USS Saufley

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Saufley DD-465

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Saufley
(DD-465: dp. 2,050; 1. 376'6"; b. 39'8"; dr. 17'9"; s. 37 k.; cpl. 319; a. 5 5", 10 40mm., 7 20mm., 2 dct. 6 dcp., 10 21" tt.; cl. Fletcher)

Saufley (DD-465) was laid down on 27 January 1942 by the Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Kearney, N.J.; launched on 19 July 1942; sponsored by Mrs. Helen O'R. Scruggs, and commissioned on 29 August 19-12, Lt. Comdr. Bert F. Brown in command.

Following shakedown off northern New England, Saufley made several coastal escort runs and then prepared for duty in the South Pacific. She departed Norfolk on 9 September. Arriving at Noumea, New Caledonia, on 2 December, Saupey commenced participation in the Guadalcanal campaign three days later.

Initially assigned to escort reinforcements from Espiritu Santo to Lunga Point, Saufley soon undertook antishipping sweeps in the waters north and west of Guadalcanal and conducted shore bombardment missions against enemy positions on the island. During the Japanese evacuation of Guadalcanal in late January and early February 1943, Saudey operated with Task Force 11. On 19 February, she sailed for Lunga Roads to join with other units staging for Operation "Cleanslate," the occupation of the Russells.

During that operation, Saufley transported troops, towed landing craft to the target islands, and provided shore bombardment in support of the troops as they landed on Pavuvu and Banika islands on the 21st. From these islands, planes would be able to cover operations against Rendova.

In March, Saupey resumed escort and antisubmarine duties in the southern Solomons—New Caledonia—New Hebrides area. Following an abbreviated availability at Sydney, Australia, she returned to Noumea and resumed escort work until the end of June. On the 30th as Allied forces moved toward Rendova, Saudey bombarded Japanese shore installations there.

July and August found Saufley engaged in assault operations agamst New Georgia and escort missions to the New Hebrides and Vella Lavella. On 31 August, she received minor damage, but no casualties, from near misses by shore batteries in the "Slot " the narrow body of water that separates the eentrai Solomons.

At 1011 on 15 September, while Saudey was en route to Espiritu Santo in company with Montgomery (DD121) and two merchantmen, a torpedo wake was sighted. As Montgomery's sound gear was inoperative, Saufley initiated a search down the track of the torpedo wake. Over the period of the next three and onehalf hours, she delivered five separate depth charge attacks against the submarine. At 1443, the Japanese submarine, RO-101, surfaced.

Saufley's five-inch batteries and machine guns opened up on the conning tower of the submarine. A Catalina flying boat moved in and crapped two depth charges. The first charge missed the target by about 40 feet, but the second one hit it. When the splash subsided, the submarine was gone. An underwater explosion was heard; and, by 1735, diesel oil, covering an area of approximately one square mile, marked the grave of RO-l01

During the remainder of September and well into October, Saudey was engaged in night antibarge patrols between Kolombangara and Choiseul. She sank four barges during this period but sustained damage from Japanese aerial bombs on the night of 1 October which resulted in the death of two erew members and the wounding of 11 others.

The months of November and December 1943 and January 1944 found Saufley performing escort duties for the reinforcement of Bougainville. In February, Saufley was engaged in the assault on the Green Islands which broke the Japanese Rabaul-Buka supply line and provided the Ahlies with another airfield near Rabaul. Antisubmarine patrols were followed by eall fire support missions during the occupation of Emirau Island. This action, which completed the "ring around Rabaul," took Saugey into April. She had returned to the F:mirau-Massau area when, on the morning of the 7th, she gained eontaet on a submerged submarine. Forty-five minutes and 18 depth charges later, two

underwater explosions were heard. Within hours, oil covered the area. Postwar review of Japanese records identified the sunken submarine as I-2. Following Escort duties to the Admiralties, Saudey returned to Purvis Bay on the 18th whence she conducted exercises with TF 38 into May.

On 4 May, the destroyer sailed for Pearl Harbor. Arriving on the 12th, she sailed west again on 1 June as a unit of Task Group 51.18, the reserve force for Operation "Forager," the conquest of the Marianas. On D-day plus 1, 16 June, Saufley and the other escorts shepherded their charges into the transport unloading area west of Saipan. Saugey was then reassigned to eall fire support duties. For the next month, she continued eall fire support, screening, and shore bombardment operations in the Saipan-Tinian area. On 20 July, Sauliey moved south for the invasion of Guam. Here, the destroyer provided call fire support for the assault troops. She returned to Tinian on the 23d and supported the landings there on the 24th. For the next week, she provided gunfire support and served on radar picket duty.

