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Navsource Online: Destroyer Escort Photo Archive

Ship's patches courtesy of Mike Smolinski

USS Forster (DE 334)

Flag Hoist / Radio Call Sign:
N - T - E - H
Tactical Voice Radio Call: "Circle Drive"

Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row: Combat Action Ribbon (retroactively) - American Campaign Medal
Second Row: Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal - European-Africa-Middle East Campaign Medal w/ 1 star - World War II Victory Medal
Third Row: Navy Occupation Service Medal - National Defense Service Medal w/ 1 star - Korean Service Medal (USCG Service)
Fourth Row: Antarctica Service Ribbon - Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal w/ 1 star - Vietnam Service Medal w/ 7 stars
Fifth Row: Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross (palm) Unit Citation w/ 4 stars - United Nations Korean Service Medal (USCG Service) - Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal

Class: Edsall
Type: FMR (geared diesel, Fairbanks-Morse reverse gear drive, 3" guns)
Displacement: 1200 tons (light), 1590 tons (full)
Length: 300' (wl), 306' (oa)
Beam: 36' 10" (extreme)
Draft: 20' 6" (draft limit)
Propulsion: 4 Fairbanks-Morse Mod. 38d81/8 geared diesel engines, 4 diesel-generators, 6000 shp, 2 screws
Speed: 21 kts
Range: 9,100 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: 8 / 201
Forster (DE 334) Building and Operational Data:
  • 31 August 1943: Keel laid at the Consolidated Steel Corp., Orange, Tex.
  • 13 November 1943: Launched and christened, sponsored by Mrs. E. W. Forster, widow of Machinist Forster
  • 25 January 1944: Commissioned at the City Dock, Orange, Tex., Lcdr I. E. Davis, USNR, in command
  • 15 June 1946: Decommissioned at Green Cove Springs, Fla. after 2 years and 4⅔ months of service
  • 29 June 1951: Loaned to USCG and Recommissioned as WDE-434, assigned to weather station duty homeported at Honolulu, Hi.
  • 25 May 1954: Returned USN and Decommissioned after 2 years and 11 months of service
  • 21 October 1955: Reclassified as DER 334 and converted to a radar picket destroyer escort at Long Beach NSY
  • 23 October 1956: Recommissioned at Long Beach, Cal., assigned to Escort Squadron 5 at Seattle, Wash.
  • 20 June 1958: Homeport changed to Pearl Harbor, Hi.
  • 25 September 1971: Decommissioned after 14 years and 11 months of service, struck from the NVR with a total of 20 years and 2⅔ months of service
  • 25 September 1971: Loaned to South Vietnam, renamed Tran Khanh Du (HQ-04). Captured by North Vietnamese after the fall of Saigon on 29 April 1975.
  • 30 April 1975: Written off as "transferred to Vietnam", renamed Dai Ky (HQ-03). Equipped with 2 quad SA-N-5 Grail launchers; in use as a training ship since 1993, operational as of 1997.
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    Size Image Description Contributed
    By And/Or Copyright
    Forster 56k 04 February 1952: Mare Island Naval Shipyard - Aft plan view of Forster (WDE 434), inboard, and Newell (WDE 422) at Mare Island. Both were in overhaul at the yard from 10 September 1951 to 05 February 1952.

    (U.S. Navy photo #DE 344 11701-52)
    Darryl Baker
    PNCM, USNR (ret.)

    Vallejo Naval & Historical Museum
    Forster 56k 04 February 1952: Mare Island Naval Shipyard - Forward plan view of Forster (WDE 434), inboard, and Newell (WDE 422).

    (U.S. Navy photo #DE 344 11698-52)
    Forster 143k Undated Post-Conversion Image Nick Tiberio
    Shelton, Conn.
    Forster 143k circa 1957: USS Forster underway.

    (Official U.S. Navy Photo; From "Jane's Fighting Ships, 1958-59")
    Bob Hurst
    Worksop, Nottinghamshire,
    England, United Kingdom
    Forster 347k 1960: Oahu, Hawaii - USS Forster (DER 334) underway in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, with her crew at quarters. The 3" gunshields forward and aft stand out clearly. All the DERs appear to have carried the black funnel cowl. There is a Hedgehog forward of the bridge.

