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|Thomas Olin Oberrender Jr. was born to Thomas Olin and Helen (Graaf) Oberrender in DuBois, Pa. on 24 September 1906. Appointed to the Naval Academy, where he acquired
the nickname "Dutch", he graduated with the Class of 1927. After graduating and being appointed ensign he served in the cruiser USS Rochester (CA 2), the gunboat
Tulsa (PG 22), and the destroyer Rizal (DD 174). After his promotion to lieutenant (junior grade) he served for a short time as gunnery officer of
Finch (AM 9) and then John D. Ford (DD 228). In late 1931 he was assigned to the cruiser USS Louisville (CL 28) where he served until he was
enrolled in the U.S Naval Academy Post-Graduate School in July of 1934.
Upon completion of Post-Graduate School in June 1936 he transferred to the battleship USS Nevada (BB 36) and was promoted to Lieutenant in early 1937. In mid-1938 he transferred to Hull (DD 350), serving as her engineering officer until he was transferred in June of 1940 to the New York Shipbuilding Corporation in Camden, New Jersey. Upon completion of that assignment, he then went to the Pre-Commissioning Unit of the future USS Juneau (CL 52) at the Federal Shipyard in Kearny, New Jersey. When Juneau was commissioned on 12 February 1942, then Lieutenant Commander Oberrender served as her Engineering Officer. Juneau departed for the Pacific Theater of operations on 22 August 1942.
Her first major action was the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands on 26 October. On 08 November Juneau departed Nouméa, New Caledonia, as a unit of TF 67 (Radm. R. K. Turner) to escort reinforcements to Guadalcanal. Later in the day of 12 November, an American attack group of cruisers and destroyers cleared Guadalcanal on reports that a large enemy surface force was headed for the island. At 0148 on 13 November, Radm. Daniel J. Callaghan's relatively small landing support group engaged the enemy. The Japanese force consisted of two battleships, one light cruiser, and nine destroyers. Because of bad weather and confused communications, the battle occurred in pitch darkness and point-blank range, as the ships of both sides became intermingled. During the melee, Juneau was struck on the port side by a torpedo from the Japanese destroyer Amatsukaze, causing a severe list, and necessitating withdrawal. Before noon on 13 November, Juneau, along with two other cruisers damaged in the battle, Helena and San Francisco headed toward Espiritu Santo for repairs. Juneau was steaming on one screw, down 12 feet by the bow, but able to maintain 13 knots.
A few minutes after 1100, two torpedoes were launched from submarine IJN I-26. Intended for San Francisco, both passed ahead of her. One struck Juneau in the same place she had been hit previously. After a great explosion; Juneau broke in two and disappeared in just 20 seconds. Missing forever, Lieutenant Commander Oberrender is memorialized on the Wall of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery in Rizal, Philippines. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart.
USS Oberrender (DE 344) (1944-1945) was the first ship to be named in his honor.
(Photo from the U.S. Naval Academy Yearbook; The Lucky Bag, Class of 1927.)
|190k||15 July 1944: Boston Harbor - Two views of the U.S. Navy destroyer escort USS Oberrender (DE 344) off Boston, Massachusetts. She is painted in camouflage
measure 32, design 22D. Oberrender had been in the Boston Navy Yard from 02 July to 14 July undergoing a post-shakedown yard availability. She departed the yard on the afternoon of
15 July enroute to Norfolk, Va.|
(U.S. Navy photo #80-G-382879 and BuShips #BS 132048 from the National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Md.)
|138k||10 November 1944: Seeadler Harbor, Manus, Admiralty Islands - Just after the explosion of USS Mount Hood (AE 11). Small craft gathered
around Mindanao (ARG 3) during salvage and rescue efforts shortly after Mount Hood blew up about 350 yards away from Mindanao's port side.
Mindanao, and seven motor minesweepers (YMS) moored to her starboard side, were damaged by the blast, as were USS Alhena (AKA 9), in the photo's top left
center, and Oberrender, in top right. Note the extensive oil slick, with tracks through it made by small craft.
(Copied from the War Diary, Manus Naval Base, for November 1944;
U.S. Navy photo #NH 95405 from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command)
|View the USS Oberrender (DE 344) DANFS history entry located on the Naval History and Heritage Command web site.|
|Oberrender's Commanding Officers
Thanks to Wolfgang Hechler & Ron Reeves
|Dates of Command||Commanding Officers|
|1.) 11 May 1944 - 11 Jul. 1945||Lcdr. Samuel Spencer, USNR (Washington, D.C.)|
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