Kretchmer DE-329 - History

Kretchmer DE-329 - History

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Raymond Joseph Kretchmer, born 30 January 1917, in Chicago, Ill., enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve 29 August 1940. He was appointed Midshipman, Naval Reserve, at Northwestern University and commissioned Ensign 12 September 1941.

Ens. Kretchmer was assigned to active duty 12 September and served on board Astoria. He was killed in action 9 August 1942 when Astoria was sunk by Japanese naval forces during the Battle of Savo Island.

(DE-329: dp. 1,200; 1. 306' ; b. 36'7"; dr. 8'7"; s. 21 k.; cpl. 186; a. 3 3", 6 40mm., 10 20mm., 9 dcp., 2 dct.; el. Edsall)

Kretchmer (DE-329) was laid down 28 June 1943, by Consolidated Steel Corp., Orange, Tex.; launched 31 August 1943; sponsored by Miss Betty Kretchmer, :sister of Ens. Kretchmer; and commissioned 13 December 1943, Lt. R. C. Wing, in command.

After a Bermuda shakedown Kretchmer departed Charleston, S.C., 15 February 1944, for operations in the Caribbean. Based at Port-au-Spain, Trinidad, she escorted convoys to Cuba and Bermuda until sailing for Key West 2 May. Assigned to an air wing training detachment, Kretchmer operated with torpedo bombers for 3 weeks, before departing Charleston 8 June escorting a convoy to Europe. Sailing via Curacao, D.W.I., Kretchmer screened shipping bound for Naples in preparation for the assaults on southern France. After returning to the United States 16 July, the escort ship made one more cruise to Naples during the summer.

Between 20 September 1944 and 27 April 1945, Kretchmer sailed as escort to five convoys from New York to United Kingdom ports. After victory in Europe, she prepared for Pacific Fleet duty arriving Pearl Harbor 5 July. Clearing Pearl Harbor 1 August, Kretchmer was en route to the Philippines when hostilities stopped 14 August.

Serving in the Far East until 1 April 1946, the destroyer escort engaged in occupation and repatriation operations, including the evacuation of Allied prisoners of war from Formosa during September 1945. Kretchmer also served on escort duty, mine patrol, and mail runs between Chinese ports. Departing Hong Kong 1 April 1946, she returned home by way of the Indian Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, arriving Charleston, S.C., 29 May. Kretchnber decommissioned at Green Cove Springs, Fla., 20 September 1946.

After extensive conversion, Kretchmer recommissioned as DER-329 on 22 September 1956, Lt. Comdr. C, F. Fadeley in command. After shakedown in the Caribbean, the radar picket arrived at Boston 18 December to commence operations in the Northern Radar Barrier. Based at Newport, R.I., from 1957 to 1962, she remained on picket duty, making regular patrols to provide early warning to the continental air defense systems. Kretchuter also made cruises to northern Europe in 1958, 1961, and 1962, and in August 1961 rescued six men from foundered Icelandic fishing vessel Sleipnir.

In the aftermath of the Cuban missile crisis, Kretchmer departed Newport 23 November 1962 for picket duty off the southern coast of the United States. While operating as plane guard and screen for Essex (CVS-9) in Key West waters, Kretchmer rescued two shrimp fishermen from disabled fishing vessel Ala, after they had been fired upon by Cuban "Mig" aircraft. On 21 February 1963, while Kretchmer was guarding Ala, a Mig-17 made four passes at the disabled fishing craft before turning tail ahead of U.S. Marine aircraft.

Kretchmer continued picket and training operations in the Atlantic until 21 May 1965, when she entered Boston Naval Shipyard for overhaul prior to deployment in the western Pacific. The ship departed Newport, R.I., for Guam, arriving 2 August after a stopover at Pearl Harbor.

One month later, Kretchmer joined other vessels off the South Vietnam coast in Operation "Market Time," keeping coastal traffic under surveillance to prevent the shipment of Communist arms and supply to South Vietnam by sea. Her motor whaleboat came under heavy small arms fire during a roundup operation in November. No American casualties resulted and Krctchnier's search party seized a large number of suspected guerrilla infiltrators.

