USS Swasey (DE-248) - Sinking of Destroyer Escort Turner

Sinking of Destroyer Escort Turner

Swasey was attached to Task Force (TF) 64 to escort convoy UGS-25 to North Africa. The convoy arrived safely on 10 December, and Swasey joined GUS-24 the next week for the return voyage to the United States. After an uneventful crossing, the escort was waiting to enter New York Harbor on 3 January 1944 when an explosion rocked USS Turner 3,000 yards (2,700 m) away. Swasey proceeded at best speed to aid the stricken ship but could not go alongside as small craft were nearing Turner at the time. The motor whaleboat was lowered with a fire and rescue party to board Turner if possible. Swasey managed to close within 20 yards (18 m) of Turner, and all fire hoses were brought to bear on Turner's flames, but the water was ineffective on the roaring inferno. Swasey continued to direct small boats until 0750 when, after a large explosion, Turner capsized and sank.

After an availability period from 4 to 13 January, Swasey held training off Casco Bay, Maine, and sailed for Norfolk on 21 January. She sailed on the 24th for North Africa as an escort of Convoy UGS-31 and arrived at Gibraltar on 13 February. She departed there three days later with GUS-30 and arrived at New York on 8 March. Swasey joined task force TF 65 at Norfolk and sailed on 24 March in the escort screen of convoy UGS-37 en route to Bizerte. The convoy consisted of 60 merchant ships and six LSTs. The crossing was uneventful until the convoy had passed the Straits of Gibraltar and was off the coast of Algeria. In the evening of 11 April, an enemy aircraft was reported in the area.

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