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USS San Francisco Memorial Foundation
C/O Art Curtis
P.O. Box 318063
San Francisco, CA 94131-8063

Art Curtis:


History of the USS Slater
USS SlaterThe Slater is a Cannon Class Destroyer Escort. Of the 565 destroyer escorts produced in World War II, USS SLATER (DE-766) is the only one remaining afloat in the United States, and the only one with original battle armament and configuration. These trim but deadly warships had the duty of looking out for enemy submarines and kamikazes as they escorted ship convoys across the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Visitors have a chance to see what life was like for the sailors who manned these vessels when they come aboard this Cannon Class destroyer escort in Albany, N.Y.


The USS Slater is named for FRANK O. SLATER of Alabama, a sailor killed aboard the USS San Francisco during the Battle of Guadalcanal in 1942. See link for more information.

On Sunday 26 October 97, Mayor Jerry Jennings was presented with Slater's Navy Cross and Purple Heart. DEHF has asked the Mayor to hold the decorations until they can be safely displayed aboard the Slater.

The Destroyer Escorts were named for Naval heroes, particularly those from early in World War II.


The USS Slater was "laid down" 9 March 1943, lauched 13 February 1944 and Commissioned 1 May 1944. See CONSTRUCTION, LAUNCHING, and COMMISSIONING, for more information and pictures.


After a shakedown cruise near Bermuda in June 1944, SLATER headed for Key West where she served as a target ship (see account of duty) and as a sonar school ship. In the latter part of 1944, the ship escorted two convoys to England. SLATER continued her Atlantic convoy duty from January through May 1945 when she escorted three convoys to Wales.

After returning to New York, SLATER headed for the Pacific, stopping at Guantanamo Bay and Panama. She went through the canal on June 28 and stopped at San Diego before sailing to Pearl Harbor. From there, she joined Task Unit 33.2.4 at Manila in September and escorted it to Yokohama. Through the remainder of the year, she escorted convoys to Manila, Japan, Biak, N.E.I. and the Caroline Islands. SLATER operated from the Philippines during January 1946 and then sailed to San Pedro, California.

SLATER made another pass through the Panama Canal on her way to Norfolk for inactivation. She sailed to Green Cove Springs, Florida in April 1946 and was then transferred to Charleston in February 1947. The Navy placed her in reserve, out of commission, in Green Cove Springs in May 1947. See LOG OF THE USS SLATER for complete war record and pictures.


On March 1, 1951, SLATER was transferred to the Hellenic Navy under the Truman Doctrine. Renamed Aetos-01, the ship served as a Hellenic Navy Officer Training Vessel until 1991 when Greece donated the ship to the Destroyer Escort Sailors Association . The ship had also been used in a number of movies including "The Guns of Navarone" .

Destroyer escort sailors from around the nation donated $275,000 to bring the ship back to the United States. A Russian tugboat brought the vessel back to New York City from Crete on August 27, 1993 where it was docked next to INTREPID. Volunteers the began restoring the ship to her World War II configuration.

DEHF was seeking a permanent home for the ship and sought assistance from DMNA in so doing. The Division of Military and Naval Affairs, Military History Branch coordinated the initial meetings between DEHF and the City of Albany. In July 1997 the DEHF and the City of Albany signed letters of intent to have the ship permanently located in Albany, NY, on the Hudson River. SLATER sailed up the Hudson to New York's capital and on Sunday 26 October 1997 the USS Slater arrived at the Port of Albany. See RECENT HISTORY of the USS Slater, with pictures. Was the Aetos the USS Slater ? and is the ship in Albany actually the Slater ? See the interesting first person account in Yard Birds Save Buns


The Destroyer Escort Historical Museum hired historic ship expert Tim Rizzuto, formerly of the USS KIDD in Baton Rouge, to lead SLATER's restoration. Assisted by education and tour coordinator, Nancy Buxton, Rizzuto has recruited and organized teams of volunteers to complete the ship's restoration. Professionals donate their time to bring about the ship's transformation. For example, the electrical team worked for months in the dark in freezing temperatures with only flashlights to guide them in order to restore electrical power to the ship. Engineers meet on Saturdays to work on the ship's General Motors diesel engine. Maintenance crews gather to chip paint, paint, clean, and remove layers of tile to restore the ship's spaces.