    (U.S. Naval Historical Center photo #NH 55886 from the Naval History and Heritage Command)
    Yu Chu
    Brunei Darussalam
    South East Asia
    Forster 303k 1961: Hong Kong - A special assignment was given to Forster in late fall of 1960 when she was relieved of Pacific Barrier Patrol duty and assigned to WestPac. Loaded with a large number of extra depth charges, she systematically dropped them on a great circle track from 9 deg. north of the Equator to a point east of Japan (along the then Russian missile testing track). Sonar buoys and various other sound detection devices in the Pacific then picked up and triangulated the sounds of the explodong depth charges to simulate the splash location of future Russian test warheads. Upon reaching Japan, Forster was assigned to Formosa Patrol duty, 6 weeks as Station Ship Hong Kong, and made a good-will tour of the Philippine Islands (San Carlos, Negro; Surigao, Mindinao; Ormoc City, Leyte; and Kalibo, Panay). She returned to Pearl Harbor in the summer of 1961. William C. Krommenhoek
    Lieutenant, USNR
    July 1958 - June 1961
    San Diego, Cal.
    Forster 121k 19 September 1962: location unknown - Commander Gordon R. Nagler and Admiral John H. Sides examine the the Arleigh Burke Fleet Trophy plaque, during ceremonies in which Forster received the award. Established in 1962 in honor of former Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Arleigh A. Burke, USN, this award plaque's sculptor was H. de Bellis. In 1971 this trophy was transferred to the collections of the Curator of the Department of the Navy.

    (USNHC Photo #NH55887 and National Archives Photo #1061190)
    Bill Gonyo
    Downey, Cal.

    Assoc. Researcher
    Forster 152k Jan. - Feb. 1963: Hobart, Tasmania, Australia - USS Forster (DER 334) moored at the South Elizabeth Street Pier on a port visit during an Operation Deep Freeze. Forster and other DER's served as ocean navigation sites for aircraft flyinh to Antarctica. She received the Antarctica Service Medal for the period of 21 January to 04 March 1963. Yu Chu
    Brunei Darussalam
    South East Asia
    Forster 56k RD2 Phil Burton had this photo scanned and printed from a cruise book photo, circa 1964 Dick Hallowell
    RD1 ('64-'66)
    Forster 164k 20 February 1966: the South China Sea - 82-footers of Coast Guard Division 13, refueling from the Navy escort USS Forster (DE 334) en route to Vietnam from Subic Bay.

    (U.S. Coast Guard Photo CPI-022066-09 by PHC F. Borzage, USCG, from the U.S. Coast Guard Historian's Office)
    Bob Hurst
    Worksop, Nottinghamshire,
    England, United Kingdom
    Forster 144k as above.

    (U.S. Coast Guard Photo by PHC F. Borzage, USCG from the U.S. Coast Guard Historian's Office)
    Forster 286k March 1966: the South China Sea - Unidentified crewman from USS Forster (DER 334) checks a sampan for contraband cargo during "Operation Maket Time". The chain in the bottom right corner of the photo will be passed under the sampan's hull to detect cargo that might be hidden below the waterline. "Operation Maket Time" commenced in late 1965 to stop the flow of arms, men, and material from North to South Vietnam.

    (U.S. Navy photo #USN 1142219 by JOC R. D. Moeser, from the Naval History and Heritage Command)
    Yu Chu
    Brunei Darussalam
    South East Asia
    Forster 269k 15 April 1966: the South China Sea - USS Forster (DER 334) crewmen conducted searches of Vietnamese junks during "Operation Market Time". Forster znd her sister DER's provided long-term presence at sea offshore to guard against trawler infiltration. Originally built for WWII convoy duty, and then modified for distant early warning ("DEW") duty in the North Atlantic, the DER's sea keeping capability made them ideal for long-term presence offshore where they provided support for SWIFT boats, pilot rescue and sampan inspections.

    1.) Forster lays among Vietnamese trawlers as the destroyer escort conducts visit-and-search operations off Vietnam.

    2.) Signalman Harold E. McCachren of Johnstown, Pa., attached to Forster rides a motor whaleboat toward a Vietnamese junk off the coast of South Vietnam.

    3.) Ensign Peter L. Caldwell of Houlton, Maine, stands guard in a motor whaleboat with a .45 caliber submachine gun M1928AL off the coast of South Vietnam.

    (U.S. Navy photos #NH 55886, NH 55886 and NH 55886 by JOC Robert D. Moeser, from the Naval History and Heritage Command)
    Forster 144k
    Forster 150k
    Forster 78k May 1966: Kaohsiung, Taiwan - a nice shot of Forster's Hedgehog launcher Larry Backus
    Forster 87k January 1969: Pearl Harbor - Forster makes her approach to moor alongside USS Charles Berry (DE 1035) and USS Vance (DER 387).

