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Navsource Online: Destroyer Escort Photo Archive

USS Ahrens (DE 575)

Flag Hoist / Radio Call Sign:
N - T - P - I
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/ 2 stars
Second Row: World War II Victory Medal - Navy Occupation Service Medal - Philippine Liberation Ribbon

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
Ahrens (DE 575) Building and Operational Data:
  • 05 November 1943: Keel laid by the Bethlehem-Hingham Shipyard Co., Hingham, Mass.
  • 21 December 1943: Launched and christened, sponsored by Mrs. Marie Ahrens, the mother of Private First Class Ahrens
  • 12 February 1944: Commissioned at Hingham, Mass., Lcdr. Morgan H. Harris, USNR in command
  • 24 June 1946: Decommissioned at Green Cove Springs, Fla. after 2 years and 4 months of service
  • 01 April 1965: Struck from the NVR
  • 20 January 1967: Sold, scrapped
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    76k Edward H. Ahrens was born on 04 November 1919 in Dayton, Kentucky. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps on 03 February 1942 in Cincinnati, Ohio, and underwent boot camp training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina. He transferred to the Marine Barracks Quantico, Virginia on 16 March 1942. Assigned to Company "A", 1st Raider Battalion, Fleet Marine Force, soon thereafter, Ahrens landed with that unit from USS Little (APD 4) at Tulagi, Guadalcanal, British Solomon Islands, in the second assault wave on 07 August 1942. With Company "C", 1st Raider Battalion, securing the right flank on the beachhead, Company "A" moved inland and down the right slope of Tulagi's central ridge. Initially, the Marines were not opposed.

    That evening, Company "A" took positions for the night west of a cricket ground on the island, as part of the defensive line extending along the ridge. The Japanese later launched a fierce nocturnal counterattack which drove a wedge between the two Raider companies. Isolating the latter near the beachhead, the enemy concentrated his efforts on Company "A" in an attempt to sweep up the ridge toward the residency, a former British government building serving as a Raider battalion command post. The Raiders, however, stood firm. During the savage battle that ensued, Ahrens, in a security detachment assigned the task of protecting the Raiders' right flank, singlehandedly engaged a group of Japanese in hand-to-hand combat as they attempted to infiltrate the Raiders' rear.

    At morning's first light, Major Lew Walt walked his lines to assess Able Company's condition. "I came across a foxhole occupied by Private First Class Ahrens, a small man of about 140 pounds... He was slumped in one corner of the foxhole covered with blood from head to foot. In the foxhole with him were two dead Japs, a lieutenant and a sergeant. There were eleven more dead Japs on the ground in front of his position. In his hands he clutched the dead officer's sword." Ahrens was dying from multiple gunshot and stab wounds. His last whispered words, according to Walt: "The bastards tried to come over me last night - I guess they didn't know I was a Marine." Private First Class Edward H. Ahrens, twenty-two, unmarried, from Dayton, Kentucky, died in Major Walt's arms. For his part in stopping the enemy, Ahrens, who died of his wounds on 08 August, was posthumously awarded a Navy Cross as well as a share of the Presidential Unit Citation earned by the 1st Marine Division.

    USS Ahrens (DE 575) (1944-1946) was the first ship to be named in his honor.          (Photo and biography from Steve Ahrens posted at Find-A-Grave.)
    Mike Smolinski
    Clifton, N.J.

    Archive Manager
    DE / FF / LCS Archive
    51k 13 May 1944: the Atlantic - USS Ahrens (DE 575) underway, painted in measure 22.

    (Photo by F.B. Larrack from USS Bogue [CVE 9], Photo# 80-G-266487)
    Nick Tiberio
    Shelton, Conn.
    111k My Grandfather, Ralph P. Terrill, commissioned renown wildlife artist Gordon Grant in 1945 to do this watercolor of the USS Ahrens as a gift to my father (Ralph D. Terrill, Seaman 2nd) upon his return from the Navy.
    (Photo © Gordon Grant 1945)
    William D. Terrill

    Ahrens History
    View the USS Ahrens (DE 575) DANFS history entry located on the Naval History and Heritage Command web site.
    View the official War History of USS Ahrens as submitted by the ship at war's end.

    Ahrens' Commanding Officers
    Thanks to Wolfgang Hechler & Ron Reeves
    Dates of Command Commanding Officers
    1.) 12 Feb. 1944 - 30 Jun. 1944Lcdr. Morgan H. Harris, USNR (Comm. CO)
    2.) 30 Jun. 1944 - .. Jan. 1946Lcdr. William John Rogers Jr., USN (USNA '41) (Tacoma, Wash.)
    3.) .. Jan. 1946 - 24 Jun. 1946Lt. John F. Ackerman, USNR (Decomm. CO)

    Crew Contact And Reunion Information

    Contact Name: "Smiley" Burnette
    E-mail: Smiley Burnette
    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

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    The U.S. Navy Memorial
    Destroyer Escort Sailors Association
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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: 18 February 2023