Earl V Johnson DE-702

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This Month in Naval History
Earl V Johnson DE-702

Earl V. Johnson

Earl Vincent Johnson, born 28 December 1913 in Winthrop, Minn., enlisted in the Naval Reserve 31 August 1937 and began naval aviation the next year. He reported to Scouting Squadron 5 on board Yorktown (CV-5), 18 September 1939, and received a regular commission the following year.

He was detached from the squadron in March 1942 and assigned to the ship's company. During the Battle of the Coral Sea from 4 to 8 May 1942, he flew with one of Yorktown's scouting squadrons, attacking Japanese shipping in Tulagi Harbor and carriers in the Coral Sea. Lieutenant (junior grade) Johnson was lost in aerial combat 8 May and awarded the Navy Cross for extraordinary heroism.

(DE-702: dp. 1,400, 1. 306', b. 36'10", dr. 9'5"; s. 24 k.
epl. 186; a. 3 3", 3 21" tt., 8 dcp., 1 dcp.(hh.), 2 dct.; cl.
Buckley)

Earl V. Johnson (DE-702) was launched 24 November 1943 by Defoe Shipbuilding Co., Bay City, Mich.; sponsored by Mrs. Selma E. Johnson, mother of Lieutenant (junior grade) Johnson, and commissioned 18 March 1944, Lieutenant Commander J. J. Jordy, USNR, in command.

Between 23 May and 19 November 1944, Earl V. Johnson made three voyages as convoy escort, guarding vital troops and supplies from Norfolk to Casablanca and Bizerte. After training at Boston, she joined the Pacific Fleet' calling at New York, Norfolk, the Panama Canal, Bora Bora in the Society Islands, arriving at the giant fleet base at Manus, Admiralty Islands, 22 January 1945.

Earl V. Johnson was assigned patrol duties in the Philippines and guarded convoys plying between New Guinea and Leyte Gulf until 17 April 1945. Supporting the invasion of Okinawa, now in full swing, and air strikes on Japan, she became invaluable in moving men and supplies to the advance bases at Kossol Roads and Ulithi. She departed Leyte on 25 July with an LST convoy bound for Okinawa. As she returned, 4 August, a sonar contact developed into a 3-hour duel with a submarine, which damaged Earl V. Johnson but ended happily with an underwater explosion and a plume of white smoke.

Hostilities ended, Earl V. Johnson arrived at Okinawa, 4 September, and a week later began the occupation of Jinsen and Taku, piloting vessels, guarding against submarines, spotting and destroying mines. She departed Buckner Bay, Okinawa, 8 November 1945, arriving Boston, 15 December.

She was placed out of commission in reserve at Jacksonville, Fla., 18 June 1946.

 

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