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Navsource Online: Destroyer Escort Photo Archive

Ship's patch courtesy of Mike Smolinski

USS Wagner (DE 539)

Flag Hoist / Radio Call Sign:
N - K - U - T
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons
Class: John C. Butler
Type: WGT (geared-turbine drive, 5" guns)
Displacement: 1350 tons (light), 1745 tons (full)
Length: 300' (wl), 306' (oa)
Beam: 36' 10" (extreme)
Draft: 11' 0" (draft limit)
Propulsion: 2 "D" Express boilers, 2 geared turbine engines, 12,000 shp, 2 screws
Speed: 24 kts
Range: 6,000 nm @ 12 knots
Armament: 2 - 5"/38 cal. DP guns (2x1), 4 - 40mm AA (2x2), 10 - 20mm AA, 3 - 21" TT, 1 Mk10 Hedgehog, 8 Mk6 Depth Charge Projectors, 2 Mk9 Depth Charge Stern Racks
Complement: 14 / 201
Wagner (DE 539) Building and Operational Data:
  • 08 November 1943: Keel laid by the Boston Navy Yard, Charlestown, Mass.
  • 27 December 1944: Launched and christened, sponsored by Mrs. Alfred Thomas
  • 17 February 1947: Construction suspended (61.5% complete) due to postwar cutbacks, towed to the Naval Industrial Reserve Shipyard, Boston and "mothballed"
  • 19 October 1953: Construction resumed at the Boston Naval Shipyard, scheduled for completion as a radar picket escort ship, redesignated DER539
  • 22 November 1955: Commissioned, Lcdr. E. A. Riley, USN, in command, assigned to Newport, R.I. as a unit of Escort Squadron 18
  • 24 June 1960: Decommissioned at the Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility, Orange, Tex. after 4 years and 7 months of of service; custody transferred to CO, Texas Group, U. S. Atlantic Reserve Fleet
  • 01 November 1974: Struck from the NVR
  • Sunk as a target, date unknown
    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Contributed
    By And/Or Copyright
    125k undated -
    71k undated Nick Tiberio
    Shelton, Conn.
    155k circa 1958: location unknown - A starboard bow view of USS Wagner.

    (U.S. Naval Historical Center photo #NH 79811, Courtesy of D.M. McPherson, 1974, from the Naval History and Heritage Command)
    Mike Smolinski
    Clifton, N.J.

    Manager, Navsource
    DE / FF / LCS Archive
    120k 22 March 1973: Philadelphia, Pa. - A starboard bow view of the mothballed USS Wagner at the Inactive Ship Basin of the Philadelphia Naval Shiipyard.

    (U.S. Naval Historical Center photo #NH 79810, Courtesy of D.M. McPherson, 1974, from the Naval History and Heritage Command)
    220k undated: Philadelphia, Pa. - Wagner in mothballs at the Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facilty, Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. Aft of her is Rhodes (DER 384) and to her port lies Chambers (DER 391).

    Tim Rizzuto
    USS Slater (DE 766)

    Wagner Memorabilia
    Courtesy of
    Marc Reckner
    Courtesy of
    Mike Smolinski

    Wagner History
    View the USS Wagner (DE 539) DANFS history entry located on the Naval History and Heritage Command web site.

    Wagner's Commanding Officers
    Thanks to Wolfgang Hechler & Ron Reeves
    Dates of Command Commanding Officers
    1.) 22 Nov. 1955 - 13 Sep. 1957Lcdr. Edward Arlo Riley, USN (Comm. CO)
    2.) 13 Sep. 1957 - 19 Jun. 1958Lcdr. / Cmdr. Baret Vahan Ajemian, USN (Roslindale, Mass.)
    3.) 19 Jun. 1958 - 18 May 1959Lcdr. William S. Johnston, USN (OCS 44) (Paris, France)
    4.) 18 May 1959 - 02 Apr. 1960Lcdr. Kenneth Johnson Cole, USN (USNA '47) (New Haven, Conn.)
    5.) 02 Apr. 1960 - 24 Jun. 1960Lcdr. John David Rodda, USN (Decomm. CO) (OCS 52) (Rochester, Ind.)

    Crew Contact And Reunion Information

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

    Additional Resources

    Tin Can Sailors
    The U.S. Navy Memorial
    Destroyer Escort Sailors Association
    The Destroyer Escort Historical Museum
    The Destroyer History Foundation

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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: 19 February 2023