By the end of a year of patrol, the ship had investigated some 17,000 contacts, and boarded over 1,000 small craft. On 10 December Kretchmer steamed into Apra Harbor, Guam, where she remained until her departure 22 February 1966 for a 71/2-month deployment with the 7th Meet. She continued "Market Time" patrol off the northwest coast of Vietnam and provided gunfire support for the Marines and Army on shore. She left Subic Ray 29 September for her homeport, Guam, where she remained through part of October. Kretchmer then departed for further radar picket escort duties off Vietnam through 1966 into 1967. Her continued presence on the South China seacoasts delineates the commitment of the United States to the preservation of the independence of South Vietnam.

USS Kretchmer (DE 329)

Decommissioned 20 September 1946.
Loaned to the United States Coast Guard and (re)commissioned by them as WDE-429 on 20 June 1951.
Returned to the U.S.N. and decommissioned 12 August 1954.
Reclassified as DER-328 on 21 October 1955.
Recommissioned 22 September 1956.
Decommissioned 1 October 1973.
Stricken 30 September 1973.
Sold 14 May 1974 and broken up for scrap.

Commands listed for USS Kretchmer (DE 329)

Please note that we're still working on this section.

1Lt. Robert Claude Wing, USNR13 Dec 194321 May 1945
2Thomas Bulfinch, USNR21 May 194523 Jan 1946

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After a Bermuda shakedown Kretchmer departed Charleston, South Carolina, 15 February 1944, for operations in the Caribbean. Based at Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, she escorted convoys to Cuba and Bermuda until sailing for Key West, Florida, 2 May. Assigned to an air wing training detachment, Kretchmer operated with torpedo bombers for 3 weeks, before departing Charleston 8 June escorting a convoy to Europe. Sailing via Curaçao, D.W.I., Kretchmer screened shipping bound for Naples, Italy, in preparation for the assaults on southern France. After returning to the United States 16 July, the escort ship made one more cruise to Naples during the summer.

Kretchmer DE-329 - History


"This is a 'OFFICIAL United States photograph'
I served on DER-329 exactly 39 months - Newport,
RI to Yokosuka, Japan (with timeout for 3-yrs. Service in Vietnam War).
I am a LIFE member of DESA, joined in 1976. I believe I am the ninety-ninth member"

Photo and the following story are courtesy of Allan M. Wilson, SHL3

I found out that USS Kretchmer (DER-329) was to be Decommissioned for a final time on 01 OCT 1973 [this was in February 1973, via a story on front page of Navy Times]. I wrote to the Commanding Officer of my ship, at Homeport in Key West, FL, asking if a final ships Reunion could be held that weekend with the Decommissioning Ceremony.

The CO sent me back a very nice letter stating that he would do all he could to help. He also said that if I would give him the address of any former USS Kretchmer shipmate he would send an engraved invitation to the proceeding for that weekend. I went to work and contacted The Navy Times asking them to place a Reunion notice in their newspaper as many times as possible. The Reunion notices started showing up in Navy Times in early March 1973 and continued throughout the summer.

I also wrote one of my "better" letters to the mayor of Chicago, Illinois [Richard J. Daley], asking if our ship USS Kretchmer (which was named for a man that was born in Chicago, IL) could be bought by the city and be "tied-up" next to Navy Pier, as a Memorial. I got no reply from the city.

I also wrote to other newspapers asking if a Reunion notice could be placed in their paper with no results. From the Navy Times came one reply in mid August from Joseph Edel, of Boynton Beach, FL. We were the only former crewmembers to go to the final Decommissioning on Monday 01 OCT 1973.

The CO, a LCDR, asked me to come down Saturday 29 SEP 73 and he would give me a personal tour of the DER-329. As it was, I visited my friend Joseph Edel on Saturday and on Sunday afternoon rented a car and drove down to Key West, arriving at 2200-hrs. Went to NAS Key West and showed the gate guard my pass to the Kretchmer.

