WANDERINGS OF THE WILKES         

 

From the commissioning of the WILKES, until she was de-commissioned in Charleston, S.C. she was involved in operations in all major theaters of the War.  The following is a summary of her "wanderings."

 

1941

 

APRIL 22, 1941--WILKES was commissioned at Boston Navy Yard.

APRIL 23- JUNE 30--June 30-- dock trials, loaded stores, ammo, speed trials, shakedown.

JULY-AUG--Boston to Bermuda-escorted BB-NORTH CAROLINA, WASHINGTON.

SEPT 11-24--Bermuda-Boston-Boston Navy Yard- SC radar installed. 

SEPT 25-29-- Boston to Guantanamo--gunnery training.

 

OCT

4-5--To Hampton Roads.

5-30--Training--Gravesend Bay, Casco Bay, Providence, RI.

 

NOV

5-15--Our first real duty--escorted convoy to Argentia.

15-25--Misc. escort duties, Argentia.

28--Escorted convoy HX-162 from Argentia to Iceland.

 

DEC

1-7--Underway to Reykjavik, Iceland.

8-21--Escorted several convoys Argentia to Reykjavik and return. 

21-24--En route to Boston

24-31-- Boston Ship Yard-R&R.

 

1942

 

JAN

1-2--Boston to Casco Bay, for training.

2-4--Casco Bay-training.

5-7--Casco Bay to Argentia.

7-21--Convoy from Argentia to Londonderry, North Ireland.

21-24--Anchored Londonderry

25--Convoy Londonderry to Argentia.

 

FEB

1-7--Convoying Argentia area.

7-8--Argentia to Boston

8-15-- Boston Ship Yard-new screw.

16-18--Boston to Argentia, escorting the POLLUX and TRUXTON

18--FATEFUL JOURNEY--Grounded Lawn Head, NS.  Loss of  POLLUX-TRUXTON.

19-24--Moored Argentia.

24-25-- Argentia to Boston Navy Yard- for repairs.

25-28--Boston Navy Yard -repairs.

 

MARCH

1-31--Boston Navy Yard--being repaired.

 

APRIL

1-3-- Underway for post repair trials.

3-5--Boston Navy Yard-repairs.

6-8--Escorted AUGUSTA from Newport, RI to Casco Bay.

8--Collision with DAVILLA.

8-30-- Boston Navy Yard--repairs

 

MAY

Repairs Boston Navy Yard

 

JUNE

1-10--Still under repairs

11-23--Various training Casco Bay.

24--Escorted Convoy BX 26.

25-27--Casco Bay-training.

28-29--NYC

 

JULY

1-4--Escorted Convoy SC-17 to Placentia Bay.

4-8--Escorted convoy from Argentia to Norfolk.

9-12--NYC--Brooklyn Navy Yard.

13-21--Escorted convoy  AS-4 (TU 21.5.2) to Trinidad--17th--sunk German sub

21-25--En route to Norfolk.

26-27--Escorted ARKANSAS to NYC.

28-29--Escorted TEXAS to Norfolk.

30--Underway Norfolk area.

 

AUG

1-2--Moored NOB, Norfolk

3-4--Escorted INDIANA.

5--Underway training Norfolk area.

6-13--Brooklyn Navy Yard-repairs.

15-18-- Training New London area

19-21-- Escorted large convoy to Halifax (TF 37).

21-31--Escorted large convoy to Londonderry--22nd-INGRAHAM lost.

 

SEPT

1-4--Moored Londonderry.

5-17--Convoying back to the US.

28-30--Training Casco Bay.

 

OCT

1--En route to Norfolk.

2-4--Amphib training Norfolk area.

5--Anchored Norfolk

6-13--Amphib exercises/gunnery exercises for the North African invasion.

14-15--Dry-dock, Portsmouth-repairs.

16--Amphib exercises.

17-18--Annapolis, MD.

19--Moored NOB, Norfolk.

20-21--Patrolling outside Norfolk.

23--Anchored Norfolk.

