Blessman DE-69 - History

Blessman DE-69 - History


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Blessman

Born in Mott, S. D., 29 December 1907, Edward Martin Blessman graduated from the Academy in 1931 and became a Naval Aviator in 1934. Lieutenant Blessman was killed in action in the Pacific 4 February 1942.

(DE-69: dp. 1400; 1. 306'; b. 36'10"; dr. 915"; s. 24 k.;
cpl. 186; a. 3 3", 3 21" TT.; cl. Buckley)

Blessman (DE-69) was launched 19 June 1943 by Bethlehem-Hingham Shipyard, Inc., Hingham, Mass.; sponsored by Mrs. Helen Malloy Blessman, widow of Lieutenant Blessman; and commissioned 19 September 1943, Commander J. A. Gillis in command.

From 20 November 1943 to 27 July 1944 Blessman operated as a convoy escort and patrol vessel in the North Atlantic and took part in the invasion of Normandy (613 June 1944).

Blessman was redesignated APD-48, 31 July 1944 and converted to a high speed transport. She then reported to the Pacific Fleet, arriving at Pearl Harbor 29 November 1944. She took part In the landings at Lingayen Gulf (119 January 1945) and Iwo Jima (14-19 February) as an underwater demolition team carrier. During an air attack off Iwo Jima, 18 February 1945, she was hit by a 500 pound bomb which exploded in the mess hall knocking out all power and starting fires; she suffered 40 killed and 23 wounded. Her gallant crew extinguished the fires with assistance from Gilmore (DE-18) and the next day the damaged transport departed for Saipan and emergency repairs, in tow of Ardent (AM- 290). Blessman steamed to the west coast for permanent repairs, arriving 23 April. Completing her repairs in August she returned to the Western Pacific and until October served with the occupation forces in Japan.

She returned to San Francisco in October and was placed in commission in reserve 28 August 1946 and out of commission in reserve 15 January 1947.

Blessman received three battle stars for her World War II service.


USS Blessman (DE-69)

USS Blessman (DE-69/APD-48) là một tàu khu trục hộ tống lớp Buckley được Hải quân Hoa Kỳ chế tạo trong Chiến tranh Thế giới thứ hai. Tên nó được đặt theo Đại úy Hải quân Edward Martin Blessman (1907-1942), phi công phục vụ trên tàu tuần dương hạng nhẹ Marblehead (CL-12), và đã tử trận trong chiến đấu tại Surabaya, Java, vào ngày 4 tháng 2, 1942. [2] Nó đã phục vụ trong chiến tranh cho đến năm 1944, khi được cải biến thành một tàu vận chuyển cao tốc mang ký hiệu lườn APD-48, và tiếp tục phục vụ cho đến khi chiến tranh kết thúc. Con tàu xuất biên chế năm 1946, rồi được chuyển cho Đài Loan năm 1967 và tiếp tục phục vụ cùng Hải quân Trung Hoa dân quốc như là chiếc ROCS Chung Shan (DE-43) cho đến khi ngừng hoạt động và bị tháo dỡ năm 1995. Blessman được tặng thưởng ba Ngôi sao Chiến trận do thành tích phục vụ trong Thế Chiến II.

