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U.S.S.BOWERS (DE-637/APD-40)

The USS BOWERS was launched October 31,1943 by Bethlehem Steel Co., San Francisco, CA. as a BUCKLEY Class Destroyer Escort (DE-637)and dedicated in memorium for Robert Keith Bowers born September 25,1915 in Ellensburg,WA. He was commissioned an Ensign in the Naval Reserve and was appointed a Naval Aviator on December,12,1940. Ensign Bowers was killed in action on board the USS CALIFORNIA (BB-44)at Pearl Harbor on December 7,1941.
The BOWERS arrived at Pearl Harbor on April 6,1944 after which she served in the consolidation of the Solomon Islands, took part in the invasion of Leyte, and convoy escort duty in the South Pacific area. She served on patrol and picket duty during the Okinawa operation (March 25 through April 24,1945). On April 16,1945 after shooting down two Kamikazis, a third crashed into BOWERS bridge, killing 61 and wounding 46 of her crew. After temporary repairs at Kerama Retto, BOWERS steamed via San Diego and the Panama Canal, to the Philadelphia Navy Yard for permanent repairs and conversion into a
High Speed Transport, and was reclassified APD-40 on June 25, 1945.

Ray Bowers's picture

More information, including pictures of this ship, can be found on Miscellaneous Bowers sites page.

After being converted to an High Speed Transport on September 19, 1945, BOWERS conducted a shakedown (training) cruise at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and then proceeded to Green Cove Springs,FL where she was decommissioned in reserve on February 10, 1945. Due to naval requirements brought about by the Korean crisis, BOWERS was recommissioned on February 6,1951 and was assigned to the Atlantic Fleet Amphibious Force and based in Little Creek,VA. From March 1951 through November 1953 BOWERS made a midshipmen cruise, operated with units of the Marine Corps in amphibious exercises and operated along the east coast and in the Caribbean Sea area. In May 1954, BOWERS joined the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean for a five month tour. She then served the 6th Naval District in Naval Reserve training duty until decommissioning in reserve on December 18,1958. BOWERS was stricken from the Naval Register in May 1961 and sold to the Republic of the Philippines on April 21,1961 where she became RPS RAJA SOLIMAN (D-66). She was sunk in a typhoon while at the Bataan National Shipyard in June 1962. She was raised and scrapped in 1966. BOWERS received four battle stars in World War II.