Sloop USS PREBLE - 1813The first ship to be named PREBLE was an 80 ton Sloop, some times called COMMODORE PREBLE, was purchased on Lake Champlain in 1813. She was armed with seven 9-pounders and had a complement of 30 men. PREBLE was in the squadron of Commodore Thomas MacDonough on Lake Champlain and took part in the decisive Battle of Lake Champlain, 11 September 1814. She was laid up after the battle until July 1815 when she was sold at Whitehall, New York.

Sloop-Of-War USS PREBLE - 1839The second ship to be named PREBLE was a Sloop-Of-War, built by the Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, Maine. She was launched June 13, 1839. Her length was 117'; beam 32'; depth of hold 15', and tonnage 556. PREBLE sailed for Labrador then made a cruise to the Mediterranean in 1843 and was attached to the African Squadron in 1845. PREBLE again sailed from New York in 1846 and joined the Pacific Squadron on the west coast, taking part in the Mexican War. In the summer of 1848 she sailed for the East Indies and Japan. On 18 April 1849, under Captain James Glynn, the release of sixteen shipwrecked seaman from the American Whaling ship LAGODA was negotiated. She returned to the east coast of the United States in November 1850 and served as practice ship for midshipmen until 1857 when she was placed in ordinary. She was ordered to the Gulf Blockading Squadron in July 1861 and was engaged in the blockade of the Mississippi River. PREBLE was serving as a guard ship moored in Pensacola Bay on April 27, 1863, when a fire began on board, started by a careless crewman. PREBLE was abandoned by her crew and later exploded.

In 1963, Navy divers located a wreck they believed to be that of Preble and recovered a number of artifacts, including a mast. Other than these artifacts, the wreck was basically left intact.  Extensive research on the Civil War Navies has produced a very detailed page about this PREBLE which you can find here.

 

The third PREBLE (DD-12) was laid down by the Union Iron Works, San Francisco, Calif., 21 April 1899 launched 2 March 1901, sponsored by Miss Ethel Preble. PREBLE had an over-all length of 146'; extreme beam 15'4"; normal displacement 154.6 tons; mean draft 5'10"; and designed complement of 3 officers and 21 men. Her original armament was three 1-pounders and three 18" triple torpedo tubes. Her designed speed was 22.5 knots

DD-12 USS PREBLE - 1901PREBLE, assigned to the Pacific Fleet, operated with the 4th and 2nd Torpedo Flotillas off the western seaboard from Washington to the Panama Canal Zone until 1908. On April 18 1906, San Francisco experienced "The Great Earthquake and Fire." PREBLE participated in the rescue effort by landing shore parties to assist the wounded at Harbor Emergency Hospital. PREBLE made a cruise to Hawaii and Samoa (24 August-November 1908) then resumed west coast operations, continuing them until 4 February 1909, when she arrived at Mare Island Navy Yard for inactivation. In reserve 23 February-17 September, she was then reassigned to the Pacific Torpedo Flotilla, and until 1913 operated with Torpedo Flotilla, Pacific Fleet. Placed in reserve again 19 June 1913, she remained at Mare Island Navy Yard until resuming operations with the torpedo flotilla 23 April 1914.

Torpedo practice, gunnery exercises and minesweeping operations followed, and during the summer of 1915 PREBLE participated in a cruise to Alaskan waters to gather logistic information. After another period in reserve status (25 October 1914, 3 April 1917), PREBLE departed San Diego 30 April 1917 for the east coast. She arrived at Norfolk 13 July and, until the end of World War I, was engaged in coastwise convoy duty along the mid-Atlantic seaboard. Remaining on the east coast after the war, she decommissioned at New York, 11 July 1919. Her name was struck from the Navy List 15 September 1919 and she was sold, 3 January 1920, to Joseph G. Hitner of Philadelphia, Pa.

The fourth PREBLE (DD-345) was laid down by the Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine, 12 April 1919, Iaunched 8 March 1920, sponsored by Miss Sallie M. Tucker, great grandaughter of Commodore Edward Preble. PREBLE was commissioned at the Boston Navy Yard 19 March 1920, Comdr. H. A. Baldridge in command.

DD-345 USS PrebleAfter shakedown in Cuban waters, PREBLE was assigned special duty in Mexican waters, arriving Vera Cruz 13 June. During the following weeks she made three voyages to Galveston, Tex., to obtain medical supplies including serum to fight bubonic plague which had developed during the rebellion of the Sonora triumvirate. In August she returned north to join the Atlantic Fleet in East Coast and Caribbean exercises. In January 1921 the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets joined off the Canal Zone and cruised to the west coast of South America. Separating on 23 February, the Atlantic Fleet steamed back to the Caribbean.

PREBLE departed Newport, R.I., 20 June enroute to the Asiatic Station, via Suez, with units of Squadron 15. She arrived at Chefoo, China, 26 August 1922, and for the next 7 years cruised off the coast of Asia from Manchuria to Burma in Japanese waters, and amongst the Philippines, East Indies and Marianas. In September 1923 she assisted victims of violent earthquakes which shook Japan. From 12 June to 2 July 1924 she was at Rangoon, Burma, and Calcutta, India delivering gas and oil for a round-the-world flight of Army planes. In 1927 PREBLE was assigned patrol duty in strife-torn China, taking aboard American and foreign refugees and escorting merchant vessels in the Yangtze and Whangpo Rivers. On several occasions Chinese factions fired on PREBLE from shore, but there were no casualties.

