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Navsource Online: Destroyer Escort Photo Archive

Left patch courtesy of Gary Taibbi, others from Mike Smolinski

USS Hissem (DE 400)

Flag Hoist / Radio Call Sign:
N - H - V - N
Tactical Voice Radio Call: "Perth Amboy"

Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row: Combat Action Ribbon (retroactive)
Second Row: Navy Expeditionary Medal - American Campaign Medal - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
Third Row: European-Africa-Middle East Campaign Medal w/ 1 star - World War II Victory Medal - Navy Occupation Service Medal
Fourth Row: National Defense Service Medal - Antarctica Service Ribbon - Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Fifth Row: Vietnam Service Medal w/ 6 stars - Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation w/ 2 stars - Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal

Class: Edsall
Type: FMR (geared diesel, Fairbanks-Morse reverse gear drive, 3" guns)
Displacement: 1200 tons (light), 1590 tons (full)
Length: 300' (wl), 306' (oa)
Beam: 36' 10" (extreme)
Draft: 20' 6" (draft limit)
Propulsion: 4 Fairbanks-Morse Mod. 38d81/8 geared diesel engines, 4 diesel-generators, 6000 shp, 2 screws
Speed: 21 kts
Range: 9,100 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: 8 / 201
Hissem (DE 400) Building and Operational Data:
  • 06 October 1943: Keel laid by the Brown Shipbuilding Co., Houston, Tex.
  • 26 December 1943: Launched and christened, sponsored by Miss Elizabeth D. Hissem, sister of Ensign Hissem
  • 13 January 1944: Commissioned, Lcdr W. W. Low in command
  • 15 June 1946: Decommissioned at Green Cove Springs, Fla. after 2.4 years of service
  • 21 October 1955: Reclassified as DER 400 and converted at the Boston Naval Shipyard
  • 31 August 1956: Recommissioned at Boston
  • early 1965: Homeport assignment changed to Pearl Harbor, Hi.
  • 15 May 1970: Decommissioned after 13.8 years of service
  • 01 June 1975: Struck from the NVR with a total of 16.2 years of service (When the ship was struck from the Navy list, the ship's bell was given to the city of Mt. Carrol, Illinois, where Ensign Hissem was born.)
  • 24 February 1982: Sunk as target off California
    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Contributed
    By And/Or Copyright
    hissem 8k Joseph Metcalf Hissem was born 31 December 1917 in Mt. Carroll, Ill., and enlisted in the Naval Reserve 9 January 1941. Following flight training he was appointed Ensign 30 August 1941. Though he was assigned to a patrol squadron in Hawaii, Ensign Hissem volunteered for temporary duty with Torpedo Squadron 8. Thus he found himself at a turning point in history, the Battle of Midway, 4-5 June 1942. In the first attack in the pivotal battle between carrier fleets, Hissem and his squadron took off from Hornet, and without fighter protection pressed home an attack on the Japanese carriers. Enduring a withering fire the aircraft maintained the offensive until all were shot down. Although no ships were sunk in the gallant attack, they diverted air cover and forced a re-arming of Japanese planes which brought victory for the U.S. fleet. Ensign Hissem was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross and the Purple Heart for his heroism. He is listed Missing in Action or Buried at Sea on the Tablets of the Missing at Honolulu Memorial Cemetery, Honolulu, Hawaii.

    USS Hissem (DE 400) (1944-1970) was the first ship to be named in his honor.

