Born 7 April 1920 at Escalon, California, Herbert A. Calcaterra enlisted in the United States Navy on 14 November 1939. Motor Machinist's Mate First Class Calcaterra was commended 7 July 1942 for his performance as a member of the crew of POMPANO (SS-181), and was awarded the Silver Star Medal, , posthumously, on 4 September 1942 for conspicuous gallantry as a member of a 3" gun crew until fatally wounded during action against an armed enemy Japanese anti-submarine patrol vessel. Herbert A. Calcaterra was killed at his post, the three inch gun, by enemy machine gun fire.

The keel of the U.S.S. Calcaterra (DE-390) was laid on 28 May 1943 in Houston, Texas and the ship was launched on 16 August 1943. She was commissioned as a destroyer escort vesel in Houston on 17 November 1943, with his mother, Mrs. Gladys Sikes of Stoneyford, California, was the vessel's sponsor. The first "skipper" was   Commander H. J. Wuensch.

(DE-390); dp. 1,200; l. 306'; b. 36'7"; dr. 8'7"; s. 21 k.;

cpl. 186; a. 3 3", 3 21" tt., 8 dep., 1 dep. (hh.), 2 det.;

cl. edsall

          Throughout the war the ship was manned by Coast Guardsman and met with the enemy several times. In March 1944 the CALCATERRA participated in a demonstration attack on a Nazi U-Boat hideout In May 1944 two of the merchant ships the CALCATERRA was escorting weree torpedoed off the coast of North Africa, and the CALCATERRA countered with depth charge runs. Another of the ship's offensive actions was in July 1944 when the ship assisted in repulsing a German bomber attack while off the coast of Oran. In all, her WWII service totaled sixteen transatlantic convoy runs between the United States and various Mediterranean seaports.

          After the war in Europe, the CALCATERRA was sent to the Pacific for duty, and she was in San Diego when Japan surrendered to the Allies. By September 1945 she was in need of an overhaul, having logged 125,000 miles. She was inactivated and decommissioned in May 1946 and placed in the U.S. atlantic 16th Reserve Fleet at Green Cove Springs, Florida.


          On 28 October 1954 CALCATERRA was reclassfied as a destroyer escort radar picket (DER) vessel and ordered to Norfolk, Virginia for conversion. She was recommissioned on 12 September 1955 by Rear Admiral Lealand S. Parks, USN, Commander Norfolk Navy Base, acting for Commandant Fifth Naval District. Lieutenant Commander Robert A. Seelinger, USN, was the ship's first commanding officer after conversion. The Calcaterra completed shakedown training soon after commissioning at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. From 1956 to 1965 the Calcaterra has been on regular picket duty in the Atlantic, first on the GIUK Barrier and later on the "Southern Tip". In 1965 she participated in The Atlantic Fleet training exercise Spring Board in the Caribbean. Then followed the multi-force amphibious exercise Quick Kick VII.

          On 16 August 1965 the Calcaterra got underway from Newport, Rhode Island and completed a nine month deployment as a remote weather and air rescue station as part Operation DeepFreeze 1965-1966. The Calcaterra operated out of Dunedin, New Zealand for the 1965-1966 Deep Freeze season. During this cruise the Calcaterra was commanded by Lieutenant Commander William C. Earle, USN. This schedule allowed Calcaterra to circumnavigate the world and to visit many ports from New Zealand through the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean.


Panama City, Panama

Lima, Peru

Dunedin, New Zealand

Christchurch, New Zealand

Hobart, Tasmania

Perth, Australia

Aden, British Protectorate

Beriut, Lebanon

Athens, Greece

Naples, Italy

Marseilles, France

Barcelona, Spain


Portsmouth, England


    The ship arrived back at   Newport, Rhode Island on 28 April 1966. In June 1966 it was transferred to Key West, Florida as a unit of Destroyer Division 601, operating as a Sonar School Ship.

          Calcaterra got underway again from Key West, Florida on 21 August 1967 for its second and final deployment as part of Operation Deepfreeze 1967-1968. Once again the the ship operated out of Dunedin New Zealand while on Deep Freeze. Again this schedule allowed the ship to circumnavavigate the globe.


Panama Canal

Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

Pago-Pago, American Somoa

Dunedin, New Zealand

Port Chalmers, New Zealand

Campbell Island

Freemantle, Australia

Laurenco Marques, Mozambique

Montevideo, Uruguay

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Recife, Brazil

Port of Spain, Trinidad


Calcaterra arrived back at Key West, Florida on 3 May 1968.  Stricken 2 July 1973. Sold 14 May 1974 and broken up


Click On This Line To Return To Homepage.