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Sturtevant II (DE-239)

(DE-239: dp. 1,200; 1. 306'0"; b. 36'7"; dr. 12'3"; s. 21.2 k. (tl.) ; cpl. 216; a. 3 3", 8 40mm.; cl. Edsall)

Albert D. Sturtevant was born in Washington, D.C., on 2 May 1894. On 24 March 1917, he and 28 others enlisted in the Naval Reserve Forces as the First Yale Unit. Two days later, they were all commissioned ensigns. After flight training in Florida, he was designated a naval aviator on 1 May 1917 and, in September, he received orders for overseas duty. Ensign Sturtevant reported to the group attached to the Royal Flying Corps station at Felixstowe, England, in October.

Sturtevant's duties consisted of flying escort for merchantmen crossing the North Sea. On 15 February 1918, while flying an escort mission with another plane of his unit, the two American were jumped by a flight of 10 German planes. Sturtevant's companion recognized the hopelessness of the 5-to-1 odds and escaped to safety, but Sturtevant gamely fought it out with the enemy. When last seen, Ensign Sturtevant was hit and crippled, falling toward the sea. For his heroic actions, he was awarded the Navy Cross posthumously.


The second Sturtevant (DE-239), a destroyer escort, was laid down on 15 July 1942 by the Brown Shipbuilding Co., at Houston, Tex.; launched on 3 December 1942; sponsored by Mrs. William North Sturtevant; and commissioned on 16 June 1943, Lt. Comdr. Frederick W. Hawes in command.

After shakedown in the vicinity of Bermuda and training off the Rhode Island coast, Sturtevant began 21 months of convoy escort duty in the Atlantic. On 24 September, she got underway to screen her first convoy to Casablanca and Gibraltar. After two more such Atlantic crossings, she was assigned to Londonderry-bound convoys and made five voyages to that Irish port. Sturtevant rounded out her Atlantic service with two convoys each to Liverpool, England, and Cardiff, Wales, and one to Southampton, England. Between crossings, the destroyer escort was repaired and overhauled at the New York Navy Yard and trained at Casco Bay, Maine, and at Montauk Point, Long Island. In all, Sturtevant made 13 successful round-trip voyages across the Atlantic and back.

On 9 June 1945, she entered the New York Navy Yard for post-voyage availability. Sturtevant emerged from the yard 38 days later with her antiaircraft defenses strengthened considerably. En route to Pearl Harbor, she trained for 14 days in the Guantanamo area and stopped briefly at San Diego. By the time Sturtevant arrived in Hawaiian waters, the war was over. No longer needed in the Pacific, the destroyer escort was ordered back to the Atlantic Fleet, carrying passengers to San Pedro on the first leg and reaching Charleston, S.C., on 25 September. There she started preparations for decommissioning and inactivation with the Atlantic Reserve Fleet. In October, she shifted to the inactive fleet berthing area at Green Cove Springs, Fla., where she was decommissioned on 24 March 1946.

After six years of inactivity in Florida, Sturtevant was recommissioned on 3 August 1951, Comdr. R. B. Redmayne in command. For the next four years, she operated along the Atlantic coast of the United States and in the Caribbean Sea. Her operations carried her as far north as the coast of Labrador and as far south as Cuba. Much of the time she spent in the Caribbean was devoted to work in conjunction with the Fleet Sonar School at Key West, Fla., and with the Hunter-Killer Forces of the Atlantic Fleet.

After visiting ports in northern Europe during a midshipman cruise conducted in the summer of 1955, she resumed her training duties with the Fleet Sonar School and normal operations for another year. She joined another midshipman cruise, in July and August of 1956; this time to Panama and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. On 31 October 1956, Sturtevant entered the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard for conversion to a radar picket destroyer escort ship. The conversion process lasted until 5 October 1957, when she was recommissioned as DER-239. On 7 February 1958, she departed Philadelphia for the Pacific Ocean, calling at Newport, R.I.; San Juan, P.R.; Rodman in the Canal Zone; Acapulco, Mexico; and San Diego before arriving in Pearl Harbor on 18 March. Upon completion of further training in Hawaii, she became one of the original ships of the Pacific Early Warning Barrier. She continued to so serve in the Pacific Fleet until June of 1960, when she was placed out of commission and berthed with the San Diego Group of the Pacific Reserve Fleet. There she remained until the fall of 1972 when an inspection and survey board found her to be unfit for further naval service. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 1 December 1972; and, on 20 September 1973, her hulk was sold to the National Metal and Steel Corp., Terminal Island, Calif., for scrapping.

Published: Thu Sep 24 21:45:15 EDT 2015