Recently people have been joining me on my Sunday Walks in Downtown Albany. Typically, I walk in Albany when I'm scheduled as a tour guide on the USS Slater. A slide show and a map are detailed at this blog entry. I plan on walking on Memorial Day, Monday, May 27. You can contact me at:

More on the USS SLATER (

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Tour 9/15/2007, USS Hurst (DE-250)

It was a beautiful sunny day, mid 70s. But, it rained in the morning so attendance was on the light side. During the last tour of the day, the daughter of a WWII veteran (who served on the USS Hurst, DE-250) brought her dad aboard for a visit. After 62 years (1945-2007), some Destroyer Escort (DE) vets have a little trouble with the Slater's steep ladders, so the tour takes a little longer. The other members of the tour didn't mind since we were treated to a few sea stories.

One sea story of interest didn't involve Destroyer Escorts but Nazi spies who landed on a Maine beach in 1944: ".....It was 20 degrees and snowing late in November 1944 near the resort town of Bar Harbor, Maine, some 4,000 miles from Nazi Germany. Two men made their way along the beach, slipping through snow and tripping over exposed tree roots. Erich Gimpel and William Colepaugh would have looked like any other men but for the heavy suitcases they lugged and their light topcoats, which were no match for the northeastern winter. As they moved toward the cover of the thick coastal woods, two other men stood by, dressed in Nazi navy uniforms...." click here for more info on nazi spies.

After the tour I did a little checking to see what Internet Resources were available for the USS Hurst (DE-250). One of the other Hurst crew members, Frank Jones, recorded a very detailed oral history account. The full account is available in the Library of Congress Veteran History Project (Link: Frank Jones Account). After VE Day (Victory in Europe), but before VJ Day (Victory in Japan) the Hurst was escorting the USS George Washington. Here's an excerpt: ".....Following the London Liberty we went back to our ship. Our Atlantic Fleet assignment was a flotilla of six DEs (Destroyer Escorts). We were advised that we were to be split into pairs enroute back to New York, and eventual reassignment to the 7th fleet in the Pacific. In our dispatch we were assigned to escort a passenger ship which was like a former cruise ship, the USS George Washington, which was a hospital ship. The DE-249 (our sister ship), and our ship DE-250, escorted her and the military wounded back to New York without any encounter...." .

Sometimes Internet Accounts cross reference one another. My web search came across another account of the Hurst's return trip from Liverpool to New York by Don Hyerdall (a B-17 Bombardier and Repatriated POW): ".....We had to be in Liverpool in the morning, when 6 destroyer escorts were leaving at six in the morning. I said, "Don, I'll bet a bunch of these guys are going to back out - I'm going with you! Let's have a drink, and leave a note downstairs that we want to be awakened at about one o'clock, because the train leaves at two for Liverpool. We'll get over to the station (which wasn't far), and we'll hop on the train and go!" At one o'clock, they woke us up, we got dressed, went down to the station, got the train, and arrived in Liverpool about 5:15. We started walking about a mile and a half to the quay. We saw these beautiful, U.S. Coast Guard destroyer escorts. It was their first time over to England. We looked up and saw a guy, "Can you take us to the States?" "Sure! Come on up!" (USS Hurst, DE 250) Now, I have no orders, and neither did Don, so Don and I and a couple of other guys, and Lt. Col. Griswold (of the OSS [now CIA]- in charge of putting airfields in France after we liberated them - P-51s, B-26s and all that) boarded the boat, and we had a ball. We ate the best food! (We were escorting the USS George Washington on the way back.) To make a long story short, after I got back, I received a bill from the USS Hurst (DE 250) for $9 for 6 days of food. So, we're starting to approach Pier 6 in the Brooklyn Naval Yards, and the colonel had a little bit of power with the commander. "Say, is there any chance of you dropping me off here in Prospect Park, in Brooklyn? I have to make a phone call to Washington, DC." The commander thought it no problem to drop a little dinghy. I went with him. They dropped us off in Prospect Park - we could have been spies, for God's sakes - and we head to downtown New York....."

After escorting the USS George Washington, the USS Hurst was transferred to the Pacific Fleet. Regarding the USS Hurst in the Pacific, Frank Jones notes "...our mission from there was to search the islands of the South Pacific, 76 to be exact. .....". In November, 1945 (three months after VJ Day) the USS Hurst was given R&R in Tahiti.

Eventually, the USS Hurst (DE-250) was transferred to the Mexican Navy as the ARM Manuel Azueta (D-111). As far as I can tell the ship is still on active duty. The picture above was taken several years ago in Cozumel (More photos are available). Just my opinion, but Cozumel would be a great place to home port a museum ship.

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