On April 24, 1943, the USS Wren, a Fletcher class destroyer, was laid down by the by the Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding Corp. She was launched on January 29, 1944, and commissioned by the US Navy on May 20. She was sponsored by Mrs. Jeanne F. Dockweiler, and named for Solomon Wren.
Action in World War II and Korea
Following her commission, the Wren conducted shakedown training out of San Diego. In August, the Wren reported to duty along the coasts of the Aleutian Islands, as part of the Northern Pacific Force. Her main duties with the Northern Pacific Force were to patrol and help escort workers between the chain of Aleutian Islands. However, between November 1944 and April 1945, the USS Wren did collaborate with Task Force (TF) 92; in four bombing missions against the Japanese occupied Kuril Islands.
On April 19, she left Kulsk Bay and headed for Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. She docked at the Ulithi Atoll until May 17, at which time she deployed to aid in the Okinawa campaign. From May 21 to June 18, her duties were to perform standing antiaircraft radar picket watch and antisubmarine patrols in the Ryukyus. After this, the Wren departed Okinawa for the Philippines where she joined the units of TF 38 for the finishing cycle of carrier-based air bombings on Japan.
On August 26th, the Wren moved into Tokyo Bay with the 3d Fleet to start the seizure of Japan and to assemble for the official surrender ceremony. She arrived at Oahu on November 28, and after resupplying she resumed her journey east, arriving in San Diego on December 7. After maintenance and service in Philadelphia, the Wren moved onto Charleston, S.C. in March 1946. On July 13, the destroyer was designated out of commission.
On September 7, 1951 the Wren was ordered back into commission at Charleston. She operated along the US eastern coast and in the West Indies, performing training and operations in the western Atlantic along the US eastern coast.
In August 1953, the ship was assigned to the Destroyer Division (DesDiv) 61 for an operation in the Far East. There, she joined Task Force (TF) 77 in the Sea of Japan. The carriers conducted air operations there and in the Yellow Sea, and the Wren’s duties were to provide screen and plane-guard services. She then aided the Australian naval carrier HMAS Sydney and provided screening and plane-guard assistance until mid-December when she returned to Sasebo, Japan.
On January 3, 1954, the Wren briefly rejoined TF 77 before bieing converted to a unit of TF 95. She maneuvered along the Korean coast carrying out surveillance operations with TF 95 until February 1, when she returned to Sasebo to get ready for the journey home. She traveled westward through the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, and completed a circumnavigation of the world when she reached Norfolk on April 9.
After the War
For the rest of her naval career, the USS Wren operated out of Norfolk. Each spring she made annual “Springboard” voyages to Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Panama. In 1957, the Wren served in the Indian Ocean and took part in Operation Crescent with the Pakistani Navy. In December 1963 the Wren was placed into reserve.
She spent 11 years at Philadelphia in the navy’s reserve fleet. In December 1974 the name Wren was removed from the Navy list. On October 22, 1975 she was sold for scrapping to the North American Smelting Co. of Wilmington, Deleware. The USS Wren received three battle stars for her service during World War II
Asbestos in Navy Ships
Although an essential component of the naval fleet, especially during World War II, naval destroyers also pose a lasting health risk to soldiers serving on them. Unfortunately, products containing asbestos were common, especially on older ships, because of the material’s high resistance to heat and fire. Despite its value as an insulator, asbestos fiber intake can lead to several serious health consequences, including mesothelioma, a devastating cancer without cure. Current and former military personnel who came into contact with these ships should seek immediate medical attention in order to detect possible health consequences associated with asbestos exposure.