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USS Keith (DE-241)
Career (US) US flag 48 stars.svg
Name: USS Keith
Namesake: Ellis Judson Keith
Builder: Brown Shipbuilding Company
Laid down: 1942
Launched: 21 December 1942
Commissioned: 19 July 1943
Decommissioned: 20 September 1946
Struck: 1 November 1972
Honors and
awards:
1 x battle star for World War II service
Fate: Sold for scrap 1973
General characteristics
Class & type: Edsall-class destroyer escort
Displacement: 1,200 tons
Length: 306 ft (93 m)
Beam: 26 ft 7 in (8.10 m)
Draft: 8 ft 7 in (2.62 m)
Speed: 21 kn (39 km/h)
Complement: 186
Armament: 3 x 3", 8 x 40 mm., 10 x 20mm., 2 x depth charge tracks, 8 x depth charge projectors, 3 x 21" torpedo tubes

USS Keith (DE-241) was an Edsall-class destroyer escort of the United States Navy named in honor of Ellis Judson Keith, Jr., who was killed in action on 11 June 1942, Seaman Keith was posthumously awarded the Air Medal.

Keith was originally laid down as Scott but renamed Keith on 8 December 1942, and was launched 21 December 1942 by the Brown Shipbuilding Company in Houston, Texas. Keith was sponsored by Mrs. Ellis J. Keith, Sr., the mother of Seaman Keith; and commissioned 19 July 1943 at Houston, Texas, with Lieutenant D. Cochran in command.

After shakedown and training exercises out of Bermuda, Keith sailed from Norfolk, Virginia 14 September 1943 on the first of three voyages escorting convoys from East Coast ports to Gibraltar.

After returning from convoy escort duty 22 February 1944, Keith underwent extensive refresher training and participated in antisubmarine warfare exercises before sailing on 15 March as part of escort carrier USS Tripoli's newly formed hunter-killer group. With this group she patrolled the Atlantic Ocean from Brazil to Newfoundland in search of enemy submarines.

In July, she joined a similar group operating with escort carrier USS Core. On 30 August, Core’s hunter-killer group contacted an enemy submarine. Keith, assisting in the search, made two hedgehog attacks with inconclusive results.

Keith continued to operate with the hunter-killer group patrolling the waters of the Atlantic, escorting convoys from "mid-ocean point" to ports in Brazil, Bermuda, Newfoundland, Cuba, and the United States. On 23 April 1945, the hunter-killer group, operating as a combined force against a large wolfpack of U-boats, spotted a partially submerged submarine but could not locate it after it dived. While searching the next day, USS Frederick C. Davis, a destroyer escort in company, was torpedoed and sunk. Keith and a task group ships headed to the position where the Frederick C. Davis had gone down and launched a depth charge attack that lasted some 12 hours before U-546 was forced to surface. The destroyer escorts opened fire on the submarine; and Keith made two direct hits before the U-boat sank. After the engagement, Keith rescued four survivors from the submarine.

In mid-July, Keith departed Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for duty in the Pacific Ocean. Keith found herself in Pearl Harbor at the end of hostilities with the Japanese and got underway for Saipan to perform escort duty and mop-up operations. Shortly after arriving, 31 August, she was assigned an air-sea rescue station between Iwo Jima and Japan. At the end of the year Keith sailed for China, arriving Shanghai on the last day of December. She remained there patrolling and escorting vessels until sailing for the United States on 10 April 1946 via Pearl Harbor and the Panama Canal arriving at Charleston, South Carolina on 15 May 1946. Keith was towed to Green Cove Springs, Florida, where she was decommissioned and placed in reserve 20 September 1946. By the late 1960s she was still in reserve and berthed at Orange, Texas being stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 1 November 1972 and sold for scrap on 1 December 1973.

Keith received one battle star for World War II service.

ReferencesEdit

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