USS Slater during World War II
|Namesake:||Frank O. Slater|
|Builder:||Tampa Shipbuilding Company, Tampa, Florida|
|Laid down:||9 March 1943|
|Launched:||20 February 1944|
|Commissioned:||1 May 1944|
|Decommissioned:||26 September 1947|
|Stricken:||7 March 1951|
|Fate:||Transferred to Greece, 1 March 1951|
|Acquired:||1 March 1951|
|Decommissioned:||5 July 1991|
|Fate:||Returned to US and preserved as memorial in Albany, New York|
|Class and type:||Cannon-class destroyer escort|
|Displacement:||1,240 long tons (1,260 t)|
|Length:||306 ft (93 m)|
|Beam:||36 ft 8 in (11.18 m)|
|Draft:||8 ft 9 in (2.67 m)|
|Speed:||21 knots (39 km/h; 24 mph)|
|Range:||10,800 nmi (20,000 km; 12,400 mi) at 12 kn (22 km/h; 14 mph)|
|Complement:||15 officers, 201 enlisted|
USS Slater (Destroyer Escort)
|Location||Port of Albany, Albany, New York|
|NRHP reference No.||98000393|
|Added to NRHP||7 May 1998|
|Designated NHL||2 March 2012|
USS Slater (DE-766) is a Cannon-class destroyer escort that served in the United States Navy and later in the Hellenic (Greek) Navy. Following service during World War II, the ship was transferred to Greece and renamed Aetos. Decommissioned in 1991, the destroyer escort was returned to the United States.
USS Slater is now a museum ship on the Hudson River in Albany, New York, the only one of its kind afloat in the United States. Fewer than 12 destroyer escorts still survived as of August 2020, with the Slater the only ship that retained its wartime configuration.
USS Stewart is exhibited at Seawolf Park in Galveston, Texas, but located on dry land, USS McAnn is preserved in Brazil, and USS Atherton is intended to become part of a Philippine Navy museum at Sangley Point. Slater was designated a National Historic Landmark on 2 March 2012.
USS Slater was struck by the Hudson River touring ship Dutch Apple on 10 September 2019. A mechanical issue aboard Dutch Apple was to blame for the collision.
Frank Olga Slater was born on 19 December 1920 in Kennamer Cove, Alabama, one of twelve children of James Lafayette Slater, a sharecropper and Lenora (Morgan) Slater. He grew up in Fyffe, Alabama. He enlisted in the United States Naval Reserve on 10 February 1942. Upon completion of his basic training, he was transferred to the Receiving Station at Pearl Harbor, and assigned to the heavy cruiser USS San Francisco on 4 April 1942. On 12 November 1942 he was killed in action at his battle station during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. He was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross.
USS Slater was laid down on 9 March 1943, she was christened on 20 Feb 1944 by Lenora Slater, mother of Frank Olga Slater and launched on 20 February 1944. The ship was commissioned on 1 May 1944. She was built at the Tampa Shipbuilding Company in Tampa, Florida.
After a shakedown cruise near Bermuda in June 1944, Slater was sent to Key West where she served as a target ship and a sonar school ship. In the latter part of 1944, Slater escorted two convoys to the United Kingdom. She continued serving in this capacity from January 1945 until May 1945.
When the war in Europe ended, Slater headed to the Pacific, stopping at Guantanamo Bay and Panama. She went through the Panama Canal on 28 June 1945 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. Slater engaged in support operations in the Pacific through the remainder of the year. She made another passage through the Canal on her way to Norfolk for deactivation. Slater was placed in the reserve fleet at Green Cove Springs, Florida in 1947.
On 1 March 1951, Slater was transferred to the Hellenic Navy under the Truman Doctrine, and renamed Aetos ("Eagle") (D01). Along with three other Cannon-class ships, she made up what was known as the "Wild Beasts" Flotilla. The ship did patrol duty in the eastern Aegean and the Dodecanese and also served as a training vessel for naval cadets. Aetos was decommissioned in 1991, and Greece donated the ship to the Destroyer Escort Sailors Association.
Destroyer escort sailors from around the nation donated more than a quarter of a million dollars to bring Slater back to the United States as a museum ship. A Russian ocean-going tugboat towed the ship from Crete to New York City in 1993, where it was docked next to the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid. Volunteers began restoring the ship and seeking a permanent home for her; Albany, New York was decided upon. On Sunday 26 October 1997, Slater arrived at the Port of Albany. In January 2006, a welder accidentally started a fire aboard Slater which caused some minor damage to the ship. Repairs were completed within a few months. Restoration of the ship remains an ongoing project.
On 7 May 1998, Slater was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Slater was refitted several times during her long service with two navies. One of her depth-charge racks and four "K-gun" depth charge launchers have been removed. Two twin Bofors 40 mm guns have been added, and the ten single 20 mm guns have been replaced with nine twin mounts.
Slater has been featured in two motion pictures. The ship was seen in The Guns of Navarone (1961) and I Aliki sto Naftiko (Η Αλίκη στο Ναυτικό/Alice in the Navy, filmed in 1961) while in Greek service. In August 2008 part of the Japanese film Orion in Midsummer was filmed on board. History Channel documentaries have also featured Slater.