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Navsource Online: Destroyer Escort Photo Archive

USS John C. Butler (DE 339)

Flag Hoist / Radio Call Sign:
N - T - E - R
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row: Combat Action Ribbon (retroactive) - Presidential Unit Citation - Navy Unit Commendation
Second Row: American Campaign Medal - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal w/ 5 stars - WWII Victory Medal
Third Row: National Defense Service Medal - Philippine Republic Presidential Unit Citation (retroactive) - Philippine Liberation Ribbon

Class: John C. Butler
Type: WGT (geared-turbine drive, 5" guns)
Displacement: 1350 tons (light), 1745 tons (full)
Length: 300' (wl), 306' (oa)
Beam: 36' 10" (extreme)
Draft: 11' 0" (draft limit)
Propulsion: 2 "D" Express boilers, 2 geared turbine engines, 12,000 shp, 2 screws
Speed: 24 kts
Range: 6,000 nm @ 12 knots
Armament: 2 - 5"/38 cal. DP guns (2x1), 4 - 40mm AA (2x2), 10 - 20mm AA, 3 - 21" TT, 1 Mk10 Hedgehog, 8 Mk6 Depth Charge Projectors, 2 Mk9 Depth Charge Stern Racks
Complement: 14 / 201
John C. Butler (DE 339) Building and Operational Data:
  • 05 October 1943: Keel laid by the Consolidated Steel Corp., Ltd., Orange, Tex.
  • 12 November 1943: Launched and christened, sponsored by Mrs. Walter C. Butler, mother of Ensign Butler
  • 31 March 1944: Commissioned, Lcdr. J. E. Pace, in command
  • 25 October 1944: Participated in the Battle off Samar, during the Battle for Leyte Gulf, as a unit of Taffy 3 (TU 77.4.3), for which she was later awarded the Presidential Unit Citation
  • 26 June 1946: Decommissioned at San Pedro, Cal. after 2 years and 3 months of service
  • 27 December 1950: Recommissioned, assigned to NRT, 11th Naval District at San Diego, Cal.
  • 18 December 1957: Decommissioned at San Diego, Cal. after 7 years of service
  • 01 June 1970: Struck from the NVR with a total of 9 years and 3 months of service
  • December 1971: Sunk as target off California
  • 08 February 2014: The Municipal Airport in Buckeye, Arizona was renamed John C. Butler Field

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    John C. Butler

    John C. Butler
    22k John Clarence Butler was born on 02 February 1921 at Liberty, Ariz., and enlisted in the Naval Reserve 19 February 1941. He was appointed Aviation Cadet 03 April; and, after flight training, he reported to Bombing Squadron 3 on board carrier Yorktown. In the epochal Battle of Midway 04 June 1942, Butler and his squadron attacked a Japanese carrier group and despite heavy opposition succeeded in sinking three of the vital enemy flattops. His plane, however, did not return. He was declared "lost in action" on 05 June 1942. For his part in this gallant attack, which did much to turn the tide of the Pacific war, Ensign Butler was awarded the Navy Cross posthumously. In part the citation noted: "His gallant intrepidity and loyal devotion to the accomplishment of a vastly important objective contributed in large measure to the success achieved by our forces and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."

    USS John C. Butler (DE 339) (1944-1957) was the first ship to be named in his honor.

    (photo from Phoenix DESA web site)
    Mike Smolinski
    Clifton, N.J.

    Archive Manager
    DE / FF / LCS Archive
    John C. Butler 191k 12 November 1943: Orange, Tex. - The future USS John C. Butler slides down the building way into the Sabine River. Nick Tiberio
    Shelton, Conn.
    John C. Butler 152k undated: USS John C. Butler (DE 339) being towed by the stern prior to final fitting out and application of Camouflage, MS32/1D camouflage scheme.

    (U.S. Navy Photo #BS-70488 from the United States National Archives)
    Mike Green
    Port Angeles, Wash.
    John C. Butler 24k 29 May 1944: USS John C. Butler (DE 339), class leader, starboard side view at Boston. The ship is wearing MS32/11D camouflage scheme.

    (U.S. Navy Photo #80-G-382868 (photo caption only) from the United States National Archives)
    John C. Butler 73k Undated Wartime Images -
    John C. Butler 49k
    John C. Butler 18k Undated Wartime Image

    (U.S. Navy photo #80-G-382869 from the National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Md.)
    Nick Tiberio
    Shelton, Conn.
    John C. Butler 451k 01 March 1945: Two views of USS John C. Butler (DE 339), operating west of Iwo Jima, coming alongside and transferring personnel from USS Sargent Bay (CVE 83) for further transfer to the island itself.

    (U.S. Navy Photo #80-G-264041 and #80-G-321517 from the United States National Archives)
    Mike Green
    Port Angeles, Wash.
    John C. Butler 517k
    John C. Butler 112k 23 March 1945: Ulithi Atoll, the Caroline Islands - Detail view of stern racks and smoke tanks aboard USS John C. Butler (DE 339) at Ulithi. Butler is moored starboard to starboard with USS Ringgold (DD 500) and tender USS Cascade (AD 16). Ulithi Atoll consists of 40 islets totalling 1.7 square miles, surrounding a lagoon about 22 miles long and up to 15 miles wide. At 212 square miles, Ulithi is one of the largest atolls in the world. It was the U.S. Navy's major staging area for the Western Pacific battles of 1944 and 1945.

    (Photo from the Lt. Dwight Spayth collection, DD500)
    John Chiquoine
    West Chester, Pa.

    John C. Butler History
    View the USS John C. Butler (DE 339) DANFS history entry located on the Naval History and Heritage Command web site.
    View the official War History of USS John C. Butler as submitted by the ship at war's end.
    View the Okinawa Air Engagement Report of USS John C. Butler.
    View the Adm. Clifton Sprague and Task Unit 77.4.3 Memorial
    This monument is dedicated to the memory of Vice Admiral Clifton A. F. Sprague and the 13 ships and 7,300 men of Task Unit 77.4.3,
    also known as "Taffy 3," which were under his command during the Battle off Samar, 25 October 1944 during the Battle for Leyte Gulf.

    John C. Butler's Commanding Officers
    Thanks to Wolfgang Hechler
    Dates of Command Commanding Officers
    1.) 31 Mar. 1944 - 02 Jun. 1945Lcdr. John Edward Pace, USN (Comm. CO) (USNA '37) (Rye N.Y.)
    2.) 02 Jun. 1945 - .. Mar. 1946Lcdr. Charles Williamson Jenkins, USN (USNA '39) (Noblesville, Ind.)
    3.) .. Mar. 1946 – .. May 1946Lt.(jg) Rolla James Gittins, USNR
    4.) .. May 1946 - 26 Jun. 1946Lt.(jg) Robert Bonaguidi, USNR (Berwyn, Ill.)
    5.) no datesLcdr. Willam J. Coleman (OCS ‘43) (Los Angeles, Cal.)
    6.) ~1957Lcdr. Lester Emanuel George Setser (Gravette, Alaska)

    Crew Contact And Reunion Information

    Contact Name: F. F. "Jeff" Conley
    Address: 13 Dunedin Lane
    City/State: Bella Vista AR 72715
    Phone: (501) 855-6406
    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

    Website of the John C. Butler (DE 339) Chapter of DESA, Phoenix AZ
    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
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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: 25 May 2020