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USS Epperson (DD 719)

- formerly DDE 719 -
- decommissioned -

pre-1962 coat of arms

post-1974 coat of arms

USS EPPERSON was one of the GEARING - class destroyers. Laid down as DD 719, her designation was changed to DDE (Escort Destroyer) 719 on January 28, 1948. Her designation was reverted to DD 719 again on June 30, 1962. In 1964, the EPPERSON was extensively converted as part of the Navy's FRAM I program. A veteran of the Korean and Vietnam Wars, the USS EPPERSON was decommissioned on December 1, 1975, and stricken from the Navy list on January 30, 1976. Transfered to Pakistan on April 1, 1977, the EPPERSON was recommissioned as TAIMUR and served there until decommissioned in 1998. The ship was sunk as a target in 2000.

General Characteristics:Awarded: 1942
Keel laid: June 20, 1945
Launched: December 22, 1945
Commissioned: March 19, 1949
Decommissioned: December 1, 1975
Builder: Federal Shipbuilding, Newark, NJ
FRAM I Conversion Shipyard: Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, Pearl Harbor, HI
FRAM I Conversion Period: 1964 - December 1964
Propulsion system: four boilers, General Electric geared turbines; 60,000 SHP
Propellers: two
Length: 391 feet (119.2 meters)
Beam: 41 feet (12.5 meters)
Draft: 18.7 feet (5.7 meters)
Displacement: approx. 3,400 tons full load
Speed: 34 knots
Aircraft after FRAM I: two DASH drones
Armament after FRAM I: one ASROC missile launcher, two 5-inch/38 caliber twin mounts, Mk-32 ASW torpedo tubes (two triple mounts)
Crew after FRAM I: 14 officers, 260 enlisted

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Crew List:

This section contains the names of sailors who served aboard USS EPPERSON. It is no official listing but contains the names of sailors who submitted their information.

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USS EPPERSON Cruise Books:

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Sponsored by Mrs. J. B. Epperson, mother of Private Epperson, the USS EPPERSON was launched in December 1945 but was laid up incomplete. In January 1948 she was reclassified as an Escort Destroyer (DDE 719). After conversion work at Bath, Maine, she was placed in commission in March 1949, Commander T. H. W. Connor in command.

EPPERSON conducted training along the east coast; on 10 December 1949 she arrived at Key West for intensive antisubmarine warfare exercises. On 22 August 1950, EPPERSON sailed for Pearl Harbor, her home port, arriving 10 September. She operated in the Hawaiian Islands with her squadron and ships of other types, and on 7 November 1950 became flagship of Commander, Escort Division 12.

EPPERSON sailed from Pearl Harbor 1 June 1951 for service in the Korean war. She screened the carrier task force off Korea, patrolled and bombarded the coast, and joined in hunter-killer exercises off Okinawa before returning to Pearl Harbor 14 November. Her second Korean tour, from 10 November 1952 to 29 May 1953, found her performing similar duty, as well as patrolling the Taiwan Straits, and entering the dangerous waters of Wonson Harbor to bombard enemy shore batteries.

During the first 4 months of 1954, EPPERSON patrolled in the Marshalls during thermonuclear weapons test, and in June sailed for duty in the Far East once more, an annual part of her employment schedule through 1962. In 1958 and 1959, her western Pacific cruises included visits to Manus, ports in Australia and New Zealand, and Pago Pago, Samoa.

In 1961-1963, EPPERSON helped recover manned and unmanned spacecraft that had orbited the Globe as parts of the Mercury and Discoverer programs. Her designation reverted to DD 719 in June 1962.

EPPERSON was extensively modernized at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard in 1964 under the Fleet Modernization and Rehabilitation ("FRAM"). Emerging in FRAM I configuration, she was now fitted with an antisubmarine rocket launcher (ASROC) and a small hangar and flight deck for drone helicopters, as well as a largely new superstructure. The destroyer soon resumed her pattern of nearly annual deployments to the Western Pacific. In seven cruises from September 1965 to April 1973 EPPERSON was frequently engaged in combat operations off Vietnam, involving naval gunfire support work, plus search and rescue duties and service screening the aircraft carriers and cruisers that were constantly on station in the Gulf of Tonkin.

Shortly after the end of her 1972-1973 Far Eastern cruise, EPPERSON's home port was changed to Seattle, Washington, where she served as a Naval Reserve Training ship until decommissioned at the beginning of December 1975. EPPERSON was sold to Pakistan in April 1977 and renamed TAIMUR. Following two decades of service as a unit of Pakistan's Navy, the nearly fifty-year old destroyer was stricken in 1998.

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About the Ship's Name:

Harold Glenn Epperson, born 14 July 1923 in Akron, Ohio, enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve 12 December 1942. Private Epperson served with distinction in the assaults on Tarawa and Saipan, sharing in the Presidential Unit Citation awarded to his organization for its service at Tarawa. He was killed in action on Saipan 25 June 1944, and received the Medal of Honor posthumously for his great courage and self-sacrifice in throwing himself on an enemy hand grenade to save his comrades from the effect of its explosion.

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During and after FRAM I Conversion:

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