Charles M. Stern, Jr. -- born in Albany, N.Y., on 10 March 1915 -- enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve on 1 August 1940. He was assigned to active duty on 22 November 1940 and appointed ensign on 28 February 1941.
Ens. Stern was ordered to duty in battleship Oklahoma (BB-37) on 9 April 1941 and was killed when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on 7 December of that year. His remains were positively identified in March 2019.
(DE-187: displacement 1,240; 1ength 306'; beam 36'7"; draft 8'9"; speed 21 knots; complement 216; armament 3 3-inch, 8 40-millimeter, 10 20-millimeter, 8 depth charge projectors, 2 depth charge tracks, 1 depth charge projector (hedgehog); class Cannon)
Stern (DE-187) was laid down on 12 August 1943 at Newark, N.J., by the Federal Shipbuilding & Drydock Co.; launched on 31 October 1943; sponsored by Mrs. Joan M. Stern; and commissioned on 1 December 1943, Cmdr. James R. Hinton, USNR, in command.
Stern held her shakedown cruise off Bermuda and returned to New York for post-shakedown availability. After a short training period off Casco Bay, Maine, she escorted a convoy to Ireland and returned with another to New York. She stood out of that port, on 23 March 1944, with a convoy for North Africa and arrived at Casablanca on 2 April. On 7 May, she sailed for home with a return convoy and arrived at New York on the 17th. Stern made another round trip to Ireland, via Bermuda from 8 June to 2 August, and one more to Bizerte, Tunisia, which ended in New York on 7 October.
Stern sailed for the west coast on 23 October 1944 and arrived at San Diego on 10 November. Routed westward, she arrived at Pearl Harbor on 23 November and, after calling at the Marshall Islands, arrived at Ulithi, Caroline Islands, on 12 December. She was assigned to the at-sea logistics group (Task Group 30.8) of the Third Fleet. Stern operated with the Third Fleet from 16 to 25 December and from 29 December 1944 to 28 January 1945, supporting operations liberating Luzon. The ship returned to Ulithi on 8 February and was attached to the screen of the attack transport group of the task force which would invade Iwo Jima. The force arrived off that island early on the morning of the 19th, and the assault groups began landing under intense hostile fire. From that morning until 1 March, the escort protected American transports off Iwo Jima.
On that day, Stern was routed via Guam to the Philippine Islands. She arrived there on 8 March 1945; was assigned to the screen of Task Group 51.1, the Western Islands Attack Group; and sailed for the Ryukyu Islands on 21 March.
Stern screened the attack transports heading for Kerama Retto and arrived there on 26 March 1945. She then performed antisubmarine duty off the islands until 5 April when she was ordered to escort a resupply convoy to Guam. From there, she sailed to Leyte to join another Okinawa-bound task unit and was back off the island on 18 April. This tour off Okinawa was unbroken until July. On 13 and 18 May, she shot down two enemy planes each day, and splashed a single on the 27th.
On 1 July 1945, Stern sailed for the west coast of the U.S., via Ulithi and Pearl Harbor. She arrived at San Pedro, Calif., on the 25th. She sailed from that port on 20 October, and proceeded, via the Panama Canal, to Norfolk, Va., for inactivation. By a directive issued in March 1946, Stern was to be sold as surplus of Naval requirements. The sale was cancelled, however, and the escort vessel was transferred to the Atlantic Reserve Fleet. She was placed in reserve, out of commission, on 26 April 1946 and berthed at Green Cove Springs, Fla.
Stern was reactivated on 1 March 1951 and, with five other destroyer escorts, transferred under the Military Assistance Program to the government of the Netherlands. Stern was struck from the Navy list on 7 March 1951. She served the government of the Netherlands as Van Zijill, until she was returned to the custody of the United States Navy in 1967. In 1968, Stern was sold to Simons Scheepsslooperis N.V., Rotterdam, and scrapped.
Stern received three battle stars for her World War II service.