  • PF-43
  • PF-845
  • PF-843
  • 1.400 tấn Anh (1.422 t) (tiêu chuẩn)
  • 1.740 tấn Anh (1.768 t) (đầy tải)
  • 9 ft 6 in (2,90 m) (tiêu chuẩn)
  • 11 ft 3 in (3,43 m) (đầy tải)
  • 2 × nồi hơi ống nước Foster-Wheeler kiểu Express "D"
  • 2 × turbine hơi nướcGeneral Electric công suất 13.500 mã lực (10.100 kW), dẫn động hai máy phát điện công suất 9.200 kilôwatt (12.300 hp)
  • 2 × động cơ điện công suất trục 12.000 shp (8,9 MW)
  • 2 × chân vịt ba cánh mangan-đồng nguyên khối đường kính 8 ft 6 in (2,59 m)
  • 3.700 nmi (6.900 km) ở tốc độ 15 kn (28 km/h 17 mph)
  • 6.000 nmi (11.000 km) ở tốc độ 12 kn (22 km/h 14 mph)
    dò tìm mặt biển Kiểu SL trên cột ăn-ten
  • Radar dò tìm không trung Kiểu SA (chỉ trên một số chiếc) Kiểu 128D hay Kiểu 144 trong vòm thu vào được.
  • Ăn-ten định vị MF trước cầu tàu
  • Ăn-ten định vị cao tần Kiểu FH 4 trên đỉnh cột ăn-ten chính
  • 3 × pháo 3 in (76 mm)/50 cal Mk, 22 đa dụng (3×1)
  • 4 × 1,1 inch/75 caliber (1×4)
  • 8 × pháo phòng không Oerlikon 20 mm (8×1)
  • 3 × ống phóng ngư lôi Mark 15 21 inch (533 mm) (1×3)
  • 8 × máy phóng mìn sâu Kiểu K
  • 1 × súng cốichống tàu ngầmHedgehog (24 nòng, 144 quả đạn)
  • 2 × đường ray thả mìn sâu, mang theo cho đến 200 quả

Obituary

Blessman was born in Nott, North Dakota. He was appointed midshipman from the 9th District of Wisconsin on 21 June 1927 and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy on 4 June 1931. Service at sea in the battleship Maryland (BB-46) and the destroyer Hale (DD-133) preceded flight training at Naval Air Station Pensacola, in Florida, after which he served in VS-2B in the aircraft carrier Lexington (CV-2) and VP-17F, based on the seaplane tender Thrush (AVP-3). Following a two-year tour at the Naval Air Station Anacostia, Blessman — promoted to lieutenant in January 1939 — joined Marblehead (CL-12), then with the U.S. Asiatic Fleet, on 10 December 1939. He was still serving in her when Japan launched its onslaught in the Far East in December 1941.

On 4 February 1942, Marblehead stood out of Surabaya, Java, as part of a mixed American-Dutch cruiser-destroyer force under Rear Admiral Karel W. F. M. Doorman, Royal Netherlands Navy. Japanese flying boats from the Toko Kōkūtai (Toko Air Group), however, spotted the force as it attempted to transit the Madoera Strait to attack the Japanese invasion fleet bound for Borneo. Thus forewarned, Japanese naval land attack planes bombed the allied force. At 10:27, a stick of seven bombs from a Mitsubishi G4M1 "Betty" bomber of Kanoya Kōkūtai straddled Marblehead. The first of the two bombs to hit the ship penetrated the main deck and exploded near "wardroom country," the blast ripping through the light sheet metal bulkheads that comprised the boundaries of the compartment. Blessman, who, as the ship’s senior aviator had no air defense station and was in the wardroom at the time, was killed instantly by the concussion.

Edward was lost when USS Marblehead (CL 12) was damaged by Japanese bombers on February 4, 1942 during the Battle of Makassar Strait.

Along with those killed on the USS Houston, Edward was initially buried in Tjilatjap, Java. His wife was listed as next of kin they are buried together in California. He was also survived by a sister and a brother, Harold Blessman.


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Unit Location
H & S Company San Antonio, Texas
Company A Alameda, California
Company B Smyrna, Georgia (formerly Billings, Montana)
Company C San Antonio, Texas (formerly Reno, Nevada)
Company D Albuquerque, New Mexico
Company E Joliet, Illinois (formerly Anchorage, Alaska)

The battalion has broken ground in Marseilles, Illinois for a new Reserve Training Center which will be ready by 2010.

Chronology Edit

Between 1943–1945 during World War II the unit was designated Company D (Scout), 4th Tank Battalion of 4th Marine Division.