24-30--Convoyed TF for invasion of North Africa

 

NOV

1-7--Convoying for invasion of North Africa

8--"D-DAY"--Fedhala-beach head--Amphib control ship--shore fire--ship vs ship.

8-18--Various combat missions Casablanca area. 

18-30--Convoying back to the US.

 

DEC

1--arrived Norfolk.

2--Convoy to NYC.

3-12--Brooklyn Navy Yard--repairs.

16-31--Training Casco Bay.

 

1943

 

JAN

1-3-- NYC

4-7--Dry-dock Brooklyn Navy Yard.

8-13--Brooklyn Navy Yard-repairs.

14-30--Convoying TF 34--UGF 34, from US to Gibraltar.

 

FEB

1-13--Convoying TF 34- GUF 34-from Gibraltar to US.

14--Norfolk.

15-24--Brooklyn Navy Yard-repairs.

25-28--Casco Bay for training.

 

MARCH

1--Casco Bay to NYC.

2-6--Brooklyn Navy Yard-repairs.

6-18--Escorting with TF 34-large convoy UGF 36 to Gibraltar.

18-22--Anchored Casablanca.

22--Underway-patrolling.

23--Anchored Casablanca.

25-28--Underway from Casablanca to NY-escorting convoy with TF 34.

 

APRIL

1-5--Underway to NYC with convoy.

5-15-- Brooklyn Navy Yard-dry-docked-repairs.

16--NY to Norfolk

17--Moored, Hampton Roads.

19-20-- Training Chesapeake Bay

21--NYC.

22--Brooklyn NavyYard.

23-24--Underway to Norfolk,  escorting TG 20.18

25-30--Training Ops Chesapeake Bay, including AA practice.

 

MAY

1--Anchored Lynhaven Roads, Norfolk area.

2--Escorted MOBILE for their sea trials.

3-- Anchored Norfolk.

4--En route Brooklyn Navy Yard.

5-9--Brooklyn Navy Yard-repairs.

10--To Norfolk

11--En route NYC.

12-14--Brooklyn Navy Yard-repairs.

15-20--Escorting TF 69-Convoy BT 203 to Panama Canal.

21--Moored Cristobal, CZ.

22-25--En route Norfolk.

25-29--Ops Norfolk area.

29-- En route New London, CT.

30--New London-sub ops.

31--Newport, RI-sub ops

 

JUNE

1--Sub-PT boat exercises-Anchored Port Jefferson, LI.

2--Sub exercises.

3-7--Brooklyn Navy Yard-repairs.

8--Gravesend Bay-loading ammo.

9-20--Convoying with TG 65.5, from US to Oran, North Africa.

21-30--Moored Mers-el-Kebir, North Africa. Various gunnery exercises.

 

JULY

1-3--Moored Mers-el-Kebir.

4--En route to Bizerte Harbor- ran aground-damaged right screw.

4-6--Anchored Bizerte Harbor-repairing screw-many enemy air raids. 

7-9--Underway for the Invasion of Sicily--Our beach head LICATA.

10-20-- "D DAY"-10th--Shore fire- air raids-combat.

21--Underway for Valletta, Malta

22-- Arrived-Algiers, NA.

23--Underway with TF 81 to Mers-el-Kebir.

24-27--Moored Mers-el-Kebir.

28--Underway with 2 cruisers- 5 cans-all damaged to the US.

 

AUGUST

1-8--Still underway to US.

8-18-- Brooklyn Navy Yard-for repairs-new starboard screw, new CIC.

19--Gravesend Bay-loaded ammo.

20-22-- Casco Bay for training.

22-26--Training Casco Bay-gunnery training.

27-30--En route to Guantanamo Bay to pickup ALBEMARLE

31--Anchored Guantanamo

 

SEPT

1--Anchored.

2-4--Escorted ALBERMARLE to Norfolk.

5-10--Brooklyn Navy Yard-repairs.

11-12--Escorted a large convoy to Norfolk.

13-- Hampton Roads.

14--Escorting convoy UGS 18 from Hampton Roads to Gibraltar- TF 63.

 

OCT

1-4--Still escorting.

