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Navsource Online: Destroyer Escort Photo Archive

Ship's emblem courtesy of Mike Smolinski
Name Tab courtesy of Al Grazevich

USS Fessenden (DE 142)

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

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row: Combat Action Ribbon (retroactive)
Second Row: American Campaign Medal - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal - European-Africa-Middle East Campaign Medal w/ 2 stars
Third Row: WWII Victory Medal - Navy Occupation Service Medal - National Defense Service 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
Fessenden (DE142) Building and Operational Data:
  • 04 January 1943: Keel laid by the Consolidated Steel Corp., Orange, Tex.
  • 09 March 1943: Launched and christened, sponsored by Mrs. R. K. Fessenden, daughter-in-law of Professor Fessenden
  • 25 August 1943: Commissioned at the City Dock, Orange, Tex.; Lcdr W. A. Dobbs, USNR, in command
  • 24 June 1946: Decommissioned at Green Cove Springs, Fla. after 2 years and 10 months of service
  • 01 October 1951: Reclassified DER 142, conversion carried out at the Boston Naval Shipyard
  • 04 March 1952: Recommissioned at Boston, Lcdr. Henry A. Burgess in command, assigned to Newport, R.I. as a unit of Escort Squadron 18, Atlantic Barrier Patrol
  • 15 July 1957: Homeport assignment changed to Pearl Harbor, Hi. as a unit of Escort Squadron 7
  • 30 June 1960: Decommissioned at the U. S. Naval Supply Center Annex, Stockton, Cal. after 8 years and 4 months of service; custody to CO, Stockton Group, U. S. Pacific Reserve Fleet
  • 01 September 1966: Struck from the NVR with a total of 11 years and 2 months of naval service
  • 20 December 1967: Sunk as a target off the Hawaiian coast near Pearl Harbor
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    8k Reginald Aubrey Fessenden was born on 06 October 1866 in Milton, Province of Quebec, Canada. At the age of fourteen, Bishop's College School in Lennoxville, Quebec granted Fessenden a mathematics mastership. In late 1886, Fessenden began working directly for Thomas Edison at the inventor's new Laboratory in West Orange, New Jersey. Fessenden quickly made major advances, especially in receiver design, as he worked to develop audio reception of signals. From 1890 to 1900, Fessenden worked at several manufacturing companies and became a professor of electrical engineering at Purdue University in 1892 and then chair of the electrical engineering department of the University of Pittsburgh in 1893. By 1900, Fessenden was working for the United States Weather Bureau where he evolved the heterodyne principle where two signals combined produce a third audible tone. While there, Fessenden, experimenting with a high-frequency spark transmitter, successfully transmitted speech on 23 December 1900 over a distance of about 1.6 kilometers (one mile), which appears to have been the first audio radio transmission.

    On 21 December 1906, Fessenden made an extensive demonstration of the new alternator-transmitter at Brant Rock, showing its utility for point-to-point wireless telephony, including interconnecting his stations to the wire telephone network. A few days later, two additional demonstrations took place, which appear to be the first audio radio broadcasts of entertainment and music ever made to a general audience. On the evening of 24 December 1906 (Christmas Eve), Fessenden used the alternator-transmitter to send out a short program from Brant Rock, which included his playing the song "O Holy Night" on the violin and reading a passage, Luke Chapter 2, from the Bible. On 31 December, New Year's Eve, a second short program was broadcast. The main audience for both these transmissions was an unknown number of shipboard radio operators along the Atlantic Coast. Although now seen as a landmark, these two broadcasts were barely noticed at the time and soon forgotten. His great contributions in the field of radio were of marked benefit not only to the Navy but to all seamen. He died 22 July 1932, at his home on Bermuda.

    USS Fessenden (DE 142) (1943-1960) was the first ship named in his honor.
    William F. Fessenden
    641k 28 June 1945: off Brooklyn, N.Y. - Two aerial views of Fessenden taken by aircraft from the New York Naval Air Station at Floyd Bennett Field. Fessenden was in the Brooklyn Navy Yard for an overhaul prior to departing for training at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba enroute to her new assignment in the Pacific.

    (U.S. Navy photo #NYNAS CP-DE-142 19-N-85805 from the National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Md.; courtesy of  Chris Wright)

    (U.S. Navy photo #NYNAS CP-DE-142 19-N-85804 from the National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Md.; courtesy of  Chris Wright)
    Ed Zajkowski
    Narvon, Pa.
    23k Undated Post-Conversion Image John Aldrich
    Lt.(jg), 1955-1957
    365k Undated Post-Conversion Image Nick Tiberio
    Shelton, Conn.
    122k Photo scanned from a September 1956 issue of "All Hands" magazine John Volpe
    crewmember 1955-1957
    137k I received this photo of USS Fessenden (DER 142) escorting the Mayflower II in 1957 from the Plymouth Plantation people and would like to get it to the Fessenden crew if possible. Here is their explaination of the photo; "Our Mayflower II, with its story of friendship between nations following World War II, is a reminder to us always. Now in his 90s, Clarence Gogeun was a Navy photographer in 1957 who took a number of pictures of Mayflower II from the sky during her crossing to Plymouth, Massachusetts - below is one, with a U.S. Navy vessel in the background. He recently shared his photos with us and we are delighted to share this one with you today!" Karl Kohler
    260k 28 October 1958: the Pacific Ocean - USS Fessenden (DER 142) alongside USS Kawishiwi (AO 146)

    (Official U.S. Navy photo #1039377
    David Buell

    Fessenden History
    View the USS Fessenden (DE 142) DANFS history entry located on the Naval History and Heritage Command web site.
    View the official War History of USS Fessenden as submitted by the ship at war's end.

    Fessenden's Commanding Officers
    Thanks to Wolfgang Hechler & Ron Reeves
    Dates of Command Commanding Officers
    1.) 25 Aug. 1943 - 20 Jun. 1945Lcdr. William A. Dobbs (Comm. CO) (USNA '32) (Ackerman, Miss.)
    2.) 20 Jun. 1945 - 31 Mar. 1946Lcdr. Harold Norman Poulsen (Dayton, Wash.)
    3.) 31 Mar. 1946 - 24 Jun. 1946Lt. Harry Everett Gavey (Decomm. CO) (Chicago, Ill.)
    4.) 04 Mar. 1952 - 08 Aug. 1953Lcdr. Henry L. Burgess (Recomm. CO)
    5.) 08 Aug. 1953 - 27 Feb. 1956Cdr. Jewett Alexander Baldridge
    6.) 27 Feb. 1956 - 28 Nov. 1956Lcdr. Floyd Earnest Smith (Mountainhome, Pa.)
    7.) 28 Nov. 1956 - 12 Jul. 1958Lcdr. John W. Glover
    8.) 12 Jul. 1958 - 26 Oct. 1959Lcdr. Richard Lord Ploss (USNA '44) (Detroit, Mich.)
    9.) 26 Oct. 1959 - 30 Jun. 1960Lcdr. Louis Joseph Collister (Decomm. CO) (Manhattan, Kan.)

    Crew Contact And Reunion Information

    Contact Name: Ken Fessenden
    Address: 3325 Dartmouth Drive
    City/State: Irving TX 75062
    Phone: (972) 255-2583
    E-mail: Ken Fessenden

    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 or rosters 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
    Tin Can Sailors Shipmate Registry - USS Fessenden
    To The DE, FF, LCS Photo Index Page
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    This Page Created And Maintained By Mike Smolinski
    All pages copyright Navsource Naval History
    by Paul R. Yarnall, All Rights Reserved.
    Page Last Updated: 07 April 2019