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Attacked by Kamikazes off Okinawa - 24 of
her crew were lost and remain on eternal duty

USS Oberrender (DE 344)

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

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row: Combat Action Ribbon
Second Row: American Campaign Medal - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal w/ 3 stars - World War II Victory Medal

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
Oberrender (DE 344) Building and Operational Data:
  • 08 November 1943: Keel laid at the Consolidated Steel Corporation, Orange, Tex.
  • 18 January 1944: Launched and christened, sponsored by Mrs. Muriel Elinor (Colthurst) Oberrender, widow of Lt. Cmdr. Oberrender
  • 11 May 1944: Commissioned at City Docks, Orange, Tex.; Lcdr. Samuel Spencer, USNR in command
  • 10 November 1944: Heavily damaged while at Seeadler Harbor, Manus Islands, while anchored 1100 yards away when USS Mount Hood (AE 11) exploded
  • 09 May 1945: Irreparably damaged by Kamikaze aircraft off Okinawa with 24 crewmembers killed, wounded, or missing
  • 11 July 1945: Decommissioned at Kerama Retto after being towed there for inspection and repair
  • 25 July 1945: Struck from the NVR
  • 06 November 1945: Hulk was scuttled off Kerama Retto
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    Thomas Olin Oberrender Jr. was born to Thomas Olin and Helen (Graaf) Oberrender in DuBois, Pa. on 24 September 1906. Appointed to the Naval Academy, where he acquired the nickname "Dutch", he graduated with the Class of 1927. After graduating and being appointed ensign he served in the cruiser USS Rochester (CA 2), the gunboat Tulsa (PG 22), and the destroyer Rizal (DD 174). After his promotion to lieutenant (junior grade) he served for a short time as gunnery officer of Finch (AM 9) and then John D. Ford (DD 228). In late 1931 he was assigned to the cruiser USS Louisville (CL 28) where he served until he was enrolled in the U.S Naval Academy Post-Graduate School in July of 1934.

    Upon completion of Post-Graduate School in June 1936 he transferred to the battleship USS Nevada (BB 36) and was promoted to Lieutenant in early 1937. In mid-1938 he transferred to Hull (DD 350), serving as her engineering officer until he was transferred in June of 1940 to the New York Shipbuilding Corporation in Camden, New Jersey. Upon completion of that assignment, he then went to the Pre-Commissioning Unit of the future USS Juneau (CL 52) at the Federal Shipyard in Kearny, New Jersey. When Juneau was commissioned on 12 February 1942, then Lieutenant Commander Oberrender served as her Engineering Officer. Juneau departed for the Pacific Theater of operations on 22 August 1942.

    Her first major action was the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands on 26 October. On 08 November Juneau departed Nouméa, New Caledonia, as a unit of TF 67 (Radm. R. K. Turner) to escort reinforcements to Guadalcanal. Later in the day of 12 November, an American attack group of cruisers and destroyers cleared Guadalcanal on reports that a large enemy surface force was headed for the island. At 0148 on 13 November, Radm. Daniel J. Callaghan's relatively small landing support group engaged the enemy. The Japanese force consisted of two battleships, one light cruiser, and nine destroyers. Because of bad weather and confused communications, the battle occurred in pitch darkness and point-blank range, as the ships of both sides became intermingled. During the melee, Juneau was struck on the port side by a torpedo from the Japanese destroyer Amatsukaze, causing a severe list, and necessitating withdrawal. Before noon on 13 November, Juneau, along with two other cruisers damaged in the battle, Helena and San Francisco headed toward Espiritu Santo for repairs. Juneau was steaming on one screw, down 12 feet by the bow, but able to maintain 13 knots.

    A few minutes after 1100, two torpedoes were launched from submarine IJN I-26. Intended for San Francisco, both passed ahead of her. One struck Juneau in the same place she had been hit previously. After a great explosion; Juneau broke in two and disappeared in just 20 seconds. Missing forever, Lieutenant Commander Oberrender is memorialized on the Wall of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery in Rizal, Philippines. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart.

    USS Oberrender (DE 344) (1944-1945) was the first ship to be named in his honor.

    (Photo from the U.S. Naval Academy Yearbook; The Lucky Bag, Class of 1927.)
    Bill Gonyo
    Downey, Cal.
    Oberrender 190k 15 July 1944: Boston Harbor - Two views of the U.S. Navy destroyer escort USS Oberrender (DE 344) off Boston, Massachusetts. She is painted in camouflage measure 32, design 22D. Oberrender had been in the Boston Navy Yard from 02 July to 14 July undergoing a post-shakedown yard availability. She departed the yard on the afternoon of 15 July enroute to Norfolk, Va.

    (U.S. Navy photo #80-G-382879 and BuShips #BS 132048 from the National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Md.)
    Oberrender 113k
    Oberrender 138k 10 November 1944: Seeadler Harbor, Manus, Admiralty Islands - Just after the explosion of USS Mount Hood (AE 11). Small craft gathered around Mindanao (ARG 3) during salvage and rescue efforts shortly after Mount Hood blew up about 350 yards away from Mindanao's port side. Mindanao, and seven motor minesweepers (YMS) moored to her starboard side, were damaged by the blast, as were USS Alhena (AKA 9), in the photo's top left center, and Oberrender, in top right. Note the extensive oil slick, with tracks through it made by small craft.

    (Copied from the War Diary, Manus Naval Base, for November 1944;
    U.S. Navy photo #NH 95405 from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command)
    Fred Weiss

    Oberrender History
    View the USS Oberrender (DE 344) DANFS history entry located on the Naval History and Heritage Command web site.

    Oberrender's Commanding Officers
    Thanks to Wolfgang Hechler & Ron Reeves
    Dates of Command Commanding Officers
    1.) 11 May 1944 - 11 Jul. 1945Lcdr. Samuel Spencer, USNR (Washington, D.C.)

    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

    Tin Can Sailors
    The U.S. Navy Memorial
    Destroyer Escort Sailors Association
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    The Destroyer History Foundation
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    Page Last Updated: 28 May 2020