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USS Richard W. Suesens (DE 342)

Flag Hoist / Radio Call Sign:
N - H - S - U
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/ 5 stars
Second Row: World War II Victory Medal - Navy Occupation Service Medal - Philippine Liberation Ribbon w/ 1 star

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
Richard W. Suesens (DE 342) Building and Operational Data:
  • 01 November 1943: Keel laid at the Consolidated Steel Co., Orange, Tex.
  • 11 January 1944: Launched and christened, sponsored by Mrs. Margaret Jean Suesens, widow of Lieutenant (junior grade) Suesens
  • 26 April 1944: Commissioned at the City Docks, Orange, Texas; Lcdr. Milford McQuilkin in command
  • 29 June 1944: Steaming north of Cuttyhunk Island in Buzzard’s Bay, Massachusetts, at 2148 hours, Suesens struck USS Valor (AMc 108). Valor sank in three minutes taking two officers and five men down with her.
  • March 1946: Placed "In Commission, In Reserve" at San Diego, Cal.
  • 27 November 1946: Inactivation completed at San Diego, Cal., assigned to Submarine Group Two, San Diego Group, Pacific Reserve Fleet
  • 15 January 1947: Decommissioned at San Diego, Cal. after 2 years and 9 months of service, having steamed 120,000 miles, she was credited with destroying 7 Japanese aircraft
  • 15 March 1972: Struck from the NVR
  • 13 June 1973: Sold for scrapping to the National Metal and Steel Corp., Terminal Island, Cal.
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    Richard W. Suesens

    Richard W. Suesens

    Richard W. Suesens

    31k Richard Wayne was the eldest child of John Frederick and Martha Sophia Durand Suesens who married 17 December 1913 in Burlington, Iowa. Richard's siblings were Kenneth Glenn, Beulah Mae, John Frank "Tom," Doris Jane "Dode," and Martha Louise Suesens. Richard's father owned a tinning shop. He died unexpectedly of pneumonia on 19 February 1930 leaving his widow and six children ages 4-15 to make their way through the uncertainty and anxiety of the Great Depression. It wasn't until she married Horace E. Voelker on 15 January 1937 in Peoria, Ill. that she received additional support. Unfortunately, their marriage didn't endure the test of time and they were divorced within several years. However, from this union a daughter, Jean, was born on 13 September 1938 in Vancouver, Wash. It is truly remarkable that most of Martha's children were high school graduates and most went on to some college experience. Their mother must have been a force to be reckoned with. By Sept 1938, Martha and her family packed up their stuff in Burlington, Ia. and moved to Vancouver, Wash. where she remained until her death on 26 March 1965. She was interred in Aspen Grove Cemetery, Burlington, Iowa.

    Richard Suesens was a football and basketball standout at Burlington High School where he graduated on 06 June 1932. Continuing his education Richard graduated from the Burlington Junior College in May 1935 and Iowa State college at Ames, in May 1937. He graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and was a student member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers at Iowa State. He was also a member of Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity and played football at Iowa State. Richard married Margaret Jean Ita (Burlington HS class 1934 and Burlington Junior College class 1936.) on 03 November 1940 at the First Congregational Church in Burlington. After their marriage the couple made their home on Coronado Island, San Diego, Cal. After Lt.(jg) Suesens' death his widow married Joseph A. Lancaster on 09 March 1946 in Rochester, N.Y. She died on 30 March 2005 in New Hampshire.

    Richard Wayne Suesens enlisted in the U.S. Navy Volunteer Reserve Flight Training Program (V-5) on 31 May 1938. He received orders for temporary active duty at the Naval Reserve Aviation Base (NRAB), Minneapolis as a Seaman Second Class (S2c) to undergo elimination training beginning on 16 June 1938. After he completed that training in mid-July he was ordered home to await further orders. In September he received orders from the Secretary of the Navy to report to the Commandant, Naval Air Station (NAS), Pensacola, Fla., after he accepted appointment as an Aviation Cadet (AVCAD). He returned to NRAB, Minneapolis where he was discharged from enlisted status as a S2c on 02 October 1938. The following day he accepted the appointment and executed the oath of office as an AVCAD. He began his primary flight training under instruction on 31 October 1938 in Pensacola.   (CONTINUED....)

    USS Richard W. Suesens (DE 342) (1944-1947) was the first ship to be named in his honor.

    (Photo cut from U.S. Navy photo #NH 95554 from the Naval History and Heritage Command)

    Gerry Lawton
    Commander, USN (ret.)
    Saluda, N.C.

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    Missing In Action
    Richard W. Suesens
    101k '44-'45 (Photos © William H. Wade) William H. Wade
    SOM2c, 43-46
    Richard W. Suesens
    Richard W. Suesens
    311k 1973: Vallejo, Cal. - 4 DE's (left to right: ex-Gentry DE 349, ex-Kendall C. Campbell DE 443, ex-Hanna DE 449, ex-Richard W. Suesens DE 342), all heading to the scrap yard. Photo from the DOD sealed bid offering dated 14 November 1973. Ed Zajkowski
    Tim Rizzuto

    Richard W. Suesens History
    View the USS Richard W. Suesens (DE 342) DANFS history entry located on the Naval History and Heritage Command web site.
    View the official War History of USS Richard W. Suesens as submitted by the ship at war's end.

    Richard W. Suesens' Commanding Officers
    Thanks to Wolfgang Hechler
    Dates of Command Commanding Officers
    1.) 26 Apr. 1944 – 01 Sep. 1944Lcdr. Milford McQuilkin, USNR (Comm. CO)
    2.) 01 Sep. 1944 – 03 Dec. 1945Lcdr. Robert Wallace Graham, USNR (USNA ‘34) (Milton, Mass.) (ret. as Radm.)
    3.) 03 Dec. 1945 - .. .... 1946Lt. John A. Ditz, USNR (Stockton, Cal.)
    4.) .. .... 19466 - 16 Jun. 1946Lt.(jg) Martin Dies III, USNR (Jasper, Tex.)
    5.) 16 Jun. 1946 - .. .... 1946Lcdr. Augustus Knight Jr., USN
    5.) .. .... 1946 - 15 Jan. 1947Lcdr. Gordon Ripley Keating, USN (Decomm. CO)

    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, rosters, or deck logs available. Please see the
    Frequently Asked Questions section on NavSource's Main Page for that information.

    Additional Resources

    Steve Wades' USS Richard W. Suesens Home Page
    Tin Can Sailors
    The U.S. Navy Memorial
    Destroyer Escort Sailors Association
    The Destroyer Escort Historical Museum
    The Destroyer History Foundation

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    Page Last Updated: 11 May 2021