Jack W. Wilke DE-800

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This Month in Naval History
Jack W. Wilke DE-800

Jack W. Wilke

(DE-800: dp. 1,400; 1. 30O'; b. 36'10"; dr. 9'5"; s. 24 k.; cpl. 186; a. 3 3", 4 1.1", 10 20mm., 2 dct., 8 dcp., 1 dcp.(h.h.), 3 21" tt.; cl. Buckley)

Jack W. Wilke (DE-800) was launched by Consolidated Steel Corp., Orange, Tex., 18 December 1943, sponsored by Mrs. Joe H. Wilke, mother of Ens. Wilke; and commissioned 7 March 1944, Lt. Comdr. R. D. Lowther in command.

After shakedown, Jack W. Wilke spent several months on vital convoy escort duty from American ports to Britain, the Mediterranean, and Hnally to northern France. In this capacity she helped bring about the enormous buildup which eventually sealed the fate of the Axis. From 5 December 1944 to May 1945, the ship operated with a hunter-killer group in the NewfoundlandNova Scotia area; and, upon the surrender of Germany, she moved to Norfolk to serve as a weather reporting and air-sea rescue vessel.

Jack W. Wilke sailed 4 June 1945 for Miami and operated as a sonar training ship there until 18 July. In September she underwent overhaul at New York Navy Yard in preparation for her new role as an experimental antisubmarine ship. Sailing 7 January 1846, Jack W. Wilke commenced operations out of Key West. During the years that followed, she carried out experiments in both

tactics and sound equipment off l:iey West and on occasional cruises to the Caribbean, contributing importantly to the Navy's scientifically advanetd, antisubn~arine-warfare capability.

The ship's schedule of experimental operations was interrupted on New Year s Day by the triumph of Castro's forces in Cuba; and Jack W. Wilke steamed to Havana with other ships to help stabilize the situation and to protect American lives and property. During the remainder of the year, she operated off Key West and Norfolk on training operations, and took part in a special good-will cruise to Panama in October during a Caribbean training period. Returning to Key West, the ship decommissioned 24 May 1960. and entered the Atlantic Reserve Fleet. At present she is berthed at Philadelphia.

 

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