USS SLATER TO GET SISTER SHIP'S ARTIFACTS
Article courtesy of the Times Union
By Terry Brown, Staff writer
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Former crew members of the Navy's USS Atherton (DE-169) who sank a German
submarine off the coast of Rhode Island during the closing hours of World
War II will reunite Monday through Wednesday in Malta at the Fairfield Inn &
Suites, 101 Saratoga Village Blvd. The veterans will meet in Albany on board
the Atherton's sister ship, USS Slater (DE-766), at 9 a.m. Tuesday.
Reunion organizer Preston Davis, of Stafford, Va., who was a gunnery mate on
the Atherton, will present Slater representatives with artifacts, photos and
biographies of the Atherton crew along with the tattered American flag that
flew during that Battle of Point Judith, the final battle in the Atlantic.
They'll be displayed in the ship's museum.
During the war, the Atherton had a crew of 15 officers and 201 sailors.
The Atherton and the Slater are the only two destroyer escorts from World
War II still afloat today, Davis said.
The Atherton, now named the Rajah Humabon PF11, remains on active duty as a
Philippines Navy vessel. Four days after Hitler committed suicide, a German
Navy admiral radioed a message to all U-boats to cease fire. But because
U-853 was submerged, it didn't receive the order, according to a story by
Ralph DiCarpio on the USS Atherton Association's Web site.
On May 5 the U-boat crew spotted and torpedoed the USS Point Black
transporting coal. Five sailors died and 41 were rescued as their ship sank.
Several nearby U.S. Navy ships, including the Atherton, were ordered to hunt
and sink the German sub.
Early on May 6, after the Atherton's sonar detected the enemy craft, ``our
depth charges sank the sub,'' said Davis, who manned an anti-aircraft weapon
during the battle.
After several explosions, air bubbles, debris and German Navy life jackets
rose to the surface. Among the debris, an Atherton sailor retrieved a cap
worn by the sub's commander, Hulmut Fromsdorf.