[The USS SAVAGE webmaster is forever grateful to Captain Peniston for taking his valuable time to write this foreword. His knowledge and experiences are invaluable. Thank you very much, Captain P. for remembering and caring. May you always have "fair winds and following seas."]
USS SAVAGE (DE/DER-386)
by Robert C. Peniston, Captain, USN (Ret.)
21 March, 2005
LCDR (CO), USS SAVAGE (DER-386), 12/1959 - 06/1961
Robert C. Peniston
Captain, USN (Ret.)
(DOB): 25 October, 1922
(DOD): 02 August, 2014
"With the United States engaged in a multi-ocean war, the need for new ships was paramount. USS SAVAGE (DE-386) was one of the many new ships built to meet that need.
The ship was named after Ensign Walter S. Savage, Jr., USNR who was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on 29 April, 1919. He graduated from Louisiana State University in 1938. Subsequently he joined the Navy on 10 June, 1941 and was assigned to the Naval Supply Officers' School, Harvard University. Because of his high standing on graduation number two in his class, he was assigned to USS ARIZON A(BB-39) as Assistant Paymaster.
His tour on board was short-lived because he and over 1,100 of his shipmates died when ARIZONA was sunk by Japanese aircraft during the raid on 7 December, 1941 at Pearl Harbor. They remain entombed in the ship to this day.
In honor of Ensign Savage, an EDSALL Class destroyer escort bearing his name, was laid down on 30 April, 1943 at Brown Shipbuilding of Houston, Texas. Displacing 1,600 the ship was built to protect convoys and replacing destroyers sorely needed elsewhere. The ship was commissioned on 29 October, 1943 and manned by Coast Guard Personnel.
From 1944-1945, the ship operated in the Atlantic Ocean escorting convoys from the United States to Africa, in the Mediterranean, and European ports. After V-E Day, she was assigned to the Pacific Fleet for escort and bombardment duties.
Decommissioned on 12 July, 1946 in Green Cove Springs, Florida, the ship remained in an inactive status until converted in 1954 to a radar picket escort vessel at the Boston Naval Shipyard, Massachusetts. Commissioned on 28 February, 1955, SAVAGE joined the Atlantic Fleet and shortly thereafter was transferred to the Pacific Fleet with Seattle her home port. From Seattle she served as a unit on the seaward extension of the Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line, the purpose of such was to thwart Soviet aircraft attempting to penetrate United States air-space.
In December 1958, her home port was changed to Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii where she operated there from until March 1960 as a unit of the Mid-Pacific Barrier that extended from Midway Island to Unalaska located in the Aleutian Island chain. In June 1960, SAVAGE was assigned a station 200 miles west of Wake Island as a rescue ship along the route of President Eisenhower's flight to and from Japan.
On two occasions in 1961, the ship trailed Soviet range tracking ships in the Southwest Pacific. The second one was most significant inasmuch as telemetry was obtained from the inside of the capsule that carried Yuri Gagarin during his orbit of the earth on 12 April, 1961.
During the war in Southeast Asia, SAVAGE served in those waters as a part of Operation Market Time commencing in May 1965. She had the distinction of serving more time than any other DER in this important operation.
The ship was decommissioned on 17 October, 1969 and stricken from the rolls on 15 June, 1975. She met her end in an honorable fashion being sunk as a target ship on 25 October, 1982 - a "small boy" that was never found wanting and was loved by her crew from the beginning to the end. BRAVO ZULU, SAVAGE!"