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Navsource Online: Destroyer Escort Photo Archive

Left ship's patch Courtesy of Bob Costanzo, Right patch from Nick Tiberio
Ship's name tab courtesy of Al Grazevich

USS Pillsbury (DE 133)

Flag Hoist / Radio Call Sign:
N - P - E - P
Tactical Voice Radio Call: "Newsboy G"

Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row: Combat Action Ribbon - Presidential Unit Citation
Second Row: American Campaign Medal - European-Africa-Middle East Campaign Medal w/ 5 stars - World War II Victory Medal

Class: Edsall
Type: FMR (geared diesel, Fairbanks-Morse reverse gear drive, 3" guns)
Displacement: 1200 tons (light), 1590 tons (full)
Length: 300' (wl), 306' (oa)
Beam: 36' 10" (extreme)
Draft: 20' 6" (draft limit)
Propulsion: 4 Fairbanks-Morse Mod. 38d81/8 geared diesel engines, 4 diesel-generators, 6000 shp, 2 screws
Speed: 21 kts
Range: 9,100 nm @ 12 knots
Armament: 3 x 3"/50 Mk22 (1x3), 1 twin 40mm Mk1 AA, 8 x 20mm Mk 4 AA, 3 x 21" Mk15 TT (3x1), 1 Hedgehog Projector Mk10 (144 rounds), 8 Mk6 depth charge projectors, 2 Mk9 depth charge tracks
Complement: 8 / 201
Pillsbury (DE 133) Building and Operational Data:
  • 18 July 1942: Keel laid at the Consolidated Steel Corp., Orange, Tex.
  • 10 January 1943: Launched and christened, sponsored by Mrs. Elsie G. Richardson, daughter of Radm. Pillsbury
  • 07 June 1943: Commissioned at the Orange City Dock, Lcdr. W. Parker, USNR, in command
  • 27 October 1945: Celebrated Navy Day at Mobile, Ala. in company with Solomons (CVE 67), Power (DD 839), Pope (DE 134), Flasher (SS 249), and Gabilan (SS 252)
  • 01 May 1947: Decommissioned (exact date unknown) at Green Cove Springs, Fla. after 3 years and 11 months of service, placed in the Florida Group, Atlantic Reserve Fleet
  • .. June 1954: Towed to the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard for conversion to DER
  • .. August 1954: Reclassified DER 133
  • 15 March 1955: Recommissioned at Philadelphia, assigned to the Atlantic Barrier Patrol at Newport, R.I.
  • 20 June 1960: Decommissioned at Newport, R.I. after 5 years and 3 months of service
  • 01 July 1965: Struck from the NVR with a total of 9 years and 2 months of service
  • 04 November 1966: Sold for scrapping to the Boston Metals Co., Baltimore, Md.

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    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Contributed
    By And/Or Copyright
    61k John E. Pillsbury, born in Lowell, Mass. 15 December 1846, was appointed Midshipman in 1862 and commissioned an Ensign in 1868. After serving on various stations afloat and ashore, he commanded the coast steamer Blake from 1884 to 1891 and did excellent scientific work, using in some of his research instruments of his own invention. In the Spanish-American War he commanded the dynamite cruiser Vesuvius, operating around the island of Cuba and in the vicinity of Morro Castle. In 1905 he served as Chief of Staff of the North Atlantic Fleet and in 1908-09, was Chief of the Bureau of Navigation. Although Rear Admiral Pillsbury’s attainments as a sailor and a fighting man were noteworthy, he is perhaps best known as having been one of the world’s foremost geographers and as an authority of the Gulf stream. Actively identified with the National Geographic Society for many years, he was president of the society at the time of his death, 30 December 1919.

    USS Pillsbury (DE 133) (1943-1960) was the second ship to be named in his honor, she was preceded by DD 227 (1920-1942).

    (U.S. Navy photo Digital ID#: ggbain 02614 from the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)
    Bill Gonyo
    Downey, Cal.

    Assoc. Researcher
    60k 05 March 1943: Orange, Tex. - Pillsbury (DE 133) and Pope (DE 134) fitting out at Consolidated Steel Co.

    (Source: National Archive Photo; Courtesy of Task Group 22.3 Association, Captain Jerry Mason, USN [ret.])
    Mike Green
    Port Angeles, Wash.
    80k 29 August 1943: the Atlantic Ocean - Pillsbury (DE 133) prior to her assignment to Task Group 21.12 or Task Group 22.3.

    (Source: National Archive Photo; Courtesy of Task Group 22.3 Association, Captain Jerry Mason, USN [ret.])
    144k 24 December 1943: Brooklyn, N.Y. - taken on Christmas Eve at the New York Naval Shipyard

    (USN photo #BuShips 57806)
    David Buell
    124k 24 December 1943: Brooklyn, N.Y. - taken on Christmas Eve at the New York Naval Shipyard.

    (USN photo #BuShips 57808)
    165k 24 December 1943: Brooklyn, N.Y. - taken on Christmas Eve at the New York Naval Shipyard.

    (USN photo #BuShips 57807)
    94k .. April 1944: the Atlantic Ocean - Pillsbury as she circles around U-515. Assisted by USS Flaherty (DE 135), USS Chatelain (DE 149), and USS Pope (DE 134), U-515 was blasted to the surface were she tried to fight her way out, but Chatelain and Flaherty were on target, and were shortly rescuing 43 survivors.

