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Navsource Online: Destroyer Escort Photo Archive

Ship's Emblems Courtesy of Mike Smolinski

Ship's Name Tab Courtesy of Mike Smolinski

USS Coolbaugh (DE 217)

Flag Hoist / Radio Call Sign:
N - G - C - X
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row: Combat Action Ribbon (retroactive) - American Campaign Medal - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal w/3 stars
Second Row: WWII Victory Medal - National Defense Service Medal - Philippine Liberation Ribbon

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
Coolbaugh (DE 217) Building and Operational Data:
  • 22 February 1943: Keel laid at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Pa.
  • 29 May 1943: Launched and christened, sponsored by Mrs. A. Coolbaugh
  • 15 October 1943: Commissioned at Philadelphia, Pa., Lcdr. L. S. Kintberger in command
  • .. January 1946: Changed homeport from the West Coast to Newport, R.I. as a unit of Escort Squadron 10
  • 22 August 1957: Homeport changed to Key West, Fla. as a unit of Escort Squadron 12, assigned to the Fleet Sonar School
  • 21 February 1959: Decommissioned and placed "in service" at the U. S. Naval Reserve Center, Bayboro Harbor, St. Petersburg, Fla.; Lt. S. T. Counts, USN, assumed command as Officer in Charge
  • 26 May 1960: Placed "out of service" at the Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility, Orange, Tex. after 16 years and 7 months of service
  • 01 July 1972: Struck from the NVR
  • 17 August 1973: Sold for scrapping
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    136k Walter Wesley Coolbaugh was born on 01 August 1918 at Ransom, Pa. and enlisted in the Naval Reserve for aviation training 14 November 1940 after graduating from Keystone Junior College. He was attending American University in Washington, D.C. when he received his appointment as a Naval Aviation Cadet. On 07 December 1941 Walter was a dive bomber pilot on USS Yorktown (CV 5). While aboard Yorktown he was soon involved in some of the great naval conflicts in the Pacific, including Tulagi Harbor, the Marshall & Gilbert Islands, and the Coral Sea. It was as a result of his actions during the battle of the Coral Sea that he was awarded the Navy Cross. He was promoted to lieutenant (junior grade) 01 October 1942. Prior to the loss of Yorktown at the battle of Midway, he was transferred to the USS Saratoga (CV 3) and then, after Midway, to the USS Enterprise (CV 6).

    In August 1942 he was in the group of eleven Enterprise aircraft that became known as Flight 300 when they flew to Henderson Field on Guadalcanal while it was cut off by surrounding Japanese forces. The Flight 300 aviators flew and fought from Guadalcanal until 27 September 1942, when their Douglas Dauntlesses expended in one way or another and they were evacuated by DC-3s. After his service on Guadalcanal and a brief leave at his home in Pennsylvania, Walter was reassigned to Bombing Squadron 12. On 19 December 1942, Lt.(jg) Walter W. Coolbaugh was lost at sea in the Pacific Ocean as a result of a mid-air collision during training operations.

    USS Coolbaugh (DE 217) (1943-1960) was the first ship named in his honor.

    (Photo and paraphrased biography from USS Coolbaugh web site.)
    Bill Gonyo
    Downey, Cal.

    Assoc. Researcher
    409k 13 March 1944: Espiritu Santo - USS Coolbaugh (DE 217), USS Lovelace, and USS Darby (DE 218) are nested with USS Ingersoll (DE 652) at the fleet anchorage. Photo taken by Milt Volkens aboard USS Langley (CVL 27).

    (From the Langley/Volkens Photo Collection at Eastern Carolina Univ.)
    John Chiquoine
    West Chester, Pa.
    ***Enright / Coolbaugh***
    82k 29 May 1943: Philadelphia Navy Yard - The christening of six destroyer escorts in a dry-dock at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. The three ships in the foreground are (from left): USS Enright (DE 216), USS Coolbaugh (DE 217) and USS Darby (DE 218). Those in the background are (from left), USS J. Douglas Blackwood (DE 219), USS Francis M. Robinson (DE 220) and USS Solar (DE 221).

    (U.S. Navy Photo #NH 75610 from the Naval History and Heritage Command, Courtesy of James Russell, 1972)
    Bill Gonyo
    Downey, Cal.

    Assoc. Researcher
    136k 15 November 1945: Mare Island Navy Yard, San Francisco, Cal - Forward plan view of USS Coolbaugh (DE 217) at Mare Island. USS J. Douglas Blackwood (DE 219) is inboard of Coolbaugh.

    (U.S. Navy photo #DE-217 7192-45)
    Darryl Baker
    PNCM, USNR (ret.)

