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Navsource Online: Destroyer Escort Photo Archive

Ship's patch courtesy of Bill Wise
of Soldiers Trunk International

USS Jack W. Wilke (DE 800)

Flag Hoist / Radio Call Sign:
N - Y - M - S
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row: American Campaign Medal
Second Row: European-Africa-Middle East Campaign Medal w/ 2 stars - WWII Victory Medal - National Defense Service Medal

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
Jack W. Wilke (DE 800) Building and Operational Data:
  • 18 October 1943: Keel laid by the Consolidated Steel Corp., Ltd., Orange, Tex.
  • 18 December 1943: Launched and christened, sponsored by Mrs. Joe H. Wilke, mother of Ens. Wilke
  • 07 March 1944: Commissioned at City Docks, Orange, Tex., Lcdr. Robert D. Lowther in command
  • 23 May 1960: Decommissioned at the U. S. Naval Base, Philadelphia, Pa. after 16 years and 2 months of service; custody to CO, Philadelphia Group, U. S. Atlantic Reserve Fleet
  • 01 August 1972: Struck from the NVR
  • 04 March 1974: Sold for scrap to the Union Metals & Alloys Corp., New York, N.Y.
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    Jack W. Wilke

    Jack W. Wilke

    10k Jack Winton Wilke was born in Covina, Calif. on 13 June 1919, the son of Joseph Henry Wilke and Helen Dorothy Fischer. Jack enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve aviation candidate program (V-5) as a Seaman 2/c (NSN:413 22 92) on 13 January 1941 in Long Beach, Cal. He reported to Naval Reserve Aviation Base, Long Beach, Cal. for Elimination Flight training. He successfully completed that training on 17 January 1941 and was transferred to NAS, Corpus Christi, Tex. He became an aviation cadet on 15 March 1941. After successfully completing Primary, Intermediate and Advanced Squadron training he was designated a naval aviator and, he was commissioned an Ensign on 30 August 1941.

    On 08 December 1941 Ens. Wilke reported as a passenger to USS Harris (AP 8) in San Diego. He was transported from San Diego to Pearl Harbor under orders to report to Patrol Squadron Twenty-Four (PATRON-24). In late May 1942, while attached to VP-24, Ens. Wilke volunteered to provide pathfinder (navigation) services for a USS Hornet (CV 8) based Torpedo Squadron Eight (VT-8) detachment of six new TBF-1 aircraft flown from Hawaii to NAS Midway on 01 June 1942 to augment the island's defenses. It was a flight of 1200 miles across open ocean.

    In the early morning hours of 04 June he again volunteered to perform navigation and radioman/bombardier duties for this same detachment of VT-8 as it flew into battle against the numerically superior Japanese forces. First to attack the Japanese Striking Force carriers and without friendly fighter support the torpedo planes were overwhelmed by Japanese fighters. However, they pressed forward in the face of withering fire. Five of the six planes did not return to Midway. Ens. Wilke, Lt. Langdon Fieberling (pilot) and their radioman/gunner, RM2 Raymond Osborn were killed in action. Their remains were unrecoverable. All the flyers but one, Ens. George H. Gay, of this gallant squadron were lost; but their attack had diverted Japanese fighters from dive bombing attacks which might have prevented the eventual U.S. Navy victory. Ens. Wilke received the Navy Cross posthumously for his heroism. His other awards include the Purple Heart, Presidential Unit Citation, American Defense Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one battle star, and the World War II Victory Medal

    USS Jack W. Wilke (DE 800) (1944-1960) was the first ship to be named in his honor.

    (Photo from the web site Find A Grave)
    Gerry Lawton
    Commander, USN (ret.)
    Saluda, N.C.
    Jack W. Wilke
    60k circa 1950: Key West, Fla. - USS Jack W. Wilke (DE 800) at the pier in Key West.

    (Photo #MM00008483x from the Key West Art and Historical Society Collection, courtesy of the Florida Keys Public Libraries)
    Bob Hurst
    Worksop, Nottinghamshire,
    England, United Kingdom
    Jack W. Wilke
    524k 20 June 1952: Key West, Fla. - USS Jack W. Wilke (DE 800) off the Key West Naval Station.

    (U.S. Navy photo #80-G-443793 from the National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Md.)
    Rick E. Davis
    Springfield, Oh.
    Jack W. Wilke
    564k 17 July 1952: Key West, Fla. - USS Jack W. Wilke (DE 800) off the Key West Naval Station.

    (U.S. Navy photo #80-G-4441103 from the National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Md.)
    Jack W. Wilke
    269k 1955: Key West, Fla. - USS Jack W. Wilke (DE 800) moored to a pier at the Key West Naval Station in Florida. During the 1950's, the ship operated as a trials ship for the Operational Development Force.

    (U.S. Naval Historical Center photo #L45-142.04.02 from the Naval History and Heritage Command)
    Mike Green
    Port Angeles, Wash.
    Jack W. Wilke
    43k February 1960: Key West, Florida Fred Weiss
    Jack W. Wilke
    104k undated post-war image Nick Tiberio
    Shelton, Conn.
    Jack W. Wilke
    171k undated post-war image Tim Rizzuto
    Ship's Superintendant
    USS Slater Memorial

    Jack W. Wilke History
    View the USS Jack W. Wilke (DE 800) DANFS history entry located on the Naval History and Heritage Command web site.

    Crew Contact And Reunion Information

    Note About Contacts

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    Additional Resources

    Tin Can Sailors
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    Destroyer Escort Sailors Association
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    Page Last Updated: 22 July 2021