Tour guides, many of them Navy veterans, lead visitors through the ship to help them gain a sense of how the 216-man crew functioned. Others actively promote the ship and seek funding to fuel the restoration. The collections team catalogs the hundreds of artifacts, photos, documents and personal papers donated to the museum, which will be the center for destroyer escort-related history. On March 20th the SLATER was officially listed on the New York State Register of Historic Places. Listing on the National Register was formally presented on Veteran's Day 11 November 1998. See Slater Signals index for monthly news on progress in the restoration of this ship.


The USS Slater is owned by the Destroyer Escort Historical Museum (DEHM) , a 501 (c) 3 organization.

The ship is not owned by the US Navy and therefore is not subject to recall to active service in the event of war.

The DEHM supports the USS Slater and three Naval Museums with financial contributions and programs such as assistance with renovations, development of a strong tourism base and national media exposure.

Albany Connection

On December 7, 1941 the naval and air forces of the Japanese Empire launched a surprise attack on the U.S. Navy's pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. More than 2,000 soldiers and sailors lost their lives and 13 ships were sunk. One ship, the USS Oklahoma, capsized and sunk. Aboard the USS Oklahoma was US Navy Ensign Charles M. Stern, Jr. of Albany. Commissioned an Ensign in the US Navy Reserve in August of 1940, Ensign Stern was killed in the sneak attack.

For his efforts during the attack on Pearl Harbor, a Cannon Class Destroyer Escort (same class as the USS Slater) was named for Ensign Stern, the USS Stern - DE 187 .

Local Connections Other Than Albany

The following ships, all Destroyer Escorts were named for locally born naval hereos in the early days of WW II:

USS Herzog - DE 178 was named for Troy, NY native William Ralph Herzog, born 29 December 1909. This was also Cannon Class.

USS Frament - DE 677 was named for Paul Stanley Frament born 17 August 1919 in Cohoes, NY.

USS Haines - DE 792 was named for Richard Alexander Haines born 28 April 1903 at Haines Falls, NY.

USS Lansing - DE 388 was named for William Henry Lansing born 7 March 1914 at Amsterdam, NY. 


Frank Slater

"For extraordinary heroism as a gunner aboard the USS SAN FRANCISCO during action against enemy Japanese forces in the Solomon Islands area on November 12 and 13, 1942. Courageously refusing to abandon his gun in the face of an onrushing Japanese torpedo plane, SLATER, with cool determination and utter disregard for his own personal safety, kept blazing away until the hostile craft plunged out of the sky in a flaming dive and crashed on his station. His grim perseverance and relentless devotion to duty in the face of certain death were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave up his life in the defense of his country. "

Frank Slater had hardly lived. The ship named for him experienced a life span more than twice the two score of the youthful native of Kennamer's Cove, Alabama, who grew up at Fyffe in a sharecropping family -- a family of nine children. A straight "A" scholar, he never had the opportunity to go to high school. This patriot saw his duty and enlisted in the United States Naval Reserve on Feb. 10, 1942. After Boot Camp, Second Class Seaman Slater was sent to Pearl Harbor Receiving Station where he was subsequently assigned to the USS SAN FRANCISCO. That was April 12, 1942. On November 12, 1942, Frank was killed when a Japanese aircraft he had shot down crashed into his gun position during the battle at Savo Island in the Solomons. He was buried at sea.

Patriotism to him was not just a word in a book. Frank Slater regarded patriotism as an act of unselfish devotion to country, of self-sacrifice for an ideal. His spirit lives on.

Last Updated ( Monday April 23, 2007)


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