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USS VESOLE (DD-878 / DDR-878)

Flag Hoist/Radio Call Sign - NBHQ

Tactical Voice Radio Call Sign (circa 1968) - MILK PUNCH

Displacement 3460 Tons (Full), Dimensions, 390' 6"(oa) x 40' 10" x 14' 4" (Max)
Armament 6 x 5"/38AA (3x2), 12 x 40mm AA, 11 x 20mm AA, 10 x 21" tt.(2x5).
Machinery, 60,000 SHP; General Electric Geared Turbines, 2 screws
Speed, 36.8 Knots, Range 4500 NM@ 20 Knots, Crew 336.
Operational and Building Data
Laid down by Consolidated Steel,Orange Texas. July 3 1944.
Launched December 29 1944 and commissioned April 23 1945.
Completed FRAM upgrade October 1964.
Decommissioned and stricken December 1 1976.
Fate Sunk as target off Puerto Rico April 14 1983
Location: 20 Degrees 48 Min N, 64 Degrees 12 Min W in 2800 Fathoms.

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Size Image Description Contributed
Vesole 203kKay Kopl Vesole was born on 11 September 1913 in Przedbórz, Russia (now part of Poland). In 1922, his family immigrated to the United States and settled in Davenport, Iowa where he later attended the State University of Iowa. On 19 October 1942, he accepted an appointment as an ensign in the United States Naval Reserve. ENS Vesole studied at a series of naval training schools during the remainder of 1942 and the first part of 1943. Beginning at the Naval Training School, Tucson, Arizona, he transferred to the Naval Training Station (Local Defense) at Boston, Massachusetts, in January 1943. The following month, he moved from Boston to Gulf Port, Mississippi, to enter the Armed Guard School. In April, he moved to the Armed Guard Center located at New Orleans, whence he was routed to Panama City, Florida, to take command of the armed guard gun crew on board a merchant ship. By December 1943, ENS Vesole commanded the armed guard crew assigned to the Liberty ship SS John Bascom. On the night of 2 December, his ship was riding at anchor in Bari, Italy, when a massive air raid of 105 Ju. 88 medium bombers attacked the port. During that raid, Vesole's ship was bombed and sunk. However, before she went down, ENS Vesole heroically directed the defense of the ship despite severe multiple wounds. When it became apparent that the ship would sink, he led a party below and supervised the evacuation of the wounded. Once in the lifeboat, he manned an oar and helped to row the boat ashore even though he had only one functional arm. When he reached land, ENS Vesole still disregarded his wounds in order to help pull survivors out of the oil-covered and flaming waters and to get them safely into a nearby bomb shelter. Finally, an ammunition explosion inflicted still further wounds on the officer —wounds that soon proved fatal. For ". . . his exceptional fortitude and self-sacrificing concern for others . . .," Ensign Vesole was awarded the Navy Cross, posthumously. Photo from the U.S. Merchant Marine Association.Robert M. Cieri/Bill Gonyo/Robert Hurst/Wolfgang Hechler
Vesole 90kUndated, location unknown.Frank Doherty
Vesole 126kUndated, location unknown.Richard Miller BMCS USNR RET.
Vesole 114kUndated, location unknown.Richard Miller BMCS USNR RET.
Vesole 127kUndated, location unknown.Richard Miller BMCS USNR RET.
Vesole 83kUndated, location unknown.Richard Miller BMCS USNR RET.
Vesole 127kChristening December 29 1944 at Orange, Texas by Mrs. Kay Vesole.-
Vesole 245kLaunching, December 29 1944 at Orange, Texas. Acme Newspictures photoS. Dale Hargrave
Vesole 98kBrooklyn Navy Yard, April 29 1947.Pieter Bakels
Vesole 75kBrooklyn Navy Yard, April 29 1947.Pieter Bakels
Vesole 137kA series of six photos of the Vesole taken by George Panos QM2 of the USS Baltimore (CA-68) during the 1952 Med Cruise.George Panos
Vesole 151kAs above.George Panos
Vesole 168kAs above.George Panos
Vesole 137kAs above, in Venice.George Panos
Vesole 135kAs above, in Venice.George Panos
Vesole 115kAs above, in Venice.George Panos
Vesole 84kCirca 1952, location unknown.Robert Hurst
Vesole 158kPostcard of the USS Vesole (DD-878), USS Cone (DD-866) and USS Newman K. Perry (DD-883) alongside the USS Shenandoah (AD-26) in Cannes, France, July 1952.Steven W. Orvis
Vesole 76kValletta, Malta December 12 1953.Marc Piché
Vesole 132kCirca 1954, Valletta, Malta. Photo courtesy of A. & J. Pavia.Robert Hurst
Vesole 63k1956, The picture is unoffically titled "Washdown '56". The purpose was to decontaminate the ship after a nuclear attackArt Pratt
Vesole 165kUSS Vesole (DD-878) During Gunnery Shoot in Atlantic, June 1961 picture taken from USS Boston (CAG-1).Roy Williams
Vesole 212kAt Genoa February 10 1962.Carlo Martinelli
Vesole 98kUSS Vesole (DD-878) alongside the Soviet freighter Polzunov as it carries its cargo of ballistic missiles away from Cuba, on 9 November 1962. Photo from "Battle at Sea: 3,000 Years of Naval Warfare" by R G Grant.Robert Hurst
Vesole 103kUSS Vesole (left, foregound) alongside the Soviet vessel Volgoles, outbound from Cuba, with missiles on deck, 11 November 1962.Robert Hurst
Vesole 71kOff Cuba on November 11 1962.Richard Miller BMCS USNR RET.
Vesole 66kIn drydock at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, April 13 1964.Ron Reeves
Vesole 74kEntering New York, August 12 1965© Richard Leonhardt
Vesole 23kMontreal July 1967.Marc Piché
Vesole 60kBoston, MA April 12 1968.Marc Piché
Vesole 179kAt Genoa March 17 1973.Carlo Martinelli
Vesole 83k1976 Med Cruise, alongside the USS Saratoga.Bob Royes
Vesole 127kAs above.Bob Royes
Vesole 115kNearing the end of her final deployment, and only five months before being decommissioned, USS Vesole (DD 878) sits pierside at Barcelona, Spain, on June 29, 1976.Fabio Peña
Vesole 74kAt Barcelona, Spain, on July 4, 1976. She is full-dressed for Bicentennial Day.Fabio Peña
Vesole 61kShip's patch.Mike Smolinski
Vesole 48kShip's patch.Mike Smolinski
Click here to see additional images of this ship on our FRAM Special Feature page

