U. S. S. Sturtevant DD/DE/DER-239

There were two ships named for a Naval Aviator named Albert D. Sturtevant. Click here for a brief history of his career.

Click here for history of the DD-240.

Click here for a history of the DE-239/DER-239.

 

The First Sturtevant reunion was held in 1990. I have only attended two of these, the first one and the seventh one held in 2001. I hope to be able to obtain photos and other information on the other reunions, so that I can cover them here also. So if any of you that are reading this and have anything you might want to furnish me on them, please contact me by E-Mail Damon Floyd.


Photos taken at the reunions can be viewed by clicking on the years listed below.

1990 Reunion Williamsburg, VA.

2001 Reunion Branson, MO.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Albert D. Sturtevant

 

 

 

 

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Albert D. Sturtevant was born In Washington, D. C. on 2 May 1894. On 24 March 1917, he and 28 others enlisted in the Naval Reserve Forces as the First Yale Unit. Two days later, they were all commissioned ensigns. After flight training in Florida, he was designated a naval aviator on 1 May 1917 and, in September, he received orders for overseas duty. Ensign Sturtevant reported to the group attached to the Royal Flying Corps stationed at Felixstowe, England, in October.

Sturtevant's duties consisted of flying escort for merchantmen crossing the North Sea. On 15 February 1918, while flying an escort mission with another plane of his unit, the two Americans were jumped by a flight of 10 German planes. Sturtevant's companion recognized the hopelessness of the 5-to-1 odds and escaped to safety, but Sturtevant gamely fought it out with the enemy. When last seen, Ensign Sturtevant was hit and crippled, falling toward the sea. For his heroic actions, be was awarded the Navy Cross posthumously.

 

 

USS Sturtevant

DD-240

Some background and history of the U.S.S Sturtevant DD-239 taken from "Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships", Volume VI, Naval History Division, Department of the Navy, Washington: 1976)

 

Click Here for a photo and more info on DD-240

 

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The first Sturtevant (DD-240) was laid down on 23 November 1918 at Camden, N. J., by the New York Shipbuilding Co.; launched on 29 July 1920; sponsored by Mrs. Curtis Ripley Smith; and commissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 21 September 1920. Lt. Comdr. Edward G. Haas assumed command of Sturtevant on 4 November 1920.

In early November of 1920, Sturtevant sailed to Newport, R. I., and thence proceeded to New York City. On 30 November, she departed New York to join the United States Naval Forces, European Waters. She reached Gibraltar on 10 December and, after four days, continued on to the Adriatic Sea On the 19th, she arrived at her new base, Spalato, on the Delmatian coast. For the next six months, she conducted various missions fran Spalato to the ports on the Adriatic littoral.

On 16 June 1921, the destroyer was reassigned fran the Adriatic detachment to the Constantinople detachment and, three days later, commenced docking and overhaul at Constantinople. During this assignment, Sturtevant conducted drills in the Sea of Marrnara, between the twin straits, the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus, and operated in the Black Sea. She visited Samsun, Turkey; Burgas, Bulgaria; and Sulina and Braila on the Rumanian coast. From 25 October to 28 November, she flew the flag of Admiral Bristol. Following this duty, the ship visited the ports of Beirut and Joffa and then Alexandria, Egypt, and the Isle of Rhodes. In late December, she returned to Turkey at Samsun, thence to Constantinople in January 1922, before reentering the Black Sea to visit southern Russia.

Between 1921 and 1923, the Russian Civil War and a drought brought a great famine to Russia, particularly to the usually food-rich Volga region of southern Russia. America responded with nearly a million short tons of food which the Bolsheviks accepted grudgingly and often as surreptitiously as possible. Sturtevant Investigated potential ports of debarkation in southern Russia for the supplies soon to be shipped by the American Relief Administration. To this end, she visited Odessa, Sevastopol, Novorossisk, Theodosia, and Yalta between early February and mid-April. Thereafter, through the end of the year, she made voyages across the Black Sea to various Russian ports in conjunction with the relief operation She stopped at numerous other foreign ports on the voyages, Including Samsun, Trebizond, and Mudania, Turkey. From July to October, she made a round-trip voyage back to the United States, during which she was overhauled at the New York Navy Yard and exercised out of Yorktown, Va.