5-6--Anchored Casablanca.

7--Underway to Gib.

8--Anchored Gib.

9-27--Escorted GUS 17, TF 63 from Gib to NYC.  9th--Picked up 5 crew of downed plane.  26th-convoy scattered-very bad weather.

27-30-- Brooklyn Navy Yard-repairs.

 

NOV

1-8--Brooklyn Navy Yard-repairs.

9-10--Escorted convoy from NY to Hampton Roads. Commodore- Commander  TF 63

11-13-- Norfolk

14--Formed up very large convoy  (UGS 23) to Gib.  We got hot bearing-transfered Commodore to SWANSON.  Returned to Norfolk for repairs. 

15-17--Underway to catch convoy

18-24--Escorting convoy.

25--Got top secret orders to go with ROE to Azores to secure islands for Allies.

26-27--Arrived Horta, Azores.

28--Islands secured, we were relieved. En route to rejoin convoy.

29-30--Rejoined convoy.

 

 

DEC

1-2- Still escorting UGS 23- TF 63.  Arrived Gib 2nd.

3-6--Anchored Casablanca.

7th--Underway with convoy GUS 23, TF 63, Commodore -TF Commander

8th--Met with Med section at Gib.

9-24--Escorted convoy to NY.  17-20--Hurricane-very bad weather. Convoy scattered.

25-30--Brooklyn Navy Yard-repairs.

 

1944

 

JANUARY                      

1-7--Brooklyn Navy Yard-repairs.

8-11--Underway to CZ with SWANSON and MARSHALL.

12--Through the Canal reported to PACIFIC FLEET, for duty.

13-18--Moored Balboa, CZ-repairs.

19--Underway with MORMACDOV-escorting Army transport to Noumea.

22--Anchored Galapagos Is-refueled.

23--SHELL BACK Initiation.

24-30--En route Bora Bora.

 

FEB

1-3-- En route Bora Bora.

3--Anchored Bora Bora-refueled.

4-13--En route Noumea

14-17--Anchored Noumea.

18-20-- En route Milne Bay.

21-23--Anchored Milne Bay, New Guinea. Reported to 7th Fleet for duty.

24--Anchored-Oro Bay (Buna)

25--Escorted convoy of LST's to Borgen Bay, Cape Gloucester.

26-29--Cape Gloucester to Megin Is-Cape Cretin-escorted same LST's.

 

MARCH

1--En route to Cape Sudest.

2--Anchored Oro Bay.

3--TU 76.1.3-loaded troops for Admiralty Islands.

4-9-Arrived Los Negros Is-off loaded troops-lots of shore fire support. 

10-11--En route with convoy to Cape Cretin.

12-13-- Oro Bay

14--Oro Bay to Cape Sudest to Los Negros.

15--En route-convoyed LST's.

16-23--Seeadler Harbor--more shore firing.

24-- Convoying en route Cape Sudest.

25-29--Anchored Oro Bay.

30--With Admiral Barbey and staff to Cape Cretin for conference with General Krueger.

31--Anchored Cape Cretin.

 

APRIL

1--Back to Oro Bay with Admiral and Staff.

2-- Underway for Oro Bay.

3-4--Anchored Oro Bay.

5-6--Escorted convoy to Langenmah Harbor-to Admiralties.

9-10--Convoyed Admiralties to Cape Cretin. 

11--Anchored Buna.

11-16--Tender availability DOBBIN-repairs.

17--To Cape Cretin to pick up General Krueger-Commanding General 6th Army.

18-22--We were General Krueger's flagship for the invasions of Tanahmerah Bay/Hollandia (Humboldt)/Aitape. OPERATION “RECKLESS”  22-"D DAY"

23-25--Various stations-Tanahmerah, Hollandia, Aitape. Returned the General to Cape Cretin and went back to Oro Bay.

26--To Cape Cretin

27-30--Convoyed LST's re-enforcements to Hollandia.

 

MAY

1-2-To Cape Cretin

3-4--Convoyed LST's to Borgen Bay, Cape Gloucester.

