From Aztec shores, to Arctic zone, to Europe and Far East, The flag is carried by our ships in times of war and peace. “SEMPER PARATUS”
The Coast Guard manned USS SAVAGE (DE-386) was built by Brown Shipbuilding Company of Houston, Texas, and placed in commission on 29 October, 1943. She was named in honor of Ensign Walter S. Savage, (SC) USNR, who gave his life on December 7, 1941, aboard the USS ARIZONA during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. After final fitting out at Galveston, SAVAGE proceeded to Bermuda for combat training and shakedown. After completing her training on Christmas Day, 1943, she reported to Norfolk, Virginia as a unit of Escort Division 23, Atlantic Fleet.
In January, 1944, SAVAGE was assigned with the rest of the Division to Task Force 63, engaged in escorting large convoys of 60-80 ships between Norfolk and the Mediterranean. So effective was the escort that losses from U-boats along this sea line of communication (SLOC) were nil. On April 1, 1944, Convoy UGS-36, whose escort included SAVAGE, was attacked by 30 Luftwaffe aircraft north of Algiers, Africa. The task force threw up such a strong defensive fire that only one merchant ship was hit and later beached in the nearest 5 port.
From June, 1944 until the end of the European war, SAVAGE escorted high speed troop convoys between New York and the British Isles. In 18 Atlantic crossings, with weather being the worst enemy, over 1,000 loaded troopers were escorted without a single loss.
Following the defeat of Germany, the ships of QJRTDIV 23 were overhauled and more anti—aircraft guns were added. After completing more operational training, the division passed through the Panama Canal and into the Pacific in June, 1945. It was then ordered to the Aleutians as Escort Division 42 of the North Pacific Fleet. At war’s end, SAVAGE was engaged in the last strike against the Japanese Kurile Islands. Her commanding officers up until that time had been CDR Oscar C. Rohnke, LCDR Randolph Ridgely III, and LCDR James A. Norton.
Her subsequent adventures are recounted here by her last Coast Guard skipper, Lieutenant John N. Waters, USCG. [now deceased].