The ship was tied alongside the pier, went up the gangplank and asked permission to come aboard to the lone Quarterdeck Watch, He said I could go into the ship. I "opened up" one hatch and looked inside - everything was "gutted". I closed the "hatch" and returned to the Quarterdeck and told the "watch," I'll keep "my memories of the inside of the ship, when I sailed on it from 1964 to 1968, alive in my head.

That night I slept at the Southern Most Hotel in the United States [that was the name of the Hotel]. I awoke at 0600 on Monday, went into town to buy a tie and proceeded to the Navy Base Key West for the Decommissioning Ceremony at 0800. When I arrived Joseph Edel, RM2 (he was also our Postal Clerk) was their with his camera that he bought in Hong Kong. We were the only ex-crewmembers present.

Allan MacArthur Wilson
Des Plaines, IL
>>> Duty, Honor and Country <<<

Additional history - 26 June 2006

Allan Wilson responds to the following question - " While you were on the 329, did they make a "Dog Rocks picket?"

I came aboard on Friday 13 Nov 1964. One month later on 11 Dec we left Newport and sailed to Key West to pick up some Sonormen. Next he headed for Dog Rocks and relieved another DER.

We would circle the Rocks which was about forty miles north of Cuba. We were part of the southern DEW Line. Every DER would stay on Station for one full month.

On 31 Dec 1964 our main Radar unit went out about 1900 or 2000 hours. We radioed Key West and went there for a new radar unit, arriving at 2200-hrs. Our skipper gave us four hours of Liberty.

At 0230-hrs., the ship (with all hands) set sail back on Station until 15 Jan 1965.

On Christmas Day 1964, the ship had a "cookout" on the fantail. The shopfitters cut a oil drum in two and made two grills for the ship. Supply Division had steaks, baked potatoes and salads with hot rolls for everyone. The Commanding Officer, Steven Ames Wise, gave each man a Christmas card plus a ships' Zippo lighter.

When we were relived by another DER on 15 Jan 1965, we headed for Key West to "off-load" the Snowmen. As we approached Key West there was a strong wind and the ship requested a Navy tug-boat for help to get to the pier.

While out on station the Deck Force (1st Div.) painted both sides of the ship and the decks. As the YTM (tug-boat) helped us, it left a twenty foot rubber mark along the side of the ship.

That night while in Key West, I was walking down a street to a bar and a voice shouted, WILSON. I saw a man who came across the street and it was a friend from Great Lakes Boot Camp. He worked on that YTM and was at the helm, helping our ship to the pier.

We went into a bar and had a few drinks. What a "small world". By the next day the 1st Div. had repaint the side that was "marred". The ship left Key West for Newport.
Going from eighty-plus weather to thirty degrees in Newport was a big change.


In 1963 American Licorice produced unwrapped Red Ropes and Licorice Ropes, the longest pieces of licorice to hit the market. The pieces were formerly cut up to make the Lic-Ris-Ets became the rope candy. Later that decade, American Licorice began wrapping the ropes individually, thus creating the 34inch long Super Ropes ® candy brand.

In 1969, a project to move San Francisco operations to Union City broke ground. Union City candy production began in 1970. Four years later, the Chicago plant was relocated to a 40,000-square-foot space in nearby Alsip, Illinois. That decade Purple Vines (grape flavored), Green Vines (peppermint flavored), and Chocolate Vines were created. At one point a Natural Licorice Bar, sweetened with only molasses, was made. A Natural Orange Bar was also made with natural flavor and colored with annatto seed powder. This natural coloring agent was used by the Central American Indians as facial war paint. The Natural Licorice Bars were individually wrapped in metalized film.

In 1983, American Licorice Co. began offering Red Vines ® candy in a knob-top jar, which became an iconic form of packaging for the company. In the late 1980s American Licorice Co. began converting Alsip licorice production to a continuous cooking process. The Union City plant continued to use a batch process for Red Vines ® candy and black licorice production.

OBITUARY -- Dr. Norman Kretchmer

Dr. Norman Kretchmer, a noted pediatrician who combined his wide-ranging international research in childhood nutrition and diabetes with a clinical practice caring for children and teenagers in San Francisco, died of kidney failure December 20 at the University of California's Moffitt Hospital. He was 72.

