USS Kirkpatrick, DE-318

Feb. 5, 2021

USS Kirkpatrick (DE-318)

USS Kirkpatrick was named for Thomas L. Kirkpatrick who was born on 5 July 1887 in Cozad, Nebraska, and was appointed Acting Chaplain, U.S. Navy on 19 February 1918.  After serving as chaplain to stations in the United States and abroad, Thomas Kirkpatrick was assigned to battleship North Dakota (BB-29) on 24 June 1919.  For the next 20 years, he served on the battleship Utah (BB-31), the armored cruiser Pittsburgh (CA-4); and the aircraft carrier Saratoga (CV-3) in addition to duty at Samoa from 1935 to 1937.  He reported to battleship Arizona (BB-39) on 13 September 1940, and was commissioned Captain 1 July 1941.  Captain Kirkpatrick lost his life when Arizona was sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. 


Edsall Class Destroyer Escort

Displacement: 1,253 tons standard; 1,102 tons full load

Length: 306’ oa

Beam: 36’7” 

Draft: 10' 5' full load

Machinery: 2-shaft Fairbanks Morse diesels, 6,000 bhp

Range:  10,800 nm at 12 knots

Top Speed: 21 knots

Complement: 186 

Armament: 3-3”/50; 2-40mm; 8-20mm; 3-21" torpedo tubes; 2 depth charge tracks; 8 depth charge projectors; 1 hedge hog.

The Coast Guard-manned USS Kirkpatrick (DE-318) was launched on 5 June 1943, by the Consolidated Steel Corp., Orange, Texas.  She was sponsored by Mrs. Genevieve Kirkpatrick, the widow of Captain Kirkpatrick; and entered commissioned service on 23 October 1943 under the command of LCDR V. E. Bakanas, USCG.  After shakedown along the Atlantic Coast, Kirkpatrick arrived Norfolk on 23 December 1943, to commence transatlantic escort duty.  From January 1944 to May 1945, she made one convoy escort mission to the Mediterranean, and 10 crossings between the United States and the British Isles.  On her third voyage, USS Gandy (DE-764), another destroyer escort in the convoy, rammed German submarine U-550 after the U-boat had sunk tanker SS Pan Pennsylvania.  Eleven prisoners from the sunken enemy submarine were captured in this action of 16 April 1944.

Kirkpatrick returned New York on completion of her final transatlantic escort mission on 15 May 1945.  After bombardment exercises in the Caribbean, she sailed for the Pacific.  She entered Pearl Harbor on 11 July for tactics with submarines in Hawaiian waters until 29 August when she departed on an escort cruise to the Far East.  Departing Sasebo 2 November, Kirkpatrick arrived Charleston 8 December 1945, via Pearl Harbor and the Panama Canal.  She arrived Jacksonville 5 days later and decommissioned 1 May 1946, at Green Cove Springs, Florida.

Kirkpatrick was reclassified a radar picket ship (DER-318) on 1 October 1951, and recommissioned on 23 February 1952, under the command of LCDR George S. Davis.  After shakedown and training out of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Kirkpatrick reported to Newport on 11 July 1952 for radar picket operations on the Atlantic Barrier, the seaward extension of the Distant Early Warning (DEW) line across northern Canada.  She manned radar picket stations in the North Atlantic until 1960, a seaborne unit of the air defense system of the United States and Canada.  Incidental to this service she visited ports of northern Europe in the summers of 1958 and 1959.  The radar picket ship departed Newport on 27 March 1960, and arrived Philadelphia 2 days later.  She decommissioned there on 24 June 1960, and entered the Atlantic Reserve Fleet.

Stricken from the Navy Register on 1 August 1974, Kirkpatrick was sold for scrap on 12 March 1975. 

A photo of the USS Kirkpatrick

"USS KIRKPATRICK."; no date; Photo (File) No. BuAer 301389; photographer unknown.  US Navy photo.


Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, (1968) Vol. 3, p. 657.