Allied Warships

USS Whitehurst (DE 634)

Destroyer Escort of the Buckley class

NavyThe US Navy
TypeDestroyer Escort
PennantDE 634 
Built byBethlehem Steel Corp., (San Francisco, California, U.S.A.) 
Ordered7 Aug 1942 
Laid down21 Mar 1943 
Launched5 Sep 1943 
Commissioned19 Nov 1943 
End service1 Aug 1962 

Decommissioned 27 November 1946.
Recommissioned 1 September 1950.
Decommissioned 6 December 1958.
Recommissioned 2 October 1961.
Decommissioned 1 August 1962.
Stricken 12 July 1969.
Sunk as target on 28 April 1971 by USS Trigger (SS-564).


Commands listed for USS Whitehurst (DE 634)

Please note that we're still working on this section
and that we only list Commanding Officers for the duration of the Second World War.

1T/Lt.Cdr. James Robert Grey, USN19 Nov 19431 Sep 1944
2Lt. Jack Carter Horton, USNR1 Sep 19445 Dec 1945

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Notable events involving Whitehurst include:

This ship was used in the movie "The Enemy Below" and had the hull number painted on the bow as DE 181. (1)

17 May 1944

Operation Straightline.

This operation was an amphibious landing Arara, northern New Guinea and also on Wadke Island.

