the early years of World War Two, destroyers were used by
the Navy as escorts to guard convoys of transport ships
against submarine attacks. But destroyers were costly
ships that took too long to build.
To combat the German U-Boat menace,
inexpensive ships with relatively simple construction were
needed immediately. From this concept the Destroyer
Escort, or DE, was born.
The DE's were diesel-powered, highly
maneuverable, and designed from the keel up for
antisubmarine warfare. They were ships built to fulfill a
basic need of U.S. Naval forces and became important
factors in winning the battle in the Atlantic.
The USS VANCE (DER-387), named for JOSEPH W. VANCE, is one of
the ships that came out of the needs of war. She was
built by the Brown Shipbuilding Company of Houston, Texas
end commissioned on November 1, 1943.
VANCE's first two years of service were spent
on escort duty in the Atlantic. During this period she
helped sink a German submarine off Oran, Algeria (1944)
and capture a sub and its crew near the Azores (1945).
Shortly after the end of the war, VANCE was
decommissioned and placed in the Reserve Fleet at Green
Cove Springs, Florida.
In 1952, VANCE was loaned
to the U.S. Coast Guard and recommissioned as USCGC VANCE
WDE487. She served during the Korean war on Ocean Station
"QUEEN" and was homeported at Pearl Harbor, HI. In 1954,
VANCE returned to San Diego, CA. She was decommissioned and
returned to the Navy. (added to fill in the facts of VANCE's
Vance lay dormant in mothballs for a decade.
In 1956, changing aspects of national defense made her
needed once again. The speed of aircraft in 1956 had
almost tripled speeds of World War Two. The increased
speed of these aircraft left a gap in the early detection of
planes approaching the United States. To fill the gap,
the Navy decided on sea-going radar picket stations.
The destroyer escorts proved to be ideal
floating radar stations. They possessed tremendous
endurance and were perfectly suited as mobile platforms
for the new long-range radar and communications
VANCE was withdrawn from the Reserve Fleet and
fitted out with extensive electronics equipment. Along
with her new gear she received the designation
DER...radar picket ship... and was recommissioned.
VANCE's first home port as a DER was Seattle,
Washington, She operated out of her home port for two
years patrolling the Pacific as part of the seaward
extension of the Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line. In
this capacity VANCE was one of a network of stations
which formed an electronic umbrella over the United
States. The umbrella was a radar barrier that stretched
from Hawaii, across Canada, Greenland, Iceland and the
North Atlantic to Great Britain.
In 1958 VANCE changed home ports and operated
out of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. She continued to serve as an
extension of the DEW Line, patrolling between Hawaii and
the Allelutian Islands.
VANCE left her patrol duties in 1961 to
participate in Operation Deep Freeze. She operated under
the Commander of Navel Support Forces Antarctica
assisting South pole explorations until 1962.
Since April 1965 VANCE has served as a unit of
the United States Seventh Fleet. During this time, she
has participated in Market Time Operations off the coast
of Vietnam. She was assigned additional duties of
patrolling the Formosa Straits for the Taiwan Defense
Forces in June 1967.