The USS EVERGLADES (AD-24) was named after the U.S. National Park Everglades of Florida and was the first U.S. Navy ship to bear that name. The building of the ship was authorized in 1942; the keel was laid on 2 January, 1945 at the Todd shipyard, San Pedro, California. (I was two years old then) Bethlehem Steel Corporation ship building division, Terminal Island, California on 23 May, 1946, completed the outfitting of the ship. (Bethlehem Steel also was prime contractor for supplying steel for Golden Gate Bridge, years earlier) Immediately after her construction and without benefit of sea trials or commissioning, the Everglades was inactivated and placed in the Fleet Reserve in San Diego May, 1947.
With the advent of the Korean conflict, the activation of the Everglades was authorized at 10:30 on 25 May, 1951. Vice Admiral G.D. Murry, USN, Commander Pacific Reserve Fleet commissioned the Everglades, and her first Captain was Captain Thomas Markham Brown, who led her crew for the next two years.
After a month of activation, loading and organization, Everglades reported to the San Diego Underway Training Element for training. After completing underway training 2 August, 1951 the Everglades proceeded to Long Beach Naval Shipyard to have certain alterations accomplished that had been authorized by Bureau of Ships.
The first extended cruise at sea commenced as she left Long Beach on 10 September 1951, for Norfolk, Virginia. The Everglades arrived in Panama, Canal Zone piers and reported for duty to Commander in Chief U.S. Atlantic Fleet and Commander Cruiser-Destroyer Force U.S. Atlantic Fleet. She transited the Canal on 22 September and arrived in Norfolk, Virginia on 27 September, 1951.
The Everglades performed her duties making 7 Mediterranean cruises in addition to supporting the 6th fleet in Guantanmo Bay, Cuba and San Juan, Puerto Rico. In addition Everglades relieved other tenders during their deployment in Baltimore and Mayport, Charleston and Norfolk.
Everglades first Med cruise was October 1952 to March 1953 were she supported ships in Gibraltar; Cannes, France; Augusta, Sicily; Istanbul, Turkey, Athens Greece; Naples, Italy and Barcelona, Spain. She was all over the Med unlike most Med deployments.
In recognition of her outstanding performance for the year 1954, the Everglades was awarded the battle efficiency pennant as the best ship in her class in the Atlantic Fleet.
The Everglades was again deployed to the Med in 1955 (Feb to July) and later deployed to New York in support capacity returning to DesRon piers in Norfolk. Not much is known of this deployment as no records have been forthcoming that summarizes her accomplishments during the N.Y. deployment period.
1956 Everglades underwent reconditioning in May of 1956 in Portsmouth for overhaul and later in July to the Bethlehem shipyard in Baltimore to scrape her hull. In August of 1956, the Everglades went to Gitmo, Cuba for shakedown and training in preparation for her next deployments. The Everglades was to deploy again to the Med 1957 (Feb to Aug) and again in 1958 & 1959. The Everglades returned home in June 1959 where her home port was changed from Norfolk, Virginia to Charleston, South Carolina.
Things remained relatively constant in Charleston for 1960 through 1963 where Everglades acted as Flagship for the Commander, Cruiser-Destroyer Flotilla six and accumulated a lot of coffee grounds under her keel. It is believed during this period she underwent another yard period where they removed the aft 5inch mount and was outfitted with DASH Hanger & flight deck and avionics workshop. Part of the new spaces was for FT (Fire Control shop).
In December 1963 Everglades deployed to San Juan, Puerto Rico in support of Springboard Exercises which was a warm up for things to come.
February 1964 Everglades sailed again for
the Mediterranean with the Sixth fleet.
While in the Sixth fleet the Everglades became the first Atlantic base destroyer Tender to fly the DASH Helicopter (Drone Anti Submarine Helicopter). She returned to Charleston that same year May, 1964 to service destroyers of the Atlantic fleet.
August 1964 Everglades was awarded the Engineering "E" for Excellence.
The Everglades followed the 1964 Engineering awarded "E" with two more awarded for Engineering Excellence in 1965 for Operation and another in 1966.
