The USS Savage (DE/DER 386)
She slid down the way’s of a shipyard in Houston Texas, on the 15th of July, 1943.
That was the day of Her birth, she had been born to the sea.
She was unable to do her job by herself, and needed an able crew.
There were many Sailors that came to the aid of this good ship and maybe I can list one or two.
Her first Skipper was Lieutenant Commander O. C. Rohnke, USCG, she was lucky on that day.
As this Commanding Officer and loyal crew guided the Savage and fought their way,
through that 2nd World War, they did more than their part to save the day.
No ship sails without Her crew, she was blessed with QM1c Gerald Day to chart Her way.
Few of us remember those days in that 2nd World War, German U-boats ruled the Atlantic seas.
But the Savage and Her DE Sister ships changed those rules, and helped overcome our enemies.
Her many cruises across that broad Atlantic, gave our fighting men those things they needed.
As they escorted Cargo ships to supply those vital goods, in their efforts they succeeded.
The USS Savage (DE 386) was one of those little ships that were assigned that giant task.
Her Country its citizens and her fighting men were fully aware that She did all they could ask.
Destroyers were named in those days for Maritime individuals that contributed to their trade.
Some who were heroes in battle and some were those that pursued the course they laid.
Savage was named for WALTER S. SAVAGE, JR. an accomplished student who was self-made.
He chose service to his country, and not the things he was expert at by his own admission.
He graduated from, Naval Supply Training second in his class and was awarded a Commission,
and a transfer to the Flag Ship of the Battleship Fleet, the USS Arizona (BB 39). This was Oct 41,
we are aware that within two months the Arizona was destroyed, 1778 souls had been undone.
Ensign Walter S. Savage was one of these souls and he remains on the Battlewagon Arizona still.
He and his many shipmates, were interned in that memorial, it was their countries will.
The Savage’s motto was NON SIBI SED PATRIAE (Not for self but country.) she served that way,
for her entire life, her crews insured that those words were what they could always say.
She, served in a large part of the world, in China, Adak, Okinawa and on the DEW line too.
In the South China Sea, at Pearl Harbor and Seattle for a number of years, to name a few.
She was called on to serve in Viet Nam and did that tour with honor, bearing more load,
during Operation Market Time than any other DE in that conflict, that is what was told.
These Men that rode this DE, or any of her kind, were made of extra special stuff.
Some referred to these Men as “Rough Riders” and those words were correct, sure enough.
To ride a DE in moderate seas was easy for the crew who had the experience to do it right.
They knew not to fight ships motion, and to insure loose bunk lashings let them sleep at night.
In heavy seas it was a constant struggle to maintain ones balance and control.
And then at times there were the unpredictable happenings of the ships pitch, yaw and roll.
She is gone now, but those Sailors She nurtured during Her life still remember Her well.
They do recall She more than met their needs, sailing choppy seas and each great swell.
Her job as Her designation implies was to be the escort of ships at sea.
She did that job with great distinction and in some cases totally diverted the enemy.
Each ship the DE’s guided to their destination could feel more secure than ever before.
The U-Boats were thwarted that stopped the goods to the troops that waited on the shore.
Her last duty was to be a target for other Ships, to hone their skills and weapons of war.
I hope that She did not suffer much as Her old hull and frames, sank to the ocean floor.
She is resting still off that California shore and the date she died was 25 October, 1982.
I expect She knows she suffered the same fate as her namesake, and was proud of it too.