USS VESOLE DD-878 / DDR-878 History
View This Vessels DANFS History Entry
(Located On The hazegray Web Site, This Is The Main Archive For The DANFS Online Project.)

Commanding Officers
Thanks to Wolfgang Hechler & Ron Reeves

CDR Harry Edson Townsend    Apr 23 1945 - Sep 28 1946

CDR David Sugget Brown    Sep 28 1946 - Oct 1947

CDR John Corry    Oct 1947 - Nov 1948

CDR Robert Rutherford Craighill    Nov 1948 - Oct 8 1949 (Later RADM)

CDR Robert Edward Sinnott    Oct 8 1949 - Aug 1951

CDR Parker Lowell Folsom    Aug 1951 - Apr 1953

CDR William Wade Gentry    Apr 1953 - 1953

CDR Edward John Fruechtl    1953 - 1955

CDR Oscar Jerome Beavers    1955 - 1956

CDR William Alexander Robie    1956 - Oct 16 1958

CDR Buford Denty Abernathy    Oct 16 1958 - Nov 8 1960

CDR Richard Street White III    Nov 8 1960 - Sep 1962

CDR John Irvin Bryan    Sep 1962 - Oct 1963

CDR Gene Trayser Dunaway    Oct 1963 - Jul 1964

CAPT Thomas Joseph Quarton    Jul 1964 - Feb 4 1966

CDR Clarence Earl Boger    Feb 4 1966 - Apr 1968

CDR Peter Hill Orvis    Apr 1968 - Aug 1969

CDR Stephen Leo Hart    Aug 1969 - Jun 1971

CDR Daniel Chase Dennison    Jun 1971 - Nov 1 1972

CDR Alban Thompson McIsaac    Nov 1 1972 - Sep 6 1974

CDR Charles Wible Truxall Jr.    Sep 6 1974 - Sep 1975

CDR Paul Ishan Bledsoe    Sep 1975 - Sep 30 1976

CDR Philip William Athanas    Sep 30 1976 - Dec 1 1976

Crew Contact And Reunion Information

Contact Name: Ray Gorenflo
Phone: 845-896-2074

Note About Contacts.

The contact listed, Was the contact at the time for this ship when located. If another person now is the contact, E-mail me and I will update this entry. These contacts are compiled from various sources over a long period of time and may or may not be correct. Every effort has been made to list the newest contact if more than one contact was found.

Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
Tin Can Sailors Website
Destroyer History Foundation
Destroyers Online Website
Official U.S.Navy Destroyer Website

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This page was created by Fred Willishaw (ex ARG-4, AS-11 & DD-692) and is maintained by David L. Wright
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Last Updated 21 December 2017