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USS Calcaterra (DE-390)
Career (US)
Namesake: Herbert A. Calcaterra
Builder: Brown Shipbuilding, Houston, Texas
Laid down: 28 May 1943
Launched: 16 August 1943
Commissioned: 17 November 1943
Decommissioned: 2 July 1973
Reclassified: DER-390, 28 October 1954
Struck: 2 July 1973
Fate: Sold 14 May 1974 and broken up for scrap
General characteristics
Class & type: Edsall-class destroyer escort
Displacement: 1,253 tons standard
1,590 tons full load
Length: 306 feet (93.27 m)
Beam: 36.58 feet (11.15 m)
Draft: 10.42 full load feet (3.18 m)
Propulsion: 4 FM diesel engines,
4 diesel-generators,
6,000 shp (4.5 MW),
2 screws
Speed: 21 knots (39 km/h)
Range: 9,100 nmi. at 12 knots
(17,000 km at 22 km/h)
Complement: 8 officers, 201 enlisted

USS Calcaterra (DE-390) was an Edsall-class destroyer escort built for the U.S. Navy during World War II. She served in the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean and provided destroyer escort protection against submarine and air attack for Navy vessels and convoys. Post-war she was called up again for duty, this time as a radar picket ship.

She was named in honor of Motor Machinist's Mate First Class Herbert A. Calcaterra who received the Silver Star posthumously. She was launched 18 August 1943 by Brown Shipbuilding Co., Houston, Texas; sponsored by Mrs. G. M. Stites; commissioned 17 November 1943, Commander H J. Wuensch, USCG, in command; and reported to the Atlantic Fleet.

World War II North Atlantic operations[]

Assigned to the vital duty of escorting convoys between the United States and the Mediterranean, Calcaterra made eight round trips between 13 February 1944 and 10 June 1945. The ships she guarded provided the men and equipment which insured the success of the invasions of Italy and southern France. Twice the escort vessel met the challenge of enemy opposition when she depth charged a suspected submarine contact and fired on two aircraft. Her alert action helped prevent damage or loss to the ships under convoy.

Transfer to the Pacific Fleet[]

On 9 July 1946 Calcaterra headed for the Pacific to tackle a new job, but the war ended shortly before her arrival at Pearl Harbor. She lifted passengers back to the west coast, then sailed on to the Atlantic. Calcaterra was placed out of commission in reserve at Green Cove Springs, Florida on 1 May 1946.

Reclassified DER-390 on 28 October 1954, Calcaterra was converted to a radar picket ship at Norfolk, Virginia, and recommissioned on 12 September 1955. Based on Newport, Rhode Island, the radar picket ship almost continuously served in the violent weather of the North Atlantic once lost all life lines and ready service box's, 5" gun mount was lifted of her gimbals that a crane had to be used to remount it, to maintain her link in the extension of the Distant Early Warning system. Except for exercises with the fleet in the Atlantic and Caribbean, and a cruise to Europe Ship would go out on picket 30 days than 2 weeks in the states (For the married men,) out for 30 days picket than 2 weeks in Europe ended up once in Antwerp Belgium(August–October 1958), Calcaterra continued this duty through 1960.

Final decommissioning[]

Calcaterra was struck from the Navy list on 2 July 1973, sold on 14 May 1974, and broken up for scrap.

The pickets north of Cuba, Dog Rocks, were 30 days out, two days in Key West or Miami, 30 days out then 28 days in Newport, year after year. On many pickets the ship was used as a halfway point for people escaping from Cuba. They were fed then picked up by the Coast Guard that got all the credit. When the ship hit heavy seas headed south for a picket the forward 3 inch gun was ripped off the deck and thrown up onto the 01 level and the forward spaces were flooded. The gun was lashed down, the deck covered with beams and canvas, the water pumped out and the ship proceeded south. About a month later the ship was repaired at a private yard in Boston.


This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.

See also[]

External links[]

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