The following is an anecdotal WWII history of the USS WEEDEN assembled and written by John Palm. Other contributers were Howard Green, Ed Legum, Bill Warner, Hal Knight, Ed Hansen, Don Ford, Arna Seibert, Gene Radford, Bill Warner, Domenic Mazziotti, Captain and Rose Tillinghast. This history illustrates the mundane assignments given to most escort vessels during WWII. We never fired a shot at the foe and have no heroic exploits to relate. It is more an account of the personalities aboard the ship and the typical experiences encountered by escort vessels. The history is broken into 3 parts-Atlantic Theater, Pacific Theater, and Post WWII .
PACIFIC THEATER Part I
PACIFIC THEATER Part II
August 18, 1943
Keel was laid down at Orange, Texas, by the Consolidated Steel Shipbuilding Corp.
USS WEEDEN was launched under the sponsorship of Mrs. Alice N. Weeden, grandmother of the late Ensign Carl Alfred Weeden
In some ways a famous man aboard, Henry Beck, was in Subchaser Training Center Miami, undergoing training with other men who would end up on the WEEDEN. With some buddies he visited his sister, then performing at the Hurricane Club in Miami. His sister was Sally Rand, famous for her fan dancing at the Chicago World’s Fair 1933 & 1934. I attended the Fair in 1934 at age 15, and, from my straight-laced background, I felt guilty even to look at the poster ads, let alone go in and see Sally dance.
Howard Green arrived in Norfolk, Va. Assigned to the DE 797, USS Weeden, We will stay in Norfolk, Va. for about a month and then go to Orange, Texas to pick up the ship. While other key officers were being introduced to the Weeden in Orange, I as PXO was overseeing the training of the basic crew in Norfolk. At my Miami SCTC training, I had been inspired by the need to overcome the German U-boat menace then so dreadfully sinking our ships. I got this Norfolk pre-commissioning crew together at the end of our training and made a Knute Rockne- type speech of how we needed to do our very best and sink at least one of the Nazi U-Boats. But we never got the chance.
(Ed Legum commenting) “Bel & I arrived in Orange, Texas. Also on hand was Cusack a storekeeper, later the Captain and then an Ensign named Collier. We had a small warehouse where we collected all the material to be ready to be placed aboard. (I personally signed for the ship, cost $3.5 million). The Weeden’s whaleboat would probably cost that today!”
Jan 24, 1944
From a fine letter (in 2nd Reunion folder) to the Grandmother of Carl Weeden who sponsored the ship at commissioning, it is evident that the Captain was then in Orange, Texas. In my recent, June 1991 visit to the Captain and Rose Tillinghast, in Horseshoe, NC, they recounted their adventures in locating housing in the war scarce market in Orange, Texas. Rose recalled how Charles went along one side of the street and she the other, knocking on doors and soliciting housing until someone responded Yes !
February 16, 1994
We Left Norfolk. Arrived in Orange, Texas Feb. 17. Howard Green thought that It was really heaven compared to Norfolk. This is not my memory of Orange. I was unpleasantly shocked at the drab, dusty “Wild West” appearance of Orange, and the New Holland Hotel, where my wife and I stayed. Our memorable joke was if this was the New Holland Hotel, what must the old one have been, a prairie wagon? Our hotel room had its bathtub right in the middle of the bedroom!
February 18, 1944
Crew carried bag & baggage over quarterdeck and down to their bunks aboard ship.
February 19, 1944
Commissioned at Orange, Texas Lt. Comdr. C.F. Tillinghast, Jr., in command.
