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Navsource Online: Destroyer Escort Photo Archive

USS Reuben James (DE 153)

Flag Hoist / Radio Call Sign:
N - W - X - N
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 - European-Africa-Middle East Campaign Medal - WWII Victory Medal

Class: Buckley
Type: TE (turbine-electric drive, 3" guns)
Displacement: 1400 tons (light), 1740 tons (full)
Length: 300' (wl), 306' (oa)
Beam: 36' 9" (extreme)
Draft: 10' 6" (draft limit)
Propulsion: 2 "D" Express boilers, G.E. turbines with electric drive, 12000 shp, 2 screws
Speed: 24 kts
Range: 6,000 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: 15 / 198
Reuben James (DE 153) Building and Operational Data:
  • 07 September 1942: Keel laid by the Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, Va.
  • 06 February 1943: Launched and christened, sponsored by Mrs. Oliver Hiram Ward, great grandneice of Bos'n James
  • 01 April 1943: Commissioned at Berth 108, Pier 3, St. Helena Annex of the Norfolk Navy Yard, Berkley, Va., Lcdr. Frank D. Giambattista, USN, in command
  • 04 July 1945: Conversion to DER commenced at Brown Shipbuilding Co., Houston, Tex.
  • 27 October 1945: Celebrated Navy Day at Galveston, Tex. in company with Reno (CL 96), Bray (APD 139), Redfin (SS 272), and Sea Robin (SS 407)
  • 25 November 1945: DER conversion completed
  • 11 October 1947: Decommissioned at the Charleston Naval Shipyard after 4 years and 6 months of service
  • 1949: Redesignated DER while still in reserve, but reclassified DE in 1954
  • 30 June 1968: Struck from the NVR
  • 1968 - 1971: Used as explosives test ship
  • 01 March 1971: Sunk as target
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    Reuben James

    271k Reuben James was born in Delaware, Ohio about 1776. He joined the Navy and served on various ships, including the frigate USS Constellation. During the Barbary Wars, the American frigate Philadelphia was captured by the Barbary pirates, when it ran aground in the city of Tripoli, on the southern shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Lieutenant Stephen Decatur, along with a group of volunteers that included Reuben James, entered the harbor of Tripoli under the cover of darkness in an attempt to burn the Philadelphia so that the pirates could not make use of her.

    The American volunteers boarded the Philadelphia on 16 February 1804 and were met by a group of Barbary pirates who were guarding their prize. During the ensuing hand-to-hand combat, Reuben James, with both of his hands already wounded, positioned himself between Lieutenant Decatur and a sword-wielding pirate. Reuben James, willing to give his life in defense of his captain, took the blow from the sword but survived and recovered from his wounds.

    Reuben James continued his career in the U.S. Navy, including many years with Decatur. James was forced to retire in January 1836 because of declining health brought on because of past wounds. He died on 03 December 1838 at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Washington DC.

    USS Reuben James (DE 153) (1943-1947) was the second ship named in his honor, preceded by DD 245 (1920-1941), and succeeded by FFG 57 (1986-2013).
    Robert M. Cieri
    Reuben James
    30k Date Unknown: Norfolk, Va. - Reuben James (DE 153) and Sims (DE 154) at Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, Va. Nick Tiberio
    Shelton, Conn.
    Reuben James
    90k late 1943: off Boston, Mass. - USS Reuben James (DE 153) taken whilst on commissioning trials. Note all depth charge racks are empty, and No. 1 gun is trained on the starboard beam, with an audience, obviously for its' very first round!

    (Photos and text taken from "American Destroyer Escorts of World War 2" by Peter Elliott)
    Bob Hurst
    Worksop, Nottinghamshire,
    England, United Kingdom
    Reuben James
    15k Undated Wartime Image -
    Reuben James
    131k Undated Wartime Image John Klar
    Somerville, N.J.
    Reuben James
    126k Undated Post-War Image

    (Note that Reuben James is in her DER configuration as a radar picket. This dates her between November 1945 when the conversion was completed and July 1947 when she entered the shipyard for inactivation.)
    David Buell
    Reuben James  136k       Reuben James  122k       Reuben James  113k

    March 1970: Dahlgren, Va. - The ex-USS Reuben James (DE 153) lying in the mud on the bottom of the Potomac River, courtesy of the Naval Weapons Laboratory, Dahlgren, Va. While attending Deep Sea Diving School, we were fortunate enough to get on the job training re-floating the ex-USS Reuben James in 1970. It was accidentally sunk by the weapons lab. On Friday, 13 March 1970, while doing a number of explosive tests on the super structure, with hatches open, she received a number of hits below the water line. The weekend came, everyone booked, and she rolled over on her side and sank Saturday morning in the dark. At the stern is USS YRST-2 (HCU-2 at D&S Piers, Norfolk, VA). A great experience, especially being down range when Weapons Lab unexpectedly shot their fixed "BIG GUNS", everyone ducked and covered, we did not know that they were there, much less that they were going to be shooting at us.
    (Photo #2: Ron Buice on board the YSD-53). (for description of work, see: SALVOPS 70).

    (Photos courtesy of Ron Buice)

    0615307        -        0615308        -         0615309
    Peter Korbet

    Reuben James History
    View the USS Reuben James (DE 153) DANFS history entry located on the Wikipedia web site.

    Reuben James' Commanding Officers
    Thanks to Wolfgang Hechler & Ron Reeves
    Dates of Command Commanding Officers
    1.) 01 Apr. 1943 - 13 Apr. 1943Lcdr. Frank Daniel Giambattista, USN (Comm. CO) (USNA '27) (Boonton, N.J.) (ret. as Radm.)
    2.) 13 Apr. 1943 - 06 Oct. 1943Lcdr. Alfred Edward Sharp, Jr., USNR (USNA '31) (Baltimore, Md.)
    3.) 06 Oct. 1943 - 30 Nov. 1943Lcdr. George Samuel Joseph Forde, USNR (Miami, Fla.)
    01 Dec. 1943 - 31 Dec. 1943Reconstructed
    4.) 01 Jan. 1944 - 17 Sep. 1944Lcdr. Vernon Aaron Isaacs, USNR (Chicago, Ill.)
    5.) 17 Sep. 1944 - 31 Oct. 1945Lcdr. Grant Cowherd, USNR
    6.) 24 Jul. 1946 - 01 Aug. 1946Lcdr. Francis Egar Kinne (USNA '42) (Norfolk, Va.)
    7.) 01 Aug. 1946 - 01 Sep. 1947Lt. Harry George Anderson
    8.) 01 Sep. 1947 - 11 Oct. 1947Lt. Charles Hilary Hayden, USN (Decomm. CO) (Baltimore, Md.)

    Crew Contact And Reunion Information

    Contact Name: John B. Lampe
    Address: 710 US Hwy 206, Apt 3-C
    City/State: Bordentown NJ 08505
    Phone: (609) 298-7293
    E-mail: John Lampe

    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
    Tin Can Sailors Shipmate Registry - USS Reuben James
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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: 29 June 2019