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Submarine Chaser Photo Archive

Dalhart (PC 619)
ex-PC-619



Call sign:
Nan - Uncle - Zebra - Baker


Dalhart served the Navies of the United States and Venezuela.

PC-461 Class Submarine Chaser:

  • Laid down 29 April 1942 by George Lawley and Sons, Inc., Neponset, MA
  • Launched 15 August 1942
  • Commissioned USS PC-619, 16 September 1942
  • Decommissioned in January 1947 and laid up Green Cove Springs, FL
  • Named Dalhart 15 February 1956
  • Transferred to Venezuela in 1956 and renamed Gaviota (P 10)
  • Placed in reserve in 1968/70
  • Struck from the Navy list in 1978/79
  • Fate unknown.

    Specifications:

  • Displacement 280 t.(lt), 450 t.(fl)
  • Length 173' 8"
  • Beam 23'
  • Draft 10' 10"
  • Speed 20.2 kts.
  • Complement 65
  • Armament: One 3"/50 dual purpose gun mount, one 40mm gun mount, three 20mm guns, two rocket launchers, four depth charge projectors, and two depth charge tracks
  • Propulsion: Two 1,440bhp Fairbanks Morse 38D8 1/8 diesel engines (Serial No. 832375 and 832376), Westinhouse single reduction gear, two shafts.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    PC-619 60k Dry Docked Bob Daly/PC-1181
    PC-619 60k .

    USS PC-619 "OLD RUST BUCKET" /"THE BLUE ANGEL":

    The keel of the USS PC-619 was laid down on the 29th of April, 1942 in Neponset, Massachusetts at the shipyard of George Lawley & Sons. The 173 ft, 350 ton vessel was launched on the 15th of August, 1942. Her sponsor was Miss Ruth Ester Whiting, daughter of Lawley shipyard's general manager Edward D. Whiting. Her main propulsion engines were a pair of 10 cylinder Opposed-Piston Fairbanks-Morse 38D diesels serial Nos. 832375 and 832376. Her radio call letters were N U Z B. Of the 359 PC hulls built during WWIl, this was number 14 for the South Boston shipyard which built 19 PC's and 4 PGM's.

    The new ship became an integral part of the world's greatest Navy when it was officially commissioned at 1100 hours on the 16th of September, 1942 at the Boston Navy Yard by Lt. Commander Edward Esson, USN. Lt. John Van Brown, USNR of Germantown, PA accepted the commissioning pendant for his crew of 4 officers and 61 enlisted men.

    After shake-down trials off the coast of New England, the 619 headed for Miami, FL, to conduct training out of the Submarine Chaser Training Center there. Further ASW training was to be held at Key West. On the 29th of September, 1942 she was adjudged ready to assume an active roll in the "Donald Duck Navy." The 619's first assignment brought her to New York City, in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, to the U.S. Naval Frontier Base at Tompkinsville, Staten Island. From here, in the course of several months, she completed 11 convoy runs to Key West, FL and to the Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

    At night, from the sky, the outlines of a "Peter Charlie" resembled the silhouettes of 'U' boats. Often at night, the crew of the 619 would hear the drone of patrol planes overhead. Suddenly the sound of the motors would change as the bombers would start their dive. The 619 and other escorts would frantically flash the recognition code of the day toward the diving aircraft. It always worked and the planes would give the convoy a low fly-by. It was nice to know that they were around to give us help if we needed it.

    On the 25th of March 1944, the PC-619, along wIth eleven other subchasers left New York to join task force #67, comprising of the USS Moffett (DD-362), a veteran of the Atlantic U-Boat war, with Commander C.M.E. Hoffman, USN as the Task Force Commander, along with two DE's and 18 fleet tugs with 36 barges, some with deck cargo and the fleet oiler USS Maumee (AO-2). The Maumee, built in 1914, was the first diesel powered surface ship in the U.S. Navy. In 1916-1917, the engineering and executive officer was Chester W. Nimitz, Lt., USN, who helped pioneer the underway replenishment of ships. Their job was to act as convoy screen for the tugs and the barges, whose ultimate destination was to be Plymounth, England. Crossing the North Atlantic during the winter months in a small ship was always the result of bad judgement. But during war time, bad judgement never enter into the decision. Necessity was the only condition.

    The zig zag convoy voyage lasted 26 days and all of it in bad weather. The turbulent seas caused tow lines to break. Some barges had to be sunk by gunfire and lives were lost when crewmen tried to retrieve broken tow lines. There were many narrow escapes in the heavy seas.

    At 16:23 hours on Monday, 17 April, 1944, off Lands End, England, just 2 days from her destination, the PC-619 made a sonar contact on a German submarine. This contact was made at 50 09' north and 12 51' west. Working with the British destroyer HMS Swift, the PC-619 made three dye-marked runs with contact being regained after each attack. On her first run she got a Mouse Trap hit. (on one of the runs they packed the detonator face will a cake of softened brown soap in hopes that the depth charges would explode deeper). On her fourth and final run a large oil slick formed on the sea's surface. Later findings proved that the 1,950 ton cargo sub, the U-986, was a wolf pack supply vessel and at the time of her sinking her captain was ObIt. Karl-Ernst Kaiser. There were no survivors. On the 17th of April, 1944 the crew of the PC-619 were authorized to wear a battle star on their European Theater Ribbon as a result of this encounter.