    (Photo from "United States Destroyer Operations in World War II", by Theodore Roscoe)
    Bob Hurst
    Worksop, Nottinghamshire,
    England, United Kingdom
    17k .. June 1944: the Atlantic Ocean - A boarding party from Pillsbury (DE 133) works to secure a tow line to the newly captured German U-505 on 04 June 1944. The capture was made by Guadalcanal (CVE 60) (Capt. Dan Gallery), while on patrol in the Atlantic off the coast of Africa. Pillsbury and Chatelain (DE 149) assisted. It was the only submarine captured by the U.S. Navy in World War II. Fred Weiss
    59k 04 June 1944: the Atlantic Ocean - Pillsbury (DE 133) moves alongside U-505 to take the captured submarine in tow. Pillsbury was severely damaged when U-505's bow plane sliced open the DE's hull.

    (Source: National Archive Photo; Courtesy of Task Group 22.3 Association, Captain Jerry Mason, USN [ret.])
    Mike Green
    Port Angeles, Wash.
    68.3k 07 June 1944: the Atlantic Ocean - Pillsbury refueling from USS Kennebec (AO 36).

    (Source: National Archive Photo; Courtesy of Task Group 22.3 Association, Captain Jerry Mason, USN [ret.])
    35k undated wartime image Maj. Matthew R. Williams
    17k .. April 1945: the Atlantic Ocean - U-546 captives
    84k 29 August 1945: USS Pillsbury (DE 133) is shown in an enlargement from a photo taken from USS Solomons (CVE 67). Pillsbury had gotten underway that morning from the Convoy-Escort Piers at Norfolk Naval Base in company with Pope (DE 134), Flaherty (DE 135), and Chatelain (DE 149). At 17:37, after an afternoon of gunnery practice, they all rendezvoused with USS Solomons and proceeded to Mayport, Fla.

    (U.S. Navy Photo #80-G-260737 from the United States National Archives)
    Mike Green
    Port Angeles, Wash.
    140k 15 March 1955: Philadelphia Naval Shipyard - "Setting of the first watch at commissioning ceremony of USS Pillsbury (DER 133). Officer of the Deck Lt.(jg) Russell A. Marcellus, USN (Michael's Dad). Operations Department personnel with Division Officer Lt.(jg) Donald Cook, USN." Michael Marcellus
    71k .. September 1957: As DER 133, I believe that this was her last Med cruise.

    (Photo by Wright & Logan Ltd.)
    Jerry M. Van Cleave
    Commander, USN (ret.)
    78k circa 1957: USS Pillsbury underway.

    (Official U.S. Navy Photo; From "Jane's Fighting Ships, 1958-59")
    Bob Hurst
    Worksop, Nottinghamshire,
    England, United Kingdom
    236k 2014: Omaha, Nebr. - The stern plate of USS Pillsbury is on display at Freedom Park in Omaha. Note the stern plates of W. T. Powell and Spangenberg in the line. Duane J. Gallagher
    Omaha, Nebr.


    Ship's Plaque
    Courtesy of
    Mike Smolinski

    Pillsbury History
    View the USS Pillsbury (DE 133) DANFS history entry located on the Naval History and Heritage Command web site.
    View the official War History of USS Pillsbury as submitted by the ship at war's end.

    Pillsbury's Commanding Officers
    Thanks to Wolfgang Hechler & Ron Reeves
    Dates of Command Commanding Officers
    1.)  07 Jun. 1943 - 22 Dec. 1943Lcdr. William Henry Parker, USNR (Comm. CO)
    2.)  22 Dec. 1943 - 31 Jul. 1945Lcdr. George Washington Cassleman, USNR (Chicago, Ill.) (ret. as Radm.)
    3.)  31 Jul. 1945 - 03 Oct. 1945Lcdr. Henry Sears, USNR (Greenwich, Conn.)
    4.)  03 Oct. 1945 - 15 Jan. 1946Lcdr. Philip F. Ruth, USNR (New York, N.Y.)
    5.)  15 Jan. 1946 - 16 May 1946Lt.(jg) Francis L. Dale, USNR (Bellevue, Ken.)
    6.)  16 May 1946 - 01 Apr. 1947Lcdr. Daniel Victor James
    7.)  01 Apr. 1947 - 01 May 1947Lt.(jg) Alexander Niblock (Decomm. CO)
    8.)  15 Mar. 1955 - 10 Aug. 1956Cmdr. Hanford Thornton Cruser III (Recomm. CO) (USNA '42)
    9.)  10 Aug. 1956 - 03 Aug. 1958Lcdr. Alfred Winslow Harmon (Iowa Park, Tex.)
    10.) 03 Aug. 1958 - Aug. 1959Lcdr. Robert Stiles Harward (New York, N.Y.)
    11.) Aug. 1959 - Jan. 1960Lcdr. Robert Emmett Fitzgerald
    12.) Jan. 1960 - 20 Jun. 1960Lcdr. Daniel Joseph Costello (Decomm. CO)

    Crew Contact And Reunion Information

    Last Known Reunion
    08 - 12 September 2013 at Albany, N.Y.

    Reunion Contact: Dick Beers
    Address: 182 Golf Ave.
    City/State: Pittsford NY 14534
    Phone: (585) 967-7911
    E-mail: Dick Beers
    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

    Michael Lambert's USS Pillsbury Web Site
    Tin Can Sailors
    The U.S. Navy Memorial
    Destroyer Escort Sailors Association
    The Destroyer Escort Historical Museum
    The Destroyer History Foundation
    Tin Can Sailors Shipmate Registry - USS Pillsbury
    To The DE, FF, LCS Photo Index Page
    Back To The Main Photo Index

    Comments, Suggestions, E-mail: Webmaster.

    This Page Created And Maintained By Mike Smolinski
    All pages copyright Navsource Naval History
    by Paul R. Yarnall, All Rights Reserved.
    Page Last Updated: 13 December 2019