USS Charrette - Wikipedia
USS Charrette
  (Redirected from Greek destroyer Velos (D16))
Not to be confused with USS William Charette (DDG-130), an early 21st century guided missile destroyer.
USS Charrette (DD-581) was a Fletcher​-class​destroyer of the United States Navy, named for Lieutenant George Charrette (1867–1938), who was awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism during the Spanish–American War. Entering service during World War II, she spent her career in the Pacific theatre. Placed in reserve following the war, Charette was transferred to the Kingdom of Greece in 1959 and renamed Velos (D16), remaining in service till 1991 before being preserved as a museum ship at Palaio Faliro, Athens.

USS Charrette at Boston, Massachusetts on 4 August 1943
United States
Name:USS Charrette
Namesake:George Charrette
Builder:Boston Navy Yard
Laid down:20 February 1942
Launched:3 June 1942
Sponsored by:Mrs. G. Charrette
Commissioned:18 May 1943
Decommissioned:15 January 1947
Fate:Transferred to the Hellenic Royal Navy, 16 June 1959
Acquired:16 June 1959
Out of service:26 February 1991
Stricken:1 September 1975
Status:Ceremonially active; museum ship in Palaio Faliro, Athens
General characteristics
Class and type:Fletcher-class destroyer
Displacement:2,100 tons standard, 3,050 tons full load
Length:376 ft 6 in (114.76 m)
Beam:39 ft 8 in (12.09 m)
17 ft 9 in (5.4 m)
with full load (including ASW dome): 20 ft 10 in (6.35 m)
60,000 shp (45,000 kW)
2 sets of General Electric geared steam turbines, 1 set of 3 for each shaft (cruising, low pressure, high pressure);
4 Foster Wheeler boilers (two furnaces each), maximum steam pressure: 525 psi (3,620 kPa), maximum steam temperature: 825 °F (441 °C);
2 propellers
Speed:35 knots (65 km/h; 40 mph)
Range:6,500 nautical miles (12,000 km; 7,500 mi) at 15 kn (28 km/h; 17 mph)
United States Navy: 329
Hellenic Navy: 269
5 × 5 in (130 mm)/38 cal guns
4 ×40 mmAA guns,
4 ×20 mmAA guns,
6 × depth charge projectors,
2 × depth charge tracks
(in Greek service)
4 × 127 mm (5 in)/38 cal. guns,
3 × twin 3 in (76 mm)/50 RF AA guns
2× 12.7 mm (0.50 in) M2 Browning machine guns
1 × quintuple 533 mm (21 in) torpedo tubes (for Mk 14 torpedoes),
2 × triple 325 mm (12.8 in) anti-submarine torpedo tubes (for Mk 44-Mk 46 torpedoes),
2 × Hedgehog (weapon)
Service history
United States Navy
Charrette was launched on 3 June 1942 by the Boston Navy Yard, sponsored by Mrs G. Charrette. The ship was commissioned on 18 May 1943, with Commander E. S. Karpe in command.
Charrette sailed from New York on the 20 September 1943 to escort the aircraft carrierMonterey to Pacific service. Arriving at Pearl Harbor 9 October, Charrette took part in training exercises until 10 November, when she put to sea with Task Force 50 (TF 50), for air raids on Japanese bases in the Marshalls. These strikes neutralized enemy air opposition to the landings at Makin and on Tarawa which followed. On 26 November, Charrette joined the screen of the task group assigned to air-cover operations over Makin and Tarawa, providing protection for the transports and supplying Naval Gunfire Support (NGS). Twelve days later, the destroyer screened battleships in a shore bombardment on Nauru, before rejoining the fast carrier task force sailing on to Efate. Charrette sailed on 21 December to screen the carriers as they launched strikes against Kavieng, New Ireland, during the three days preceding the assault on Cape Gloucester 26 December. Continuing north, the group arrived at Funafuti 21 January 1944 to prepare for the operations against the Marshall Islands.
From 23 January to 5 February 1944, Charrette screened the carriers in a series of strikes on Kwajalein and Eniwetok. On the night of 4–5 February, Charrette left her station to investigate a radar contact reported by one of the battleships. After tracking the contact to 3,200 yards (2,900 m), she opened fire on a submarine which crash dived. Charrette attempted a depth charge attack, then used her radar to guide the destroyer escort Fair to sink possibly I-175, the first Japanese submarine to be sunk by the Hedgehog, anti-submarine weapon.[1] The next day, Charrette moored in Majuro Lagoon.