The unit was officially constituted in San Antonio, TX on 28 August 1948, as Company "C" of 20th Infantry Battalion. Since that time San Antonio area Marines have served variously as the 7th Rifle Company, 14th Infantry Battalion.

  • The 4th Reconnaissance Battalion designated on 1 July 1962.
  • On 27 November 1990 the 4th Reconnaissance Battalion activated Company "D" in Albuquerque, NM, in support of Operation Desert Shield.
  • In December 1990, Company "D" deployed to Saudi Arabia and eventually participated in the Operation Desert Storm.
  • Company "B", in Billings, MT was activated on 22 February 1991 and deployed to MCB Camp Pendleton, CA
  • The "San Antonio" companies of the 4th Reconnaissance Battalion were activated on 11 March 1991 and deployed to MCB Camp Pendleton, CA and MCB Camp Lejeune, NC.

World War II Edit

Eniwetok, February–March 1944 Edit

The Planning for the seizure of Eniwetok began when the fighting was still taking place on Kwajalein. The D-Day for Eniwetok was scheduled for 17 February 1944. Eniwetok is made up of forty islets or more and was given the operation codename, DOWNSIDE. The preliminary pre-D-Day amphibious reconnaissance was performed by both Captain Edward Katzenbach's designated 4th Marine Division's Company D (Scout), 4th Tank Battalion, and Captain James Jones's Amphibious Reconnaissance Company of the V Amphibious Corps.

The landing plan encompassed four phases, on D-Day, three islets in the north of the atoll were to be seized. Two were to be used for artillery bases, Aistu and Rujioru—codenamed CAMELIA and CANNA. Bogen Island, or ZINNIA, lies north of the islet of Engebi (FRAGILE). ZINNIA was tasked to be seized by Katzenbach's 4th Division Scouts while Jones's company was ordered to recon and seize CAMELIA and CANNA. Katzenbach and his scouts fought the heavy surf and fierce 25-knot winds, which instead forced them to land on an island next to ZINNIA. By 0327 on D+1, the scout Marines crossed over to Bogen and declared it secured.

General Thomas E. Watson, assistant division commander of 4th Marine Division, ordered both the amphib recon and scout companies to continue reconnoitering, seizing and clearing other islands in the atoll, moving south toward the islet of Japtan, or LADYSLIPPER. While VAC Amphib Recon Company were operating on Parry island, or LILAC, in the eastern-side, Katzenbach's Scouts were clearing the islands and coral outcroppings on the western-side of DOWNSIDE. Once Katzenbach reached the larger islet of Rigii (POSY), 20 miles west of LILAC, and were engaged by hostile fire from the Japanese defenders the scouts killed nine Japanese before declaring POSY secured.

After the seizure of both Aitsu and Rujioru, artillery emplaced on the two islands and were used in fire support for the occupation landing forces on Engebi, or FRAGILE. General Watson attached the 2nd Separate Tank Company from 22nd Marines and Captains Jones's and Katzenbach's recon and scout companies to the Army 106th Infantry Regiment (less 2nd Battalion) and designated the reinforced unit as 3rd Battalion, 106th Infantry (3/106) as reserve.

At 0908, the Marines hit the beach for the main assault of 1st and 2nd Battalions of 22nd Marine Regiment. Third Battalion were called in early to follow in trace. At 1230, both the VAC Amphib Recon Company and 4th Division Scout Company were ordered to augmented the 22nd Marines. Jones's company reported to 1st Battalion and Katzenbach's company reported to 2nd Battalion, both landing at 1320. On 23 February 1944, the Eniwetok Atoll was declared secured, closing Operation DOWNSIDE.