Remaining in the Marianas until 12 August, the destroyer then sailed for California, arriving at San Franeiseo with her squadron, Destroyer Squadron (DesRon) 22, at the end of the month. Overhaul took her into October. On the 26th, she again steamed west.

On 17 November, she arrived at Ulithi Atoll. Proeeeding to Leyte Gulf, Saufley soon found herself engaged in antisubmarine action after moving into the Camotes Sea to search for a submarine reported to be in the area. Shortly after entering the area on the 28th, the Japanese submarine was located on the surface off Pilar Point, Ponson Island. In a multi-destroyer gun action involving Saufley, Renshaw (DD499), and Wailer (DD-466), the submarine was sunk 45 minutes later.

Returning to Leyte Gulf, Saufley lost one man and suffered considerable hull damage in an engagement with enemy planes on the 29th. Following repairs at the Admiralties, she proceeded to a 2 January 1945 rendezvous with the Lingayan attack force. Moving into the Sulu Sea on the 7th, Saudey shot down an attacking Japanese aircraft at dusk on the 8th. On the morning of the 9th, the formation stood into Lingayen Gulf. Saufley provided screening services as the assault waves landed in the Langayen area. On the morning of the 10th, Saufl:ey splashed another aircraft, this time a Val attempting to erash the destroyer. Saufley got underway on the 12th to return to Leyte Gulf. From Leyte Gulf, she escorted a convoy to Morotai and returned on the 26th. Sailing for Luzon, Saufley arrived off Nasugbu to support the landing there on the 31st. On 1 February, she sank an attacking Japanese boat. She then eommeneed eall fire support which eontinued for four days. Sauftey then set a c ourse for Subie Bay.

The balance of February and most of March was spent in support operations in the areas of Manila Bay and Mindoro. Saufley participated in amphibious operations at Sanga Sanga (31 March to 4 April) and Jolo (8 to 11 April) where she served as flagship, screening vessel, and eall fire support ship.

The next two months found Saufley engaged in Escort duties. She participated in the assault against Balikpapan, Borneo, on 1 July. The destroyer returned to Morotai on 22 July. She engaged in escort work between Leyte Gulf and Ulithi until the end of hostilities in mid-August.

In early September, Saudoy moved up to the Ryukyus and then proceeded to the China coast. She assisted in minesweeping operations in the Yangtze delta area. The destroyer remained off the coast of China until she departed for home on 12 November. Arriving at San Diego at the end of the year, Saudey continued on to the east coast in mid-January 1946. During February, she underwent repairs at the New York

Naval Shipyard. In early March, Saudey headed south to C'harleston for inactivation.

Decommissioned on 12 June 1946, Saufleg remained in the Reserve Fleet for just over three years. Redesignated DDE-465 on 15 March 1949, she was recommissioned on 15 December 1949 and assigned to Escort Destroyer Squadron (CortDesRon) 2, Atlantic Fleet. Within a year, she had participated in two search and rescue operations. The first, in June 1950, was the rescue of 36 passengers from a downed commercial airliner on a Puerto Rico-New York run. The second in October, was the rescue of a Navy TBM pilot assigned to Palau (CVE-122).

On 1 January 1951, the escort destroyer was reclassified an Experimental Escort Destroyer, EDDE-465, and assigned to experimental work under the control of Commander, Operational Development Force. A unit of DesDiv 601, she was home ported at Key West, and for the next twelve years, was primarily engaged in testing and evaluating sonar equipment and antisubmarine warfare weapons.

On 1 July 1962, Saufley was redesignated a general purpose destroyer and regained her original designation, DD-465. At the end of that month she partieipated in the filming of the movie "PT109." In September, she resumed test and evaluation work. In late October, she was placed on standby, and, after the proclamation of the Cuban Quarantine, she commenced patrols off the coast of Florida. She continued that duty until 20 November; then returned to Key West. On the 26th, she participated in a Presidential review of the Quarantine Force.

For the next two years,Saufley continued her experimental projects, interrupting those operations only for scheduled exercises, sonar school ship duties, and, in the spring of 1963, assistance in the search for Thresher (SSN-593).

Ordered back to Norfolk in the fall of 1964, Saufley was decommissioned on 29 January 1965. Her use as an experimental ship, however, continued. In 1967, instruments and gauges to register strain and stress of successive explosions were installed, and, in February 1968, as a result of tests, she was sunk off Key West.

Saufley earned 16 battle stars during World War II.