USS Parker (DD-604)
|Name:||USS Parker (DD-604)|
|Namesake:||Foxhall A. Parker, Jr.|
|Builder:||Bethlehem Mariners Harbor, Staten Island|
|Laid down:||9 June 1941|
|Launched:||12 May 1942|
|Commissioned:||31 August 1942|
|Decommissioned:||31 January 1947|
|Struck:||1 July 1971|
|Nickname(s):||"The Punchy P"|
|Fate:||sold for scrap, 1973|
|Class and type:||Benson-class destroyer|
|Length:||348 ft (106 m)|
|Beam:||36 ft (11 m)|
|Draught:||13 ft 4 in (4.06 m)|
|Speed:||36 kts (66.7 km/h)|
|Armament:||4 x 5” (127 mm), 2 x 40mm, 10 x 21” (533 mm) tt., 1 dct., 1 dcp. (hh.)|
Parker was laid down 9 June 1941 by the Bethlehem Steel Corporation, Staten Island, New York; launched 12 May 1942; sponsored by Mrs. Edward Lloyd Winder; and commissioned 31 August 1942, Commander John W. Bays in command.
After her shakedown cruise along the East Coast and in Cuban waters, Parker served as a convoy escort to North Africa, participating in the attack on Mehedia and Port Lyautey 7 November 1942. Following her return to the Atlantic Coast, Parker escorted convoys to North African ports on five occasions. On the fourth, she supported the Sicilian invasion 5–13 July 1943. Convoy escort duty to the United Kingdom and the Mediterranean Sea followed. On 6 November, when 30 planes attacked her convoy, Parker shot fifteen down.
1944, including Operation Anvil
On 21 April Parker departed New York for the Mediterranean arriving at Mers-el-Kebir, Algeria 2 May. From 12 to 15 May she steamed to Naples. The ship operated between the Anzio beachhead and Naples from 17 May to 4 June, bombarding the shore in the Ardea sector 31 May–1 June. From 13 June to 9 August, Parker operated from Leghorn to Palermo (Sicily) bombarding positions on the shore and escorting convoys.
From 13 August to 17 August Parker took part in the invasion of southern France delivering shore bombardment and anti-aircraft fire support. She then escorted a convoy from Cap Camarat, France to Naples arriving 21 August. On 31 August, with Destroyer Squadron 16, she departed Naples for home via Mers-el-Kebir, Algeria and arrived New York 14 September.
1945, including transfer to Pacific and home
After repairs at Charlestown, Massachusetts, and training at Casco Bay, Parker arrived Norfolk, Virginia 11 November. Two days later she sailed for the Mediterranean. Arriving Naples 26 November, she departed 1 December escorting a convoy back to New York. On 6 January 1945 Parker departed Norfolk with Task Group 62.1 screening a convoy to Oran, Algeria 17 January. In ensuing weeks she operated in the Mediterranean and patrolled off Gibraltar. In March she supported Allied forces on the Franco-Italian and western Italian fronts operating out of Cannes and Toulon, France. Parker bombarded enemy positions ashore on 4, 6, 11, 12, and 20 March. She continued Mediterranean operations until sailing for the United States, arriving New York 23 May.
On 17 August, the ship departed Pearl Harbor for Okinawa. Along the way were stops at Eniwetok (Enewetok) atoll, Marshall Islands (MI) (August 31), Saipan, Tinian, and Guam, all in the Mariana Islands. She arrived at Okinawa on 4 September. She departed Okinawa 8 September as an escort to a convoy proceeding to Korea, arriving Jinsen 15 September and returning to Okinawa 17 September 1945.
The final wartime mission, the trip home: She continued from Okinawa, leaving on 26 September 1945, to Tokyo, arriving September 29 and staying through October 2nd. She left Tokyo briefly, but returned one last time, arriving October 4, then leaving for the last time on October 6 for home, stopping at Eniwetok atoll, MI, 11 October 1945 (1 day), then to Pearl Harbor, 17 October thru 22 October 1945, and finally San Pedro, California, USA October 28, 1945.
After returning home, Parker decommissioned 31 January 1947, entered the U.S. Atlantic Reserve Fleet; and was berthed at Charleston, South Carolina. She was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 1 July 1971 and sold for scrap in 1973.
Parker received four battle stars for World War II service.
This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here. This article includes information collected from the Naval Vessel Register, which, as a U.S. government publication, is in the public domain.
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