5-6--Convoyed LST's back to Cape Cretin.

7-8--Convoyed LST's to Hollandia.

9-10--Convoyed LST's Hollandia to Sudest.

11-13--Anchored Sudest.

14-16--Convoying to Hollandia/Tanahmerah Bay-patrolling.

17-19--Convoyed to support invasion of Wakde Is. Supported landing Insoemar Is--shore fire.  "D DAY" 19th.

19-- Shore fire-patrolling- got 4 machine gun hits. 

19-20--Convoying to Humboldt-burned starboard spring bearing. 

21--Anchored Humboldt-repaired bearing.

22--Engine fixed-radar picket.

23--Radar picket.

24--Convoyed to Aitape.

25--Arrived Aitape and then back to Humboldt.

26--Picket duty.

27--"Z" Day--escorted convoy to Green Beach-Biak.

28--Arrived Biak-shore fire, night picket.

29--Shore fire.  Supported landings Mokmer Village.

30--Picket off Biak/Owi Is. escorted LST back to Humboldt.

31--Escorting.

 

JUNE

1--Arrived Hollandia

2---Anchored Hollandia

3-4--Convoyed back to Green Beach, Biak

5--Green Beach.  A/S and AA picket duty.

6-7--Convoyed LST's to Hollandia.

8--Anchored Hollandia

9--Escorted NASHVILLE to Seeadler.

10-11--Anchored Seeadler.

12--En route Hollandia-solo.

13-14--Picket duty.

15--Anchored Hollandia.

16--Underway to Tanahmerah Bay to pick up convoy for Biak.

17--En route.

18--Arrived Woendi Lagoon. Patrolled- convoyed back to Humboldt.

19--En route

20--Arrived Humboldt.

21-22--Anchored Humboldt.

23-- Escorted convoy to Biak. 

24-25--En route.

26--Arrived Woendi Lagoon.

27--Convoyed back to Humboldt.

28-29-- F/D ship to Aitape.  Emergency shore fire.

30--Escorted to Toem.

 

JULY

1---Arrived Toem.  Air raids.

2--Supported landings at Kamirio-shore fire.  Underway for Woendi and Biak.

3--Shore fire Woendi. Convoyed to Noemfoor Is, West Schouten Is.

4--Arrived Kamiri, Noemfoor Is. Picket duty.

5-- Underway at night-back in daylight-shore fire.  Picked up Native "Dutch" officials.

6--Shore fire Roemboi Bay-Namber airstrip. Night patrol

7-9--Convoyed to Humboldt.

10-12--Anchored Humboldt.

13-14--En route Manus.

15-19--Anchored Seeadler.

19--ASW exercises.

20-21--En route to Hollandia.

22-29--Anchored Hollandia

30--Convoyed to Maffin Bay (D+1).

31--Arrived Maffin Is.-Red Beach-Warsai, N.G.

 

AUG

1--Patrolled off the beach head.

2--Crossed the equator at 134 degrees E.

3-4--Patrolled.

5-- Escorted back to Woendi Lagoon.

6--Anchored West of Noesi Is.

7-8--Convoyed to Woendi Lagoon.

9--Arrived Yellow Beach West of Cape Opmari.

10-11--En route to Bosnik

12--En route to Hollandia.

12-14--Anchored Hollandia-availability.  14--New CO--LCDR Fred E. McEntire

15-- Underway to Eniwetok, Marshall Is.  Now Assigned to THIRD/FIFTH FLEETS. 

16-24--En route.

25-27--Anchored Eniwetok. Took on stores, fuel and ammo.  Reported for duty.

28-31--Underway with TG 38.4-fast carrier TG.  31--Picket duty.

 

SEPT

1-3--Air strikes on Iwo Jima.Chichi Jima.  3--Picket duty.

4-5--En route to Saipan.

6-- Rescued 3 downed air crewmen.

7-9--Carrier air strikes on Yap.  9--Picket duty.

10-17--Carrier air strikes on Palau.  13--Rescued 3 air crew. 15--"D-DAY" Palau.

