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Navsource Online: Destroyer Escort Photo Archive

USS Otter (DE 210)

Flag Hoist / Radio Call Sign:
N - X - U - Z
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 w/ 1 star - 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
Otter (DE 210) Building and Operational Data:
  • 26 July 1943: Laid down by Charleston Naval Shipyard
  • 23 October 1943: Launched and christened, sponsored by Mrs. William M. Otter, mother of Lt. Otter
  • 21 February 1944: Commissioned, Lcdr. D. M. Kerr, USNR, in command
  • 16 January 1945: Otter, in company with Hubbard (DE 211), Hayter (DE 212) and Varian (DE 798) sank the German submarine U-248 NNE of the Azores
  • 24 April 1945: After the sinking of Frederick C. Davis (DE 136) in the Westen Atlantic Ocean, Otter pulled 26 Davis crewmen from the sea, 8 of whom survived
  • 27 October 1945: Celebrated Navy Day at Bridgeport, Conn. in company with Hugh Purvis (DD 709), Skipjack (SS 184), Marlin (SS 205), and Intrigue (AM 253)
  • 05 May 1947: Decommissioned at Green Cove Springs, Fla. after 3 years and 2 months of service
  • 01 November 1969: Struck from the NVR
  • 10 July 1970: Sunk as target off Vieques Island, Puerto Rico
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    42k Bethel Veech (Butch) Otter was born 12 September 1914 at Louisville, Ky., the first child of William Mills and Frances (Elston) Otter. He reported to the Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md., as a midshipman from Kentucky on 12 June 1933. A football and lacrosse player for all four years at the Academy, he received his commission as an Ensign on 03 June 1937. As an ensign, he served in the carrier Yorktown (CV 5) during her fitting out and first two years in commission. In October 1939 he was detached and ordered to Submarine School at New London, Conn. Upon his graduation, he received orders on 06 February 1940 to the submarine tender USS Canopus (AS 9), tender to Submarine Squadron 20, homeported in the Philippines.

    He was promoted to Lieutenant (junior grade) on 03 June 1940. On 07 December 1941, Canopus, aging but able, lay at Cavite Navy Yard, as tending to her squadron. In the anxious days that followed, her men worked day and night to repair ships damaged in the daily air raids as well as to keep her squadron of submarines at sea. With the Army falling back on Manila, Canopus sailed to Mariveles Bay at the tip of Bataan on Christmas Day. On 29 December 1941 and 01 January 1942, she received direct bomb hits which resulted in substantial damage to the ship and injuries to 13 of her men. Promoted to Lieutenant on 02 January 1942, Otter served as Fire Control Officer and received the Silver Star for his actions during a heavy bomber raid on 05 January.

    Although all her submarines had departed, Canopus continued her activity caring for small craft and equipment of the Army and Navy. She sent a number of her men into battle in the improvised naval battalion which fought on Bataan, and converted her own launches into miniature gunboats which attacked the Japanese moving south near the shore. But the overwhelming Japanese strength could not be held off, and upon the surrender of Bataan on 09 April, Canopus was ordered scuttled and sunk. On 10 April, she was backed off into deep water under her own power, and scuttled. Lieutenant Otter had been gunnery officer aboard Canopus and also in the Naval Battalion on Bataan, which was transported to Corregidor. It made up a large part of 4/4, the Reserve Battalion of the 4th Marines. Otter was CO of Company T, and led an assault against a Japanese machine gun near one of the water towers about 0730 on 06 May. Otter, Ensign William R. Lloyd and four volunteers armed only with grenades and sidearms took out the machine gun, but the dead gun crew was quickly replaced. Otter and his men attacked again, but were never able to silence the machine gun position. Lt. Otter lost his life in the last attack. He was awarded the Navy Cross and the Purple Heart for his bravery in action. Buried in the Philippines, Lt. Otter's remains were returned to Louisville on 29 April 1949, and laid to rest in the Cave Hill Cemetery.   (CONTINUE.... Award Write-Ups)

    USS Otter (DE 210) (1944-1947) was the first ship to be named in his honor.

    (Photo from the U.S. Naval Academy Yearbook; The Lucky Bag, Class of 1937.)
    Bill Gonyo
    Downey, Cal.

    Assoc. Researcher
    173k 23 October 1943: Charleston, S.C.- The future USS Otter (DE 210) is christened by Mrs. Frances (Elston) Otter, the mother of Lt. Otter.

    (This photo was probably taken by Chris's grandfather, William Mills Otter II, Bethel Otter's younger brother.)
    Chris Nau
    Birmingham, Ala.
    254k 23 October 1943: Charleston, S.C.- The future USS Otter (DE 210) slides down the building way after being christened at the Charleston Navy Yard.

    (Official U.S. Navy photograph, File #1133-10 from the Public Relations Office, Sixth Naval District, Fort Sumter Hotel, Charleston, S.C.)
    David Wright
    Destroyer Archives
    Manager, Navsource
    145k 28 May 1944: Brooklyn, N.Y. - Otter shown lying to off the New York Navy Yard. She had been in the yard since 16 May. During the yard availability she lost her torpedo tubes and loading accessories. Four 40mm guns with their directors were added amidships. SA radar was installed and a stub mast mounting a DAQ antenna was mounted forward of the 1.1" gun director. John Klar
    Somerville, N.J.
    169k July 1944 (This is the same photo as above, in a different size, and submitted by another contributor.) Ed Zajkowski
    Narvon, Pa.

    Otter History
    View the USS Otter (DE 210) DANFS history entry located on the Naval History and Heritage Command web site.
    View the official War History of USS Otter as submitted by the ship at war's end.

    Otter's Commanding Officers
    Thanks to Wolfgang Hechler & Ron Reeves
    Dates of Command Commanding Officers
    1.) 21 Feb. 1944 - 10 Oct. 1944Lcdr. Donald M. Kerr, USNR (Comm. CO)
    2.) 10 Oct. 1944 - 26 Nov. 1945Lcdr. James McCabe Irvine, USNR
    3.) 26 Nov. 1945 - 11 Jan. 1946Ccmdr. William Alva McMahan, USNR
    4.) 11 Jan. 1946 - 24 Apr. 1946Lcdr. Harry Ellsworth Davey Jr., USN (Keene, N.H.)
    5.) 24 Apr. 1946 - 29 Jul. 1946Lt. John R. Berning, USNR (Cincinatti, Oh.)
    6.) 29 Jul. 1946 - 07 Oct. 1946Lt. Raymond Edward Bock, USN (USNA '44) (Wadpole, Mass.)
    7.) 07 Oct. 1946 - 14 Oct. 1946Lt.(jg) J. W. Dillion, USNR
    8.) 14 Oct. 1946 - 27 Nov. 1946Lt.(jg) Thomas F. Erwin, USNR
    9.) 27 Nov. 1946 - 05 May 1947Lcdr. Oscar Jerome Beavers, USN (Decomm. CO) (Ashburn, Ga.)

    Crew Contact And Reunion Information

    Contact Name: Bill Nielson, SOM 2/c
    Address: 15943 E. Lantana Lane
    City/State: Fountain Hills AZ 85268
    Phone: (602) 816-9553
    E-mail: wsnlan at
    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

    USS Otter Website
    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
    Back To The Main Photo Index

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    by Paul R. Yarnall, All Rights Reserved.
    Page Last Updated: 22 July 2022