    On her arrival in Plymouth, England on the 19th of April, 1944 the PC-619 was assigned to the Eleventh Amphibious Force. Later, working out of Dartmouth England, the home of the British Royal Naval College, she participated in several practice landings, training for the coming invasion of Europe. Operation Overlord.

    The day planned for the Allied landings in France was not long in coming. On the 4th of June 1944, orders were received to rendezvous with Task Force 125.6 - Task Unit 2-UA2 and then proceed to the Normandy coast. Our official code name was to be "Rust Bucket 619." Under shore based artillery fire and silhouetted against a brilliant sky, lighted with aircraft dropped flares, the PC-619 made her entry into the battle area. Her first assignment which began at dawn on 6 of June, 1944, consisted of moving wounded GI's from an LST landing ship and transporting them to a nearby APA
    troop ship.

    Directed to a more active combat area, the 619 dropped anchor and acted as a navigational guide for 92 LCI's headed for the beach. She remained in this combat area for several days, shifting anchorage as needed in conjunction with other naval units who were "Dixie Liners", standing by in support of ground troops on the beach. Her sister ship, the PC-1261 was sunk by a single round from a 5" shore gun shortly before dawn on D-day June 6, 1944. They lost 14 men.

    In the early morning hours of the 10th of June, 1944, a low flying German twin engine bomber was spotted. The 40-mm gun crew on the PC-619 commenced firing and the Heinkel HE-177 was shot down. The crew picked up the only survivor, a waist-turret gunner, who had parachuted to safety before the Heinkel hit the water. The prisoner, Hermann Goldenbaum, a Luftwaffe airman, was the only survivor of a crew of six. Eventually, Airman Goldenbaum was transferred to the LST-312, taken to Calshot, England and later to prison camps in Illinois and Idaho until the wars end.

    The PC-619 maintained a watchful patrol in the area around Pointe Ray de la Persee, France for the next few weeks.

    She sighted and destroyed six floating mines and picked up seven bodies of GI's found floating in the area. Four of the GI's were buried at sea and the others were brought ashore for interment.

    On the 4th of July, 1944, because of a sonar gear problem, the PC-619 was ordered to return to her base at Dartmouth, England for a dry docking and some R&R. She was later returned to escort duty in the English Channel. This involved the escorting of supply ships thru the mine fields off the French coast. On the 30th of August, she again took up patrol duty along the French coast besides acting as a harbor defense vessel at Cherbourg and Le Havre, she aided in the blockade of German seized ports.

    On the 7th of May 1945, while she was at Le Havre, France Nazi Germany surrendered. In the V -E Day celebration that followed, the crew of the PC-619 took an active part in the French
    Victory parade.

    Following V-E Day, most patrols were terminated and many PC's were returning to home ports in the continental U.S. Among others, the PC-619 was retained to lend a hand in the Occupation of Germany. Beginning on the 15 of June 1945, as the senior ship of the remaining vessels of the Twelfth Fleet, the PC-619 visited a series of ports which included Ostend, Belgium, Hook, Holland and at the Dutch Naval Base at Den Helder.

    The PC-619 had the distinction of being the first U.S. Naval man of war to enter the ports of Bremerhaven and Bremen following the surrender of Nazi Germany. At Bremen, the 619 was assigned to patrol the Weser River. This consisted largely of acting as a navigational guide to merchant ships through the channels and around the mine fields in the river also the policing and searching of German ships moving in and out of the port.

    When her services were no longer required in the E.T.O. she received orders to return to the states. On the 4th of October, 1945 after 18 months of sea duty, she turned her bow west. As we headed home, we recalled all the dangerous missions we had undertaken and we were proud of the "Old Rust Bucket-619." They had received two battle stars for service in European theater. Short layovers were made in the Azores and Bermuda and on the 22th of October, 1945, the PC-619 arrived at the Norfolk Naval Base in Hampton Roads, VA. After all ammunition had been removed from the ship and leave given to the crew the ship was given a complete overhaul.

    On completion of her overhaul period, the 619 was underway again headed for Green Cove Springs, FL, 30 miles south of Jacksonville on the St. Johns river. Here she rafted up with over a 100 more "Peter Charlie's" which had performed valiantly though-out WWIl. She was decommissioned on the 17th of February 1946 and placed in the Atlantic Fleet Reserve. On the 15th of February, 1956, she was given the name USS "Dalhart."

    The USS Dalhart (PC-619), along with 10 more PC's were taken out of the Reserve Fleet in October of 1960. These ships were purchased by the Venezuela Navy for anti-smuggling and Coast Guard service. From 1962 onward all the ex-PC's were refitted and overhauled by Diques y Astilleros Nacionalis in Venezuela prior to commissioning in the Venezuelan Navy. The ex-PC-619 was given the name of "Gaviota" P-10 ("Gaviota" means white seagull in Spanish).

    The "Gaviota" was placed in reserve by 1968/70 and all the PCs were stricken by 1979.

    R. W. Daly

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