The Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships
Provided as a Service of USNSM
Naming: Destroyers are named for naval heroes and other notable persons.
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 re-classified DDR 838 on 18 July 1952. After completing her
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,
re-floated 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 Atlantic coast.
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.
Re-commissioned 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 inter-type
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.