Saipan, June 1944 Edit

Company D (Scout) performed a series of special missions with 2nd Marine Division's scout company, that included a recon detachment with 1st Battalion, 29th Marine Regiment (1/29). Seizing the summit of Mount Tapochau later repulsed a Japanese counterattack on that highest point of Saipan. [1]

Iwo Jima, February 1945 Edit

Before the operations of Iwo Jima, two officers and twenty enlisted scout-recon Marines from the scout and sniper platoons of 4th and 5th Marine Division and three amphib recon Marines from Company B of VAC Amphib Recon Battalion, FMFPAC were detached to composite together a "provisional amphibious reconnaissance group" made up of recon Marines and four Underwater Demolition Teams (#12, #13, #14 and #15). The reason was to expedite the passage and briefing of raw beach and enemy information to their own respective parent operations (S-3) and intelligence (S-2) staffs. Embarking on USS Blessman (DE-69) the augmented recon and UDT team, along with the four UDTs embarked on high-speed transport ships USS Bull (DE-693) , USS Bates (DE-68) , and USS Barr (DE-576) , and headed to Iwo Jima, arriving just off the eastern beaches of Iwo Jima on the morning of 17 February 1945, two days prior to D-Day (D-2). [1]

Naval gunfire support commenced from battleships USS Idaho (BB-42) , USS Nevada (BB-36) and USS Tennessee (BB-43) and by 1025, Admiral William Blandy ordered the fire-support battleships to retire and clear the approach lanes for the UDT and recon Marines. The UDT and Marines were tasked with taking photographs of the beaches and enemy defenses, if possible. At 1100, the four APDs slowed and dropped the Higgins boats, launching their rubber boats. While they made their preliminary landing toward shore, they immediately encountered enemy fire. Evading fire, they made their way to the beachhead, every one of the twelve landing personnel carriers were either hit or sinking. After completing their photo reconnaissance, they made their way on the remaining landing craft still floatable and returned to the APDs.

Korean War Edit

In 1950, with the outbreak of the Korean War the Marine Corps Reserve was activated. San Antonio Marines joined the mobilization via troop train to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California in July 1950.

Interim years Edit

February 1991—March 1991, the Marines of 4th Reconnaissance Battalion volunteered for extended active duty in support of three counter-narcotic operations under the control of Joint Task Force Six headquarters in El Paso, TX.

Operation Iraqi Freedom Edit

Marines from 4th Reconnaissance Battalion have served multiple combat tours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom supporting active-duty Force Reconnaissance units and Division-level reconnaissance units. In 2003 Delta Company, attached to 1st Recon Battalion, was one of the first Marine Units in many parts of Iraq. The Battalion acted as the Spear head for the 1st Marine Division spawning the book and HBO Show "Generation Kill". Charlie Company augmented 2nd Force Reconnaissance Company, II Marine Expeditionary Force in support of Task Force Tarawa. Charlie Company lead reconnaissance efforts through the initial invasion of Iraq, during the Battle of An Nasiriyah, the Jessica Lynch rescue, and initial movements to secure Baghdad and Al-Kut. In 2004, Bravo Company, attached to 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, participated in the Second Battle of Fallujah. In 2005 Headquarters and Service Company augmented 3d Battalion, 25th Marines in Al Anbar. In 2006 and 2007, 4th Reconnaissance Battalion headquarters and platoons operated as an independent command in support of Regimental Combat Team 7 in Iraq's Al Anbar Province. Detachment 4th Force Reconnaissance Company 4th Marine Division


What Blessman family records will you find?

There are 1,000 census records available for the last name Blessman. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Blessman census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

There are 97 immigration records available for the last name Blessman. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in Canada, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

There are 356 military records available for the last name Blessman. For the veterans among your Blessman ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

There are 1,000 census records available for the last name Blessman. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Blessman census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

There are 97 immigration records available for the last name Blessman. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in Canada, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

There are 356 military records available for the last name Blessman. For the veterans among your Blessman ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.


Contents

Convoy escort, 1943� [ edit | edit source ]

After fitting out at the Boston Navy Yard and running her acceptance trials in Massachusetts Bay, Blessman departed Boston on 9 October 1943 for shakedown training. Operating out of Bermuda, the new destroyer escort completed her initial gunnery, anti-submarine, and engineering training early in November. She left Bermuda on the 5th, arrived in Boston on the 8th and began post-shakedown availability.

