Austin DE-15

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This Month in Naval History
Austin DE-15

Austin

II

(DE-15: dp. 1,140; 1. 289'5"; b. 35'1 3/8; dr. 9'11" (f.); s. 20 k.; cpl. 199: a. 3 3", 6 40mm., 5 20mm., 8 dcp., 1 dcp. (hh.), 2 dct.; cl. Evarts)

The second Austin (DE-15) was laid down on 14 March 1942 at the Mare Island Navy Yard as HMS Blackwood (BDE-15) for the United Kingdom under the terms of the lend-lease agreement; launched on 25 September 1942: sponsored by Mrs. W. C. Springer; taken over by the United States Navy on 25 January 1943 and redesignated DE-15; and commissioned on 13 February 1943, Lt. Com dr. H. G. Claudius, USNR, in command. The destroyer escort was apparently commissioned as simply DE-15 for the name Austin was not assigned to her until 19 February 1943, six days after she went into commission.

Assigned to Escort Division (CortDiv) 14, the ship conducted shakedown training out of San Diego between 23 March and 23 April. On the latter day, she put to sea to escort a convoy to Cold Bay, Alaska. She returned to San Diego on 11 May and began convoy escort missions between the west coast and the Hawaiian Islands. Between mid-May and early September, Austin made two round-trip voyages between San Diego and Oahu and then a single, one-way run from the west coast back to Pearl Harbor. On 2 September, she stood out of that base; shaped a course for the Aleutian Islands; and, on 14 September, joined the Alaskan Sea Frontier. For just over one year, Austin plied the cold waters of the north Pacific escorting ships between Alaskan ports, conducting patrols, performing weather ship duties, and serving as a homing point for aircraft.

The warship departed Alaska on 23 September; arrived in San Francisco, Calif., a week later, and received a regular overhaul which lasted until 17 November. On 3 December, she once more weighed anchor for Hawaii. Austin operated out of Pearl Harbor as a training vessel with the Pacific Fleet Submarine Training Command until 20 March, when she set out for the Central Pacific. On 1 April, the destroyer escort reported for duty with forces assigned to the Commander, Forward Areas, and, for a little more than two months, conducted antisubmarine patrols and air/sea rescue missions out of Ulithi Atoll in the Western Caroline Islands. She finished that assignment on 10 June when she shaped a course for the Mariana Islands. For the next four months, Austin operated out of Guam and Saipan. In addition to antisubmarine patrols and air/sea rescue missions, she escorted convoys to such places as Iwo Jima, Eniwetok, and Okinawa. Following the cessation of hostilities in mid-August, she conducted search missions in the northern Marianas for enemy holdouts and for survivors of downed B-29's. The warship also patrolled Truk Atoll briefly before occupation forces arrived there in strength.

On 12 October, she departed Guam in company with the other ships of CortDiv 14, bound for San Pedro, Calif,, and inactivation. On 17 November, she reported to the Commander, Western Sea Frontier, to pre are for decommissioning and, on 21 December 1945, was placed out of commission at Terminal Island Naval Shipyard. Austin was berthed with the Pacific Reserve Fleet until scrapped. On 8 January 1946, her name was struck from the Navy list. The Terminal Island Naval Shipyard completed scrapping her on 9 January 1947.

 

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