Where Have All The DE's Gone
Sent by Frank Roche
Where have all the DE's gone. Most if not all were scrapped and stricken from the Naval Registry. However, I found one that is alive and still kicking. The USS Slater (DD-766) is now home ported in Albany, NY. given to the Greek Navy many, many years ago, she returned in the most deplorable condition you can imagine (I saw the photos). Today she again looks like a US Navy Ship. The mostly volunteer ex-sailors have done a great job in her restoration.
Serving aboard The Wilhoite for 2 1/2 years it is hard to believe she once looked a lot like The Slater. These little DE's were truly fighting machines, just loaded with all types of armament. After world War II all the Edsall class DE's werre converted to DER's and most of their armament removed to make room for radar equipment. Put a DE and a DER next to each other and you would not believe they were once identical. I was told that it was cheaper to convert DE's than build new picket ships. Our World War II Wilhoite vets probably were amazed at what she looked after the conversion. I for one am glad this conversion happened. The Wilhoite was my home away from home for 2 1/2 year of wonderful memories. Great officers, great enlisted men, great home port (Pearl Harbor), really great liberty ports (especially station ship Hong Kong). No college classroom, no civilian job can better impact one's future than serving aboard a US Navy ship especially the USS Wilhoite (DE/DER 397). My trip to The Slater brought back the really good times I had aboard The Wilhoite. I just wanted to start chipping paint, standing in line for chow and standing bridge watches.
So if you are ever in the Albany, NY area stop by and visit The Slater. I am sure it will bring back the memories of the time the DE's did their job to serve and protect our country. Although they are long gone they are still forever in the hearts and minds of those who served aboard them.
If you are interested in joining the Escort Historical Museum, please contact Frank Roche (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Liz Rider at (email@example.com)
P.S. Thanks to Jack Gannon who first brought The Slater to my attention a few years ago when he hosted our reunion in Conneticut. Thank you Jack.