Funeral services for Dr. Kretchmer were held December 22 at Sinai Memorial Chapel in San Francisco.

For many years, Dr. Kretchmer held dual appointments as professor of nutritional sciences at the UC School of Public Health in Berkeley, and as professor of obstetrics and pediatrics at UC's San Francisco Medical Center.

At the time of his death, he was editor in chief of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the monthly publication of the American Society of Clinical Nutrition, and was a professor emeritus at both UC campuses while maintaining his research laboratory and teaching graduate students at UCSF.

During his research career, Dr. Kretchmer established many basic principles of nutrition in newborns and early infancy. For example, in surveys of new immigrants from Third World countries he showed that contrary to prevailing medical opinion of the 1980s, malnourished and stunted young immigrant children could catch up in spurts and grow to normal stature and good health if they received proper nutrition for a very few years after arriving in the United States.

His interest in global problems of early human development led Dr. Kretchmer to lead research projects studying issues such as lactose intolerance -- an inherited inability to digest milk -- in Nigeria the increasing prevalence of diabetes among aboriginal peoples in Australia, and the effects of iodine deficiency in the diets of children worldwide.

As a leader in academic medicine and basic science, Dr. Kretchmer was honored by his colleagues for expanding the department of pediatrics at Stanford University, where he served as professor and chairman for 10 years. He also helped found the university's unique campus-wide Program in Human Biology, which he was chairman of from 1969 to 1974.

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  • Topeka is also featured in TV series 24 in season 5 when terrorists intend to use her weapons against civilians in Los Angeles.
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American Legion’s Navy Gun Turret

What an amazing unexpected sight this was… an authentic WWII 5″ Gun Turret! As you may or may not know, when looking around for new blog ideas and hard-to-find attractions, I always walk around the sides and back of buildings never knowing what might be there. This time I hit the Jack Pot! Look at the photo below showing the EXACT gun on display here while on her original ship USS Kretchmer.

USS Kretchmer (DE-329) was an Edsall-class destroyer escort built for the U.S. Navy during World War II. She served in the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean and provided destroyer escort protection against submarine and air attack for Navy vessels and convoys.

You can find this ‘WWII Navy Gun Turret’ just outside of Key West at the American Legion (right hand side of building). Go to Mile Marker 4.3 turning bayside onto College Road and drive down about a 1/4 mile on your right, you’ll see it set back off the road a bit at 5610 College Road.

Kretchmer DE-329 - History

I love everything about it from its shape, Bute shape, to the pure whiteness and quality of Spode's bone china to the slightly quirky design. And especially the beautiful, soft colours combined with gold. I wonder what the design influence for this was?

This one little cup would have had to go through at least 4 firings in the Spode bottle ovens. and through a lot of skilled hands from the processing of the raw clay to the burnishing of the gold.

Even if patterns did have a name they still had a number as there might be several versions of a design. The exception to the rule was for patterns printed in a single colour from an engraved copper plate. The engraved copper plate then served as the record. unless extra colour and/or gilding was added then the pattern was given a number. See my blogs on Italian pattern - click here>.
Salad Bowl, Italian printed in a single colour: no pattern number, late 1800s
Dessert plate, Italian printed, handcoloured & gilded: pattern number 2614, c1818

Once a design was accepted for production it was allocated its number and then recorded on paper. Later, as the company grew, and the volume of patterns increased the sheets of paper were bound into books and became known as the Pattern Books.

In the early 1800s multiple copies were done by hand, at least 3 if not more. For example, a master copy was made, one for use on the factory and one for the London business. Some pages are annotated 'Sent to London' usually with a date added.

Not all the sets of pattern records survive for the early 1800s. Fragments are known in collections both private and public. The Pattern Books were highly regarded by the Spode company under its various ownerships and carefully protected as 'commercially sensitive' until about 2005.

The Pattern Books (essentially business records of the company) eventually became part of the Spode archive, This is now deposited with the Stoke-on-Trent City Archives which looks after the best collection of papers and books relating to the whole of the Staffordshire Pottery Industry. Click here for more details about the Spode archive.


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