Forces involved.
Task Group 77.2 was the Attack Group under T/Rear-Admiral A.G. Noble, USN.
Task Unit 77.2.1 was made up of the flagship was the destroyer USS Reid (T/Cdr. S.A. McCornock, USN, flying the flag of T/Rear-Admiral A.G. Noble, USN). A second destroyer was also part of this Task Unit as relief flagship, this was the USS Wilkes (T/Cdr. F. Wolsieffer, USN).
Task Unit 77.2.2 was made up of the amphibious transports USS Henry T. Allen (T/Capt. H.B. Brumbaugh, USN) and HMAS Manoora (Cdr. A.P. Cousin, RANR(S)).
Task Unit 77.2.3 was the LCI Group under T/Cdr. H.F. McGee, USN, and was made up of USS LCI(L)-28 (Lt.(jg) N. Molyneaux, USNR, with T/Cdr. H.F. McGee, USN on board), USS LCI(L)-25 (Lt.(jg) W.R. Maliek, USNR), USS LCI(L)-26 (Lt. H.J. Adams, Jr., USNR), USS LCI(L)-27 (Lt.(jg) H.G. Hibbard, USNR), USS LCI(L)-29 (Lt. T.R. Hopkins, USNR), USS LCI(L)-30 (Lt. C.B. Faunce, Jr., USNR), USS LCI(L)-71 (?, with Lt.Cdr. J.P. Hurndall, USNR on board), USS LCI(L)-72 (Lt.(jg) S.Z. Kepner, USNR), USS LCI(L)-74 (Lt.(jg) R.J. Liechti, USNR), USS LCI(L)-224 (Lt.(jg) P.O. Olafsson, USNR), USS LCI(L)-338 (Lt.(jg) C.M. Goodman, Jr., USNR), USS LCI(L)-340 (Lt.(jg) H.F. Eckenrode, USNR) and USS LCI(L)-342 (Lt.(jg) R.A. Smith, USNR).
Task Unit 77.2.4 was the LST Group under T/Capt. R.M. Scruggs, USN, and was made up of USS LST-466 (Lt. R.E. McCarthy, USNR, with COMLSTFLOT 7, T/Capt. R.M. Scruggs, USN on board), USS LST-170 (Lt. T.N. Kelly, USCGR), USS LST-181 (Lt. R.J. Wilson, USNR, with Lt.Cdr. A. Schlott, USNR on board), USS LST-202 (?), USS LST-245 (Lt. M.J. McCabe, USNR), USS LST-456 (Lt. G.W. Prue, USN), USS LST-457 (Lt. W.P. Sullivan, USNR) and USS LST-458 (Lt. F.W. Hinrichs, USNR).
Task Unit 77.2.5 was Fire Support Group A under Rear-Admiral V.A.C. Crutchley, VC, DSC, RN, and was made up from ships of Task Force 74, the heavy cruisers HMAS Australia (Capt. E.F.V. Dechaineux, DSC, RAN, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral V.A.C. Crutchley, VC, DSC, RN), HMAS Shropshire (Capt. H.A. Showers, RAN) and the destroyers HMAS Arunta (Cdr. A.E. Buchanan, RAN), HMAS Warramunga (Cdr. N.A. Mackinnon, RAN), USS Ammen (T/Cdr. J.H. Brown, USN) and USS Mullany (T/Cdr. B.J. Mullaney, USN).
Task Unit 77.2.6 was Fire Support Group B under Rear-Admiral R.S. Berkey, USN, and was made up from ships of Task Force 75, the light cruisers USS Phoenix (T/Capt. J.H. Duncan, USN, flying the flag of COMCRUDIV 15, Rear-Admiral R.S. Berkey, USN), USS Nashville (T/Capt. C.E. Coney, USN), USS Boise (Capt. J.S. Roberts, USN) and the destroyers USS Hutchins (T/Cdr. C.B. Laning, USN, with COMDESRON 24, T/Capt. K.M. McManes, USN, on board), USS Bache (T/Cdr. R.C. Morton, USN), USS Beale (T/Capt. J.B. Cochran, USN), USS Daly (T/Cdr. R.G. Visser, USN), USS Abner Read (T/Cdr. T.B. Hutchins, 3rd, USN, with COMDESDIV 48, T/Capt. J.B. McLean, USN) and USS Trathen (T/Cdr. J.R. Millett, USN).
This force was further divided into three Fire Support Units.
77.2.61 was made up of USS Phoenix, USS Boise, USS Daly and USS Bache.
77.2.62 was made up of USS Hutchins and USS Beale.
77.2.62 was made up of USS Nashville, USS Abner Read and USS Trathen.
Task Unit 77.2.7 was Fire Support Group C under T/Capt. R.F. Stout, USN, and was made up of the destroyers USS Stevenson (T/Cdr. F.E. Wilson, USN, with COMDESRON 19, T/Capt. R.F. Stout, USN on board), USS Gillespie (T/Cdr. J.S. Fahy, USN), USS Hobby (T/Cdr. G.W. Pressey, USN, with T/Capt. COMDESDIV 38, W.S. Veeder, USN on board), USS Kalk (T/Cdr. H.D. Fuller, USN), USS Stockton (T/Cdr. W.W. Stark, Jr., USN), USS Grayson (T/Cdr. W.V. Pratt, 2nd, USN), USS Wilkes, USS Nicholson (T/Cdr. W.W. Vanous, USN), USS Russell (T/Cdr. L.R. Miller, USN), USS Roe (T/Cdr. F.S. Stich, USN).
This force was further divided into four Fire Support Units.
77.2.71 was made up of USS Hobby and USS Kalk.
77.2.72 was made up of USS Gillespie and USS Stockton.
77.2.73 was made up of USS Stevenson and USS Russell.
77.2.74 was made up of USS Wilkes, USS Nicholson, USS Roe and USS Grayson.
Task Unit 77.2.8 was the Beachmaster Unit.
Task Unit 77.2.9 was the Special Service Group. This force was further divided into three Units.
77.2.91 was the Control Unit and was made up of the patrol vessels USS SC-703 (Lt.(jg) R.M. Baird, USNR), USS SC-699 (Lt.(jg) J.W. Foristel, USNR), USS SC-734 (Lt. R.B. MacLean, USNR) and USS SC-736 (Lt.(jg) F.A. Marsteller, USNR).
77.2.92 was the Rocket Unit and was made up of LCI(R)'s, USS LCI(R)-31 (Lt.(jg) T.J. Morrissey, USNR), USS LCI(R)-34 (Lt.(jg) J.F. Keefe, USNR) and USS LCI(R)-73 (Lt.(jg) N.M. Taylor, USNR).
77.2.93 was the Minesweeping and Salvage Unit and was made up of the munesweepers USS YMS-8 (Lt. F.L. Comley, USNR), USS YMS-46 (Lt.(jg) H.J. Topping, USNR), USS YMS-47 (Lt.(jg) A.W. Busbee, USNR), USS YMS-51 (Lt. F.P. Allen, Jr., USNR) and the tug USS Sonoma (Lt.(jg). G.I. Nelson, USN).

Chronology of the passage towards the operations area.

1500K/15, Task Force 74 (Task Unit 77.2.5) and Task Force 75 (Task Unit 77.2.6) departed Seeadler Harbour for the operations area.

