USS LESTER (DE-1022)
Lester (DE-10922) was
laid down by Defoe Sbipbuilding Co., Bay City, Mich., 2 September 1954;
launched 5 January 1956; sponsored by Mrs. Fred W. Lester, mother of Hospital
Apprentice First Class Fred F. Lester; and commissioned 14 June 1957, Lt.
Comdr. Allan P. Slaff in command.
After shakedown cruise, Lester arrived in
Newport, R.I., just before Christmas 1957, reporting for duty to Escort
Squadron 14. She trained off New England until 8 February 1958, and then
participated in convoy and ASW exercises off the Florida coast. On 17 February
she steamed from Savannah, Ga., to rescue the survivors of the sunken Italian
oreship Bonitoz, and then returned to Newport. On 12 May the DE departed
for the Mediterranean with units of CORTRONs 14 and 10 and carrier Wasp.
She arrived in Gibraltar 21 May joining the 6th Meet. When the fleet acted in
Lebanon and perhaps averted world crisis in July, Lester played an
important role in barrier patrol and other duties supporting the operations.
Gibraltar 29 September, arriving Newport 7 October. For the next 3 months she
participated in three ASW exercises with Task Group Charlie, a force of ASW
professionals which had the vital mission of improving convoy tactics and
Lester next sailed
from Newport 6 February 1959 to join TF 86 at Trinidad. She departed Trinidad 21
February on a combination ASW training and good will cruise to Latin America.
The cruise was intended to implement hemisphere defenses and provide practical
experience for the four maritime nations of eastern South America. Upon her
return to Newport 5 May, she proceeded to Boston for overhaul, remaining there
for the rest of the summer. She was back at Newport in early September, and
sailed on the 11th for refresher training exercises at Guantanamo Bay. During
this period the ship operated with units of the British, Dutch, and Greek
Navies. She returned to Newport 20 October for one more exercise with Task
January 1960 found Lester participating
in operation Springboard in the Caribbean. The following months were spent in
convoy and individual exercises developing ASW tactics. During September and
October the ship steamed to northern Europe to take part in NATO fall convoy
exercises, after which she returned to Newport to prepare for the 1961
operation Springboard. After a brief operation in the North Atlantic, Lester
overhauled at Boston from September to 20 November, then cruised to
Guantanamo Bay for refresher training.
For the next 2 years Lester continued
similar operations. A highlight was UNITAS III, on ASW exercises with South American
navies. Departing 16 August 1962 she steamed over 18,000 miles and received
more than 20,000 visitors. Lester entered Boston Naval Shipyard 12
September for a major conversion to improve her ASW capabilities.
operations from Newport 22 January 1964. These included a joint United
States-Canadian ASW operation in May and another in September following her
assignment to newly formed Escort Squadron 8. In late January 1965, Lester left
for Key West for surveillance duty and to provide school services for the Fleet
Sonar School. She returned to Newport in late February, and 16 March departed
for operation Springboard. She joined a United States-Canadian exercise in
May, and again in June for operation Pole Star. After a brief operation in
July, the vessel entered Boston Naval Shipyard for a restricted availability
period. On the day before Thanksgiving Lester returned to Newport to
resume her vital peacetime training mission.
On 31 January 1966, Lester began 7 months
of participation in the Destroyer Escort Petty Officer Training Program, better
preparing over one hundred nonrated men for their eventual advancement to petty
officer. In June she also demonstrated the Navy's capabilities to cadets from
the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. On 15 October she again entered Boston
Naval Shipyard for overhaul.
The overhaul was completed on 24 January 1967, and Lester
operated locally until sailing south in March. She served as Sonar School
Ship, Key West, Fla., prior to refresher training out of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba,
through April. Spending May in Newport, Lester departed on the 29th for
deployment to northern Europe and the Mediterranean. She returned late in
September and spent the remainder of the year in local operations out of
Newport. February through June 1968 saw another voyage to north European and
Mediterranean waters. Into 1969, Lester continued her vital peacekeeping
operations and readiness exercises out of her home port, Newport.
[Note: The above USS LESTER (DE-1022) history may, or may not, contain text provided by crew members of the USS LESTER (DE-1022), or by other non-crew members, and text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships]