USS Butler DD636
Photos courtesy of Clarence Spatz of Reading, PA.
He served on the Butler from January 3, 1943 until he was transfered after the May 25, 1945 kamikaze attack
Butler (DD-636) was launched 12 February 1942 by Philadelphia Navy Yard, sponsored by Mrs. John Wehle, daughter of General Butler; and commissioned 15 August 1942, Lieutenant Commander M. D. Matthews in command.
After undergoing shakedown trials Butler engaged in escort work in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. On 14 January 1943 she departed on a trans-Atlantic voyage to Casablanca and thence to Dakar, French West Africa. From there she escorted the two Free French vessels Richelieu and Montcalm to New York. After overhaul in New York and coastwise convoy escort work she set sail for the Mediterranean 8 June. Following training exercises at Oran and Algiers, she proceeded to Bizerte whence she departed in July for the Sicilian invasion (9 July-12 August). She took part in the pre-invasion bombardment of Gela and subsequently served on escort duty throughout the remainder of the operation. She then steamed for New York, arriving 22 August.
Butler was engaged in convoy work and overhaul until 5 May 1944 at which time she stood out for the Normandy invasion (6 June-15 July). She screened heavy units of the bombardment group and served at the inshore fire support station during this assault. Between 12 and 30 August she escorted British escort carriers taking part in the invasion of southern France. Shortly thereafter she returned to New York for overhaul.
After a convoy run to Marseilles in October, Butler returned to New York (27 October) for conversion to a high-speed minesweeper. Reclassified DMS-29 on 15 November, conversion was completed 21 December and she proceeded to Norfolk and joined Mine Squadron 20. On 3 January 1945 the ship weighed anchor for San Diego enroute to Pearl Harbor. Upon completion of extensive training in the Hawaiian area, she sailed to Ulithi and then conducted a pre-invasion sweep around Okinawa. She continued screen and picket duty, splashing many planes, throughout the assault and occupation of Okinawa (24 March-25 May 1945). On 25 May bombs from a suicide plane exploded under Butler's keel, killing nine men and blowing out steam lines and flooding the forward fire room causing the loss of all steam and electric power. West Virginia (BB-48) stood by Butler until power was regained and assisted in driving off two more Japanese planes.
The next day Butler proceeded to Kerama Retto for temporary repairs. She arrived in the United States 26 August and was decommissioned 8 November 1945. She was sold 10 January 1948.
Butler received the Navy Unit Commendation for her service in the Okinawa operation and four battle stars for her World War II service.
--History from DANFS and my own records--R. Angelini, USS MAYO Group Related Information
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