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Gunboat Photo Archive

Charleston (PG 51)

Call sign:
Nan - Easy - Baker - Dog

Erie Class Gunboat:

  • Laid down 27 October 1934 by the Charleston Navy Yard, Charleston, SC
  • Launched 25 February 1936
  • Commissioned USS Charleston (PG 51), 8 July 1936
  • Ran aground and damaged 11 January 1940 at Colon, Canal Zone
  • Damaged 22 September 1943 when accidently rammed by the U.S. freighter Sam Jackson in Kuluk Bay, Adak, AK
  • Decommissioned 10 May 1946 and transferred to the Maritime Commission
  • Transferred to the Massachusetts Maritime Academy 25 March 1948
  • Last cruise for the Maritime Academy was in 1957
  • Sold to an Italian investor and planned to be converted into a floating night club/hotel
  • Fate unknown.


  • Displacement 2,000 t.
  • Length 328' 6"
  • Beam 41' 3"
  • Draft 14' 10"
  • Speed 19.6 kts.
  • Complement 236
  • Armament: Four 6"/47 gun mounts, four quad 1.1" antiaircraft mounts, six 20mm mounts and two depth charge tracks
  • Propulsion: Two 3-drum express boilers, two 6,200ihp turbines, Parsons single reduction gear, two shafts.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    Charleston (PG 51)
    Charleston 125k c. February 1936
    Under construction
    U.S. Navy photo
    Robert Hall
    USS Charleston (PG 51)
    Charleston 72k Resin and Brass Model Tommy Trampp
    Charleston 300k 10 October 1936
    Preparing for shakedown cruise, at Charleston Navy Yard, Charleston, South Carolina
    Library of Congress photo from National Museum of the U.S. Navy
    Michael Mohl
    Charleston 212k
    Charleston 51k 10 October 1936
    Preparing for shake down
    U.S. Navy photo
    Robert Hall
    Charleston 125k c. 1938
    Panama Canal
    Darryl Baker
    Charleston 27k
    Charleston 40k
    Charleston 283k From the collection of N. G. Wade, CTC, USN, Ret. Crew member November 1940 - April 1941 Mike Wade
    Charleston 262k 29 January 1941
    Ketchikan, AK
    From the collection of N. G. Wade, CTC, USN, Ret. Crew member November 1940 - April 1941
    Charleston 237k
    Charleston 188k 20 February 1941
    Seward, AK
    Back of photo reads "Trip of 2/20/41. If we hit rough water with this narrow one - Oh! Oh! Love, Walt"
    David Wright
    4.1m Itinerary of USS Charleston 23 January - 7 March 1941
    From the collection of N. G. Wade, CTC, USN, Ret. Crew member November 1940 - April 1941
    Mike Wade
    Charleston 117k c. 1943 Joe Radigan
    Charleston 297k 13 January 1943
    The ice encrusted bow and forward gun mount operating out of Kodiak, Alaska
    U.S. Navy and Marine Corps Museum/Naval Aviation Museum, photo No. 1965.006.009.016
    Mike Green
    Charleston 52k c. 1944
    Line drawing from Shipbucket
    Tommy Trampp
    Charleston 42k c. March 1944
    Charleston 60k 4 March 1944 Hyper War U.S. Navy in WWII
    Charleston 212k c. Summer 1944
    Charleston shown in the Attu, AK anchorage with USS Concord (CL 10) in the distance
    National Archives photo 80-G-239371
    John Chiquoine
    Photo added 2 February 2022
    USTS Charleston
    Charleston 206k At the state pier, Cape Cod Canal, Massachusetts, circa the late 1940s, while she was the Massachusetts Maritime School Ship
    Courtesy of Donald M. McPherson, Corte Madera, California, 1972
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 77120
    Mike Green
    Charleston 105k c. 1951
    Boston, MA
    Massachusetts Maritime Academy
    Charleston 117k c. 1952
    Families visit the USTS Charleston at Massachusetts Maritime Academy
    Photos by Stanley Doyka
    Charleston 122k
    Charleston 648k Newspaper article from the 27 April 1952 edition of the Sunday Star, Washington, DC Ron Reeves
    Charleston 87k c. fall 1955
    East Boston Shipyard
    Just before deploying for three months on a training cruise to the Mediterranean in January 1956
    CDR Jack Dowd, USNR, Ret.
    Charleston 95k c. fall 1955
    Yard period
    Charleston 847k Newspaper article dated 9 April 1954 and 7 July 1962 Ron Reeves
    Charleston 389k 5 April 1956
    Genoa, Italy
    Carlo Martinelli
    Charleston 219k
    Charleston 230k

    Commanding Officers
    01CAPT Robert King Awtrey, USN - USNA Class of 19118 July 1936
    02CDR Carleton Fanton Bryant, USN - USNA Class of 1914
    Awarded the Navy Distinguished Service Medal (1946), the Silver Star (1944) and three Legion of Merits with Combat V (1944) - Retired as Vice Admiral
    27 March 1939
    03CDR Milton Oren Carlson, USN - USNA Class of 1916
    Awarded two Legion of Merits (1945/1948) - Retired as Rear Admiral
    6 January 1941
    04CDR Gordon Bogert Sherwood, USN - USNA Class of 19185 July 1942
    05CDR Willis Henry Pickton, USN - USNA Class of 19257 October 1943
    06CDR William Eugene Makosky, USN - USNA Class of 192121 March 1945 - 10 May 1946
    Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler, Ron Reeves and Joe Radigan

    View the Charleston (PG-51)
    DANFS History entry located on the Haze Gray & Underway Website.
    Back to the Main Photo Index Back to the Patrol Craft/Gunboat/Submarine Chaser Ship Index Back to the Gunboat Photo (PG) Index

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