Tuesday, May 1, 2012

USS Huse (DE-145)

Figure 1:  USS Huse (DE-145) operating with an escort carrier (CVE) in the Atlantic area, 12 December 1944. Photographed by PHom3 Joseph W. Lehan. Huse's port side is painted in camouflage Measure 33, Design 3d(gx). Official US Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. Click on photograph for larger image.

Figure 2:  USS Huse (DE-145) photographed in harbor, circa the 1950s. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.

Figure 3:  USS Huse (DE-145) in March, 1962, at the Key West, Florida, Naval Annex. Photograph © Fred Weiss. Click on photograph for larger image.  

Figure 4:  USS Huse (DE-145), date and location unknown. Courtesy Robert Hurst. Click on photograph for larger image.

Named after Vice Admiral Harry McLaren Pinckney Huse (1858-1942), the 1,200-ton USS Huse (DE-145) was an Edsall class destroyer escort that was built by the Consolidated Steel Corporation at Orange, Texas, and was commissioned on 30 August 1943. The ship was approximately 306 feet long and 36 feet wide, had a top speed of 21 knots, and had a crew of 186 officers and men. Huse was armed with three 3-inch guns, two 40-mm guns, eight 20-mm guns, three 21-inch torpedo tubes, 1 Hedgehog Projector Mk10 (with 144 rounds), and a large number of depth charges.

After a shakedown cruise off the coast of Bermuda, Huse steamed to Charleston, South Carolina, on 25 October 1943. She went to Norfolk, Virginia, for additional training before joining her first Atlantic convoy there on 13 November. After escorting her first convoy to Casablanca, Morocco, Huse returned to the United States and arrived in New York City on 25 December. Huse escorted another convoy to Africa from 25 January to11 February 1944.  She was then assigned to antisubmarine patrol duties off Gibraltar with ships from the Royal Navy.

Huse returned to New York on 8 March 1944 and was given a new assignment. The ship joined the escort carrier USS Croatan’s (CVE-25) antisubmarine group, which was created for the sole purpose of hunting down German U-boats. The group left Norfolk on 24 March and scoured the shipping lanes for enemy submarines. Their efforts were rewarded on 7 April. The escorts cornered U-856 and used depth charges against the submarine until she surfaced and was destroyed by gunfire from Huse and USS Champlin (DD-601). After a brief stop at Bermuda, the group left on 12 April and continued their search for more submarines. On 26 April, aircraft from Croatan as well as Huse and some of the other escort vessels in the group spotted U-488 and quickly sank it with gunfire.
The antisubmarine group eventually returned to the United States and Huse was sent to the Brooklyn Navy Yard, New York, on 11 May 1944 for a brief overhaul. The ship left the Brooklyn Navy Yard on 3 June and re-joined Croatan’s antisubmarine group. On the morning of 11 June, Huse received a sonar contact on a submarine and began dropping depth charges. At first, Huse lost contact with the German submarine. But the stubborn destroyer escort remained in the area, searching for the enemy warship. Finally, shortly after midnight on 12 June, Huse’s radar spotted a surfaced submarine. It was U-490, which had finally surfaced after being badly damaged the day before by Huse’s depth charges. Huse and some of the other escorts in the group immediately sank the submarine with gunfire. For the next few months, Huse continued to operate with Croatan in this “hunter-killer” group and these ships deserved a lot of credit for keeping open vital ocean supply lines to Europe. The ships in the group obtained fuel and supplies from Norfolk, Bermuda, and Casablanca, and then returned to sea to search for more German U-boats. In addition, Huse rescued downed pilots from Croatan’s air group on three separate occasions. Huse arrived back at the Brooklyn Navy Yard on 2 October 1944 for repairs, after which she conducted naval exercises in Chesapeake Bay and the Caribbean.

Huse again was assigned to Croatan’s hunter-killer group on 25 March 1945. Two of Huse’s sister ships then scored a “kill” and sank a German submarine on 16 April 1945 in the Atlantic. The antisubmarine group continued operating in north Atlantic waters until returning to New York on 14 May 1945, shortly after the war with Germany ended.

In early August 1945, Huse was sent to the Pacific where she was preparing for combat against Japan when that nation surrendered. The ship soon returned to the Atlantic and was decommissioned at Green Cove Springs, Florida, on 27 March 1946. Huse was then placed in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet.

When the Korean War crisis generated great expansion of active Naval forces, Huse was brought back into service. She was re-commissioned in August 1951 and was assigned to anti-submarine and training duties in the Atlantic and Caribbean. She also made a training cruise to northern Europe in mid-1955 and another voyage to that area in 1957 to participate in NATO exercises. Huse became a Naval Reserve Training ship in March 1960, mainly stationed at New Orleans, Louisiana. During the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, she participated in quarantine operations off Cuba. USS Huse was decommissioned for the last time in June 1965. She was part of the Atlantic Reserve Fleet until stricken from the Naval Vessel Register in August 1973, and was sold for scrapping in June 1974. Huse received five battle stars for her service in World War II.