TheOfficial Site for the Patrol Frigate Story
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My name is David Hendrickson. My web site serves to preserve and promote interest in the patrol frigates of WWII, referred to as the “Forgotten Fleet” by Coast Guardsmen who served aboard the patrol frigates. Ninety-six frigates were built upon authorization in December 1942, seventy-five manned by the Coast Guard and twenty-one loaned to the Royal Navy as colony- class frigates. US frigates were designated Tacoma-class, all named for small American cities.

The Coast Guard-manned frigates served in every theater from the North Atlantic to the South Pacific. In the North Atlantic many served as weather ships on station from the Arctic to the lower latitudes, others were assigned escort duty across the Atlantic to the European theater.  Twenty-one frigates served with the 7th Fleet Amphibious Division on the march from New Guinea to Leyte in the Philippines. Near the end of the war twenty-eight frigates were transferred to the USSR under Lend-Lease at the secret transfer base, Cold Bay, Alaska. All but one of which had been lost in a seafaring accident were returned to the US Navy at Yokosuka, Japan, in late 1949. Fifteen were recommissioned for Korean War duty. Britain returned the twenty-one colony-class frigates in 1946. The majority of frigates were scrapped after the war, but many were sold or given under treaty to nations around the world, only to disappear over the years.

I was the historian for the Patrol Frigate Reunion Association, an association of Coast Guard frigate sailors formed in 1986 and disbanded in 2005 in formal ceremonies on Coast Guard Island, Alameda, California. As historian I wrote two books for the association and others titled: “Cold Sea-Lonely Sea. A Bering Sea Odyssey Aboard a Patrol Frigate in World War II,” and “The Patrol Frigate Story – The Tacoma-Class Frigates in World War II and the Korean War 1943-1953.”

About myself. After one semester of college in 1942. I joined the Coast Guard in the spring of 1943. Following Coast Guard seamanship school on Government Island (now Coast Guard Island) and Navy deck petty officer school on Treasure Island, I was assigned to newly commissioned USS Albuquerque PF-7, San Francisco, December 1943. Upon completing shake down in San Diego, Albuquerque proceeded to the Aleutian Islands/Bering Sea as lead ship of Escort Division 27. Five frigates soon joined Albuquerque for the long haul of escort, patrol and  assistance to ships in distress. Following Leyte , five South Pacific frigates joined the division. In the summer 1945, all Aleutian frigates were transferred to the USSR.

Upon discharge in April 1946, I returned to college, ultimately earning a masters degree in history, which led to thirty years teaching history and geography at Fresno City College, Fresno, California. During my teaching career I was twice a Fulbright Exchange lecturer to Great Britain, 1966-67 and 1981-82. I was president of the California Geographical Society in 1978-79. I retired in 1984 and ended my teaching career, 1989-90, lecturing native teachers of the Pacific nation of Palau, seeking the AB degree.




USS Albuquerque

USS Albuquerque crew on shore leave. Left to right: Joe Rose, Wilbur Lee, David Hendrickson, Ralph Kelly, John Griffin, Sal Gonzales, Bob Shertick, and Don Holman.


Last Updated on Monday, 24 August 2009 02:35

David Hendrickson, S1/C, Kodiak, Alaska, Oct. 1944