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Navsource Online: Destroyer Escort Photo Archive

Ship's Patches Courtesy of Mike Smolinski

USS Tills (DE 748)

Flag Hoist/Radio Call Sign:
N - Z - W - V
Tactical Voice Radio Call: "College Park"
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row: Combat Action Ribbon (retroactive) - Navy Expeditionary Medal (Cuba) - American Campaign Medal
Second Row: Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal w/ 2 stars - WWII Victory Medal - National Defense Service Medal w/ 1 star

Class: Cannon
Type: DET (diesel-electric tandem motor drive, long hull, 3" guns)
Displacement: 1240 tons (light), 1620 tons (full)
Length: 300' (wl), 306' (oa)
Beam: 36' 10" (extreme)
Draft: 10' 6" (draft limit)
Propulsion: 4 GM Mod. 16-278A diesel engines with electric drive, 6000 shp, 2 screws
Speed: 21 kts
Range: 10,800 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 / 201
Tills (DE 748) Building and Operational Data:
  • 23 June 1943: Keel laid by the Western Steel and Pipe Co., San Pedro, Calif.
  • 03 October 1943: Launched and christened, sponsored by Miss Helen Irene Tills, the sister of the late Ensign Robert G. Tills
  • 08 August 1944: Commissioned, Lcdr. James L. Brooks, USNR, in command
  • June 1946: Decommissioned at Green Cove Springs, Fla. after 1 year and 10 months of service
  • 1947: Placed "in service, in reserve", assigned to the Seventh Naval District as NRT ship at Miami, Fla.
  • 21 November 1950: Recommissioned, Lcdr. Elmo R. Zumwalt in command, assigned to the Sixth Naval District as NRT ship at Charleston, S.C.
  • 01 May 1958: Reassigned to the First Naval District as NRT ship at Boston, Mass.
  • 01 September 1959: Reassigned as NRT ship at South Portland, Me.
  • 18 October 1959: Decommissioned at the Maine State Pier, Portland, Me., placed "in service, in reserve" as a unit of the Selected Reserve Training Program. Administrative control shifted to Commandant, 1st Naval District.
  • 01 October 1961: Recommissioned in response to the Berlin Crisis, Lcdr. W. L. Rich, USNR, in command, homeported at Norfolk,Va. as a unit of Escort Squadron 12
  • 01 August 1962: Decommissioned, placed "in service, in reserve", at South Portland, Me., returned to NRT status as a unit of Reserve Destroyer Squadron 30 (ResDesDiv 303)
  • 21 September 1968: Placed "out of service, in reserve" at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard after 21 years and 6 months of service, struck from the NVR with a total of 23 years and 4 months of service
  • 03 April 1969: Sunk as a target off the Virginia coast
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    7k Robert George Tills was born in Manitowoc, Wis., on 09 March 1918. Enlisting in the Naval Reserve as a seaman 2c on 24 May 1937, he reported for duty on 14 June. Tills was appointed an aviation cadet on 03 August 1938 and reported to the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Fla., for flight training on 26 August 1938. On 18 September 1939 Tills was commissioned an ensign in the Naval Reserve, and reported to Patrol Wing 2, Patrol Squadron 21, on 05 December. On 14 April 1941, Tills was augmented to regular Navy and commissioned as ensign. Ensign Tills was flying neutrality patrols with Patrol Wing 10, based on the tender Langley (AV 3) in the Philippines at Cavite. With war imminent, CinC, Asiatic Fleet, Adm. Thomas C. Hart, deployed his surface units to the southward, away from the Manila Bay anchorages in reach of Japanese land-based bombers on Formosa. As part of this southern movement, William B. Preston (AVD 7) received orders dispatching her to Malalag Bay, near Davao Gulf, on the southeastern coast of Mindanao. Dropping anchor on 01 December, she served as an advance base for three PBY's assigned the duty of patrolling the eastern reaches of the Celebes Sea. Ensign Tills flew one of the Catalinas, and the planes alternated on aerial reconnaissance flights. Early on 08 December 1941, a radio dispatch crackled over the airwaves into the destroyer-seaplane tender's radio room: "Japan started hostilities; govern yourselves accordingly." The terse message alerted all hands, and William B. Preston and her planes prepared for war.