    Vallejo Naval & Historical Museum
    186k 15 November 1945: Mare Island Navy Yard, San Francisco, Cal. - Aft plan view of Coolbaugh at Mare Island. J. Douglas Blackwood is inboard of Coolbaugh. Coolbaugh was in overhaul at the yard from 4 September to 17 November 1945.

    (U.S. Navy photo #DE-217 7191-45)
    73k Coolbaugh shown in original configuration with 3"/50 guns prior to conversion in 1945 when 5"/38's replaced the 3"/50's. Edwin Wheat
    83k circa 1945 Robert Lamb
    132k undated post war image Jerry Defoe
    66k circa 1954 Edwin Wheat
    32k circa 1955 Bob Hurst
    Worksop, Nottinghamshire,
    England, United Kingdom
    51k circa 1957 J. Andrus
    286k 1959: Port broadside aerial view of the destroyer escort USS Coolbaugh (DE 217) underway.

    (U.S. Navy National Archives photo #USN 1038488 from the Naval History and Heritage Command)
    Mike Smolinski
    Clifton, N.J.

    Navsource DE/FF/LCS
    Archive Manager

    Coolbaugh Memorabilia
    Memorial Plaque
    Courtesy of
    Mike Smolinski
    Souvenir Postcard
    of Havana, Cuba
    Courtesy of
    Nick Tiberio
    1954 Ship's
    Courtesy of
    Mike Smolinski
    1954 Midshipman
    Cruise "Baker"
    Courtesy of
    Mike Smolinski

    Coolbaugh History
    View the USS Coolbaugh (DE 217) DANFS history entry located on the Naval History and Heritage Command web site.
    View the official War History of USS Coolbaugh as submitted by the ship at war's end.

    Coolbaugh's Commanding Officers
    Thanks to Wolfgang Hechler & Ron Reeves
    Dates of Command Commanding Officers
    1.)  15 Oct. 1943 - 19 Feb. 1944Lcdr. Leon Samuel Kintberger, USN (Comm. CO) (USNA '32) (Baltimore, Md.) (ret. as Radm.)
    2.)  19 Feb. 1944 - 13 Jun. 1945Cmdr. Stuart Trowbridge Hotchkiss, USNR (Madison, Conn.)
    3.)  13 Jun. 1945 - 31 Jan. 1946Lcdr. Stanley E. Zimmerman, USNR
    4.)  31 Jan. 1946 - 01 May 1946Lcdr. Kipling Wyckiffe Wise, USNR
    5.)  .. May 1946 - .. Jul. 1947Lcdr. Edward Hughes Winslow, USN (USNA '42) (Dallas, Tex.)
    6.)  .. Jul. 1947 - .. Jun. 1949Lcdr. Howard Lyons Stone Jr., USN (USNA '42) (Bridgeport, Conn.)
    7.)  .. Jun. 1949 - .. .... 1951Lcdr. Albert Andrew Richards, USN
    8.)  .. .... 1951 - .. .... 1953Cmdr. John Richard Lance Cassidy, USN (Bridgeport, Conn.)
    9.)  .. .... 1953 - .. .... 1955Lcdr. Thomas Stanley McCarthy, USN (OCS '41) (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.)
    10.) .. .... 1955 - 24 Aug. 1956Lcdr. Paul Edward Arbo, USN (USNA 44) (New Orleans, La.)
    11.) 24 Aug. 1956 - 14 Jan. 1958Cmdr. William Warner Upshaw, USN (USNA 44) (Raleigh, N.C.)
    12.) 14 Jan. 1958 - 21 Feb. 1959Lcdr. William Jackson Tipler, USN (Stevenson, Ala.)
    13.) 21 Feb. 1959 - 01 Apr. 1959Lt. Stanley Thomas Counts, USN (OinC) (USNA 49) (Wichita, Kan.) (ret. as Radm.
    14.) 01 Apr. 1959 - 10 Apr. 1959Lt.(jg) H. A. Stark, USN (OinC)
    15.) 10 Apr. 1959 - 01 Jul. 1959Lt. R. W. Case, USN (OinC)
    16.) 01 Jul. 1959 - 26 May 1960Lt. Harry Walter Kinsley Jr., USN (Decomm. OinC) (Norwalk, Conn.)

    Crew Contact And Reunion Information

    Last Known Reunion:
    USS Coolbaugh (DE 217) Association's 28th Reunion
    September 2015 at the Clarion Lexington North Hotel, Lexington, Ky
    (held in conjunction with the DESA Convention)
    Contact Name: Harvey Weiss
    Address: 217 Rothwell Road
    City/State: Taccoa GA 30577
    Phone: (706) 886-2709
    E-mail: nita55rw at
    Contact Name: Rodney Monnat
    Address: 132 Doc Morrison Road
    City/State: Sanbornville NH 03872
    Phone: (603) 522-3316
    E-mail: rmonnat 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 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 Coolbaugh
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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: 24 January 2023