1900K/16, Echelon S-1, Section 1, which was made up of USS LCI(L)-28, USS LCI(L)-25, USS LCI(L)-26, USS LCI(L)-26, USS LCI(L)-29, USS LCI(L)-30, USS LCI(L)-71, USS LCI(L)-72, USS LCI(L)-74, USS LCI(L)-224, USS LCI(L)-338, USS LCI(L)-340 and USS LCI(L)-342, Echelon S-1, Section 2, which was made up of USS Henry T. Allen and HMAS Manoora and Echelon S-3, which was made up of USS LCI(R)-31, USS LCI(R)-34, USS LCI(R)-73, USS SC-699, USS SC-703, USS SC-734 and USS SC-736 departed Hollandia for the operations area. They were escorted by the destroyers USS Reid, USS Russell, USS Gillespie, USS Hobby, USS Kalk, USS Stockton and the destroyer escorts USS James E. Craig (Lt.Cdr. E.F. Andrews, USNR, with COMCORTDIV 37, T/Cdr. M.W. Firth, USN, on board), USS Manning (Lt.Cdr. J.I. Mingay, USNR) and USS Eichenberger (T/Lt.Cdr. N. Harrell, USN).

1900K/16, Echelon S-2, which was made up of USS LST-466, USS LST-170, USS LST-181, USS LST-202, USS LST-245, USS LST-456, USS LST-457, USS LST-458 and USS Sonoma departed Tanahmerah Bay for the operations area. They were escorted by the destroyers USS Stevenson, USS Grayson, USS Wilkes, USS Nicholson and USS Roe.

All echelons arrived in the operations area around 0515K/17.

Chronology of the actual landing operations near Arara on 17 April 1944.

0600K/17, The naval bombardment was commenced by the ships of Task Forces 74 and 75. These also bombarded Wadke Island. Several fires were started ashore by the bombardment and off Wadke several Japanese barges were sunk. No enemy reaction followed on the bombardment.

On completion of the bombardments, around 0700K/17, the troops from the two amphibious transports went in and landed according to plan. They were followed by waves of troops from the LCI(L)'s.

Already at 0630K/17, having launched their boats, USS Henry T. Allen and HMAS Manoora departed the area escorted by USS James E. Craig, USS Manning and USS Eichenberger.

0835K/17, The first LST was beached. By now all LCI(L)'s had completed unloading and commenced to return to Hollandia where they arrived around 2200K/17.

1143K/17, troops were landed on Insoemanai Island (off Wadke) without enemy opposition.

1200K/17, Task Force 75 was released from the operation. They arrived at Humboldt Bay around 1745K/17.

2200K/17, Three of the LST's of Echelon S-2 had completed unloading and departed for Hollandia escorted by USS Stevenson, USS Stockton and USS Russell.

0130K/18, The remaining five LST's of Echelon S-2 had completed unloading and departed for Hollandia escorted by USS Kalk, USS Hobby and USS Gillespie.

Chronology of the landing operations on Wadke Island on 18 May 1944.

1700K/17, Echelon S-4, made up of the LST's USS LST-18 (Lt. C.W. Radke, USCG), USS LST-67 (?), USS LST-206 (Lt. C.O. Opperman, USCG) and USS LST-465 (Lt.Cdr. R.T. Murphy, USNR) departed Humboldt Bay for Wadke. They were escorted by the destroyers USS Morris (T/Cdr. G.L. Caswell, USNR, with COMDESRON 2, T/Capt. E.A. Solomons, USN, on board), USS Hughes (T/Cdr. E.B. Rittenhouse, USN), USS Mustin (T/Cdr. M.M. Riker, USN) and the destroyer escorts USS Lovelace (Cdr. R.D. de Kay, Jr., USNR), USS Neuendorf (T/Cdr. J.N. McDonald, Jr., USN) and USS Whitehurst (T/Lt.Cdr. J.R. Gray, USN).

0900K/18, Echelon S-4 arrived off Wadke, and troops were then landed on Wadke covered by gunfire from the LCI(R)'s and USS Wilkes and USS Roe. USS LCI(R)-31 and USS LCI(R)-34 were both damaged by enemy fire and sustained 1 dead and 5 wounded and 1 dead and 3 wounded respectively. On the island the troops encountered stiff Japanese resistance. Early in the afternoon Allied troops had captured the air strip but enemy resistance remained strong.

[Later, follow up echelons proceeded to the Arara / Wadke area but these will be dealt with seperately.]

Media links

Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.

The Buckley-Class Destroyer Escorts

Bruce Hampton Franklin


  1. Personal communication

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