John J. Powers DE-258

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This Month in Naval History
John J. Powers DE-258

John J. Powers

John James Powers, born in New York City 3 July 1912, graduated from the Naval Academy in 1935. After serving at sea for 5 years, he underwent flight training, reporting 21 January 1941 to Bombing Squadron 5, attached to famed Yorktown (CV-5). As the fleet moved to prevent further Japanese expansion in the Solomons on 1942, Powers took part in the important raid on Tulagi 4 May, flying without fighter cover to score two hits on Japanese ships. As the main Battle of the Coral Sea developed 7 May, Lt. Powers and his companions discovered carrier Shoho and, bombing at extremely low altitudes, sank her in 10 minutes. Next morning while the great carrier battle continued, he joined the attack on Shokaku, scoring an important bomb hit. His intrepid, low-bombing run, however, brought Powers into heavy antiaircraft fire; and his plane plunged into the sea. Lt. Powers was declared dead; but, for his indomitable spirit in this series of attacks, was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously. According to the citation: ". . . completely disregarding the safety altitude and without fear or concern for his own safety, he courageously pressed home his attack, almost to the very deck of an enemy carrier and did not release his bomb until he was sure of a direct hit."

(DE-258; dp. 1,140: 1. 289'5"; b. 35'1"; dr. 8'3"; s. 21 k.; cpl. 186; a. 3 3", 4 1.1"; 9 20mm., 2 dct., 8 dcp., 1 dcp. (h.h.) el. Evarts)

John J. Powers (DE-528) was laid down 25 September 1943 by Boston Navy Yard; launched 2 November 1943; sponsored by Mrs. John J. Powers, mother of Lt. Powers; and commissioned 29 February 1944, Lt. Comdr. E. W. Loew in command.

After shakedown training off Bermuda, John J. Powers returned to Boston 19 April for antisubmarine exercises. She then steamed to New York to join a convoy for northern Europe, departing 2 May. The ship returned with another convoy 28 May 1944. With American troops and equipment building -up in England for the cross-channel invasion, John J. Powers made a second convoy voyage, arriving Boston 2 August 1944. She then engaged in training followed by a coastal run from New York to Halifax and back.

The escort vessel got underway for Atlantic convoy duty again 19 September 1944, escorting a convoy of tankers and barges to England. Seven days later the alert ship rescued four crewmen from capsized Army tuge ST-719. John J. Powers returned to New York 20 November and in December conducted special depth charge tests for the Bureau of Ordnance off New York and in Chesapeake Bay. In the months that followed, the ship made three more escort voyages to Casablanca, departing Mers-el-Kebir 7 May 1945, the day of the German surrender.

John J. Powers returned to New York 23 May 1945 and, after maneuvers in Casco Bay, Maine, arrived Miami 21 July for duty as a training ship. During August she provided tactical training for student officers in the Straits of Florida. The war over, John J. Powers sailed 8 September 1945 for Charleston, where she decommissioned 16 October 1945.

The ship was scrapped by Charleston Navy Yard in February 1946.


 

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