< Blessman DE-69

Blessman DE-69



Born in Mott, S. D., 29 December 1907, Edward Martin Blessman graduated from the Academy in 1931 and became a Naval Aviator in 1934. Lieutenant Blessman was killed in action in the Pacific 4 February 1942.

(DE-69: dp. 1400; 1. 306'; b. 36'10"; dr. 915"; s. 24 k.;
cpl. 186; a. 3 3", 3 21" TT.; cl. Buckley)

Blessman (DE-69) was launched 19 June 1943 by Bethlehem-Hingham Shipyard, Inc., Hingham, Mass.; sponsored by Mrs. Helen Malloy Blessman, widow of Lieutenant Blessman; and commissioned 19 September 1943, Commander J. A. Gillis in command.

From 20 November 1943 to 27 July 1944 Blessman operated as a convoy escort and patrol vessel in the North Atlantic and took part in the invasion of Normandy (613 June 1944).

Blessman was redesignated APD-48, 31 July 1944 and converted to a high speed transport. She then reported to the Pacific Fleet, arriving at Pearl Harbor 29 November 1944. She took part In the landings at Lingayen Gulf (119 January 1945) and Iwo Jima (14-19 February) as an underwater demolition team carrier. During an air attack off Iwo Jima, 18 February 1945, she was hit by a 500 pound bomb which exploded in the mess hall knocking out all power and starting fires; she suffered 40 killed and 23 wounded. Her gallant crew extinguished the fires with assistance from Gilmore (DE-18) and the next day the damaged transport departed for Saipan and emergency repairs, in tow of Ardent (AM- 290). Blessman steamed to the west coast for permanent repairs, arriving 23 April. Completing her repairs in August she returned to the Western Pacific and until October served with the occupation forces in Japan.

She returned to San Francisco in October and was placed in commission in reserve 28 August 1946 and out of commission in reserve 15 January 1947.

Blessman received three battle stars for her World War II service.