(Charleston, cities in South Carolina and West Virginia)

Type and Characteristics - Large gunboat, Erie-class, PG.51, built by Charleston Navy Yard, launched 25 February 1936, commissioned 8 July 1936. 2,000 tons, 328ft length x 41ft beam x 15ft draft, 20kts, armed with 4-6in guns, 236 crew, first commanded by Captain R. K. Awtrey.

Log Period and Areas of Service - 1936-46, Mediterranean, Caribbean, Alaska, Aleutians.

Summary of Service

24 February 1937 - Sailed from Norfolk, VA to join USN Squadron 40T in the Mediterranean during the Spanish Civil War to patrol and guard American interests, visiting Dubrovnik in Yugoslavia, Trieste and Naples in Italy, and Algiers.

24 April 1937 - Returned to Charleston, SC for overhaul.

9 July 1937 Departed Charleston for Balboa, Canal Zone for duties as flagship, Special Service Squadron. Carried out exercises and battle practice in Panama area.

1 March 1938 - Sailed for Charleston.

21 April-3 October 1938 Returned to Caribbean duties, including joint Army-Navy manoeuvres, off-shore patrols and good-will visits to Mexico and other Central American ports.

4 January 1939-27 June 1940 Caribbean duties continued, this time as flagship.

8 September 1940 Sailed Norfolk, VA for Seattle, WA as flagship, Commander, Alaskan Sector, 13th Naval District.

6 November 1940-27 November 1941 - Five cruises from Seattle to Aleutian and Alaskan waters.

December 1941 Start of nearly four year's operations in Alaskan waters and the Aleutians, based at Dutch Harbor or Kodiak, carrying out patrol and convoy escort duties. In this time, returned to west coast ports four times for maintenance. Other missions included landing reconnaissance parties and assisting damaged ships.

11 May 1943 Took part in US landings on Japanese-occupied Attu island.

13 May 1943 Provided gunfire support to the troops ashore, bombarding Chichagof Harbor and screened transports lying off the island.

22 May 1943 Attacked by Japanese torpedo bombers and shot down one aircraft. Continued to provide gunfire support as needed and escorted convoys between Attu and Adak.

Continued Alaskan and Aleutian duties until the end of the war.

25 November 1945 - After preparing for Far Eastern duty, arrived at Hong Kong. Later visited Shanghai.

4 March 1946 - returned to San Francisco.

Fate - Decommissioned 10 May 1946, transferred to Massachusetts Maritime Academy 25 March 1948.

Link: DANFS, also Aleutian campaign:
Documentary made by John Huston in 1943 - at http://archive.org/details/Report_From_The_Aleutians
United States Navy Combat Narrative The Aleutians Campaign June 1942--August 1943 at http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/USN-CN-Aleutians.html

Charleston 2 Charleston 4

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Charleston 1 Charleston 6

Naval Operating Base, Adak, Alaska, Summer 1944. Includes USS Charleston between the pier and a destroyer escort

Charleston 5

Camouflage scheme prepared by Bureau of Ships for PG.50-class gunboats, including Charleston

A general note on the sources.