The destroyer sailed 12 February 1944 for the first of the series of raids sealing off the Japanese base at Truk from being an effective contribution to the Pacific war. After screening the carriers into position for their strikes, Charrette joined Task Group 50.9 (TG 50.9) in a sweep around the island on 17 February to catch Japanese shipping escaping air attacks. Katori, Maikaze and submarine chaser were sunk by the Task Group, which rejoined the carriers the next day.
After escorting an oiler fleet to Majuro, Charrette sailed for an overhaul at Pearl Harbor until 15 March 1944, when she put out to rejoin the carriers for attacks on Japanese ships retreating from Truk to the Palaus, preliminary to the New Guinea operation. Charrette assisted in fending off a Japanese air attack on 28 March and continued her protective screening through 30 March and 1 April strikes. The carriers returned to Majuro on 6 April and sailed 7 days later to strike at airfields and defences on New Guinea and to provide direct support to the landings at Humboldt Bay 22 April. After replenishing at Manus, Charrette sailed on with the carriers to screen strikes against Truk on 29 April and to guard the force's battleships as they pounded a bombardment at Ponape 1 May.
Charrette's next contribution came during the Marianas operation, for which she sailed 6 June 1944. She supported the carriers in their strikes on Guam, Saipan and Rota from the 11 through to the 14 June, then turned north for strikes against the aircraft on Iwo Jima for attacks against the American landings on Saipan. As the carriers came into position on 15 June, scouting aircraft spotted a 1,900-ton freighter and Charrette, with the destroyer Boyd intercepted and sank the Japanese ship, recovering 112 survivors. After successful strikes, Charrette's group sailed south to concentrate with the Fast Carrier Task Force (then TF 58) to meet the Japanese naval force known to be coming out. The air Battle of the Philippine Sea broke on the morning of 19 June and Charrette continued her screening, anti-aircraft and guard duties throughout the two days of action that severely diminished the remaining Japanese naval aviation threat. On the night of 20 June, she participated in a night recovery of the last strikes, flashing beacon lights and rescuing aviators who were forced to ditch through lack of fuel. On 21 June, the carrier force steamed back to cover the invasion forces in the Marianas, Guam, Rota and later the bases in the Pagan Islands and on Chichi Jima. Charrette fired in the bombardment of Chichi Jima on 5 August, then returned to Eniwetok.
Charrette sailed from Eniwetok on the 29 August 1944 for airstrikes of early September against targets in the Palaus and the Philippines which paved the way for the invasion of Peleliu and marked the beginning of the return to the Philippines. In preparation for the invasion of Leyte, the carrier task force sailed again on 4 October for strikes designed to neutralize Japanese airfields on Okinawa, Northern Luzon and Formosa during the assaults in the Philippines. On 12 October began the most important part of these strikes, against Formosa, which provoked return attacks by Japanese aircraft on the carrier forces. Charrette aided in shooting down attacking aircraft during raids in which the cruisers Canberra and Houston were hit. Charrette joined the screen which guarded the damaged ships during their retreat from enemy air attack, before rejoined her carrier group for the journey north to intercept the approaching Japanese force, beginning her part in the Battle for Leyte Gulf. The carriers she guarded launched strikes at the Japanese northern force in the Battle off Cape Engaño on 25 October.
Charrette replenished at Ulithi 29 October to 2 November 1944, then joined the screen of the fast carriers for strikes on Luzon airfields early in November, which reduced enemy air opposition at the Leyte beachhead. Charrette returned to Manus on 30 November to prepare for the Lingayen Gulf operation.
Charrette supported the landings at Lingayen from 4 to 18 January then guarded the approach and withdrawal of reinforcement convoys into Lingayen Gulf. She left the Philippines on 2 February and on 25 February arrived at the Puget Sound Navy Yard for another overhaul. She returned to action in June, beginning a month of support for the Borneo operations, followed by patrol duty in the Netherlands East Indies. On 2 August, she and the destroyer Conner made contact with a ship which they tracked through the night, finding in the morning that it was the hospital ship Tachibana Maru. A boarding party from Charrette found ordnance, contraband and able-bodied troops, who were taken prisoners of war. Charrette and Conner brought Tachibana Maru into Morotai 6 August.
Charrette cleared Morotai on 13 August 1945 called at Subic Bay before reporting at Buckner Bay, Okinawa, in September for duty escorting ships with occupation troops, equipment and supplies for Chinese ports. She sailed from Shanghai 12 December for San Francisco, California which she reached 30 December. Charrette was placed in commission in reserve at San Diego 4 March 1946, and was taken out of commission and placed in reserve on the 15 January 1947. In June 1959, she was transferred to Greece.
Hellenic Navy
For other ships with the same name, see Greek ship Velos.
