USS Thomas F. Nickel (DE-587) - Service History - World War II, 1944–1945

World War II, 1944–1945

After shakedown training in the Caribbean from 29 June to 26 July, the destroyer escort made one round-trip voyage across the Atlantic escorting Convoy UGS-50 to Bizerte, Tunisia, and back before departing Boston with Escort Division 71 on the last day of September, bound for the South Pacific.

She transited the Panama Canal on 15 October and, after calls at the Galápagos and Society Islands, arrived at Espiritu Santo on 1 November. There, after the destroyer escort had taken on 15 aerial torpedoes as deck cargo, she headed for Manus. She delivered her dangerous cargo at Seeadler Harbor on 7 November. Three days later, the ship was anchored there slightly more than a mile from ammunition ship Mount Hood (AE-11) when she exploded, but was not damaged.

Thomas F. Nickel next proceeded to New Guinea and arrived at Humboldt Bay on 21 November. The following week she again put to sea in the screen of a Philippine-bound convoy. She arrived at San Pedro Bay, Leyte, on 15 December and, two days later, began the return voyage to Hollandia with another convoy.

On 28 December, the destroyer escort departed Aitape with Task Group 78.1, the San Fabian Attack Force, which was transporting the 43rd Infantry Division to make the initial assault against Luzon. The American ships entered Lingayen Gulf on 9 January 1945, and the DE protected the landings. She was then assigned to the anti-submarine and anti-aircraft screen until 18 January. On 10 January, DuPage (APA-41) was hit and badly damaged by a suicide plane; a boat from Nickel rescued five of that attack transport's crewmen who had been blown overboard and gave them medical attention.

On 18 January orders sent DE-587 to New Guinea waters to conduct anti-submarine patrols between the islands of Biak and Owi; but, early in February, she found herself heading back to the Philippines in the screen of Task Group 78.6, the third Lingayen reinforcement group. She remained in the Lingayen area of Luzon from 6 February until 7 March. In the following months, the escort performed anti-submarine patrol and escort duty between San Pedro, Subic Bay, and ports in New Guinea and the Carolines. On 6 August, she departed Subic Bay with a convoy to refuel at Buckner Bay and returned to the Philippines escorting Oak Hill (LSD-7). In the evening of 12 August Oak Hill reported a periscope on her port quarter and, eight minutes later, a torpedo wake 2,000 yards astern of her. Thomas F. Nickel made several depth charge attacks and then lost contact. Both ships arrived safely at Leyte on the 15th, the day hostilities ended.

Read more about this topic:  USS Thomas F. Nickel (DE-587), Service History

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