The USS AthertonDesign
The USS Atherton was a Cannon-class Destroyer Escort, a type of ship that served during World War II These were ships meant for anti-submarine warfare. The ship possessed a Diesel Electric Tandem Drive. A substitution for the propulsion plant. It was 306 feet in length, with a displacement of about 1,620 tons. It possessed 4 diesel engines with electric drives and two propellers. This gave it a speed of 21 knots. Its armaments consisted of 3 3”/50 Caliber guns, 1 Quad AA gun, 8 20mm AA guns, 3 21 inch torpedo tubes, 1 Hedgehog anti-submarine mortar, 8 Mk 6 depth charges, and 2 Mk 9 depth charges. History
The USS Atherton was ordered on January 18, 1942, and was built by the Federal Shipyard and Drydock company in New Jersey. It was completed nearly a year later on January 14, 1943, and launched on May 27 of the same year. The ship was then commissioned one month and two days later.
Its shakedown took place in September, performing naval exercises in the Chesapeake Bay and made two cruises to the Bermuda. In November of that same year, she made her way to Puerto Rico where it began its anti-submarine patrols in the waters between the Virgin Islands and Anegada Passage. On November 24 she made contact and engaged a submarine, though there was no evidence of damage. Three days later the ship was relieved and returned to Norfolk. There she began training crewmen who would serve in Destroyer escorts. On December 11, 1943, the Atherton would take part in a convoy escort to the Panama Canal but return to the Hampton roads by December 27.
From 1944 to May of 1945 she would serve in the squadron Task Force 62 that acted as an escort for convoys from Norfolk and New York to various ports in the Mediterranean including Casablanca, Oran, Tunisia, and Algeria. On May 9 she was returning to New York City, but en route she encountered the German U-boat U-853 which had sunk the coaler Black Point. The Atherton dropped four depth charges, among others things and was credited for destroying the sub along with the Moberly a ship that was traveling with the Atherton. Because of her actions, she received a bronze battle star for that kill.coaler Black Point. The Atherton dropped four depth charges, among others things and was credited for destroying the sub along with the Moberly a ship that was traveling with the Atherton. Because of her actions, she received a bronze battle star for that kill.
On May 28 she sailed to Cuba and arrived on June 1, 1945, and continued to perform naval exercises with Escort Divisions 13 before returning to the Pacific five days later. She arrived at Pearl Harbor by the end of the month and continued to perform naval exercises until July 15 for the Marianas. She reached Saipan there and conducted antisubmarine patrols there. On August 5 she went to Ulithi and worked as a picket station there. Between August 19 and September 16 she served as an escort ship from Okinawa and remained in Saipan until the end of the war.
By November she started to head back to the USA and arrived there on December 10. She was decommissioned after until she was transferred to the Japanese Navy on June 14, 1955, to Japan.
She was renamed the Hatsuhi and served in the Japanese Maritime Defense Force for 20 years before being sent back to the USA.
The Atherton was later transferred to the Philippine navy in 1978. After a refit in South Korea that gave it extensive modernization. It was commissioned in 1980 as a patrol frigate and renamed as the Rajah Humabon. She acted as the backbone of the Philippine fleet and continued to serve until 1993, only to be brought back into service in 1995 and underwent refits in Cavite Naval Dockyard.
Other minor refits had the ship's weapons, engines and sensors modernized, though due to lack of spare parts its anti-submarine weapons were taken. She had already started to experience hull problems in 2002 and was repaired by the US Navy during its visit to conduct Naval drills. Additional upgrades were added such as a satellite communication system.
By 2005 only a handful of her weapons were still operational. The Rajah Humabon continued to act as a patrol ship, joining in naval exercises and acting as an escort to visiting dignitaries. She is scheduled for decommissioning by late 2017. As of now, she is one of the oldest serving warships in the world.