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USS Slater

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The USS SLATER DE766 is a CANNON class destroyer escort that served in the United States Navy during World War II. One of 563 similar ships constructed between 1943 and 1945, the SLATER is the last destroyer escort remaining afloat in the United States today. Destroyer escorts were built as a result of a critical shortage of anti-submarine vessels in the Atlantic at the outset of World War II. At the request of the British Navy, American designers developed a new type of warship, based on the British HUNT class destroyer, which combined heavy anti-submarine and anti-aircraft weapons with the latest electronic equipment for detecting enemy vessels. In addition, destroyer escorts were designed to be maneuverable, high speed, long ranged vessels that could be built quickly due to their all-welded construction.

The destroyer escorts were a vital component of the Allied strategy for victory in the Atlantic. They escorted the convoys of supply ships that carried the forces needed to win the war in Europe. Destroyer escorts also served in some of the most dangerous areas of the Pacific Theater. They escorted convoys, conducted shore bombardments, and served as radar picket ships towards the end of the war. The USS SLATER served in both the Atlantic and Pacific Theaters during and immediately after the war.

Following its World War II service, the ship was deactivated until 1951, when it was transferred to the Hellenic Navy. The SLATER, renamed AETOS, remained in Greek service until 1991, when it was transferred back to the United States under the care of the Destroyer Escort Historical Foundation, which began a painstaking restoration of the ship. Today the SLATER is one of less than a dozen surviving destroyer escorts, and it is the only ship that is still in its World War II configuration.The AETOS was awaiting disposal in Souda Bay, Crete, when it was granted a new lease on life by the members of the Destroyer Escort Sailors Association (DESA).

In 1993, the Board of Directors of DESA voted for and established a new organization, the Destroyer Escort Historical Museum. This institution was incorporated as a not-for-profit educational corporation that anyone with an interest in preserving destroyer escort history could join. This was the group charged with maintaining and operating a preserved destroyer escort should one be found. Several DESA Board members took on roles in the new organization.

The then 15,000 members of the Destroyer Escort Sailors Association raised $290,000 to rescue the USS SLATER and bring it home from Greece. The Hellenic Navy deeded the ship to DESA and the group raised the funds necessary to insure the ship and tow it to New York. The rusty hulk of a ship started its journey from the port of Crete and arrived safely in New York Harbor with the assistance of a Ukrainian ocean going tug. The SLATER was berthed adjacent to the Aircraft Carrier USS INTREPID at the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum.

In 1993 the USS SLATER was towed into New York Harbor after a perilous transit across the Atlantic Ocean. In 1997, after a brief stay of 4 years in New York City, the SLATER transferred up the river to its permanent home in Albany, New York.As the Battle of the Atlantic drew to a conclusion, the SLATER underwent modifications to its armament in preparation for battling a new threat in the Pacific Theater, where the menace of kamikaze aircraft was taking a heavy toll on US and Allied vessels. Following an overhaul at Brooklyn in which the SLATER received augmentation of her antiaircraft armament in preparation for the invasion of Japan, the escort sailed from New York for San Diego via Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and Panama. It transited the canal on 28 June and arrived at San Diego on 6 July. Three days later, the ship sailed for Pearl Harbor.

The SLATER's arrival in the Pacific coincided with the dropping of the atomic bombs and the Japanese surrender. The ship was routed to the Philippine Islands via Eniwetok, where it joined Task Unit 33.2.4 at Manila on 5 September and escorted it to Yokohama, Japan. The SLATER picked up another convoy there and returned to Manila on the 21 September. During the remainder of the year, the SLATER escorted convoys to Japan and to the Caroline Islands. The ship operated in the Philippine Islands until 31 January 1946 when it sailed for the United States.

The SLATER arrived at San Pedro, California, on 24 February 1946 and received orders routing it to Norfolk, via the Canal Zone, for inactivation. The ship arrived there on 26 March and prepared for decommissioning. On 25 April 1946, the SLATER sailed for Green Cove Springs, Florida, for its final berthing place. However, the ship was towed to Charleston, South Carolina, on 13 February 1947 and, in May, back to Green Cove Springs, where it was placed in reserve, out of commission.

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Thr10:00 AM4:00 PM
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