    (Photo © Richard Leonhardt)
    Richard Leonhardt
    Bethlehem, Pa.
    Forster 38k passing the USS Renville (APA 227) Lt. Richard Dawson
    USS Renville (APA 227)
    Forster 280k 1968: location unknown - The escort ship USS Forster (DE 334) underway.

    (U.S. Navy photo by PHCM L. P. Bodine)
    Bob Hurst
    Worksop, Nottinghamshire,
    England, United Kingdom
    Vance 141k December 1968: Pearl Harbor Hawaii - Vance tied up outboard of Charles Berry (DE 1035) and Forster (DER 334).

    (Photo © Richard Leonhardt)
    Richard Leonhardt
    Bethlehem, Pa.
    Frontier 217k circa prior to May 1970: USS Frontier (AD 25) moored pierside at Pearl Harbor, with, from outboard to inboard; USS Forster (DER 334), an unidentified DER, USS Fletcher (DD 445), USS Walker (DD 517 and USS Taylor (DD 468). Mike Smolinski
    Clifton, N.J.

    Navsource Archive Manager
    DE / FF / LCS Archive
    Forster 38k undated: ex-USS Forster as HQVN Tran Khanh Du (HQ-4) Bang Le

    Forster History
    View the USS Forster (DE 334) DANFS history entry located on the Naval History and Heritage Command web site.
    View the official War History of USS Forster as submitted by the ship at war's end.

    Forster's Commanding Officers
    Thanks to Wolfgang Hechler & Ron Reeves
    Dates of Command Commanding Officers
    1.)  25 Jan. 1944 - 27 May 1944Lcdr. Irving Edward Davis, USNR (Comm. CO) (prior enl.) (Providence, R.I.)
    2.)  27 May 1944 - .. .... ....Lt. J. N. Clayton Jr., USNR
    3.)  .. .... .... - 15 Jun. 1946Ens. Byron Maggos USNR (Decomm. CO)
    6.)  23 Oct. 1956 - .. Jun. 1958Lcdr. Glenn Harold Brown Jr. (Alhambra, Cal.)
    7.)  .. Jun. 1958 - .. Jul. 1959Lcdr. P. C. Parker
    8.)  .. Jul. 1959 - .. Jul. 1960Lcdr. Charles Pinkney Tesh (V-7, '45) (Winston-Salem, N.C.) (ret. as Vadm.)
    9.)  .. Jul. 1960 - .. Jan. 1962Lcdr. Jack W. Bennett
    10.) .. Jan. 1962 - .. Dec. 1962Lcdr. Gordon Richard Nagler (enl. '43 / NROTC '45) (Baltimore, Md.) (ret. as Vadm.)
    11.) .. Dec. 1962 – 19 Dec. 1964Lcdr. Joel Halbert Berry Jr. (Norfolk, Va.)
    12.) 19 Dec. 1964 - .. .... 1966Lcdr. Jack Campbell (USNA '53) (Butler, Pa.)
    13.) .. .... 1966 - 18 Mar. 1968Lcdr. Herbert Joseph Dean (prior enl. '44 / USNA '54) (Lawrence, Mass.)
    14.) 18 Mar. 1968 – 14 Sep. 1969Lcdr. Donald Eugene Repass (Fresno, Cal.)
    15.) 14 Sep. 1969 – 25 Sep. 1971Lcdr. David D. Schroeder (Davenport, Ia.)

    Crew Contact And Reunion Information

    Contact Name: Byron Maggos
    Address: 17506 Meadowbrook Drive
    City/State: Grayslake IL 60030
    Phone: (847) 918-9734
    E-mail: Byron Maggos
    Note About Contacts

    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 or rosters available. Please see the Frequently Asked
    Questions section on NavSource's Main Page for that information.

    Additional Resources

    Radar Picket Ships DE/DER Web Links
    Tin Can Sailors
    The U.S. Navy Memorial
    Destroyer Escort Sailors Association
    The Destroyer Escort Historical Museum
    The Destroyer History Foundation
    Tin Can Sailors Shipmate Registry - USS Forster
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    This Page Created And Maintained By Mike Smolinski
    All pages copyright Navsource Naval History
    by Paul R. Yarnall, All Rights Reserved.
    Page Last Updated: 24 January 2020