PREBLE departed Tsingtao, China, 12 July 1929 and returned to San Diego, 17 August 1929. For several years she was based at San Diego, cruising along the western seaboard of the United States, with operations in waters of Mexico and the Caribbean. She was assigned to Rotating Reserve Destroyer Squadron 20 at the Mare Island Navy Yard 24 September 1932. In May 1934 PREBLE engaged in Fleet Problem 15 off the Panama Canal and in Cuban waters, before returning to the Pacific. She participated in Fleet Problems 16 and 18 in the Hawaiian area in May-June 1935 and April-May 1937.

DM-20 USS Preble - Courtesy of www.navsource.orgOn 19 May 1937 PREBLE was transferred from Destroyers Battle Force, to duty with Minecraft, Battle Force. Converted to a light minelayer, she was reclassified DM- 20, effective 30 June 1937. She departed Pearl Harbor 20 September 1937 for mine training operations on the West Coast and returned to Hawaii in December. She remained in the Hawaiian area until the outbreak of World War II, engaging in scheduled mining exercises and fleet maneuvers.

On 7 December 1941 when the Japanese forces launched their attack, PREBLE was being overhauled at Pearl Harbor and was unable to get underway. As necessary guns and ammunition were not aboard, a large number of PREBLE's crew handled ammunition, fought fires, and cared for the wounded aboard PENNSYLVANIA (BB-38). On 30 January 1942 PREBLE completed her yard overhaul and joined the patrol operating just off the Pearl Harbor entrance. On 1 April she departed Pearl Harbor with units of Mine Division 1 to lay a large minefield at French Frigate Shoals, 500 miles northwest of Oahu. In July she assisted in laying a defensive minefield around the base at Kodiak, Alaska, returning to Pearl Harbor via Seattle for overhaul and patrol operations. On 6 December she departed Pearl Harbor for the Fiji Islands and Noumea, New Caledonia, serving on escort duty in the New Hebrides during January 1943.

On the night of 31 January TRACY (DM-19), MONTGOMERY (DM-17), and PREBLE laid mines in the mouth of the Tenambo River, Guadalcanal to prevent the evacuation of enemy troops. During the next two months PREBLE performed escort duties to the New Hebrides and Russell Islands.

On the night of 6 May PREBLE with minelayers GAMBLE (DM-15) and BREESE (DM-18) in company with RADFORD (DD-446) laid mines in Ferguson Passage between Gizo and Wanawana Islands in the Solomons. On the night of 7-8 May these mines sank a Japanese destroyer and damaged two others which were sunk the next day by torpedo bombers from Guadalcanal.

On 24 May PREBLE rescued 85 survivors from torpedoed SS STANVAE MANILA. On the night of 28 June BREESE, GAMBLE and PREBLE mined the waters near Shortland Island to prevent units of the Japanese fleet based there from interfering with landing operations on Rendova Island in the New Georgia Group, which were to be carried out at dawn. During July and August PREBLE again served as an escort vessel. On 9 September she departed Noumea for San Francisco.

After overhaul and convoy escort duty to Pearl Harbor, PREBLE reached Majuro, Marshall Islands, 3 February 1944 where she served as anti-submarine screen and mine layer before returning to Pearl Harbor. She then made three escort voyages from Pearl Harbor to Marshall Island ports. After minesweeping training, PREBLE departed Purvis Bay, Florida Island, 6 September, with minesweeping units of Rear Admiral Oldendorf's TG 32.5. Arriving off Peleliu in the early morning of 12 September, while fire support ships opened bombardment, PREBLE separated to investigate the shoals between Anguar and Peleliu Islands where the enemy had been suspected of planting acoustic mines. The next day she helped rescue survivors of PERRY (DMS-17) which had struck a mine. She continued to perform various screening and minesweeping duties.

PREBLE arrived Manus, Admiralty Islands, 1 October, where she joined mine sweeping Task Group 77.5 which arrived off the entrance to Leyte Gulf 17 October where she remained laying bouys and acting as mine destruction vessel for 6 days before returning to Manus. After training at Manus, she returned to San Pedro Bay 1 January 1945, but steamed a month later for Pearl Harbor and much needed repairs in the States, arriving San Francisco 8 March.

Returning to Pearl Harbor 8 May, PREBLE was redesignated a miscellaneous auxiliary vessel (AG-99) 5 June. She was assigned to duty escorting aircraft carriers engaged in training, acting as anti-submarine patrol vessel and plane guard during flight operations. She reached Guam with VELLA GULF (CVE-111) 20 July, subsequently escorting VELLA GULF to Okinawa. After returning to Guam, she escorted SITKOH BAY (CVE-86) to Samar, Philippines, arriving 20 September.

PREBLE steamed for the United States 9 October, arriving Norfolk 20 November. She decommissioned at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard 7 December 1945. Her name was struck from the Navy List 3 January 1946 and she was sold for scrap to Luria Brothers of Philadelphia 26 October 1946.

PREBLE earned 8 battle stars for World War II service.

Pearl Harbor-Midway 7 December 1941
Capture and Defense of Guadalcanal 31 January - 2 February 1943
Consolidation of Solomon Islands
Consolidation of Southern Solomons
6-7, 12-13 May 1943
New Georgia Group Operation
New Georgia-Rendova-Vengunu Occupation
29-30 June 1943
8-25 August 1943
Marshall Islands Operations
Occupation of Kwajalein and Mejuro Atolls
29 January - 8 February 1944
Western Carolin Islands Operations
Capture and Occupation of Southern Palau Islands
6 September - 14 October 1944
Leyte Operation
Leyte Landings
12-20 October 1944
Luzon Operation
Lungauen Gulf Landing
4-18 January 1945

[ Quarterdeck ]

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This page was last updated on 01/12/05.