Destroyer Escort USS Bangust DE-739 Banner
Jack Maloney, Electrician's Mate USS Bangust DE-739
Destroyer Escort Bangust DE-739

Destroyer Escort USS Bangust DE-739
On Leave from in Hawaii
Crossing The Equator on DE-739
Ships Crew
Surrendering Japanese Submariners
Out On The Town
Guadalcanal Stamp Set

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Crew's Head, Destroyer Escort Bangust DE-739
Jack Maloney, Electrician's Mate on the Destroyer Escort USS Bangust DE-739
My Dad
The USS Bangust crew's head (photo is actually from the Destroyer Escort USS Slater). The crew all deserved medals for using this alone!

Destroyer Escort USS Bangust, Dad's home during the war

The Destroyer Escort Bangust was a Cannon Class Destroyer Escort. The ship's specifications are:

Length: 306 feet
Beam: 36 feet
Draught: 10 feet
Crew: 220
Displacement: 1,200 tons
Max Speed: 20 knots (23mph)
Fuel Capacity: 279 tons of fuel oil
 3 3 inch 50 cal.dual purpose open mounts
 2 40mm Bofors AA
 12 20mm Oerlikon AA
 3 21 inch Torpedoes

 2 K Mount Depth Charges and 1 aft Depth Charge rack
 24 Hedge Hog Anti Submarine Mortars
Power Plant: 4 diesel electric powerplants driving 2 screws with 6,000 Shaft Horsepower
Contract Signed: November 9, 1942
Contract Cost of hull & machinery: $3,147,000
Keel Laid: February 11, 1943
Ship Launched: June 6, 1943 at the Western Pipe and Steel Company, San Pedro, California
Contract Date of Completion: September 12, 1943
Date of Preliminary Acceptance: October 30, 1943
Date of First Commission: October 30, 1943

When my father joined the navy he was assigned as a basic seaman on the Destroyer Escort USS Bangust. Not having an identified skill he found himself scrubbing the heads and doing other unpleasant duties. He'd quickly had enough of that crap (no pun intended) and had a conversation with the chief electrician about getting duty in the engine room. He was told it was possible, but first he had to study and pass an electronics test to become an electrician's mate. Dad studied really hard, passed the test, and was reassigned to the engine room as an Electrician's Mate.

My father told me a few short stories about his experiences aboard the Destroyer Escort USS Bangust. One was that of the time they sunk the Japanese submarine. The USS Bangust was tracking the sub with sonar and fired a pattern of hedgehogs as they approached the sub's position. He said there was a huge explosion and he was knocked off his feet as the sub exploded directly beneath the ship. The sinking was confirmed after the war as Japanese submarine RO-42 early in the morning of June 11, 1944 after 8 hours of sonar sweeps and 3 Hedgehog attacks in the area of the Marshall Islands. You can read Gunners Mate James MkKeon's official Commendation from the US Navy for his part in the sinking of RO-42 on the Gunners Mates crew photos page. The website has a photo of a Kaichu class submarine similar to the RO-42 sunk by DE-739 and her crew.

Another recollection was about setting foot on Tarawa a few months after the invasion. He said the thing he remembered most was the smell of death. It was everywhere you went on the island.

I asked dad if he had ever gotten seasick during his tour of duty. He said only once. He was on shore leave on some small island and having a drink at a bar. An airman who piloted Boeing B-29 Superfortresses noticed his uniform and asked where he served. When dad replied that he served on a Destroyer Escort the airman lit up and yelled "I was rescued by a DE after being shot down!" and suddenly became dad's best friend... and proceeded to buy him drinks. My dad wasn't sure exactly how he got back to the boat but he did, and when they set sail he was sicker than he had ever been in his life.

One of my dad's clearest memories serving aboard the USS Bangust was weathering the typhoons the US fleet encountered later in the war that sunk several other ships. The waves were so big that the propellers would occasionally come out of the water as the DE-739's hull crested the biggest waves. With no water resistance the props would over rev and the rev governor would immediately shut down the engines. He would have to go through a restart procedure starting the motors back up and bringing the generators back online to get propulsion going and regain steering. All while they were wallowing in some of the heaviest typhoons in recorded history.

Dad also volunteered back in the 1980s to help with the painting and scraping of another Destroyer Escort that is still surviving, DE-766 USS Slater when it was berthed at the Intrepid museum. A few years later the Intrepid staff said it must go and the ship was moved to Albany NY. At the time we were very disappointed that it had been moved out of our area. But seeing the USS Slater today I can honestly say it it in much better hands. The Albany volunteers have done a great job of restoring it from its very poor original condition.