USS WEEDEN PLANK OWNERS
LT. CMDR. CHARLES F. TILLINGHAST Jr.- USNR,-commanding officer
LT. JOHN W. PALM. USN,-Executive Officer
LT. (jg) EDGAR LEGUM- USNR
LT. (jg) WILLIAM H. G. WARNER-USNR
LT. ( jg) HAROLD E. KNIGHT
ENSIGN WILLIAM M. GRAHAM- USN
ENSIGN HENRY S. BRANDT-USNR
ENSIGN JOHN M SMITH-USNR
ENSIGN PEYTON G TOWNES-USNR
ADAMS J.– ANDREWS A. E — ARENDT E. R.– ASHWORTH H T– BALLARD M. W.– BASSIGNANI F M — BECK H C– BELL T A.– BENNETT R– BIGA E J– BLAIR R. J.– BLASSO F — BLOCK R — BOSWELL C. W.– BOWEN R. L.– BREWER J H — BROOKS P. B.– BUCKLEY P J- – BURDETT H. B.– BUTTERFIELD W.– BYRN W L– CAGLE W. R. — CARPER E. F. — CARY J. F.– CASTO D.– CONLEY R E– COOK A J.– COONEY E. J– COOPER P E– COPELAND, Jr. A E.– CORRINNE A– CRAIG W. T– CRANE J.H.– CRAVEY F H– CROOKS C. E.– CROSSMAN B. F.– CUSACK J. J.– CZARNEY A J– DADISMAN R L– DAHLQUIST, Jr. H– DALY J W– DAVIS S H– DEVINCENT, Jr. D– DOERR D A– DONALDSON H.C–DONAHUE C.W.– DOSS E– DRAUX J. R.– DUDLEY W. E.– EARGLE J. D.– ECKENRODE J. E.– ELSWICK J.– EVANS J W– FANCIS P. S.– FELICE D F– FERRELL J. C.– FORD D C– FRANKS S A– FRECK H. J.– GERLACH B.– GOINS F.– GRAHAM M E– GREEN H R — GRIFFIN H. A.– HALL, Jr. W– HAMM H. H.– HANKINS C. L.– HANSEN R C– HANSEN, Jr. E. C.– HARDMAN D C– HARRIS H. E.– HAWES R. F.– HEINBACK S. T.– HENSON W.– HICKS JD — HOCKENBERRY J. L– HOGUE C V– HOLDZSKOM C W — HORNE D E.– HOUCHINS M L– JENKINS G.L– JONES N L– KIBBEY L. G.– KIKER R. E. — KING B. D– KING J. R– KING W. J.– KIRKCONNELL W. T.– KNIGHT W. P.– KNOLL H– KOGUT S. P.– KOHO J E– KONOPKA J P– KULESA E. G.– LaMATTERY J J– LAMONT P. J.– LANNI V M.– LARSON C M– LAWSON C. E.– LEPAGE W. C.– LEUTHOLD F W– LONG B. G.– LONG L. D.– LORAN M. E. — M ARTIN I. K.– MAGERA R. M.– MAILLETT H. W.– MALIN L. C.– MATHERLY F H– MAY R. A.– MAZZIOTTI D. J.– McCARTHY J. T.– McCORT F– McCURRY C I– McHUGH D H.– McLEAN D. D.– McQUAIN H L.– McWILLIAMS G. S.– MILLER E.W– MILLER J. M.– MILLER P. J.– MORGAN R. R.– MUSSELLMAN R D.– MUTH A F.– NELSON D. D.– OLIVER R– OLIVERIA G. C.– PAGE I– PAVEY N– PETROLUNONGO P– PISANO A– PISKOROWSKI S A.– POETKER M E– POLLIER W E– PONA J. F.– POSTILLICO V– POTTER V. D.– POWEL D L.– PREMALDI R– PRICE H. P.– RADFORD E. P.– REMILLARD A. E.– RICHARD, Jr. J. A.– ROBERSON G L. — ROBINSON H. K.– RORABAUGH J. L.– SANDERS J. H.– SAPRANO C– SAWYER G.– SCIALPI C– SEIBERT A. L — SHERELL R. L.– SHULL A. R.– SIDERIO F. P– SMITH R.R– SOMMESE S– SPICER R. W– STOHL N.– SWEENEY R. E.– TATE R. E.– TAYLOR H. B.– THIBODEAUX J– TOMASETTI V. L.– TOURTELLOTE C. A.– TRAWEEK B. L.– TROY R W– UITHOVEN H. L. VALANT F. G.– VAUGHN G. H.– VAUGHT G. O– WALLIN J. D.– WALSH W. C.– WATTERS G– WATTS A. G.– WEATHERS V. C.– WEBBER E J.– WEXLER C L– WHITE G. H.– WILCOXON L– WILLIAMS R. T.– WINCHESTER D. G.– WOODS P– YELVERTON H. C.– YOUNG E. H. —