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Navsource Online: Destroyer Escort Photo Archive

USS Gustafson (DE 182)

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

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Combat Action Ribbon (retroactive) - American Campaign Medal w/ star- WWII Victory Medal

Class: Cannon
Type: DET (diesel-electric tandem motor drive, long hull, 3" guns)
Displacement: 1240 tons (light), 1620 tons (full)
Length: 300' (wl), 306' (oa)
Beam: 36' 10" (extreme)
Draft: 10' 6" (draft limit)
Propulsion: 4 GM Mod. 16-278A diesel engines with electric drive, 6000 shp, 2 screws
Speed: 21 kts
Range: 10,800 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 / 201
Gustafson (DE 182) Building and Operational Data:
  • 05 July 1943: Keel laid at the Federal Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co., Port Newark, N.J.
  • 03 October 1943: Launched and christened, sponsored by Mrs. Eva Smythe Stevens, widow of Lt. Gustafson
  • 01 November 1943: Commissioned at the New York Navy Yard, Cmdr. Herman Reich in command
  • 07 April 1944: Sank the German submarine U-857 off Cape Cod, Mass.
  • 06 June 1946: Decommissioned at Green Cove Springs, Fla. after 2 years and 7 months of service
  • 23 October 1950: Transferred to the Netherlands under terms of the Military Defense Program, renamed HNMS Van Ewijck (F-808)
  • 20 December 1950: Struck from the NVR
  • 15 December 1967: Returned to U.S. control
  • February 1968: Sold for scrapping
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    37k Arthur Leonard Gustafson, son of Martin Aldin Gustafson and Alma Gustfson, was born 13 June 1913 in Watertown, South Dakota. He grew up in Watertown and graduated from Watertown High School in 1931. He attended the University of South Dakota in Vermillion and then enlisted in the United States Navy on 16 June 1932 at Annapolis, Md. Appointed a midshipman in June 1932, he was commissioned an ensign in 1936 and served aboard the battleships Idaho and Colorado. While serving stateside, Arthur married Eva Gladys Smythe on 18 July 1939 in Washington, D.C. The couple had no children. Lt. Gustafson was commissioned a Lieutenant in 1939 while aboard Colorado. He reported to duty on the destroyer USS Peary in September 1939 where he served as a gunnery officer. He was appointed lieutenant for temporary service in January 1942. Lt. Gustafson earned the China Service Medal while serving in Peary from 1939 to 1940. A hero, Lt. Gustafson died defending his ship and fellow servicemen when the Japanese attacked Peary in Port Darwin, Australia 19 February 1942. According to a newspaper report, Lt. Gustafson refused to leave his guns under fire and was one of the last six of Peary's crew on board when the ship went down. The Navy posthumously awarded Lt. Gustafson the Purple Heart, which was accepted by his parents. Lt. Gustafson is listed as "Missing in Action or Buried at Sea." His name is recorded on the Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery, Manila, Philippines. An example of the many brave men and women who lost their lives defending our freedom, Lt. Gustafson was honored again by his country when the United States destroyer escort Gustafson was named and launched in his honor on 03 October 1943.
    (Text respectfully submitted by Susan Stoneback, Pierre, South Dakota, 15 August 2002; from Sons and Daughters of South Dakota - State of South Dakota)

    USS Gustafson (DE 182) (1943-1946) was the first ship named in his honor.    (Photo from the U.S. Naval Academy Yearbook; The Lucky Bag, Class of 1936.)
    Bill Gonyo
    Downey, Cal.

    Assoc. Researcher
    152k 03 October 1943: Launching of USS Gustafson (DE 182) at Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, Port Newark, New Jersey.

    (U.S. Navy photo #L45-114.07.01 from the Naval History and Heritage Command)
    Mike Smolinski
    Clifton, N.J.

    Navsource Archive Manager
    DE / FF / LCS Archive
    104k undated wartime image Nick Tiberio
    Shelton, Conn.
    251k undated wartime image

    (Images were given to my wife's uncle, Leon F. Powers, upon leaving service in 1946 at Great Lakes, Ill.)
    Paula & Steve
    359k Undated port bow view of the USS Gustafson (DE 182) underway.

    (U.S. Navy Catalog #80-G-364934 from the United States National Archives)
    Mike Green
    Port Angeles, Wash.

    Courtesy of
    Tom Kermen

    Gustafson History
    View the USS Gustafson (DE 182) DANFS history entry located on the Naval History and Heritage Command web site.
    View the official War History of USS Gustafson as submitted by the ship at war's end.

    Gustafson's Commanding Officers
    Thanks to Wolfgang Hechler & Ron Reeves
    Dates of Command Commanding Officers
    1.) 01 Nov. 1943 - 02 Mar. 1944Cmdr. Herman Reich, USNR (Comm. CO) (USNA ‘26) (San Bernardino, Cal.) (ret. as Radm.)
    2.) 02 Mar. 1944 - 22 Sep. 1945Lcdr. Ambrose Ely Chambers, USNR (New York City, N.Y.)
    3.) 22 Sep. 1945 - 03 Jan. 1946Lt. Thomas Hinsdale Dyer, USNR (Syracuse, N.Y.)
    4.) 02 Apr. 1946 - 31 May 1946Lt.(jg) Robert Otis Birkhimer, USNR (muster ends)

    Crew Contact And Reunion Information

    Contact Name: Leopold (Leo) C. Baehler
    Address: 5 Babbit Road
    City / State: Mendham NJ 07945
    Phone: 973-543-7652
    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 Gustafson
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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: 11 April 2020