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Alex Maxwell Diachenko was born 21 March 1919 in Hartford, Conn, and enlisted in the Navy 24 September 1940. On 10 March 1943, his ship Eberle (DD-430) apprehended a blockade runner in the South Atlantic, and Watertender Second Class Diachenko was one of the boarding party sent to seize the ship. These men lost their lives when scuttling charges exploded. Diachenko was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for his courageous role in this action.


(APD-123: dp. 1,450; l. 306'; b. 36'10"; dr. 13'; s. 24 k.; cpl. 256; a. 1 5"; cl. Crosley)


Alex Diachenko (APD-123) was launched 15 August 1944 by Bethlehem Steel Co., Quincy, Mass.; sponsored by Miss M. Diachenko, cousin of Watertender Second Class Diachenko; and commissioned 8 December 1944, Lieutenant Commander S. R. Jackson, USNR, in command. She was renamed Diachenko 1 March 1945.


Diachenko sailed from Norfolk 31 January 1945 and called at San Diego, Pearl Harbor, Eniwetok, and Ulithi before arriving Leyte, 21 March. She carried troops in the reoccupation of the Philippines, landing soldiers at Legaspi 1 April and Police Harbor 17 April. Arriving at Morotai 7 May she transported Australian troops for the invasion landings at Brunei Bay, Borneo, of 10 to 16 June, then returned to Morotai until 26 June when she sailed to land men in the assault of Balikpapan 1 July.


From 16 July to 29 August 1945 Diachenko operated in amphibious training at San Pedro Bay. She made three voyages to carry troops from Leyte to Jinsen, Korea in September and October, then transported men of the 62d Chinese Army from Haiphong, French Indo-China to Formosa in November, and after a brief overhaul at Manila Bay, returned to Tsingtao, China, 11 December to operate between that port and Shanghai until 16 January 1946. From 17 January to 17 March she served at Taku.


Diachenko arrived at San Pedro, Calif., 25 April 1946 and remained on the west coast for operations, home ported at San Diego from 1 August. She cruised to the Western Pacific in 1947, visiting Pearl Harbor, Kwajalein, Wake, and Eniwetok and from 26 January to 26 February 1948 voyaged to Alaskan waters calling at Ketchikan, Kodiak, Portage Bay, and Juneau. She sailed from Long Beach 22 October for a cruise to the Far East, extended this time by the Communist advance into China during which she evacuated American troops and citizens. She returned to San Diego 25 June 1949 and resumed west coast operations until the outbreak of hostilities in Korea.


Diachenko got underway from San Diego 30 June 1950, 5 days after the North Koreans had crossed the 38th parallel. She supported United Nations forces from her base in Sasebo, often carrying an underwater demolition team making beach surveys and conducting reconnaissance. She returned to the west coast 9 May 1951 for overhaul.


During her second tour of duty in the Korean War, from 10 March to 5 December 1952, Diachenko again carried an underwater demolition team on reconnaissance missions and raids at Wonsan, and participated in the bombardment and blockade of the coast from Wonsan to Chongjin. She also conducted rehearsal landings and was primary control vessel during the demonstration landing at Kojo, North Korea, in October.


Diachenko returned to the west coast for operations and overhaul then carried the 2d Marine Reconnaissance Unit to Nagoya arriving 22 August 1953. Later in the year she joined in amphibious exercises in Japanese waters, then served as a station ship at Hong Kong from 27 February to 6 March 1954, and in a large-scale exercise reenacted the Iwo Jima landing from 21 to 25 March. She returned to her home port 7 May.


Diachenko sailed from San Diego 31 March 1955, arrived at Yokosuka 19 April, and on 3 May she reported to Haiphong, French Indo-China, where she served as flagship for the Evacuation Unit Commander during the "Passage to Freedom" operation which carried refugees out of North Vietnam. She returned to San Diego 30 September.

Addendum to Diachenko history by Clarence Kessler EN3, USS Diachenko 4 December 1954 to 13 May 1956
"...The Diachenko went to Hiaphong around the first of May 1955, and was the last ship to leave that
place. We had Dr. Tom Dooley and his small staff come on board for lectures. They were in Hiaphong
waiting for when they would have to leave the area and his medical service he was providing for those
unfortunate people. Around the 13th of May, the Communists came in and were taking over the City of
Hiaphong. Three crewmen, which included me, rode to the boat landing or dock and met Dr. Dooley and
his crew of, I think it was 4 or 5 other Navy men. We brought them back to the ship. Our Captain was
Lieutenant Commander Cameron. He came down the ladder from the boat boom and got into the
Captain's Gig, our crew went on board the Gig and he sounded the depth of the river. He went back on
board the ship and the two boats in the water turned the Ship around and we headed out to sea and the
boats were picked up underway. There were demonstrations taking place at some areas along the River.

We again saw the young and later well known, Navy Doctor, now full Lieutenant Dooley, at Yokosuka, I
believe, when he came on board to visit with all of us. Dr. Dooley was well known to the Navy and wrote
books before he passed away around 1960. I have two of his books and the ships that helped him,
including the USS Diachenko, are mentioned in the era of when we took him out of Hiaphong. Actually
one of his books is three books in one, about his mercy mission in Indo China. He told us stories about
how the Communists treated those who tried to get ahead of the line, which moved farther south each
day. It was supposed to be a way for those who wanted to stay ahead of the Communists and hoped to
be evacuated during the Indo China Evacuation. I recall the dirty looking LST that pulled out right after
we got there. It was a very beat up looking ship with the French Flag, and they were the last of the
French who had been to the area.


Leaving San Diego 28 August 1956 Diachenko embarked an underwater demolition team at Yokosuka and a Marine reconnaissance company at Okinawa and sailed to Thailand to train their Thai counterparts. She also participated in amphibious exercises and landings at Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and Luzon. She returned to San Diego 26 August 1957 to train reserves and operate with underwater demolition teams.


During her next Western Pacific tour from 12 June to 8 December 1958 Diachenko operated out of Okinawa and Subic Bay, Luzon, and in Japanese waters. She visited Djakarta, Java, on 22 and 23 August, to unload 6 LCVPs and conducted exercises with Chinese Nationalist forces at Taiwan from 1 to 10 September. Upon her return to San Diego Diachenko resumed local operations until placed in commission in reserve 1 April 1959. She was decommissioned 30 June 1959.


Diachenko received two battle stars for World War II service and six for Korean War service.