18-19--TG  en route to Seeadler.

20-23--Anchored Seeadler-upkeep, stores, ammo. 

24-27--En route with TG to Palau.  27--Picket duty.

28-30--Carrier air ops against Palau.

 

OCT

1-4--Carrier air ops against Palau.  2--Picket duty.

5--Bad weather-curtailed air ops.

6-7--Carrier ops against Palau

8--Replenishment at sea.

9--En route Okinawa.

10--Air strikes against Okinawa. 

11--En route to Formosa.

12-15--Air strikes against Formosa.  Enemy air attacks.

16--Replenishment at sea.

17-23--Air strikes against Leyte, PI.  17--Rescued 3 airmen.  18--Rescued 3 airmen.

22-23--TF 38 united.  More air strikes Leyte.

24--TF arrived Samar Is.  Air strikes enemy fleet in San Bernardino Straits.  Left to chase enemy carriers to the North. 

25--Reversed course to strike enemy fleet off the beach head.  We were Comm/radio link between the TG's.

26--En route Samar

27--Replenishment-Picket duty.

28--Air strikes-plane guard for carriers.  Picket duty.

29--En route Ulithi with TG.

30-31--Anchored Ulithi.-Detached from TG.

 

NOV

1-2--Anchored Ulithi.

3--Convoyed to Guam.

4--Guam

5--Red alert-underway.

6-7--Anchored Guam.

8-10--Escorted to Seeadler.

11--Arrived Seeadler.

12-14--En route Guam.

15-18--Anchored Guam.

19-20--patrolled off Guam.

21-25--Convoyed to Eniwetok.

26-29--Anchored Eniwetok.

30--On our way HOME- en route to PEARL, escorted WICHITA.

 

DEC

1-8--En route to Pearl.

9-16-- En route to Puget Sound for overhaul.

17-31-- Overhaul Todd Shipyard, Seattle.

 

1945

 

JAN

1-26--Todd Shipyard, Seattle-overhaul.

27-30--Sea trials, loading ammo, torpedoes, stores.

 

FEB

1--Loaded stores.

2-4--Escorted FRANKLIN to Frisco.

5-6--Anchored Frisco.

7--Escorted FRANKLIN to Pearl.

7-13--En route Pearl.

14-17--Underway training Pearl.

18--Picked up sick man from a tanker.

19--Back to Pearl with ill man.

20-23--Anchored Pearl.

24-28--Underway training Pearl.

 

MARCH

1-2--Training.  Searched for downed air crew-no luck.

3-8--Training Carrier ops.  Plane guarding.  8--New CO-LCDR Herbert Rommel.

9-20--Escorted NEW MEXICO to Ulithi. AA training en route.

21-26-Underway for Guam.  22-24-Searched for downed air crew.  24--Recovered 4 men.

25--Searched for another air crew-no luck.

26--Guam.

27-31--Dry-dock for new sonar dome. 

 

APRIL

1--Now unit of TF 94-en route Saipan.

2-3-- Saipan, reported to CTU 94.7.2.

4-7--Escorting to Ulithi.

8-10--Anchored Ulithi.

11-12--Underway to look for downed B-29-found only debris.

13- CDR Brodie, CDD 24 to the W.

13-24--Anchored Ulithi-upkeep.

25--Underway AA drills.

26--Anchored Ulithi.

27-30--Convoyed to Okinawa.

 

MAY

1--Arrive Okinawa.  Picket Duty.  Escorting.

2-4--Picket Duty.  Towed downed PBM

5-6--Picket Duty-station #12.  Lots of bogies.

7-9--Anchored Kerama Retto.

10--Escorting MAKIN IS. to TU 52.1.1.

11-22--Joined carrier TU.  Carrier Ops against Okinawa, Nansie Shoto.  17th--Rescued pilot and 2 crewmen. 

23--To Kerama Retto. to refuel, get stores and mail for TU.

24-30--Back to carrier TU.  Carrier ops vs. Nansie Shoto.

 

JUNE

1-4--Now TU 32.1.1--THIRD FLEET. Carrier Ops vs Okinawa and Nansie Shoto.

