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Navsource Online: Destroyer Escort Photo Archive

ex-HMS Blackwood (BDE-15)
USS Austin (DE 15)

Flag Hoist / Radio Call Sign:
N - P - E - Q
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
American Campaign Medal - Asia-Pacific Campaign Medal - WWII Victory Medal

Class: Evarts
Type: GMT (diesel-electric tandem motor drive, short hull, 3" guns)
Displacement: 1,140 tons (light), 1,430 tons (full)
Length: 283' 6" (wl), 289' 5" (oa)
Beam: 35' 0" (extreme)
Draft: 11' 0" (draft limit)
Propulsion: 4 GM Model 16-278A diesel engines with electric drive, 6000 shp, 2 screws
Speed: 19 kts
Range: 4,150 nm @ 12 knots
Armament: 3 - 3"/50 Mk22 (1x3), 1 - 1.1"/75 cal. Mk2 quad AA (4x1), 9 x 20mm Mk 4 AA, 1 Hedgehog Projector Mk10 (144 rounds), 8 Mk6 depth charge projectors, 2 Mk9 depth charge tracks
Complement: 15 / 183
Austin (DE 15) Building and Operational Data:
  • 14 March 1942: Keel laid as BDE-15 by the Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, Cal.
  • 25 September 1942: Launched and christened, sponsored by Mrs. W. C. Springer
  • 25 January 1943: Retained by U.S. Navy, redesignated DE 15
  • 13 February 1943: Commissioned as DE 15, Lcdr. H. G. Claudius, USNR, in command
  • 19 February 1943: assigned the name Austin
  • 21 December 1945: Decommissioned at Terminal Island, San Pedro, Cal. after 2 years and 10¼ months of service
  • 08 January 1946: Struck from the NVR
  • 09 January 1947: Scrapping completed at the Terminal Island Naval Facility
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    John Arnold Austin was born in Warrior, Ala. on 30 August 1905. He enlisted in the Navy on 20 November 1920. Between that time and 26 July 1935, he served four successive enlistments. On the latter day, Austin accepted an acting appointment as carpenter (warrant officer grade). That same day, he reported on board Canopus (AS 9) then serving as a unit of the Asiatic Fleet. On 08 August, he detached from temporary duty in the submarine tender and reported for duty in Augusta (CA 31). On 04 December 1935, Austin received a permanent warrant as a carpenter. He left the heavy cruiser on 13 July 1937 and reported on board Tennessee (BB 43) on 10 September 1937. He served in that battleship until detached on 14 June 1939 to proceed to further assignment to Rigel (AD 13) reporting on 18 July 1939. After 14 months in that destroyer tender, Carpenter Austin departed on 21 September 1940 bound for duty in Oklahoma (BB 37) and reported on board the battleship on 05 October 1940. In October 1941, Austin received a commission as chief carpenter (commissioned warrant officer).

    When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on the morning of 07 December 1941, Chief Carpenter Austin was in Oklahoma. When the battleship capsized as a result of Japanese bombs and torpedoes, he was trapped below water with many of his shipmates. Austin searched for a means of escape and found a porthole which, though beneath the surface, offered just such an avenue. As a result of his efforts, 15 sailors escaped a watery grave. Chief Carpenter Austin, however, did not. As his citation reads, "He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country." Chief Carpenter Austin was awarded the Navy Cross posthumously.

    USS Austin (DE 15) (1943-1945) was the first ship to be named in his honor.

    (Photo from War History Online)

    Mike Smolinski
    Clifton, N.J.

    Archive Manager
    DE / FF / LCS Archive
    135k 25 September 1943: Mare Island Naval Shipyard - USS Austin (DE 15) is being launched. Darryl Baker
    PNCM, USNR (ret.)

    Vallejo Naval & Historical Museum
    47k Austin of the 'Evarts' type shown in camouflage measure 32/9D. She has four single hand-worked Bofors, for Pacific service. This gave her a close-range armament of six Bofors and ten Oerlikons.

    [U.S. Navy photo from the book "Allied Escort Ships of World War II (A Complete Survey)" by Peter Elliott]
    Edib Krlicbegovic
    Bosnia - Hercegovina
    77k undated wartime image, shown in camouflage measure 32/9D Jerry Church
    331k 07 September 1944: USS Austin (DE 15) photographed off Dutch Harbor, Alaska David Wright
    Geneva, N.Y.

    Manager, Navsource
    Destroyer Archive
    Yard / District Craft Archive
    200k 07 November 1944: Hunter's Point Naval Shipyard Pieter Bakels
    Wehl, The Netherlands
    459k 07 November 1944: San Francisco, Cal. - Two views of Austin's stern taken while she was at Hunter's Point Naval Shipyard Ed Zajkowski
    Narvon, Pa.
    195k January 1945: Pearl Harbor, Hi. - The U.S. Navy destroyer escort USS Austin (DE 15) at Pearl Harbor, circa in January 1945.  She is painted in Camouflage Measure 32, Design 9D.  From 01 to 28 January, Austin conducted submarine training exercises south of the island of Oahu.  Note the South Dakota-class battleship in the background.  Per Bill Fessenden; It should be noted that DANFS mentions only one ship of that class in Pearl Harbor at the time, namely USS Indiana (BB 58).  BB 58 is stated to have been in Pearl Harbor from 12 Dec 44 until 10 Jan 45.  Of the other units in the class, USS South Dakota (BB 57) and USS Massachusetts (BB 59) were operating with Task Force 38 in the Western Pacific, while USS Alabama (BB 60) was enroute Puget Sound, having left Ulithi on 24 Dec 44.  BB 60 entered drydock on 18 Jan 45.

    (U.S. Navy photo from the USS Texas (BB 35) World War II cruise book)
    Bob Hurst
    Worksop, Nottinghamshire,
    England, United Kingdom

    Austin History
    View the USS Austin (DE 15) DANFS history entry located on the Naval History and Heritage Command web site.
    View the official War History of USS Austin as submitted by the ship at war's end.
    View a short article on the design and development of the Evarts Class DE submitted by Bob Sables.

    Austin's Commanding Officers
    Thanks to Wolfgang Hechler & Ron Reeves
    Dates of Command Commanding Officers
    1.) 13 Feb. 1943 - 20 Oct. 1943Lcdr. Herbert Gordon Claudius, USNR (Comm. CO) (Omaha, Neb.)
    2.) 20 Oct. 1943 - 03 May 1944Lt. Philip Dana Holden, USNR (Winetka, Ill.)
    3.) 03 May 1944 - 01 Nov. 1945Lcdr. Warren Hudson White, USNR
    4.) 01 Nov. 1945 - 01 Dec. 1945Lt. James Louis Tedford, USNR
    5.) 01 Dec. 1945 - 21 Dec. 1945Lt. E. E. Richardson, USNR (Decomm. CO)

    Crew Contact And Reunion Information

    Note About Contacts

    Contact information is compiled from various sources over a period of time and may, or may not, be correct. Every effort has been
    made to list the newest contact. However, our entry is only as good as the latest information that's been sent to us. We list only
    a contact for the ship if one has been sent to us. We do NOT have crew lists, rosters, or deck logs available. Please see the
    Frequently Asked Questions section on NavSource's Main Page for that information.

    Additional Resources

    Tin Can Sailors
    The U.S. Navy Memorial
    Destroyer Escort Sailors Association
    The Destroyer Escort Historical Museum
    The Destroyer History Foundation
    To The DE, FF, LCS Photo Index Page
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    This Page Created And Maintained By Mike Smolinski
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    by Paul R. Yarnall, All Rights Reserved.
    Page Last Updated: 10 January 2023