1965 Everglades was called upon to go to Mayport, Florida, for five weeks and to Norfolk, Virginia for three weeks in order to assist ships in these ports. In November of 1965, she left for Naples, Italy to carry out her sixth Mediterranean deployment. In February 1966 on the way back to Charleston, Everglades was directed to Palomares, Spain where she assisted in the nuclear weapons recovery operations. Returning to Charleston in March 1966, Everglades commenced her shipyard overhaul period. In August after completion of the yard period and refresher training at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba the Everglades participated in the fleet exercise LANTFLEX 66.
1967 the months of January, February and September, Everglades was once again called upon to assist ships in Mayport, Florida. In May of that year Everglades scored another tender first when she became the first destroyer tender to accomplish the complete removal and replacement of two damaged 5"-54 gun mounts from a destroyer. The job, which had previously been beyond the capability of a tender, was completed in only seven days, and they accomplishment was cited by RADAM C. J Van Arsdall, commander, cruiser-destroyer force Atlantic fleet as exemplifying the "Can-Do Spirit of professionalism of the Everglades".
On 31 July 1968, the Everglades departed Charleston for her seventh Med cruiser. This would be her last Med cruiser. While there in Naples, Italy and Malta she further demonstrated her versatility and Can-Do Spirit by tendering every type of ship with the sixth fleet, handling from minesweepers to submarines to carriers. In Malta, her sailors displayed their outstanding attitude by establishing one of the finest people-to people programs ever undertaken in the Mediterranean.
Everglades returned to Charleston the 20th of December (3 Shopping days before Christmas)
The Everglades would make two more cruises one; to Port Everglades and her final cruise Dependents Day Cruise Jun 1970.
August 15th, 1970 the Everglades was decommissioned at Charleston, South Carolina and towed to Philadelphia.
The Everglades lived on as special
service accommodation ship were she was used as the hub of repair and
maintenance in the Philadelphia yard until May 24th 1989 were she was
finally closed up and Stricken (Put up for sale).
Reviewing the Naval Vessel Registration (NVR) we noted that the Navy disposition and transfed the EVERGLADES to the Maritime Administration (MARAD) Reserve Fleet. MARAD records indicate that Everglades was sold for scrap for $715,122 dollars on September 4th 1991 from NSY Philadelphia. I was advised that MARAD never actually had physical custody of the vessel, so no details of that sale are included in MARAD records. We contacted the disposal office to see what if any their records might include.
The Disposal office was not very supportive, but we did find the shipbroker. A. L. Burbank Shipbrokers Fort Lee, NJ were very helpful and advised they acted as agents in the purchase for the buyers INCOM Limited (a Singapore Company) On December 14th 1991 INCOM had the Everglades towed to their breaker yards in Alang, India. The Shipbroker advised that INCOM Limited ceased to exist as a company and collectables such as ships bell were removed prior to going to the Breaker Yard.
The Glades was 45.5 years old since her launch to time of disposal. Thus we can say Everglades to Razorblades as we close this wee bit of Navy History.
As always if anyone has additional information we can add to this eulogy we would be appreciate of your input. Please address attention Gary Adams Ships Historian AD-24 to: Gar-Trish.Adams@att.net or AD24history@att.net be sure to put AD-24 in subject title.
Gary Adams Crewmember and Ships Historian.
of United States Ship USS EVERGLADES AD-24
Captain Tomas M. Brown
Captain Walter M. Forster
Captain Evan W. Yancey
Captain James W. White
Captain Malcolm E. Garrison
Captain D.L. Martineau
Captain Hilary C. Rowe
Captain Gilven M. Slonim
Captain Thomas H. Suddath
Captain J.W. Daniel Jr.
Captain J. Maury Werth
Captain Joe H. Floyd
Captain Robert W. Adrian
Captain Garette E. Lochee
Captain Albert August Steinbeck
Captain Emmett Hulcy Tidd
Captain Thomas J. Porcari
Captain George H. Davis
In each ship there is one man who, in the hour of peril at sea can turn to no other man.
It is a duty which most richly deserves the highest, time-honored title of the seafaring world…CAPTAIN.
There is one who alone is ultimately responsible for the safe navigation, engineering performance, accurate gunfire and morale of his ship and crew. He is the Commanding Officer. He is the ship!
This is the most difficult and demanding assignment in the Navy. There is not an instant during his tour as Commanding Officer that he can escape the grasp of command responsibility. His privileges in view of his obligations are almost ludicrously small; nevertheless Command is the spur which has given the Navy its great leaders.