    One plane took off immediately to search the seas for signs of the Japanese; while the other two, including the one to which Tills was attached, remained in the serene waters of Malalag Bay, their crews ready to take off at once. William B. Preston shifted her anchorage from the two Catalinas to lessen the chances that one bomb, aimed at the ship, would also damage the aircraft. Anxious eyes peered intently into the lightening skies for signs of Nipponese aircraft. Shortly before 0800, nine Mitsubishi A5M4 "Claudes" from Japanese carrier Ryujo, escorting 13 Nakajima D3A-1 "Vals," swept around the narrow point of land screening Malalag Bay from Davao Gulf. Leaving the destroyer seaplane tender alone for the time being, the "Claudes" strafed the helpless PBY's, turning them into collanders of metal and fabric and setting them afire. Ensign Robert Tills died in the fusillade of bullets from the Japanese strafers, the first American naval officer killed in the defense of the Philippines.          Click Here For Additional Information Page On Ens. Tills

    USS Tills (DE 748) (1944-1968) was the first ship to be named in his honor.

    (Photo courtesy of the Tills Family.)
    Richard Leonhardt
    Bethlehem, Pa.
    589k June 1944: San Diego, Cal. - USS Tills (DE 748) in a view taken off San Diego, California.

    (U.S. Navy photo #19-N-78079 from the National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Md.)
    Mike Smolinski
    Clifton, N.J.

    Manager, Navsource
    DE / FF / LCS Archive
    42k 27 August 1944: San Pedro, Cal. - Starboard side view of USS Tills (DE 748) underway in San Pedro Bay. Tills is wearing Measure 31/10D camouflage scheme.

    (U.S. Navy, Bureau of Ships Photo #BS 70882 from the United States National Archives)
    Nick Tiberio
    Shelton, Conn.
    498k 27 August 1944: San Pedro, Cal. - Port side view of USS Tills off San Pedro, California.

    (U.S. Navy Photo #19-N-78078 from the United States National Archives)
    Mike Green
    Port Angeles, Wash.
    682k 27 August 1944: San Pedro, Cal. - USS Tills (DE 748) underway in San Pedro Bay, California. She is painted in camouflage Measure 32, Design 10D (a modification of that design as prepared for the DE-51 class).

    (U.S. Naval Historical Center photo #NH 107525 from the Naval History and Heritage Command)
    Mike Smolinski
    Clifton, N.J.

    Manager, Navsource
    DE / FF / LCS Archive
    145k undated wartime image Robert Dunn
    95k Tills and USS Roberts (DE 749) going through the Panama Canal during WWII, taken from USS Hemminger (DE 746) Robert Taylor
    51k undated: Hemminger and Tills in drydock.
    71k Tills underway in the Pacific during WWII. Note her "Homeward Bound" pennant trailing over the ship. Taken from Hemminger
    402k 11 October 1944: A port beam view of Tills underway slowly off San Pedro, Cal.

    (Photo courtesy of  Chris Wright)
    Ed Zajkowski
    Narvon, Pa.
    81k undated wartime image (I found this photo in my Dad's things, he was a seagoing Marine in WWII, PFC Robert Dale Gray.) Donald Jones
    114k May 1958: Boston, Ma. - Public Visiting Day at the South Boston Naval Annex.

    (Photo © Richard Leonhardt)
    Richard Leonhardt
    Bethlehem, Pa.
    104k May 1958: Boston, Ma. - Public Visiting Day at the South Boston Naval Annex. (Note... that's Dick Leonhardt on the 40mm in this photo.)

