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Navsource Online: Destroyer Escort Photo Archive

Exploded while handling ammunition at the Naval Ammunition Depot,
Earle, N.J. - 7 men were lost with the ship and remain on eternal duty

USS Solar (DE 221)

Flag Hoist / Radio Call Sign:
N - X - B - J

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/ 2 stars - 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
Solar (DE 221) Building and Operational Data:
  • 22 February 1943: Keel laid by the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Pa.
  • 29 May 1943: Launched and christened, sponsored by Mrs. Regina Solar
  • 15 February 1944: Commissioned, Lcdr Hadlai A. Hull, USNR, in command
  • 27 October 1945: Represented the U.S. Navy at Baltimore, Md. for the Navy Day celebration commemorating the end of WWII
  • 30 April 1946: Suffered 3 explosions while unloading ammunition at the Naval Ammunition Depot, Earle, N.J. (7 crewmembers killed, 125 crewmen and dock workers were injured)
  • 21 May 1946: Decommissioned at the New York Navy Yard after 2 years and 3 months of service
  • 05 June 1946: Struck from the NVR
  • 09 June 1946: Solar's hulk was towed 100 miles out to sea and scuttled in 700 fathoms of water
    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Contributed
    By And/Or Copyright
    ***Enright / Solar***
    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
    387k undated wartime image Pieter Bakels
    Wehl, The Netherlands
    54k 22 July 1944: Bayonne, N.J. - In New York Harbor with a barge and harbor tug alongside. Photographed from a 300-foot altitude by Naval Air Station New York aircraft. -
    272k 23 July 1944: Underway in the Atlantic, USS Solar was photographed at low level by a blimp from ZP-11. Her war diary states that she was at the Bayonne Annex of the New York Navy Yard from 10 to 22 July 1944 for a short overhaul. She was underway from Bayonne on 23 July enroute to Casco Bay, Maine for refresher training.

    (U.S. Navy photo #80-G-237714 from the National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Md.; courtesy of  Chris Wright)
    Tim Rizzuto
    Ship's Superintendent
    DE Historical Museum
    USS Slater at Albany, N.Y.


    Chris Wright
    Ocean City, N.J.
    109k 15 November 1944: An at-sea view of Solar.

    (U.S. Navy photo from the Donald T. Ehre Album via Destroyer Escort Historical Museum)
    Ed Zajkowski
    Narvon, Pa.
    63k April 1946 - Crew of Solar J. D. Reed
    Fireman 1c
    46k 30 April 1946 - Solar tying up at Leonardo Pier I of the Naval Ammunition Depot at Earle, N.J. to discharge ammunition
    47k 30 April 1946 - Salvage work on Solar was begun by 1500, and her wrecked superstructure was cut off to prevent her capsizing. It was later determined that Solar had suffered 3 explosions in her #2 mount upper handling room while unloading ammunition.
    320k 26 July 1943: Philadelphia, Pa. - Port broadside view of Buckley-class destroyer escort USS Scott (DE 214), off the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Having been commissioned just six days earlier, Scott was still in her "fitting out" process. She would get underway for short periods to check out recently installed equipment.

    (U.S. Navy photo from All Hands Magazine, June 1946 issue, page 40)
    Bob Hurst
    Worksop, Nottinghamshire,
    England, United Kingdom
    207k 30 April 1946: USS Solar (DE 221) following the explosion of her forward magazine while she was at Naval Ammunition Depot, Earle, New Jersey. Note that her forward superstructure has been folded back, crushing her smokestack and other midships fittings. The barrel of one of her forward 3/50 guns is inside her after 3/50 gun tub, with other parts of the ship's forward structure resting nearby.

    (U.S. Naval Historical Center photo #NH 104777, courtesy of Dr. Neal Dinowitz, 2007 from the Naval History and Heritage Command)
    Mike Green
    Port Angeles, Wash.
    49k 30 April 1946 - Her number 2 gun was demolished and the bridge, main battery director, and mast were all blown aft and to starboard. Both sides of the ship were torn open. J. D. Reed
    Fireman 1c
    44k 30 April 1946 - shortly after 1130, three explosions blasted the ship near her number 2 upper handling room.

    Solar History
    View the USS Solar (DE 221) DANFS history entry located on the Naval History and Heritage Command web site.

    Solar's Commanding Officers
    Thanks to Wolfgang Hechler & Ron Reeves
    Dates of Command Commanding Officers
    1.) 15 Feb 1944 - 03 Dec. 1944Lcdr. Hadlai A. Hull, USNR (Comm. CO) (New London, Conn.)
    2.) 03 Dec. 1944 - 07 Sep. 1945Lcdr. Wendell Francis Grubbs, USN (USNA '41) (Mt. Carmel, Ill.)
    3.) 07 Sep. 1945 - 22 Oct. 1945Lcdr. Donough Prince, USNR
    4.) 22 Oct.. 1945 - 01 Mar. 1946Lcdr. George Ransom Brines, USNR (Morton, Ill.)
    5.) 01 Apr. 1946 - 21 May 1946Lcdr. Gene Robert LaRocque, USNR (Decomm. CO) (enl. '40) (Kankakee, Ill.) (ret. as Radm.)

    Crew Contact And Reunion Information

    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
    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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    This Page Created And Maintained By Mike Smolinski
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    by Paul R. Yarnall, All Rights Reserved.
    Page Last Updated: 07 December 2023