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RPS Rajah Soliman (D-66)
RPS Rajah Soliman D-66.jpg
RPS Rajah Soliman (D-66)
Career (United States)
Name: USS Bowers (DE-637)
Builder: Bethlehem Steel Shipyard Corp., San Francisco, California
Laid down: 14 January 1943
Launched: 31 October 1943
Commissioned: 27 January 1944
Recommissioned: 6 February 1951
Decommissioned: 18 December 1958
Struck: 1 May 1961
Fate: Loaned to Philippine Navy 31 October 1960, renamed as RPS Rajah Soliman (D-66). Sold outright to the Philippine government on 21 April 1961.[1][2]
Career (Philippines)
Name: RPS Rajah Soliman (D-66)
Operator: Philippine Navy
Acquired: 31 October 1960
Commissioned: unconfirmed
Decommissioned: December 1964
Struck: December 1964
Fate: Sunk 29 June 1964, raised December 1964. Hulk sold to Mitsubishi International Corp., January 1966
Status: Scrapped
General characteristics
Class & type: Buckley class destroyer escort / Charles Lawrence class high speed transport
Type: Destroyer Escort / Frigate
Displacement: 1,400 tons standard, 1,740 tons full load
Length: 306 ft (93 m)
Beam: 36.83 ft (11.23 m)
Draft: 13.5 ft (4.1 m)
Installed power: 12,000 hp (8,900 kW)
  • 2 × GE "D" Express Boilers Turbines (Turbo Electric Drive)
  • 2 × shafts
Speed: 24 knots (44 km/h) maximum
Range: 6,000 nmi (11,000 km) at 12 knots (22 km/h)
Complement: 186

RPS Rajah Soliman (D-66) was a destroyer escort/frigate that served with the Philippine Navy between 1960 and 1964. A Buckley-class destroyer escort, it was originally named USS Bowers (DE-637) during its previous service with the United States Navy. It was the first destroyer escort to be operated by the Philippine Navy, and is the only member of its class ever operated by the service. Rajah Soliman was also the flagship of the Philippine Navy during its time in commission, which ended with the sinking of the vessel in 1964.[3]

Acquisition and service[edit | edit source]

The ex-USS Bowers was transferred to the Philippine Navy on 31 October 1960, as a loan under the terms of the Military Assistance Program; on 21 April 1961, the ship was sold outright to the Philippines. Rajah Soliman served as the Philippine Navy's flagship during its entire time service. In June 1964, the ship entered a refit period at the Bataan National Shipyard, located in Mariveles, Bataan, for repairs to its engines.[3]

Sinking, raising, and disposal[edit | edit source]

On 29 June 1964, Typhoon Winnie, also known as Typhoon Dading, hit the Bataan Peninsula; the storm surge associated with the cyclone struck the Rajah Soliman, which was at the time docked at the shipyard's pier. The storm battered the ship's superstructure and starboard side against the pier, causing Rajah Soliman to capsize and sink at the dock. The effects of the storm also caused the wreck to fill with mud, sand and other debris.[3]

After the storm, an attempt to salvage the ship was made by the Philippine Navy; the attempt failed as a result of the necessary equipment not being available. The United States Navy agreed to salvage the ship as a training exercise, and between December 1964 and January 1965, two U.S. Navy salvage ships, USS Grasp (ARS-24) and USS Bolster (ARS-38), used the parbuckle salvage technique to raise Rajah Soliman's wreck from the harbor floor.[1][2][4] After the vessel had been successfully raised, it was towed to the Ship Repair Facility at Subic Naval Base, located nearby.[3]

A survey of the raised Rajah Soliman found that the ship had been damaged beyond economical repair. Designated for disposal, the hulk was sold for scrapping on 31 January 1966 to Mitsubishi International Corp.[1][2][5]

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

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