    (Photo © Richard Leonhardt)
    101k early 1960: Gloucester, Mass. - Two reserve training vessels on a port visit to Gloucester. Tills, homeported at Portland, Maine is moored outboard of USS McClelland (DE 750), homeported at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Tommy Trampp
    86k 1961: off Portland, Maine - My brother served in USS Tills before and during the Cuban Missile Crisis. I frequently drove my brother, Gerald Standel, from our home in Massachusetts to the ship's home port of Portland, Maine. Jerry was a corpsman who also served in Vietnam with the 3rd Marine Amphibious Brigade and ended his career of twenty odd years as a CPO. Harry Standel
    108k at Gitmo, taken from USS Roberts, early '60's Jay Jones EM3
    USS Roberts (DE 749)
    35k circa 1969: Palm Beach, Fla. - Tills on a port visit to the Port of Palm Beach. Rick Barton
    Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
    495k 20 January 1969: Philadelphia, Pa. - ex-Tills nested at "D" Dock, in the Reserve Basin, at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. She is between ex-Albert T. Harris (DE 447) and Eberle (DD 424). James Swank
    Tomball, Tex.
    Tills0674817> 518k 20 January 1969: Philadelphia, Pa. - A port quarter view of ex-Tills in the Reserve Basin at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. Eberle has been moved out since the previous photo was taken.
    265k 23 March 2009: Arlington National Cemetery - An Army Old Guard escort platoon leads a horse-drawn caisson carrying the remains of World War II Navy pilot Ensign Robert Tills during his funeral on 23 March at Arlington National Cemetery. The Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command identified Tills' remains and material evidence more than 66 years after his death 8 December 1941, in the Philippines. The mission of the Hawaii-based JPAC is to search for, identify and return the remains of fallen Americans from the nation's past conflicts.

    (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew Chlosta)
    Bill Gonyo
    Downey, Cal.

    Assoc. Researcher

    Tills History
    View the USS Tills (DE 748) DANFS history entry located on the Naval History and Heritage Command web site.
    View the official War History of USS Tills as submitted by the ship at war's end.

    Tills' Commanding Officers
    Thanks to Wolfgang Hechler
    Dates of Command Commanding Officers
    1.)  08 Aug. 1944 – 07 Dec. 1945Lcdr. James Levan Brooks, USNR (Comm. CO)
    2.)  07 Dec. 1945 – Mar. 1946Lcdr. Edward Lawrence Willey, USNR
    3.)  Mar. 1946 – May 1946Lt.(jg) Herbert C. Holchak, USNR (Kerrville, Tex.)
    4.)  May 1946 – Ens. Peter M. Ferrell, USNR
    5.)  Jan. 1949 – Sep. 1949Lcdr. Roy Herbert Jones, USN (Kansas City, Mo.)
    6.)  21 Nov. 1950 – Mar. 1951Lcdr. Elmo Russell Zumwalt Jr., USN (USNA ‘43) (Tulare, Cal.) (ret. as Adm. / CNO)
    7.)  ~1953 – 1955Lcdr. John Joseph Darcy, USN (Melvin, Mich.)
    8.)  ~1955 – 06 Feb. 1957Lcdr. John Thomas Lyons Jr., USN (USNA '47) (McComb, Miss.)
    9.)  06 Feb. 1957 – 27 Feb. 1958Lcdr. Robert F. White, USNR
    10.) 27 Feb. 1958 – 18 Sep. 1958Lcdr. Robert B. Crotty, USNR (Portsmouth, Ohio)
    11.) 18 Sep. 1958 – 18 Oct. 1959Lcdr. Charles Anthony Rankowski, USN
    12.) 18 Oct. 1959 – 08 Jul. 1960Lt. Howard James Newton Jr., USN (OinC) (Alexandria, Va.)
    13.) 08 Jul. 1960 – 01 Oct. 1961Lt. Douglas Warren Bel Jr., USN (OinC)
    14.) 01 Oct. 1961 – 01 Aug. 1962Cmdr. William L. Rich, USNR
    15.) 01 Aug. 1962 – 25 Jul. 1964Lt. Floyd Ralph Banbury, USN (OinC)
    16.) 25 Jul. 1964 – 12 Nov. 1966Lt. Donald Walter O’Brien, USN (OinC)
    17.) 12 Nov. 1966 – 21 Sep. 1968Lt. Paul Lawrence Bennett, USN (OinC) (Decomm. CO)

    Crew Contact And Reunion Information
    Contact Name: M. Edward Arnold
    Address: 3235 Ames Avenue
    City/State: Kingman AZ 86401
    Phone: (928) 692-9190
    E-mail: DD547 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

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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: 01 April 2023