A Brief History of USS Parle DE -708

Parle was named for Ensign John Joseph Parle, who was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for extraordinary heroism during the invasion of Sicily. Ensign Parle was Officer in Charge of small boats assigned to LST 375, and died on 17 July 1943 of wounds received in extinguishing a smoke marker pot accidentally ignited aboard a boat just prior to the assault on 9-10 July. Unable to extinguish the fire, which might have alerted the enemy to the presence of the assault craft, he seized the marker pot with both hands and threw it over the side, receiving severe and ultimately fatal injury from smoke inhalation in the process.

The ship Parle was launched during a snowstorm on Saturday, 25 March 1944, christened by Ensign Parle’s mother, Mrs. Mary Parle. The ship passed via the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River to New Orleans for commissioning on 29 July.

After local movements for deperming and loading of ammunition, Parle got underway at 0720 on Saturday, 5 August 1944 for underway trials that included firing 40-mm guns and a flank speed run. The following day the ship tied up at the Naval Station, Burwood, South West Pass, La. Shortly afterward, the ship then proceeded to Bermuda for shakedown. Parle departed Burwood Naval Station at 1824 on Wednesday, August 9, for the voyage out to Bermuda. Arriving the 14th, shakedown training was carried out through 12 September.

Following shakedown, the ship proceeded to Boston NY for a brief availability. Moored starboard side to Pier 9 west, work was carried out from 14 to 25 September. The ship proceeded north to Casco Bay for further pre-deployment training, which was completed on 28 September. Finally considered combat ready, Parle sailed south to Hampton Roads for operations attached to Escort Division ("CortDiv") 60. As of mid-year, CortDiv 60 comprised Ahrens (DE 575), flagship of Comdr. H. Mullins, Jr.; Earl V. Johnson (DE 702); Holton (DE 703); Cronin (DE 704); and Frybarger (DE 705). At the moment that Parle arrived in Hampton Roads Cronin (DE 704) was absent but rejoined shortly.

USS Parle DE-708 (TEV) Rudderrow Class
Displacement 1,450 Tons
Dimensions 300 (wl) 306 (oa) x 37 x 9 3/4 ft.
Machinery 2-shaft turbo-electric drive SHP 12,000 = 24 knots
Armament 2 - 5 in., 10 - 40 mm. AA guns; 3 - 21 in. TT
Complement 200

Parle took part in the transatlantic escort of the convoy UGS-56 and return voyage of GUS-56 as described previously. Another shipyard work period at Boston NY followed during 20 to 29 November. Parle served briefly as flagship, CortDiv 60, once the availability was complete. Proceeding south to New York, the ship was made available at the Navy Yard there for further limited work during 1 to 22 December. After a stop at Earle, N.J., for ammunition, the ship continued to Hampton Roads, Va. On the 24th, Parle was assigned briefly to Commander, Operational Training Command, Atlantic, for training duty. The ship departed Norfolk on 28 December for reassignment to the Pacific Fleet.

Joining Task Unit 29.6.2, Parle headed down the east coast to Cristobal, Canal Zone. The escort ship fueled at Cristobal on 3 January 1945 and departed immediately for the Galapagos Islands. Arriving at the Fueling Station, South Stanley Island, Galapagos, on the 7th, Parle fueled in two hours and continued on to Bora Bora. A similarly brief stop was made at the Fuel Docks, north side of Fanui Bay, Bora Bora, on 20 January. After arriving at Manus, the ship undertook numerous escort assignments across the southwest Pacific Ocean. At war’s end, on 2 September 1945, the ship was in port Buckner Bay, Okinawa, fueling from tanker Antona (IX 133). Parle operated in Korean and Philippine waters through 8 November 1945. Ordered home, Escort Division 60, including Parle, proceeded to San Diego with a stop en route at Pearl Harbor during 20 to 21 November. Staying at San Diego only from 28 to 30 November, the vessels continued to the east coast via the Panama Canal. Parle was decommissioned on 10 July 1946 and "mothballed" at Green Cove Springs, Fl.

Parle later had a long and active career, serving again postwar in commission during 1951 to 1970. Recommissioned on 2 March 1951, the vessel operated in the Atlantic Fleet through the end of 1958. Parle took part in exercises Operation Gannet, Mainbrace, and Immigrant in the North Atlantic and Baltic during September and October 1952. Subsequent operations took place in the western Atlantic and Caribbean, often including anti-submarine warfare training. The ship was assigned as a Naval Reserve Training Ship on 1 Jan. 1959 and adopted a mixed crew of active and Reserve Component personnel, becoming fully manned only for temporary training duty or upon mobilization. Mr. and Mrs. Harry Parle, parents of Ensign Parle, visited the ship in service for the first time on 4 June 1959. Escorted by Rear Admiral Harry V. Smith, Commander, Destroyer Squadron Four, the family went to sea in Parle that day and later visited aboard over the next two days. The ship was activated following the Berlin Crisis, receiving the full Reserve Component augmentation on 26 October 1961. The ship reverted to Naval Reserve Force status in July 1962.

Subsequently, Parle was transferred to the Great Lakes. Parle relieved Daniel A. Joy (DE 585) in 1965 as flagship of the 9th Naval District’s seagoing force. Parle gained a place in history as being the last commissioned U.S. Navy ship based in the Great Lakes, being the last of six vessels reassigned outside the region to actually depart lakes waters at 0945 Zulu (time zone) on 12 May 1970. The ship was decommissioned at Norfolk, Va., on 1 July 1970 and stricken from the list the same day, having been the last active World War II-era destroyer escort on the Naval Vessel Register.

As of spring 1970, Parle tentatively was earmarked for potential foreign transfer. A CNO directive of 17 June 1970 changed this allocation to target service and authorized stripping useable equipment. Salvage ship Recovery (ARS 43) took custody of the destroyer escort at Norfolk at 1300 Zulu on 8 Sept. 1970 for tow to Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico. Subsequently, tug Salish (ATA 187) moved Parle from Roosevelt Roads to Mayport, Fl., during 5 to 10 October. On 27 October, Salish towed Parle eighty miles off shore, where the vessel was sunk as a target for aerial attack in the so-called "Exercise Sitting Duck IV". Parle sank at 1453 Zulu on 27 October 1970 in position Latitude 29 deg. 59’ 7" North, Longitude 79 deg. 54’ 4" West in 305 fathoms of water.

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