By John J. Grams
 
 
 
               VESOLE was a "Gearing" Class destroyer. The Gearing's 
 
were a late war modification of the Summers. Adding 14 feet to
 
the waterline length and 135 tons to the standard displacement. 
 
The purpose of this modification was to add fuel oil bunkerage 
 
thus increasing the endurance over the Sumners. Laid down on 3 
 
July 1944, launched 29 December 1944 at Consolidated.                                                                 
 
               
 
               VESOLE was commissioned 23 April 1945 as a conventional
 
10 tube destroyer. Immediately thereafter, VESOLE went to Norfolk 
 
for conversion to a Radar  Picket. This entailed the removal of 
 
all torpedo tubes, and the installation of a tripod  mainmast 
 
with  altitude determination radar and electronic counter measures
 
equipment. The aft quintuple tube bank was replaced by an additional
 
quad 40 mount bringing the 40 MM barrels to a then impressive
 
total of 16 located on five mounts.
 
               
 
               Experience on  the radar picket stations of Iwo Jima and 
 
Okinawa dictated the alterations to VESOLE and her radar picket 
 
sisters. They were scheduled to bear the brunt of picket duties in 
 
the coming invasion of Japan in November 1945. The destroyer forces 
 
took a terrible pounding since the advent of kamikaze tactics in 
 
November 1944 and fresh ships and capabilities were sorely needed. 
 
While enroute to forward areas in the Pacific in August 1945, two 
 
atomic bombs ended the warwith Japan.
 
 
 
               VESOLE proceeded with USS BOXER CV-21 to Tokyo BAY. 
 
Then operated with DesRon 16 and DesRon 12 in task Forces which 
 
included the carriers LEXINGTON and INTREPID. 
 
 
 
Vesole's travels ranged far and wide from  Hong Kong to the Philipp-
 
ines and from China and Japan to Okinawa, Guam, and Saipan. 
 
               
 
               VESOLE returned to the Atlantic in January 1947, bearing
 
the Flag of DesRon 14, to begin a long career as a unit of the 
 
Atlantic Fleet. This entailed many trips to the Med and to Nortern
 
Europe. In March 1953, she completed a major 5 month long overhaul 
 
at Norfolk. This replaced the 40's with rapid fire 3'50s in dual
 
mounts, the deletion of the tripod mainmast and the receipt of a 
 
taller  stronger foremast. She received highly sophisticated radar
 
and communications equipment, and continued on in her  radar picket
 
role. She was awarded the  Armed Forced Expeditionary medal for 
 
service of Lebanon in 1958, and again in 1962 for service during the
 
Cuban missile quarantine. 
 
               
 
               In 1964, VESOLE received FRAM modifications which included 
 
ASROC and DASH, along with improved radars, sonar, and communications.
 
She was then re-classified as a conventional DD.  Airborne radars 
 
replaced the radar picket function (It is interesting to note, the 
 
British without either sea based or land based AWACS  capability in 
 
the Falklands, had to return to using DD/FF ships for picket duty!
 
In 1965-66 VESOLE was the first Atlantic Fleet DD to do a tour in Vietnam. 
 
She served in "Market Time" operations involving coastal interdiction,
 
gunfire support missions, and she also screened carriers in the Gulf of 
 
Tonkin. She earned two battle  stars for her Vietnam service. Her journey 
 
back to the west and thus became an all around the world cruise. 
 
  
 
               Thereafter, VESOLE made many more trips to the Med, to the
 
Indian  Ocean,  and to South America for bi-lingual naval operations
 
with various South American Navies. She made her final Med cruise in
 
January 1976. She served off Lebanon  during the crisis there and 
 
was part of a force penetrating the Black Sea. 
 
 
 
               VESOLE was decommissioned and stricken from the Navy list
 
on I December 1976. She was scheduled to be transferred to a Foreign
 
Power in 1980, probably for spares as were some of her sisters. That
 
never took place. 
 
 
 
               VESOLE was expended as a target in 1983! Better that than
 
scraping.
 
 
 
The resting place is:
 
20 Degrees 48 Min North, 64 Degrees 12 Min West  
 
Depth: 2800 Fathoms BT  
 
Date: 14 April 1983
 
   
 
               VESOLER's are proud of a great ship!  They faced a suicide
 
mission in Japan, fought other battles when called upon,  were an 
 
arm of Foreign Policy showing  strength or diplomacy as required, 
 
all as a team and  as a family! VESOLER's   should be proud!  
 
Oh yes, should you think destroyer operations are dull and routine,
 
VESOLE was involved in three separate collisions at sea. In 1948 with 
 
the USS MISSOURI  BB-63 while refueling, in 1959, USS LEARY DDR-879. 
 
and in 1965 with USS  HAWKINS DD-873. You must admit. when VESOLE 
 
tangled it was with something  her own size or bigger! 
 
 
 
                                              DESTROYER MAN
 
 
 
To ride a destroyer was the ambition of every navy officer before 
 
the development of aviation, and it still is. Destroyers to the 
 
navy men  were as romantic as cavalry to the army. Every navy man
 
from boot to admiral is proud of the ship in which he rides. but 
 
all of them take off their hats to the boys in the tin cans. the 
 
boys who carry the load of sand.