The Cold War Years

1946 To 1950

Calendar Year Index

(Click on the year desired.)

1946 1947  1948 1949 1950


The ship remained on duty in Japan until February 1946 when she was ordered to return to the U.S. and report to Casco Bay, Maine. The return trip included stops in Hawaii, Long Beach, California, and the Panama Canal. During the return trip one shipmate reflected that only eight officers and about one third of the original crew now remained on board.

On April 24, CDR T. A. Torgerson, USN, relieved CDR Lewis as Commanding Officer. July found Soley undergoing an overhaul period at the Brooklyn Navy Yard along with the rest of the ships of her division. That was when Ensign Robert J. Kubiszewski lost his new hat as he reported aboard for duty. As the "pipeline'' of newly recruited post-war personnel continued to replace departing "veterans", Soley was now manned by some 32 officers, 20 CPOs, and about 250 enlisted personnel.

The overpopulation of ship's personnel was short lived as August saw the final drafts of personnel leave the ship for discharge when the wartime "point system" reached it's final stages of demobilization. By August the officers numbered 15 and only about 45 personnel remained in the enlisted crew, 6 or 7 of who were CPOs. Toward the end of the shipyard period new recruits began reporting aboard by the hundreds as well as a few "old timers" (which often meant a sailor with two or three years experience).

The Brooklyn overhaul period ended in November when the ship proceeded to her newly assigned home port of Newport, Rhode Island after a stop in Earle, New Jersey to load ammunition. In mid-November she proceeded to Norfolk with her green crew for deperming and spent Thanksgiving in the Virginia port. While backing out of the deperming pier, the untrained crew neglected to remove mooring lines in time and the ship scraped against a pier piling. However, no damage was detected at that time.

After Thanksgiving the ship got underway to proceed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for refresher training. Vibrations were noticed as the ship increased speed indicating that the piling had caused more damage than previously thought. This caused another change in plans as Soley proceeded to the Portsmouth Shipyard for a ten-day period to get new "wheels" before departing again on December 5, for Cuba. When Soley finally arrived in Guantanamo the other ships in her Division were completing their training. She did a quick turn-around, resulting in her new crew receiving little actual training. With other ships of her division, Soley returned to Newport, RI by mid-December and moored to a buoy to enjoy the Christmas holiday period and make initial preparations for a scheduled February 1947 deployment to the Mediterranean. However, the crew was later informed that Soley was scheduled for decommissioning, and she departed Newport on January 9th enroute to Charleston, South Carolina.

Return to Index   Return to the Main History Page


1947 -1948  

Soley arrived in Charleston on January 13th for deactivation to become a part of the enormous reserve fleet of ships constructed for service in World War II. In preparation for transfer to inactive status, LCDR W. J. Tipler relieved CDR Torgerson as C.O. on February 5, and on April 15, preparations were completed as the commissioning pennant was hauled down and Soley was decommissioned. The next two years were spent in "Mothballs.

Return to Index   Return to the Main History Page



On January 5, 1949, the Chief of Naval Operations ordered reactivation of USS Soley and on January 29 the ship was once again placed in commission with CDR J. K. Knapper hoisting his pennant as Commanding Officer and LCDR Buckley assuming duties as Executive Officer. In February the ship underwent pre-shakedown training under the Chesapeake Group Training Command, followed by an overhaul period at the Charleston Naval Shipyard from March through May.

In June, Soley reported to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for shakedown training. James Cooper fondly remembers the port visits to Santiago and Havana, Cuba during shakedown. When training was completed Captain C. L. Melson, Commander Destroyer Squadron TWO, hoisted his pennant on board Soley and she was home ported in Norfolk, Virginia. Shortly thereafter USS Barton became the permanent squadron flagship.

Soley began operations in August with Task Force 81 under Rear Admiral T. H. Robbins, participating in anti-submarine and hunter-killer exercises from Cape Hatteras to Nantucket Shoals. During these exercises reserve officers and enlisted personnel were embarked for training, and the ship made at least two liberty port calls in New York City.