On 1 October, Sturtevant was ordered back to the eastern Mediterranean and, the following day, got underway for Gibraltar. She arrived there on the 14th and continued on Turkey, reaching Mudania ai the 27th. For the next seven months, the destroyer visited the ports of the eastern Mediterrean and those along the coast of the Black Sea. In addition to ports of call of the previous cruises, she visited Varna, Bulgaria; Marsina and Smyrna, Turkey; Piraeus, Greece; and Naples, Italy. From the latter port, she sailed for Gibraltar in late May of 1923 and, by 12 June, was back at the Navy Yard in New York. She operated along the Atlantic seaboard through the end of the year, Conducting gunnery exercises in October at the southern drill grounds off Virginia. In November, the ship paid an Armistice Day visit to Baltimore, Md. Three days before the end of the year, Sturtevant became flagship of Division 41, Squadron 14, ScoutIng Fleet.

In early January, Sturtevant proceeded to the Canal Zone to participate in a war problem with the Scouting Fleet. At the end of the month, she sailed with the Fleet, via Culebra Island, to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and the British West Indies, conducting tactical exercises along the way. In May, the destroyer returned north and operated along the east coast for the remainder of the year. In January 1925, Sturtevant again headed south. After a month and one-half of operations In the Caribbean, she transited the Panama Canal and entered the Pacific. She visited San Diego and San Francisco in California in April before getting underway for the Hawaiian Islands. From late April to mid-June, the ship participated in a joint Army/Navy war problen simulating the attempt of an enemy force to capture the island of Oahu. On 11 June, she set a course for San Diego and arrived on the 17th.

The destroyer started on her return voyage to the Atlantic on the 22d and reached New York City on 16 July. She cruised the Atlantic coast until mid-October and then proceeded south for winter maneuvers at of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Transiting the Panama Canal In late January 1926, she participated In fleet exercises on the Pacific side. Returning to the Atlantic side of the isthmus to resume drills and exercises in the vicinity of Cuba, Sturtevant steamed north to Boston during the first week In May.

Between May 1926 and January 1931, Sturtevant continued to operate with the Atlantic Fleet in Destroyer Division 41, Destroyer Squadron 14. Each year summer operations along the north and central Atlantic coast of the United States were alternated with winter maneuvers in the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. During the fall of 1930, she was assigned Charleston, S. C., as her home port, but was ordered north again in January of 1931 for decommissioning. On 30 January 1931, Sturtevant was placed out of commission at Philadelphia, Pa.

She was recommissioned there on 9 March 1932 and on 30 April, reported for duty to the Commander, Special Service Squadron, at Coco Solo in the Canal Zone. For the next two years, the destroyer plied the warm and troubled waters of the Gulf and the Caribbean, supporting the activities of the marines ashore in Nicaragua, Haiti, Cuba, and other Latin American Republics. Early in 1934, she left the Special Service Squadron to rejoin the destroyers of the Scouting Force. During this tour of duty, she was home ported at Norfolk, Va. In the latter half of 1935, the ship was reassigned to the Battle Force, located in the Pacific. After operating out of San Diego until 20 November, she was decommissioned once again.

On 26 September 1939, Sturtevant was Recommissioned once more. By mid-1940, she was back in the Atlantic escorting convoys and conducting neutrality patrols along the eastern seaboard. The destroyer operated out of Norfolk, Va. in the North Atlantic until early March 1942, then escorted a convoy from New York to the Canal Zone. There she reported for duty to the Commander, Caribbean Sea Frontier, screening convoys between the various ports of the Caribbean until late April.