    (U.S. Navy photo from Steve Hissem)
    Bill GonyoDowney, Cal.
    Hissem 97k undated wartime image DESA Archives
    Hissem 139k from "All Hands" magazine, circa 1956 Stanley Svec
    Hissem 67k 17 January 1957 -
    Hissem 89k undated, but more than likely prior to her transfer to Pearl Harbor Carlos Manuel Estrela
    Ponta Delgada, Azores Islands
    Hissem 165k July 1964: Charlestown, Mass. - Hissem in drydock at the Boston Naval Shipyard. She's undergoing overhaul prior to departing for her homeport change to Pearl Harbor. Gary Taibbi
    SK1, USN (ret.)
    ***Camp / Kretchmer*** 50k 28 July 1965: Pearl Harbor, Hawaii - USS Kretchmer (DER 329), USS Camp (DER 251), and Hissem (DER 400) mooring at Pearl Harbor Naval Station. All three ships left Newport, R.I. on Wednesday 7 July 1965 headed for Operation Market Time in South Vietnam.
    (U.S. Navy Photo by PH3 Robert L. Ziesler)
    Allan M. Wilson
    USS Kretchmer
    1964 - 1968
    Hissem 79k 1967: Pearl Harbor Ramon Jackson
    Hissem 75k date / location unknown Bob Hurst
    Worksop, Nottinghamshire,
    England, United Kingdom
    Hissem 244k 30 September 1981: The former radar picket destroyer escort Hissem (DER-400) at anchor as target ship. At right is the British nuclear-powered attack submarine HMS Courageous (S50) as the submarine makes assessments of the Harpoon missile damage aboard Hissem during testing.
    (U.S. Navy photo VIRIN#DN-SC-82-09014 by Lewis Mitchell, USN, from U.S. Defense Imagery)

    Hissem Memorabilia
    Courtesy of
    Gary Taibbi
    Viet Nam Cruise
    Courtesy of
    Gary Taibbi
    1965-66 Viet Nam
    Cruise Itinerary
    Courtesy of
    Gary Taibbi
    Courtesy of
    Nick Tiberio

    Hissem History
    View the USS Hissem (DE 400) DANFS history entry located on the Naval History and Heritage Command web site.

    Hissem's Commanding Officers
    Thanks to Wolfgang Hechler & Ron Reeves
    Dates of Command Commanding Officers
    1.)  13 Jan. 1944 - 23 Nov. 1945Lcdr. William Whittemore Low, USNR (Comm. CO) (New Haven, Conn.)
    2.)  23 Nov. 1945 09 Apr. 1946Lt. Ralph Martin Stair (USNA '43) (Knoxville, Tenn.)
    3.)  09 Apr. 1946 01 Jun. 1946Lt. Robert Kenneth Gess (USNA '44) (Milwaukee, Wis.)
    4.)  01 Jun. 1946 05 Jun. 1946Ens. Albin Alex Mikolatis (Decomm. CO)
    5.)  31 Aug. 1958 - 17 Nov. 1958Lcdr. Jack Lions Wohler (Recomm. CO) (USNA '44) (Portsmouth, Oh.)
    6.)  17 Nov. 1958 - 04 Jun. 1960Lcdr. Delbert David Grantham (USNA '47) (Albuquerque, N.M.)
    7.)  04 Jun. 1960 - 28 Sep. 1961Lcdr. Daniel Joseph Costello
    8.)  28 Sep. 1961 - 15 Feb. 1963Lcdr. Richard John Dermody
    9.)  15 Feb. 1963 - 10 Dec. 1964Lcdr. Richard Kern Fontaine (USNA '51) (Minneapolis, Minn,) (ret. as Radm.)
    10.) 10 Dec. 1964 - 15 Dec. 1966Lt. Ronald Irwin Dean
    11.) 15 Dec. 1966 - 04 Oct. 1968Cmdr. James Alden Barber, Jr. (Poplar Bluff, Mo.)
    12.) 04 Oct. 1968 - 15 May 1970Cmdr. Morton (Jim) Egner Toole (Decomm. CO) (Ft. Leavenworth, Kan.) (ret. as Radm.)

    Crew Contact And Reunion Information

    Last Known Reunion:
    October 2015 at Orlando, Fla.
    Hissem Reunion Website

    Contact Name: Bob Morstadt
    Address: 24 Lido Blvd. / Lake Grove NY 11755
    E-mail: rmorstadt 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, rosters, or deck logs available. Please see the
    Frequently Asked Questions section on NavSource's Main Page for that information.

    Additional Resources

    USS Hissem Website
    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 Hissem

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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: 17 February 2018