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Korean War

Three Destroyers and Tender at Pusan - The Korean War (1951)




Destroyers in this photo from foreground back:
USS Erben (DD-631)   USS Colahan (DD-658)   USS Owen (DD-536)
USS Erben (DD-631)


With the expansion of the fleet in the Korean War, Erben was recommissioned 19 May 1951, and sailed from Long Beach, her home port, 27 August forYokosuka. At once she joined the destroyer screen protecting carriers of Task Force 77 from submarine attack. In late September and October, she bombarded shore targets in the Songjin-Chongjin area, disrupting enemy communications and supply routes, and on 9 October, rescuing a North Koreanfleeing the Communists in a small boat. After joining in antisubmarine warfare exercises off Okinawa, she returned to screening duty, rescuing a downed pilot 2 December. She accompanied Manchester in a bombardment on Korea's west coast, then sailed to the east coast to provide close fire support for the fighting men ashore. She returned to San Diego 21 March 1952 for overhaul, and on 1 November sailed again for duty off Korea.

In addition to carrying out duties similar to those of her first Korean war tour, Erben visited Taiwan and Hong Kong, and operated with ships of the Royal Navy. She returned to San Diego 1 June 1953, and during the remaining 5 years of her active service made four more cruises to the Far East, serving on the Taiwan Patrol and operating with the carriers of the 7th Fleet. On 8 June 1957 she went underway for the Far East. On 14 June she arrive in Pearl Harbor and remained there until 16 June 1957, where she had some repairs done. On 23 June 1957 she arrived at Midway Island and from 29 June to 6 July she was ported in Yokosuka, Japan. On 6 July she arrived in Yokohama, Japan and remained there until 8 July. 13 July was spent in Naha, Okinawa and on 17 July, Kao Shuing, Taiwan. From 26 to 28 July, she anchored again in Kao Shuing, Taiwan and on 1 August 1957 harbored in Yokosuka, Japan. She was again decommissioned and placed in reserve 27 June 1958.


USS Colahan (DD-658)


Recommissioned on 16 December 1950, Colahan had training from her home port at San Diego until 20 August 1951, when she cleared San Francisco for service in the Korean War with the 7th Fleet. Conducting shore bombardment and fire support to aid forces ashore, she also had antisubmarine training off Okinawa before returning to the west coast on 10 March 1952. On 1 November 1952, she sailed again from San Diego to bombard Korean targets and screen carriers, as well as serve on the Taiwan Patrol and train off Okinawa. She returned to the west coast 1 June 1953, and in 1954-1957, returned to the Far East for service with the 7th Fleet. From 1958 to 1963, her operations have been along the west coast, training members of the Naval Reserve. In August 1961, she and her Naval Reservists were called back to the active fleet as part of President Kennedy's response to the Berlin wall crisis. After several months of training, she was deployed to the Western Pacific on 2 February 1962. On 15 April 1962 she escorted the USS Princeton, LPH-5 to South Vietnam so it could deliver helicopters and advisors to Soc Trang. She returned from the WestPac cruise on 17 July 1962.

Colahan was decommissioned and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 1 August 1966. She was sunk as target off California on 18 December 1966.

USS Owen (DD-536)


Post-war service
Assigned to the 19th Fleet (Pacific Reserve Fleet), Owen decommissioned 10 December 1946 and was berthed at San Diego. She remained there until reactivated during the Korean War. She recommissioned 17 August 1951, becoming flagship of DesDiv 282, and reported for duty with the Atlantic Fleet in November. Cold weather operations in the North Atlantic in early 1952 were followed by overhaul at Charleston Naval Shipyard and training operations in the Caribbean.

On 7 January 1953, she sailed, with her division, for the Far East. Steaming via the Panama Canal, she arrived at Sasebo, Japan, 12 February; joined the 7th Fleet; and immediately commenced operations off the embattled Korean peninsula. Owen divided her five months tour with the United Nations Force between the fast carriers (TG 77) and the Blockade and Escort Force (TF 95). With the former, her operations were similar to her World War II missions—screening and plane guard. With the latter, she patrolled from Wonsan to Chongjin and acted as flagship for the Yong Do and Wonsan Defense and Blockade Units. Defense of friendly islands, coastal patrol, shore bombardment to silence enemy batteries and impede their transport and communications activities, and mine destruction were included in these assignments.

On 26 June, Owen departed Sasebo to return to NS Norfolk via the Suez Canal. Completing her round-the-world voyage 22 August, she remained on the east coast until January 1954. A 3 month Mediterranean deployment followed, after which she returned to spend the remainder of the year in the western Atlantic.

In January 1955, she was transferred to the Pacific Fleet, arriving at Long Beach on 26 January. On reporting, her division was redesignated DesDiv 192. From 1955 to 1958, the destroyer alternated EastPac training operations and shipyard overhauls with WestPac tours. In December 1957, she returned from her last 7th Fleet deployment and reported for inactivation at Mare Island Naval Shipyard. She decommissioned 27 May 1958 and was again berthed in California as a unit of the Pacific Reserve Fleet, berthed at Stockton.

Owen was stricken 15 April 1973, sold 27 November 1973, and broken up for scrap.

Destroyers in this photo from foreground back:
USS Erben (DD-631)   USS Colahan (DD-658)   USS Owen (DD-536)

The Forgotten War: The Book

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The images in this unpublished collection are all originals scanned from 35 mm Kodachrome slides and carefully restored to pristine perfection. Photographs of the Korean Conflict era are incredibly rare. Click the Paypal "Buy Now" button to get a high resolution, pre-publication PDF of my first-edition book, Korea:The Forgotten War.

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20 Incredible and Vivid Glossy Photographs
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