Leaving Boston again a week later, Blessman reached the New York Navy Yard on the 16th. Assigned to Escort Division (CortDiv) 19, the destroyer escort sailed with a fast troop convoy on 20 November, screening it safely across the Atlantic and into Derry, Northern Ireland, ten days later. Clearing the Irish Sea on 8 December, Blessman escorted a westward-bound convoy on the return leg of her maiden voyage and arrived at New York five days before Christmas of 1943. Over the next six months, Blessman made three more round-trip Atlantic crossings escorting convoys, returning from the last of these on 1 May.

Normandy invasion, 1944 [ edit | edit source ]

Her fifth Atlantic passage proved the most eventful. Clearing New York on 12 May, she arrived at the other end of the "Milk Run" on the 23rd, at Derry. Instead of returning in the screen of a westbound convoy, however, she shifted to Belfast on the 27th in company with her sister ships and division mates Rich (DE-695), Bates (DE-68), and Amesbury (DE-66), and became part of the armada forming for the assault on Normandy. Blessman departed Belfast on 3 June and headed for Baie de la Seine, France, escorting the bombardment group of the assault force. Heavy weather compelled the postponement of the invasion of France, but it abated enough to permit the landings to commence on 6 June. Initially, Blessman drew duty screening the amphibious command ship Ancon (AGC-4). Then, as "Operation Overlord" actually unfolded, Blessman switched to screening to seaward of the invasion force to deal with possible E-boat attacks.

Mines, however, proved a much greater threat than any posed by enemy aircraft and ships. Attack transport Susan B. Anthony (AP-72) struck one early on 7 June, while proceeding in what had been regarded as a swept channel. By 0805 the stricken auxiliary was taking water badly. Having lost all power, with her rudder stuck "hard left", Susan B. Anthony assumed an eight-degree list to starboard. Blessman gingerly came alongside the doomed, drifting, ship and removed six officers and 38 enlisted men before being ordered away because of the imminent danger of the transport's foundering. Less than an hour later, Blessman sped to the assistance of the mined USAT Francis C. Harrington. After embarking 26 seriously wounded men, the destroyer escort transported them to an LST designated to handle casualties.

Detached from "Overlord" on 12 June, after rounding out her duty screening the invasion force from air attacks and E-boat raids, Blessman reached New York on the 21st. She then escorted a troop convoy to Derry in early July and returned home as an escort for a convoy of transports bearing men wounded in the fighting at Normandy, and brought her sixth round-trip to a conclusion at the end of July.

Conversion to high speed transport, 1944 [ edit | edit source ]

While en route home, Blessman had received word that she was to be converted to a Charles Lawrence-class high speed transport. Accordingly, she entered the Sullivan Drydock and Repair Corp. yard, Brooklyn, New York, on 28 July 1944. She emerged from this major overhaul and alteration period on 25 October 1944, reconfigured to handle four landing boats (LCPL) and troops. Redesignated APD-48, Blessman departed New York and headed for a brief shakedown in Chesapeake Bay before continuing on to the Pacific. The warship proceeded to her new theater of war, sailing via the Panama Canal, and, after touching at San Diego and San Francisco en route, reached Hawaii on 27 November. At Pearl Harbor, Blessman embarked Underwater Demolition Team (UDT) 15 and resumed her voyage westward on 11 December.

Pacific theater, 1945 [ edit | edit source ]

She touched at Eniwetok, Saipan, Ulithi, and the Palaus, leaving Kossol Roads on New Year's Day 1945, bound for Luzon. Enemy air attacks began to materialize on 3 January, as the invasion forces neared their objective. American sailors again encountered kamikazes, suicide aircraft that they had first met only weeks before in the invasion of Leyte. The attacks continued over the following days, "off and on, day and night".

