Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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Sutton (DE-771)


(DE-771: displacement 1,240; length 306'; beam 36'7"; draft 11'8"; speed 21 knots; complement 216; a. 3 3-inch, 1 40 millimeter, 10 20 millimeter, 2 depth charge tracks, 8 depth charge projectors, 1 depth charge projector (Hedgehog), 3 21-inch torpedo tubes; class Cannon)

Shelton Beverly Sutton, Jr., born in Brewton, Ga., on 21 August 1919, was appointed ensign, USNR, on 21 April 1941. On 12 February 1942, Sutton was ordered to the 3d Naval District to await transportation to light cruiser Juneau (CL-52). He reported for duty in the new ship on 2 March 1942. Ens . Sutton was killed on 13 November 1942 when Juneau was torpedoed by the Japanese submarine I-26 and sunk with heavy loss of life in the aftermath of the nocturnal naval Battle of Guadalcanal.


William C. Cole (DE-286), a Rudderow-class destroyer escort, was renamed Sutton on 18 September 1943, but the contract for her construction by the Bethlehem Steel Co., Hingham, Mass., w as cancelled on 12 March 1944.


The unnamed destroyer escort DE-771 was laid down on 23 August 1943 by the Tampa Shipbuilding Co., Tampa, Fla.; named Sutton on 30 March 1944; launched on 6 August 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Shelton B. Sutton, Sr. mother of the late Ens. Sutton; and commissioned on 22 December 1944, Lt. Thomas W. Nazro, D-V(S), USNR, in command.

After fitting out, Sutton sailed on 12 January 1945 for the Bermuda operating area and held her shakedown there until she headed for Boston on 14 Febru ary. After yard work at the Boston Navy Yard and training at Casco Bay, Maine, she was assigned to Escort Division (CortDiv) 79 which was attached to Task Group (TG) 22.13 and sailed for Argentia, Newfoundland, on 1 March. The group conducted antisub marine patrols off Newfoundland from 4 to 22 March when it returned to Casco Bay. The destroyer escort s tood out of Casco Bay on 3 April with her task group that took station on the North-South antisubmarine barrier patrol.

Following the German surrender on 7 May 1945 and the cessation of all operations against Germany on "V-E day" (8 May), Sutton and Neal A. Scott (DE-769) were relieved of patrol duty on 9 May to intercept the German submarine U-1228 that wished to surrender. They contacted the U-boat the next day, and the two ships began escorting her to Casco Bay. Sutton was soon detached, however, to accept the surrender of U-234, that had been en route to Japan when Germany surrendered. Sutton met the U-boat two days later, and she escorted her towards the United States . On 15May, she put a 15-man boarding party on board the submarine and embarked 37 prisoners (two Japanese naval officers who had been on board the German boat had committed suicide after they had learned of their Axis partner's surrender), including General der FliegerUlrich Kessler of the Luftwaffe. Sutton's destination was changed to Portsmouth, N.H., where she arrived with U-234 on the 19th. The submarine and the prisoners were delivered to a representative of the 1st Naval District. The escort steamed on to New York two days later and remained there until early June.

Sutton and CortDiv 79 departed New York for Jacksonville, Fla., on 10 June 1945 and arrived on the 14th. Sutton then operated out of Mayport, serving as plane guard for the escort carriers Guadalcanal (CVE-60) and Charger (CVE-30) until 29 August when she sailed for Charleston and a yard overhaul that lasted for all of September. She moved up the coast to Norfolk from 5 to 18 October, when she sailed for the Gulf of Mexico. She lay at New Orleans from 23 October to 6 November when she got underway for Norfolk. The escort vessel operated from there until the fall of 1947 when she moved to New York to be inacti vated. She was placed in reserve, out of commission, in September 1947 and assigned to the Atlantic Reserve Fleet. In 1948, the destroyer escort was moved to Florida and joined the "mothball fleet" at Green Cove Springs.

Loaned to the Republic of Korea under the provisions of the Mutual Defense Assistance Program on 2 February 1956 and renamed Kang Won, the ship operated under the South Korean flag into the 1970s. Sutton was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 15 November 1974. The ship, ultimately classified as a frigate, was eventually deleted from the Republic of Korea's naval forces on 28 October 1977.

Corrected, Robert J. Cressman, 2 June 2008

Published: Thu Sep 24 23:53:30 EDT 2015