Atherton Shipmates Reunite With A German POW - A must read story!
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Ship History

Atherton (DE-169) was launched laid down on 14 January 1943 at Newark, N.J., by the Federal Drydock & Shipbuilding Co.; launched on 27 May 1943; sponsored by Mrs. Cornelia A. Atherton, Lieutenant Atherton's mother; completed a the Norfolk Navy Yard; and commissioned there 29 August 1943, Lieutenant P.L. Mansell, Jr., USNR, in
command.

Atherton began shakedown in September. During this time, conducted exercises in Chesapeake Bay and made two cruises to Bermuda. On 13 November, she got underway for Puerto Rico. Upon her arrival there, the destroyer escort assumed antisubmarine warfare (ASW) patrol duties in waters between St. Croix, Virgin Islands, and the Anegada Passage. On 24 November, she attacked a submarine contact, but observed no evidence of damage. The ship was relieved three days later and returned to Norfolk on 30 November. There, she began making daily cruises in Chesapeake Bay to train prospective crew members for destroyer escorts. Atherton left Norfolk on 11 December to escort a convoy bound for the Panama Canal but was back in Hampton Roads on 27 December.

From January 1944 to May 1945, Atherton operated under the control of Task Force 62 on escort duty for transatlantic convoys. She escorted convoys from Norfolk and New York City to various ports in the Mediterranean. These ports included Casablanca, Morocco; Bizerte, Tunisia; and Oran, Algeria. Atherton periodically reported to the Boston Navy Yard for overhaul. On 9 May 1945, while en route from New York to Boston, Atherton encountered a U-boat. After four depth charge attacks, pieces of broken wood, cork, mattresses, and an oil slick broke the surface. Atherton, in conjunction with Moberly (PF-63), was later credited with destroying the German submarine U-853.

On 28 May, Atherton sailed for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. She arrived on 1 June and held a week of exercises with Escort Division 13 before sailing on 6 June for the Pacific. Proceeding via the Panama Canal and San Diego, Atherton arrived at Pearl Harbor on 29 June. There, the ship underwent a tender availability and carried out a series of exercises before getting underway on 15 July for the Marianas. She reached Saipan on 26 July and conducted antisubmarine patrols off Saipan. On 5 August, she got underway for Ulithi, where she operated on picket station until 18 August. Between 19 August and 16 September, Atherton made two round-trip voyages escorting convoys to Okinawa. She was then assigned to rescue station duties out of Saipan which lasted through the end of the war.

[It is reported that Atherton also provided escort while Japanese forces were evacuated from Pagan and Marcus Islands after the surrender.]

On 1 November, Atherton headed back toward the United States. After stops at Pearl Harbor and San Diego, she transited the Panama Canal and arrived at Jacksonville, Fla., in December. On 10 December 1945, she was decommissioned and placed in reserve at Green Cove Springs, Fla. On 14 June 1955, Atherton was transferred to Japan under the Mutual Defense Assistance Program; and her name was struck from the Navy list.

Atherton was awarded one battle star for her World War II service.

Information courtesy of HyperWar web site. Transcribed and formatted for HTML by Patrick Clancey

Webmaster note:  Atherton was transferred to Japan as HATSUHI 06/14/55;
Returned to USN 1975; Stricken 06/15/75.
Sold at scrap value to The Philippines as RAJAH HUMABON 09/13/76.
Scheduled to be stricken by 1996, but still in service in 2006.  See a photo.

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