Please Report Any Broken Links Or Trouble You Might Come Across To The Webmaster
Please Take A Moment To Let Us Know So That We Can Correct Any Problems And Make Your Visit As Enjoyable And As Informative As Possible.

Navsource Online: Destroyer Escort Photo Archive

USS Witter (DE 636)

Flag Hoist / Radio Call Sign:
N - K - X - O
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
Second Row: Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal w/ 2 stars - WWII Victory 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
Witter (DE 636) Building and Operational Data:
  • 28 April 1943: Keel laid at the Bethlehem Steel Shipyard Corp., San Francisco, Cal.
  • 17 October 1943: Launched and christened, sponsored by Mrs. Jean C. Witter
  • 29 December 1943: Commissioned by Captain William C. Gaddis, USN (ret.), Cmdr. Alan C. Davis, USNR, in command
  • Scheduled conversion to APD 58 never carried out
  • 29 October 1945: Decommissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard after 1 year and 10 months of service
  • 16 November 1945: Struck from the NVR
  • 2 December 1946: Sold for scrapping to the Northern Metals Co. of Philadelphia, Pa.
    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Contributed
    By And/Or Copyright


    7k Jean Carter Witter, born in San Francisco, Cal. on 31 January 1921, matriculated at the University of California at Berkeley in September 1938. He was a member of the national fraternity Zeta Psi. He graduated in the spring of 1942 and was commissioned an ensign in the United States Naval Reserve on 13 May 1942 as a result of his completion of the NROTC program at the university. On 25 May, he reported to the Commandant, 12th Naval District for temporary duty while awaiting transportation to permanent duty in USS San Francisco (CA 38) then active in the Pacific. Once on board the heavy cruiser, Ens. Witter participated in the assault on Guadalcanal and Tulagi early in August. He was present when Wasp (CV 7) was torpedoed, and he fought in the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. Ens. Witter was killed during the brutal night action off Cape Esperance on the night of 12 and 13 November 1942 as a result of one of the more than 45 shell hits suffered by his ship. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart having been killed in action as a direct result of wounds received in action with the enemy of the United States. His other awards received posthumously included the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; American Defense Service Medal; and the World War II Victory Medal.

    USS Witter (DE 636) (1943-1945) was the first ship to be named in his honor.

    (Photo from the University of California Berkeley yearbook; Blue and Gold, Class of 1942.)
    Bill Gonyo
    Downey, Cal.

    Assoc. Researcher
    66k January 1944: starboard bow view, underway on shakedown off the coast of California.

    (National Archive #19-N-62176)
    Joseph Ogrodnik
    Chicopee, Mass.
    61k January 1944: starboard stern view, underway on shakedown off the coast of California.

    (National Archive #19-N-62177)
    68k January 1944: port broadside view, underway on shakedown off the coast of California.

    (National Archive #19-N-62175)
    474k 08 March 1944: San Francisco, Cal. - A port broadside view of Witter taken in waters off the Bethlehem Steel Shipyard in San Francisco.

    (U.S. Navy photos #CP-DE-636 19-N-62175 from the National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Md.; courtesy of  Chris Wright)
    Ed Zajkowski
    Narvon, Pa.
    247k 09 April 1945: Kerama Retto, Tokashiki, Japan - USS Rodman (DMS 21) and USS Witter (DE 636) receiving repairs at Kerama Retto. Both had been hit by kamikaze attacks on 06 April off Okinawa.

    (U.S. Naval Historical Center photo #NH 69111 from the Naval History and Heritage Command)
    Mike Green
    Port Angeles, Wash.
    64k May 1945: docked off Okinawa - After being hit by "Kamikaze" on 6 April 1945.

    (Philadelphia Navy Yard #1621-45)
    Joseph Ogrodnik
    Chicopee, Mass.
    116k May 1945: docked off Okinawa - Engineering Officer Bruno Naczkowski inspects damage after being hit by "Kamikaze" on 6 April 1945.

    Witter History
    View the USS Witter (DE 636) DANFS history entry located on the Naval History and Heritage Command web site.

    Witter's Commanding Officers
    Thanks to Wolfgang Hechler
    Dates of Command Commanding Officers
    1.) 29 Dec. 1943 - 06 Jul. 1944Cmdr. Alan C. Davis, USNR
    2.) 06 Jul. 1944 - 29 Oct. 1945 - Lt. George Herrman III, USNR

    Crew Contact And Reunion Information

    Witter's Next and FINAL Reunion:
    09 - 11 July 2008 at Albany, N.Y.
    Contact Name: Joseph Ogrodnik, USS Witter Reunion Group Historian
    Address: 26 Lagadia St.
    City/State: Chicopee MA 01020-1428
    Phone: (413) 598-8595

    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
    The Destroyer Escort Historical Museum
    The Destroyer History Foundation

    To The DE, FF, LCS Photo Index Page
    Back To The Main Photo Index

    Comments, Suggestions, E-mail: Webmaster.

    This Page Created And Maintained By Mike Smolinski
    All pages copyright Navsource Naval History
    by Paul R. Yarnall, All Rights Reserved.
    Page Last Updated: 19 June 2019