4-6--Bad weather, typhoon nearby.

7-20--Carrier Ops vs Okinawa.  Lots of bogies.

21--To Kerama Retto to refuel, ammo, stores and mail for the TU.

22-23--Back to carriers.  Air ops.

24-26--With carriers en route to Leyte.

27--Carriers off San Pedro Bay.

28-29--En route to Ulithi with carriers and other escorts.

30--Anchored Ulithi.

 

JULY

1-10--10 Days availability PRAIRIE. 1-- Commodore Brodie made Captain--now CDD 14.

10-13--Underway with TU 30.8.4.  CTU was the Commodore, escorting fleet tankers.

14--TU refueled carriers.

15-20-- Still escorting tankers.

20-22--Refueled TF 38.

23-30--Escorting tanker TU.

31--Refueled TG 38.1-carriers and their escorts.

 

AUG

1--Still refueling TG 38.1.

2--Escorting tankers.

3-7--More refueling carriers of TF 38, and their escorts.

9-14--Escorting tankers.

15--  V-J DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

16-19--Escorting tankers.

20--To Ulithi with tankers.

21-23--Anchored Ulithi.

24--Escorting TU 30.8.9--tankers.

24-28--Escorting.

29--Refueling TG 30.8-carriers and escorts.  Sunk  mine.

30-31--Escorting tankers.

 

SEPT

1--With tankers to Bruckner Bay, as 7th Fleet Replenishment Unit.

2--Heavy weather-escorting tankers, etc.

3--Anchored Okinawa.

4--Underway to meet TU 99.6.7 in the Yellow Sea.

5-6--Escorting.

7--Refueled TG 71.1 (carriers). Sank 4 mines.

8--Escorted tankers.  Sank 3 mines.

9--Escorting.  Sank 2 mines.

10--Refueled TF 72.

11-13--Anchored Higushi Channel off Iwo Is., Korea.

14--Underway to refuel TG 71.4  and TU 71.1.5.

15--Refueling

16-30--Anchored off Iwo Is.

30--Underway to Jinsen, Korea.

 

OCT

1--Underway with tankers to refuel TF 72 in Yellow Sea.

2--Refueled TF.

3--Escorting back to Jinsen.

4-6--Anchored Jinsen.

7--With tankers to refuel TF 72.

8--Escorting.

9--Refueled TF.

10--Anchored Jinsen.

11-20--10 days availability alongside the WHITNEY.

21--Underway to Saipan--WE ARE ON OUR WAY HOME TO BE DE-COMMISSIONED.

22--En route.  Sank mine.

27-28--Anchored Saipan.

28-31--En route to Pearl.

 

NOV

1-3-- En route to Pearl.

4-6--Pearl.

7-13--En route San Diego.

14-15--San Diego.

16-23--En route to the CZ.

24--Through the Canal.

25-27--CZ.

28--En route Charleston, S. C.

 

DEC

2--Arrived Charleston, S.C.--started our de-commissioning

 

 

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:

 

To all those, who helped in putting this book together and contributed their time, effort, stories, especially:

 

Admiral and Mrs. John Kelsey        William Greene

Capt Herbert Rommel                 William O'Neill

Capt. F. E. Somers                  Robert Parkin

Mrs William Smyth                   Wally Magee

Capt Alessandro Trombetta           Louis Schwartz

Dr. Robert Wyatt                    Raymond  Kranefuss

Joseph Ponzi                        Edward Palchak

John Mercer                         Floren James

Charles Hughes                      John Schulty

Harry Warfield                      Stanley White

Edward Kelly                        Edwin Krause

George Kolodzey                     Gerald Collier

Paul Craig                          Anthony Lawrence

C. Robinson Fish                    Louise Mosher

Stephen Winship                     Naval Historical Center, Washington, DC

David Conway                        Harold Swanson

John Allman                         Oscar (Bo) Kale

William W. Rogers                   Margaret Rising (maps)                                 

John Campbell                       Boston National Historical Park

National Archives

 

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