Ernest G. Small
(DD-838: dp. 2,425; 1. 390'6"; b. 41'1", dr. 18'6", s. 35 k.; cpl. 345;
a. 6 5", 10 21" tt., 6 dcp., 2 dct.; cl. Gearing)
Ernest G. Small (DD-838) was launched on 14 June 1945 by Bath Iron
Works, Bath, Maine, sponsored by Mrs E. G. Small, and commissioned on 21
August 1945 with Commander T. D. McGrath, USN, in command. She was
reclassified DDR 838 on 18 July 1952.
After completing her shakedown cruise in Guantanamo Bay, she sailed in
company with Power (DD839) on 11 January 1946 en route to Gibraltar
whence she proceeded to Naples. She began a series of peacetime
Mediterranean patrols in company with Power and Providence (CL-82) until
7 March. She continued in this mission independently until 7 August when
she returned to the States.
Following a period of yard availability she reported to Commander,
Submarines Atlantic, and operated out of New London, Conn., until 14
December when she was laid up for repairs at Boston. On 3 April 1947
while anchored off Block Island she grounded in a violent wind and rain
storm, but, refloated with aid from two tugs she returned to Boston
where repairs were made.
Ernest G. Small sailed on 12 June for Norfolk and engaged in type
exercises in the Virginia Capes Operating Area. On 6 August she stood
out for the Caribbean, calling at Guantanamo and Trinidad before
rendezvousing with Task Force 84 which proceeded to Rio de Janeiro where
on 7 September the flagship Missouri (BB-63) embarked President Truman
and his family for the trip to the States. Ernest G. Small steamed on
escort station during the voyage.
From 9 February to 10 April 1948 she cruised in the Caribbean and on 7
June began a midshipman cruise to the Mediterranean, calling at Lisbon,
Genca, Casablanca and returning to Norfolk on 21 July. Her third tour in
the Mediterranean was made between 30 August 1948 and 23 January 1949.
For the remainder of 1949 she operated in the Caribbean and along the
From January to May 1950 she cruised in the Mediterranean and around
northern Europe. With the outbreak of war in Korea, she was sent to join
the 7th Fleet, and on 29 June she transited the Panama Canal en route to
action. She sailed with carrier forces, fired shore bombardments,
patrolled off Taiwan, and participated in the landings at Inchon and
Wonsan in September and October. In December she helped evacuate the
Tenth Army Corps from Hungnam and Inchon.
Following a brief overhaul at San Diego in the first half of 1951, she
began her second Korean tour as escort for the carrier Rendova
(CVE-114). She participated in the naval bombardment of Hungnam and was
so occupied on 7 October when she struck a mine
which seriously damaged her bow, killed 9 and wounded 18. Four days
later heavy seas broke the bow off and she was fitted with a stubby
replacement which enabled her to reach Long Beach, arriving on 18
December 1961. She was decommissioned on 15 January 1952 and the bow of
the unfinished Segmonr D. Owens (DD-767) was grafted to her hull. She
also underwent conversion to a radar picket ship at this time.
Recommissioned as DDR 838 on 2 December 1962 she followed training
exercises off the California coast with her first peacetime tour of the
Far East which lasted from 11 July 1963 through 29 January 1954.
Attached to Task Force 77, she was a unit of the blockade and escort
force for the Taiwan area.
A period of overhaul ensued and on 10 August 1954 she departed with
Destroyer Squadron 13 for the Taiwan Patrol and later assumed defensive
position to control part of the 7th Fleet air coverage during the Tachen
Islands evacuation in February 1955. Early in March she returned to Long
Beach whence she operated with TG 7.3 in testing of an underwater atomic
bomb off the west coast (2-20 May). She deployed with the 7th Fleet for
the remainder of the year.
From 1 November 1956 through 28 April 1957 she again toured the
Pacific, and included Kodiak, Singapore, and Brisbane in her itinerary.
The remainder of that year was occupied with task force operations and
intertype training exercises off the west coast.
Ernest G. Small began another western Pacific tour in January 1968 as a
unit of Destroyer Division 132 and was deployed in various operations,
highlighted by participation in the SEATO exercise "Ocean Link."
In March 1959 she was assigned while on her annual Pacific cruise to
the operational control of the Air Force to aid in the "Discoverer"
earth satellite program. Until July 1969 she was engaged in competitive
exercises and nose cone recoveries. The second half of the year was
designated for a period of overhaul and local operations.
Again, she deployed to the western Pacific on 17 May 1960 with
Destroyer Division 131. Her duty was principally to screen and picket
Ticonderoga (CVA-14) and Coral Sea (CVA-43). She arrived back at Long
Beach on 16 November and on 29 December entered San Francisco Naval
Shipyard for fleet rehabilitation and modernization.
Ernest G. Small received four battle stars for Korean war service