On October 31, Soley and her division were assigned to the Hunter-Killer Task Force 24 under Rear Admiral W.G. Switzer and participated in the major Second Fleet exercise in Northern waters in Davis Straits off Greenland. John Morrissey recalled that these operations were his introduction to sea duty and he was sea sick for most of the twenty-three day operation. He recalled that at one point it took twelve hours for the ship to refuel because of the extremely heavy seas. The squadron returned to Norfolk for Thanksgiving holidays and remained there in an upkeep period until the following January.

Return to Index   Return to the Main History Page



Beginning in January, Soley resumed operations at sea with her division and in February was again assigned to Task Force 81. In March she participated in the Joint Army-Navy-Air Force exercise PORTREX that involved assembly of the largest peacetime armada for a simulated invasion of Vieques Island, Puerto Rico. This was followed by participation in operation CARIBEX, an extensive anti-submarine exercise in the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba Oparea returning to Norfolk in April.

During May Soley operated in the Virginia Capes area and made a port visit to Gloucester, Massachusetts, mooring at a fishery pier where John Morrissey described the odor as overwhelming at times.

May 30 found Soley, along with her division, at Annapolis, Maryland for "June Week" at the Naval Academy where midshipmen were embarked for a six-week training cruise with Task Force 81. Ports of call included Portland, Maine; New York City; Cristobal, Canal Zone and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. While in "Gitmo", the ship got a towing cable wrapped around her screws requiring divers to remove the cable. The outbreak of hostilities in Korea on June 27 found Soley in the Panama Canal Zone. By mid-July Soley was once again in Norfolk.

Upon completion of a "Middie-Cruise", Soley embarked a group of Naval ROTC midshipmen as junior officers under instruction for operations with Task Force 89. This assignment was cut short when the ship was ordered to return to Norfolk and debark the midshipmen in preparation for deployment to Europe.

On August 4 Soley sailed for the Mediterranean Sea in company with USS Des Moines (CA-134) and other ships of DESRON 2 for duty with the 6th Fleet, arriving at Suda Bay, Crete on August 16th. While in the "Med", Soley visited Cannes, Gulf Juan, and Palermo. In September the ship visited Algiers and later Casablanca, French Morocco. While in Casablanca several of the crew had the pleasure of dining with the U.S. Ambassador to Morocco. However, the next morning sailing was delayed while a search was made of the crew's lockers for the Ambassador's silverware that some enterprising sailor had "liberated" as a souvenir.

In late September the ship was assigned to take part in a Northern European cruise and left the Mediterranean to proceed to Plymouth, England. The month of October found Soley engaged in exercises with the British Navy and visiting choice liberty ports in Germany, Ireland, and the Netherlands. During operations in the English Channel, heavy seas were encountered; Soley experienced one roll of some 57 degrees and lost a whaleboat and life raft along with a few depth charges. While in Del Helder in the Netherlands, the crew enjoyed shopping for wooden shoes, clocks, and among provisions taken on board, a good supply of goats milk.

On November 1st Soley received orders to represent the United States at the funeral of King Gustavus V in Stockholm, Sweden. She proceeded to England to embark a Marine Guard and units of the Navy Band for the ceremony then on to Bremerhaven to embark RADM Walter F. Boone, Commander in Chief, Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean Naval Forces. From there the ship proceeded through the Kiel Canal to Stockholm for the funeral. A group of Soley sailors were recruited to participate In the funeral procession after receiving extensive drilling in slow-cadence marching under command of a Marine Captain from the cruiser USS Columbus.

From Stockholm, Soley returned to duty with the 6th Fleet but not before visits to Bremerhaven, Germany; Plymouth, England; Bordeaux, France and Gibraltar. In mid-December the ship had a tender availability in Augusta, Sicily before proceeding to Pireaus, Greece for Christmas. Local orphans from Pireaus were invited aboard for Christmas dinner and gave the deck force a fit as they ran up and down the decks with their hobnailed shoes. From Pireaus, Soley visited Lorous Island, Barcelona, Spain and Gibraltar before departing in January for the return trip to Norfolk.

Return to Index   Return to the Main History Page

  To Learn More