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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


Specifications:
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 Tills
  • 08 August 1944: Commissioned, Lcdr James L. Brooks, USNR, in command
  • June 1946: Decommissioned at Green Cove Springs, Fla.
  • 1947: Placed "In Service, In Reserve" as NRT ship at Miami, Fla.
  • 21 November 1950: Recommissioned, Lcdr. Elmo R. Zumwalt in command, assigned as NRT ship at Charleston, S.C.
  • 01 May 1958: Reassigned as NRT ship at Boston, Mass.
  • 01 September 1959: Reassigned as NRT ship at Portland, Me.
  • 18 October 1959: Decommissioned, placed "In Service" as a unit of the Selected Reserve Training Program. Administrative control shifted from ComDesLant to Commandant, 1st Naval District.
  • 01 October 196: Recommissioned in response to the Berlin Crisis, Lcdr W. L. Rich, USNR, in command, homeported at Norfolk,Va.
  • 01 August 1962: Decommissioned at Portland, Maine, returned to NRT status
  • 23 September 1968: Decommissioned and struck from the NVR
  • 03 April 1969: Sunk as target off Virginia
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    Tills 7k Robert George Tills was born in Manitowoc, Wis., on 9 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 3 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 5 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 1 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 8 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
    Tills 42k undated wartime image (National Archives #BS 70882) Nick Tiberio
    Tills 145k undated wartime image Robert Dunn
    Tills 95k Tills and USS Roberts (DE 749) going through the Panama Canal during WWII, taken from USS Hemminger (DE 746) Robert Taylor
    ***Hemminger*** 51k undated: Hemminger and Tills in drydock.
    Tills 71k Tills underway in the Pacific during WWII. Note her "Homeward Bound" pennant trailing over the ship. Taken from Hemminger
    Tills 402k 11 October 1944: A port beam view of Tills underway slowly off San Pedro, Cal. (Photo courtesy of  Chris Wright) Ed Zajkowski
    Tills 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
    Tills 114k May 1958: Boston, Ma. - Public Visiting Day at the South Boston Naval Annex. (Photo © Richard Leonhardt) Richard Leonhardt
    Tills 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)
    Tills 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
    Tills 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
    Tills 108k at Gitmo, taken from USS Roberts, early '60's Jay Jones EM3
    USS Roberts (DE 749)
    1962-1964
    Tills 35k circa 1969: Palm Beach, Fla. - Tills on a port visit to the Port of Palm Beach. Rick Barton
    Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
    Tills 33k
    Tills 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

    View the USS Tills (DE 748) DANFS history entry
    located on the Naval History and Heritage Command website.
    Crew Contact And Reunion Information

    Contact Name: M. Edward Arnold
    Address: 3235 Ames Avenue / Kingman AZ 86401
    Phone: (928) 692-9190
    E-mail: DD547@citlink.net

    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 or rosters available. Please see the Frequently Asked
    Questions section on Navsource's Main Page for that information.


    Additional Resources

    Destroyer Escort Sailors Association
    Tin Can Sailors Shipmate Registry - USS Tills
    The Destroyer History Foundation
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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 20 October 2013