On 26 April, she departed Key West in company with a convoy. Just over two hours out of port, a violent explosion lifted Sturtevant ‘s stern fran the water, but caused no apparent damage. Thinking herself under submarine attack, the destroyer dropped two depth charge barrages. About a minute after she dropped the second barrage of charges, a second detonation rocked the ship. She began to settle rapidly, but on an even keel. Minutes later, a third burst ripped her keel apart beneath the after deckhouse. The midships section sank immediately, and the stern settled soon thereafter. The bow curiously renamed above water for several hours. Finally, however, all but the crow's nest disappeared beneath the waves. Probably the victim of a mine, Sturtevant went down off Key West about eight miles north of Marquesas Key. Fifteen of her ship's company joined her in the watery grave. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 8 May 1942.

 

 

 

 

USS Sturtevant

DE-239/DER-239

Some background and history of the U.S.S Sturtevant DE-239/DER-239 taken from "Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships", Volume VI, Naval History Division, Department of the Navy, Washington: 1976)

 

Click here for photo of the Sturtevant DE-239

 

 

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She was the second ship given the name Sturtevant, a destroyer escort. The keel was laid down on 15 July 1942 by the Brown Shipbuilding Co., at Houston, Texas; launched on 3 December 1942; sponsored by Mrs. William North Sturtevant; and commissioned on 16 June 1943, Lt. Comdr. Frederick W. Haws in command. After shakedown in the vicinity of Bermuda and training off the Rhode Island coast, Sturtevant began 21 months of convoy escort duty in the Atlantic. On 24 September, she got underway to screen her first convoy to Casablanca and Gibraltar. After two more such Atlantic crossings, she was assigned to Londonderry-bound convoys and made five voyages to that Irish port. Sturtevant rounded out her Atlantic service with two convoys each to Liverpool, England, and Cardiff, Wales, and one to Southampton, England. Between crossings, the destroyer escort was repaired and overhauled at the New York Navy Yard and trained at Casco Bay, Maine, and at Montauk Point, Long Island. In all, Sturtevant made 13 successful round—trip voyages across the Atlantic and back.

On 9 June 1945, she entered the New York Navy Yard for post-voyage availability. Sturtevant emerged from the yard 38 days later with her antiaircraft defenses strengthened considerably. En route to Pearl Harbor, she trained for 14 days in the Guantanamo area and stopped briefly at San Diego. By the tine Sturtevant arrived in Hawaiian waters, the war was over. No longer needed in the Pacific, the destroyer escort was ordered back to the Atlantic Fleet, carrying passengers to San Pedro on the first leg and reaching Charleston, S. C., on 25 September. There she started preparations for decommissioning and Inactivation with the Atlantic Reserve fleet. In October, she shifted to the inactive fleet berthing area at Green Cove Springs, Florida., where she was decommissioned on 24 March 1946.

After six years of inactivity in Florida, Sturtevant was recommissioned on 3 August 1951, Commander R. B. Redmayne in command. For the next four years, she operated along the Atlantic coast of the United States and in the Caribbean Sea. Her operations carried her as far north as the coast of Labrador and as far south as Cuba. Much of the time she spent in the Caribbean was devoted to work in conjunction with the Fleet Sonar School at Key West, Fla., and with the Hunter-Killer Forces of the Atlantic Fleet.

After visiting ports in northern Europe during a midshipman cruise conducted in the summer of 1955, she resumed her training duties with the Fleet Sonar School, and normal operations for another year. She joined another midshipman cruise, in July and August of 1956; this time to Panama and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. On 31 October 1956, Sturtevant entered the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard for conversion to a radar picket destroyer escort ship. The conversion process lasted until 5 October 1957, when she was recommissioned as DER-239. On 7 February 1958, she departed Philadelphia for the Pacific Ocean, calling at Newport, R. I.; San Juan, P.R.; Rodman in the Canal. Zone; Acapulco, Mexico; and San Diego before arriving in Pearl Harbor on 18 March. Upon completion of further training in Hawaii, she became one of the original ships of the Pacific Early Warning Harrier. She continued to so serve In the Pacific Fleet until June of 1960, when she was placed out of commission and berthed with the San Diego Group of the Pacific Reserve Fleet. There she remained until the fall of 1972 when an inspection and survey board found her to be unfit for further naval service. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 1 December 1972; and on 20 September 1973, her hulk was sold to the National Metal and Steel Corp., Terminal Island, Calif. for scrapping.