Chase DE 158

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This Month in Naval History
Chase DE 158

II
(DE-158: dp. 1,400; 1. 306'1" b. 36'10" dr. 9'6"; s. 24 k.;
cpl. 186; a. 3 3", 3 21" tt., 8 dcp, 1 dep.(hh.), 2 act.; cl.
Buckley)

Chase (DE-158) was launched 24 April 1943 by Norfolk Navy Yard, sponsored by Mrs. J. V. Chase; and commissioned 18 July 1943, Lieutenant Commander V. B. Steadecker, USNR, in command.

Between 14 September 1943 and 23 November 1944, Chase escorted six transatlantic convoys between New York and Norfolk and North African ports. During her second such crossing, while approaching Bizerte 20 April 1944, Chase fired on attacking enemy torpedo bombers, driving them off, then rescued swimming survivors from three torpedoed merchant ships. During the return passage, Chase joined in the search for the submarine which torpedoed Flechteler (DE-157) 5 May, and rescued 52 survivors of the sinking.

Chase was reclassified APD-54 on 24 November 1944, and with conversion completed, sailed from Boston 4 February 1945 for Pacific action waters. She reached Ulithi 18 March, and next day got underway for the Okinawa operation, sailing with the group scheduled to simulate a landing on the southern coast of the island as a diversion from the main assaults. This diversion received more attention from enemy aircraft than did the main landings as they made their demonstration on 1 April. Chase joined in the blaze of antiaircraft fire which drove the enemy off, then moved north to join the antisubmarine screen protecting the landings. Aside from two brief voyages to Guam and Ulithi, Chase continued on the dangerous duty of patrol off Okinawa until 20 May. On 20 May Chase fired successfully on a diving kamikaze, but had to maneuver violently to avoid the falling craft. It splashed a scant 10 yards from the ship, and the explosion of the two bombs it carried ripped Chase's hull open, flooding the engine and fire rooms. With her steering gear jammed at hard left rudder, Chase drove off another suicide plane. Listing so badly as to be in danger of capsizing, Chase was kept afloat by the skillful work of her crew and towed into Kerama Retto for repairs. She was later towed across the Pacific to San Diego, arriving 11 October. Here she was decommissioned 15 January 1946, and sold 13 November 1946.

Chase received two battle stars for World War II service.

 

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