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|8k||John Eldridge, Jr. was born on 10 October 1903 in Buckingham, Virginia. Graduating from the U. S. Naval Academy in June 1927, Ensign Eldridge was assigned to the battleship
USS Pennsylvania (BB 38). In April of 1929 Eldridge was accepted
for flight training at the U. S. Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida. Completing flight training in January 1930,
he was assigned to Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 2B on board USS Saratoga (CV 3) and promoted to lieutenant (junior grade) in October 1930. From October 1931 to October of 1932 he was
at NAS Pensacola and for an unknown reason was treated at the Norfolk Naval Hospital until January 1933. Upon his release from the hospital he remained at the Air Station, Naval Operating Base,
Norfolk, Virginia until April 1934 when he was ordered to aviation duty in USS Mississippi (BB 41).
In July 1936, he was promoted to lieutenant and assigned to Utility Squadron (VJ) 2F
at Norfolk, until April 1937 when he transferred to Patrol Plane Squadron (VP) 3F, stationed at Coco Solo in the Panama Canal Zone.
Following duty in the Canal Zone he transferred to Scouting Squadron 71, attached to USS Wasp (CV 7), and on 11 September 1941 he assumed command of that squadron. On 15 September 1942, off Guadalcanal, Wasp was hit by three torpedoes from the Japanese submarine I-19. Scuttled and sunk that evening, Wasp's air group began operating out of Henderson Field on Guadalcanal. On 02 November 1942, U. S. Army Air Force B-17s reported a large Japanese naval force of 17 destroyers approaching Guadalcanal. Despite heavy rain, Eldridge with two other dive bomber crews volunteered to attack the convoy. None of three crews survived the attack. At approximately 2300 that night, friendly inhabitants on the southeastern end of Santa Isabel Island, saw Eldridge's aircraft crash just outside the reef. The next day pearl divers were able to free the body of Eldridge's rear gunner, Aviation Radioman Third Class George Yanick. They were unable to retrieve Eldridge from the mangled aircraft.
Lieutenant Commander John Eldridge was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as pilot of a carrier-based Navy Scouting Plane and Commanding Officer of Scouting Squadron Seventy-one (VS-71), attached to the USS Wasp (CV-7), during action against enemy Japanese forces in the Solomon Islands on 07 to 08 August 1942. He was posthumously awarded his second Navy Cross for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as pilot of a carrier-based Navy Fighter Plane and Commanding Officer of Fighting Squadron Seventy-one (VF-71), attached to the USS Wasp (CV-7), during action against enemy Japanese forces in the Solomon Islands Area during the period 05 through 14 October 1942. He was also awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
USS Eldridge (DE 173) (1943-1946) was the first ship named in his honor.
(Photo from the Home of Heroes)
|31k||25 July 1943: Newark, N.J. - After being christened, the future USS Eldridge (DE 173) slides down the Federal Shipyard building way into Newark Bay.||Bob Canchola|
|97k||Eldridge, of the Bostwick class doing her full speed. These ships retained the long-hull form of the Buckley class, but
are distinguished by their funnel form, taller than that of the Evarts type.
[U.S. Navy photo, from the book "Allied Escort Ships of World War II (A Complete Survey)", by Peter Elliott]
Bosnia - Hercegovina
|21k||Two undated wartime views of USS Eldridge at sea.||Bob Canchola|
|31k||undated wartime images||Rick McMillian|
|31k||15 January 1951: Boston, Mass. - Ceremony at the Boston Naval Shipyard, transferring the following ships to the Royal Hellenic Navy. USS
Eldridge DE-173 along with the USS Garfield Thomas DE-193, USS Slater DE-766, and USS Ebert DE-768. The transfer,
which was made under the provisions of the U.S. Mutual Defense Assistance Program, took place on 15 January 1951. The USS Eldridge DE-173 and the USS
Garfield Thomas DE-193 served in the Greek Navy respectively as the HNS Leon
(D-54) and HNS Panthir (D-67).
Photograph source: U.S. Department of State Photo #306-PSG-51-686 (Box 45)- O'Donnell. U.S. Information Agency Photograph in the U.S. National Archives)
|82k||Shortly after being transferred to the Greek Navy, the HNS Leon D-54 (formerly the USS Eldridge DE-173) is seen underway with the HNS Panthir D-67 (formerly the USS Garfield Thomas DE-193).|
|46k||circa 1952: as HNS Leon (D-54)||Bob Hurst|
England, United Kingdom
|86k||1960's: as HNS Leon (D-54)||Tony Vrailas|
|View the USS Eldridge (DE 173) DANFS history entry located on the Naval History and Heritage Command web site.|
|Eldridge's Commanding Officers
Thanks to Wolfgang Hechler & Ron Reeves
|Dates of Command||Commanding Officers|
|1.) 27 Aug. 1943 - 21 Apr. 1944||Lcdr. Charles R. Hamilton, USNR|
|2.) 21 Apr. 1944 - 30 Nov. 1945||Lcdr. William Kent Van Allen, USNR (Albion, N.Y.)|
|3.) 30 Nov. 1945 - 05 Dec. 1945||Lcdr. James M. Manire, USNR (Lubbock, Tex.)|
|4.) 03 Jan. 1946 - 02 Apr. 1946||Lt.(jg) Rufus K. Guthrie, USNR|
|5.) 01 May 1946 - 17 Jun. 1946||unsigned muster Muster Ends|
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, rosters, or deck logs available. Please see the
Frequently Asked Questions section on NavSource's Main Page for that information.
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