February 1997 Proceedings
DE 387 Destroyer Escort
WDE 487 Coast Guard Destroyer Escort
DER 387 Destroyer Escort Radar Picket

December 1996 Proceedings

"Lest We Forget... Vance"    

Lest We Forget 

Launched on 16 July 1943, the U.S. Destroyer Escort Vance (DE387) was commissioned on 1 November 1943 and placed under the command of Lieutenant Commander E.A. Anderson, U.S. Coast Guard. Following her shakedown cruise, the Vance-a Coast Guard-manned unit-was designated as flagship for Escort Division 45. After local operations, the Vance joined the New York section of Convoy UGS-33, bound for Gibraltar in early 1944.

On 12 April 1944, the Vance got under way and formed part of the escort fleet protecting the 102 merchant ships in convoy UGS-39, sailing for Tunisia. 

On 14 May 1944, a German U-boat torpedoed two merchants in the convoy. The Vance remained on the scene, off Oran, for ten hours while searching for the German submarine. Three days later, after the Vance had been relieved by a squadron of Navy destroyers, German U-boat (U-616) was destroyed by U.S. Navy warships.

After returning to the East Coast, the Vance departed New York on 2 May 1945 for her last Mediterranean bound convoy. On 11 May 1945--four days after the German surrender--the Vance found and captured German U-boat(U-873).

Following the end of U.S. operations against Germany, the Vance sailed for the Pacific, but arrived too late to participate in any actions against the Japanese. She returned to the United States, and on 27 February 1946 she was decommissioned and placed in reserve.

The Vance was refitted as a radar picket escort (DER-387), and recommissioned on 5 October 1956. In July 1958 the Vance became the first ship on the Distant Early Warning (DEW) radar line in the Pacific and the first to sail under the newly organized Pacific barrier patrol.

In 1961-1962, the Vance was assigned as an ocean station vessel, assisting in Operation "Deep Freeze 65" during which time she was temporarily based in New Zealand.

From 1965 on, the Vance took part in operations in the Pacific, including action off Vietnam. She assisted in "rescue of a downed F-100 pilot" in early 1965 and was active in numerous "Market Time" operations. The Vance also participated in Operation "Masher," the amphibious operation designed to clear northern Binh Dinh province of Viet Cong guerrillas.

On 31 March 1966, Lieutenant Commander Marcus Aurelius Arnheiter, commanding officer of the Vance, was abruptly relieved of command of his ship while on the gun line off Vietnam, in what became known as the Arnheiter Affair.

Following several more operations in South Asia, the Vance was decommissioned on 10 October 1969 and struck from the Navy List on 1 June 1975.

-Eric Wertheim 

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