Velos (D16) as a naval museum in the Gulf of Faliro in Athens, 3 June 2006, 64 years after her launch
The ship was accepted by Commander G. Moralis, RHN, on 16 July 1959 in Long Beach, California and arrived in Greece on 15 October 1959.[2] She served in the Hellenic Navy as Velos (D16) (Greek: Βέλος, "Arrow"). Velos took part in almost every Greek and NATO exercise and actively participated in the crises with Turkey of the years 1964, 1967, 1974 (Cyprus crisis) and 1987.
Velos on 3 June 2006, view to stern. The aft 127 mm (5in) gun and depth charge track can be seen. There Cdr Pappas declared his allegiance to democracy, in the background the reconstructed Olympias trireme
Velos on 20 May 2006. Amidships view to bow and bridge. The 533 mm (21in) torpedo tubes and 76 mm (3in) AA guns can be seen. Note the Rank Flag flown at the foremast displacing downward the Commissioning pennant revealing that the ship is regarded as in commission
Velos as a museum in the Gulf of Faliro in Athens, 20 May 2006
On 25 May 1973, Velos, under the command of Nikolaos Pappas, while participating in a NATO exercise and in order to protest against the dictatorship in Greece, anchored at Fiumicino, Italy, and refused to return to Greece.
When in patrol with other NATO vessels between Italy and Sardinia (85 nautical miles (157 km) southwest of Rome) at midday on 25 May 1973 the captain and the officers had learned by radio that naval officers had been arrested and tortured in Greece. Commander Pappas was a group of democratic officers, loyal to their oath to obey the Constitution and plan to act against the junta. Pappas knew the arrested officers opposed the junta and realised there was no further hope for a movement inside Greece. He decided to act alone to motivate global public opinion.
Pappas mustered the crew on the stern and announced his decision, which was received with enthusiasm. Pappas signalled his intentions to the commander of the squadron and NATO Headquarters, quoting the preamble of the North Atlantic Treaty (founding treaty for NATO) which declares that "all governments ... are determined to safeguard the freedom, common heritage and civilization of their peoples, founded on the principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law". Leaving formation, he sailed for Rome.
That afternoon, he anchored about 3.5 nautical miles (6.5 km) off the coast at Fiumicino and three officers (Ensigns K. Gortzis, K. Matarangas, G. Stratos) went ashore in a whaleboat. From Fiumicino Airport they telephoned the international press agencies to inform them of the situation in Greece and the presence of the destroyer. They arranged for a press conference to be held the next day by Commander Pappas. This action sparked international interest in the situation in Greece. The captain, six officers and twenty-five petty officers requested asylum and remained in Italy as political refugees. Initially, the entire crew wished to follow their captain (170 men signed a request), but they were advised (and some ordered) by their officers to remain on board because of the fear of retaliation by the regime against their families. The men were told to return to Greece and to inform their families and friends about what had happened. Velos returned to Greece a month later with a replacement crew. After the fall of the junta on (24 July 1974), some of the officers returned to the navy. Commander Pappas reached the rank of Vice admiral and served as the chief of the Hellenic Navy General Staff from 1982 to 1986.
Velos was decommissioned on 26 February 1991, having sailed 362,622 nautical miles (671,576 km; 417,298 mi) in her 48-year career.
In 1994 the Hellenic Navy General Staff declared her a Museum of the Struggle against the Dictatorship (Greek: Μουσείο Αντιδικτατορικού Αγώνα). The ship, then anchored at Poros Naval Base, was transferred on 14 December 2000 to Salamis Naval Base for maintenance and restoration work in order to be converted into a visitable naval museum. From 26 June 2002 until 9 September 2019 she was anchored in the Naval Tradition Park at Palaio Faliro, Athens . Since September 9, 2019, Velos has been anchored on the waterfront of Thessaloniki, close to the city's Concert Hall and is available to visit.[3] Velos is regarded as still in commission.[citation needed]
Charrette received 13 battle stars for her World War II service.
This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
  1. ^ "DE Action and Damage Timeline of WWII". Destroyer Escort Sailors Association.
  2. ^ Vice Admiral C. Paizis-Paradellis, HN (2002). Hellenic Warships 1829-2001 (3rd Edition). Athens, Greece: The Society for the study of Greek History. p. 188. ISBN 960-8172-14-4.
  3. ^ Newsroom. "Στη Θεσσαλονίκη το ιστορικό αντιτορπιλικό "Βέλος" | Η ΚΑΘΗΜΕΡΙΝΗ". Retrieved 14 January 2021.
External links
Wikimedia Commons has media related to USS Charrette (DD-581).
Hellenic Navy page for D-16 Velos

Last edited on 1 May 2021, at 11:58
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