Invasion of Luzon [ edit | edit source ]

Blessman ' s primary mission off Luzon lay in sending UDT 15 to assault beaches Green No. 1 and Yellow No. 2, covering the swimmers with her guns while they reconnoitered surf conditions, located underwater obstacles, and determined beach gradients. At 1430 on 7 January 1945, Blessman stood in toward the Lingayen beaches and, by 1436, had all four of her LCPLs in the water. The boats shoved off 20 minutes later. Reaching her assigned position off the objective at 1510, Blessman soon commenced firing with her forward 5-inch gun. She maintained covering fire for her UDT until shortly before she recovered her four boats. All LCPLs were on board by 1650, and Blessman then headed to a rendezvous with Humphreys (APD-12) to transfer UDT-15's commanding officer to that ship with the results of the day's covering the night retirement of TG 77.2.reconnaissance. The transfer went off by 1815, and Blessman took position in the screen.

As that task group returned to the gulf to carry out its assigned shore bombardment mission, Blessman returned with it, bringing the commander of UDT-15 back on board that morning at 0800 before the ship received orders to close California (BB-44) and to lower a boat. She complied and soon embarked Capt. B. Hall Hanlon, Commander, UDT Pacific Fleet, and two members of his staff. Over the next two days, Blessman served as courier and delivered mail among the ships of TG 77.2, each night taking a station to seaward in the screen of the task force. On 10 January, Blessman ' s unit had a close encounter with a kamikaze when she and other vessels in the screen took an enemy aircraft under fire at 0711. "It finally dove", wrote Blessman ' s commanding officer, "after circling high above as though trying to make up its mind who to hit", and crashed close aboard a destroyer on the picket line 1,800 yards (1,600 m) to the east.

Later that afternoon, Blessman, in response to the orders from the task unit commander embarked in Humphreys, sent UDT-15 on a beach reconnaissance mission "from the east flank of Crimson Beach to a point 3,000 yards (2,700 m) east of that point." Still later, she received orders to report to the commander of Destroyer Division (DesDiv) 120 for escort duty. Accordingly, she moved out, recalling her boats as she did so. A heavy surf prevented the recovery of four of UDT-15's men who finally found temporary shelter on board LST-627 and LSM-11 and who Humphreys later returned to their own ship.

After Capt. Hanlon had returned from Wasatch (AGC-9), and Blessman had recovered all of her LCPLs, the fast transport departed the area at flank speed and joined the designated task unit for the passage to Leyte, reporting "on station" at 2015. On 13 January, Blessman arrived at Leyte and reported for duty to the Commander, Philippine Sea Frontier. After escorting transports back to Ulithi, the warship rested, reprovisioned, and trained for her next operation that would take her one step nearer to Japan.

Invasion of Iwo Jima [ edit | edit source ]

Blessman reported for duty at Ulithi, and in company with other high-speed transports of TG 52.4, on 3 and 6 February 1945, conducted rehearsals for her forthcoming operation - the invasion of Iwo Jima. All units of the task force to which Blessman was attached, TF-52, sailed from Ulithi for Saipan on 10 February for further training and rehearsals that were carried out on 12 and 13 February. During these practice evolutions Blessman operated as a screening vessel. Her sonar gear failed on the 11th, but was left inoperative owing to the lack of time to repair the damage.

On 14 February, TF-52, with Blessman among its warships, sailed from Saipan at 0900. Her captain at this point was Lieutenant Phillip LeBoutillier. Ώ] On the 16th, after the Fire Support Units 1 and 4 had commenced the pre-landing bombardment of Iwo Jima, Blessman was detached from the screen and conducted a close reconnaissance of the beaches while circling the island counter-clockwise.

