The End of the PC 552

17 April 2017The End of the PC 552

Companion book: “Normandy: A Father’s Ship, a Son’s Curiosity” coming out 2017 

This week in 1946, the PC 552 was decommissioned. What did you do this week?

18 April 1946 the PC 552 was moored for the last time as a US Navy vessel. It was formally decommissioned at 1705 by Lt. (jg) R.E. GLEASON, USNR, Commanding Officer, who placed the ship out of commission in accordance with Com 6 letter of 18 Apr 1946: Serial PC/A4-1/NB.

The PC 552 had been built and crewed in haste in July 1942 and was at the Battle of Normandy on D-day. It faced fire and shell and returned the same. It had other encounters after D-day. The war was now over and the ship served no purpose. It was turned over to the maritime commission December 1946 for disposal and no one knows its final fate to this day. It was probably ignobly cut up as scrap.

This week in 1946, we see the end of the PC 552 as a US Navy vessel.

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Roosevelt Dies

12 April 2017

Companion book: “Normandy: A Father’s Ship, a Son’s Curiosity” coming out April 2017

On 12 April 1945, President RoosevRoosevelt Dies.JPGelt died. To most of America’s young fighting men, he had been president most of their lives. He was the only president during the entire war effort and he had guided them through most of the Great Depression. He was a symbol of strength and hope.

The PC 552 received a letter dated 13 April 1945 from the Navy Secretary directing the ship to fly its flag at half-mast. The ship also observed the death of the president by dropping two depth charges on known wreck at 1920 B ( the navy designates time zones by letter; “B” is the British time zone)  in position 49°45’40″N 01°44’00″W” which was dutifully noted in the deck log

This week in 1945, we leave the crew mourning the loss of their commander in chief.

The Final Voyage

05 April 2Crew_of_the_USS_PC-552017

Companion book: “Normandy: A Father’s Ship and a Son’s Curiosity” coming out April 2017 

This week in 1946, the PC 552 completed its final voyage as a navy ship. What did you do this week?

The PC 552 arrived in Charleston, South Carolina for final disposition. This was her final voyage as a navy vessel. Weapons were unloaded and command was transferred from Lt. James Spielman, who had been the commanding officer since January 1945 and who skippered the ship back home across the Atlantic. It is probably Lt. Spielman who wrote the “Ship’s History”. Command was transferred to Lt. (jg) Robert Gleason, whose job was to skipper the ship to its final place as a navy ship.

When the war started, no money was spared to pump out as many weapons and personnel as possible. With the war over, there was no need for these thousands of warships and they cost money every day just to keep. The zeal with which these ships were built was matched by the zeal with which they were disposed of.

This week in 1946, we leave the crew talking about going home.

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The Tompkinsville Spy

29 March 2017Tompkinsville Spy

Companion book: “Normandy: A Father’s Ship and a Son’s Curiosity” coming out April 2017 

This week in 1943, the PC 552 docked in Tompkinsville, New York after completing a convoy run from Cuba to New York. What did you do this week?

High above Tompkinsville, the northern base of the PC 552, lived a man who had an excellent relationship with his neighbors. Ernest Frederick Lehmitz lived on Oxford Place at the top of the hill. He was known for his wonderful victory garden and served as the neighborhood air raid warden, where he performed flawlessly. He was the kind of neighbor anyone would want.

Unfortunately, Mr. Lehmitz was also a German spy. He prowled the waterfront, drinking with sailors and gathering information. He wrote typewritten letters to a friend in Spain which gushed about his progress with his victory garden. In between the lines, with invisible ink, he reported on the comings and goings of the navy ships. He probably reported on the PC 552 itself from the top of the hill.

He plea bargained for a thirty-year sentence instead of the electric chair his behavior warranted.

This week in 1943, we leave the crew of the PC 552 shaking its collective heads at the Tompkinsville spy.

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https://normandypc552.wordpress.com

Email:

USS.PC.552@gmail.com.