After screening the heavy ships that evening, Blessman rendezvoused with Gilmer (APD-11) south of "Hot Rocks," the code name for Iwo Jima, shortly after 0941 on the 17th. She then lowered three of her four boats and sent in UDT-15 to reconnoiter beaches and observed small caliber shell splashes around her as she retired to seaward. Upon reaching a point some 8,000 yards (7,300 m) from the shore, Blessman stood off Beaches Blue 1 and Blue 2 for a little over an hour before standing in and recovering her boats. Despite the heavy opposition reported by UDT-15, only one man (Frank Sumpter) was hit by a bullet – he died of his head wound a few hours later ΐ] the covering LCI(G)'s, though, reported sustaining much damage and many casualties. That afternoon, Blessman carried out another beach reconnaissance, recovered all of her boats safely by 1751, and stood out to the command ship Estes (AGC-12). The following day, 18 February, she headed for a screening station.

Damaged by bombs [ edit | edit source ]

While she was en route, however, an enemy bomber, identified as a "Betty", came in at 2121, very low over the port quarter, strafing, and scored a direct bomb hit in the high-speed transport's starboard mess hall, above her number one engine room. A second bomb hit her stack, glanced off, and splashed close aboard without exploding. Fire broke out immediately in the mess hall, galley, and troop quarters on the main deck and the ship lost all power. Heavy smoke forced the abandonment of the number two fire and engine rooms, while a 500-gallon-per-minute portable pump was demolished and all other such pumps were rendered inoperable by the shock. This damage reduced Blessman ' s crew to bucket brigades and the use of helmets to keep the blaze from spreading. Her sailors jettisoned topside ammunition aft, and attempted to clear ammunition from clipping rooms and bedding from troop quarters to halt the fire's spread. At 2250, anti-aircraft and small arms ammunition began exploding, forcing the evacuation of wounded to the bow and stern. Meanwhile, bucket brigades kept the fire from spreading to the superstructure deck, confining the blaze to the enclosed spaces on the main deck.

In all, 40 men were killed, including 15 of the UDT.

"Just as destruction had come out of the night," wrote Blessman ' s historian, help appeared as suddenly. Gilmer came alongside at 2310, commenced pouring water on the blaze, and also sent across hoses. Gilmer evacuated the wounded in her boats and on Blessman ' s rubber rafts. By 0300 on the 19th, the combined efforts of both ships' crewmen brought the fire under control, although some small arms ammunition continued to explode. After transferring all passengers and wounded to Gilmer, Blessman was taken in tow by Ardent (AM-340) and headed back to Iwo Jima. Towed around the northern end of Iwo Jima, Blessman buried her dead at sea and then - towed in turn by Gear (ARS-34), LSM-70, and Hitchiti (ATF-103) - reached Saipan at 1800 on 24 February and moored alongside Hamul (AD-20). Her historian recorded that, on the voyage to Saipan Blessman's men ". lived more like soldiers than sailors," cooking their meals in a makeshift fireplace on the fantail.

As her chronicler also recorded it, "The repair officers at Saipan" he continued, "thought little of the practicability of restoring the ruined ship." But, as they made their estimates, "Blessman ' s crew was busy." The rapid strides her sailors made in carrying out repairs caused these experts to revise their estimates accordingly. Made seaworthy enough for the trans-Pacific voyage, Blessman arrived at the Mare Island Navy Yard on 23 April 1945 for permanent repairs. While this work proceeded, the ship was designated as flagship for Underwater Demolition Squadron (UDRon) 1. Clearing Mare Island for Oceanside, California, on 11 August, to embark Capt. Roy D. Williams, Commander, UDRon 1, the ship reached that port on the 14th and embarked UDT-17. The next day, Capt. Williams hoisted his command pennant on board Blessman.

Post-war activity and decommissioning, 1945� [ edit | edit source ]

On 16 August, two days after V-J Day, Blessman sailed for the western Pacific to take part in the occupation of Japan. After stops at Pearl Harbor, Eniwetok, Ulithi, Manila, Subic Bay, and Okinawa, the fast transport entered Wakanoura Wan, where UDT 17 charted the landing beaches soon to be used by the Army's I Corps to occupy the Kobe-Osaka area. Five days later, Blessman stood out of Wakanoura Wan and headed for the west coast of the United States. Following a pre-inactivation overhaul, Blessman was placed in reserve on 28 August 1946 in the San Diego group of the Reserve Fleet. She was decommissioned on 15 January 1947.

Transfer to Taiwan, 1967 [ edit | edit source ]

Blessman was struck from the Navy List on 1 June 1967, and on 3 July was transferred to Taiwan under the sales provisions of the Military Assistance Program. Renamed ROCS Chung Shan (PF-43), the warship remained in active service with the Republic of China Navy into 1985.


Photo Record

Catalog Number 2001.0099.2
Description Series of B&W photos from USS Blessman. Photos not catalogued individually.
Details USS Blessman (DE-69/APD-48), a Buckley-class destroyer escort of the United States Navy, was named in honor of Lieutenant Edward Martin Blessman (1907–1942), who was killed in action in the Pacific on 4 February 1942.

Blessman was laid down on 22 March 1943 at the Bethlehem-Hingham Shipyard, Inc., Hingham, Massachusetts launched on 19 June 1943, sponsored by Mrs. Helen Malloy Blessman, widow of Lieutenant Blessman, and commissioned on 19 September 1943, with Commander J. A. Gillis in command.

18 February, she headed for a screening station.

Damaged by bombs[edit]
While she was en route, however, an enemy bomber, identified as a "Betty", came in at 2121, very low over the port quarter, strafing, and scored a direct bomb hit in the high-speed transport's starboard mess hall, above her number one engine room. A second bomb hit her stack, glanced off, and splashed close aboard without exploding. Fire broke out immediately in the mess hall, galley, and troop quarters on the main deck and the ship lost all power. Heavy smoke forced the abandonment of the number two fire and engine rooms, while a 500-gallon-per-minute portable pump was demolished and all other such pumps were rendered inoperable by the shock. This damage reduced Blessman's crew to bucket brigades and the use of helmets to keep the blaze from spreading. Her sailors jettisoned topside ammunition aft, and attempted to clear ammunition from clipping rooms and bedding from troop quarters to halt the fire's spread. At 2250, anti-aircraft and small arms ammunition began exploding, forcing the evacuation of wounded to the bow and stern. Meanwhile, bucket brigades kept the fire from spreading to the superstructure deck, confining the blaze to the enclosed spaces on the main deck.

National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum
3300 N. Hwy. A1A, North Hutchinson Island
Fort Pierce, FL 34949
Phone: (772) 595-5845


Blessman DE-69 - History

Buckley Class Destroyer Escorts
USS England DE-635

Kit consists of 177 plastic parts on 9 sprues plus a photoetch part.
Completed kit measures over 10" long.
Kit# DC177 - $33.00

MS-21 8/19/43-8/26/43 San Francisco
MS-32 5/11/44-5/17/44 Manus
MS-11 1/9/45-1/12/45 Ulithi
MS-14 6/25/45-6/29/45 San Diego

1/350 USS Solar DE-221 as a plastic kit 10" long very detailed.
Built by Dave Judy this is a resin kit.
Change the hull#'s and build any ship of the class!

Oklahoma was moored Battleship Row 7, outboard alongside Maryland. USS Oklahoma took 3 torpedo hits almost immediately after the first Japanese bombs fell. As she began to capsize, 2 more torpedoes struck home, and her men were strafed as they abandoned ship. Within 2O minutes after the attack began, she had swung over until halted by her masts touching bottom, her starboard side above water, and a part of her keel clear.

Ensign England survived the initial attack and escaped topside as the ship was capsizing. He remembered the men still in the radio room. He returned three times to the radio room, each time guiding a man to safety. He left to go back below decks for the fourth time and was never seen again. He was one of twenty officers and 395 enlisted men were killed on board USS Oklahoma that morning. Ensign England's gallant effort saved three, but cost him his life.


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