USS Slater, the last destroyer escort afloat in America, will soon return to her home berth in Albany, N.Y. Launched in 1944, Slater served gallantly in both the Battle of the Atlantic and the Pacific Theater during World War II. In 1951, Slater was transferred to Greece under the Military Defense Assistance Program.
Renamed AETOS (Eagle), she served as an Hellenic Navy training ship for 40 years. In 1993, after deactivation, she was brought back to the United States by a group of former destroyer escort sailors. Since 1998, she has been undergoing restoration while being open to the public in Albany.
Now, another significant moment in USS Slater’s history has arrived. Since April the ship has been drydocked at Caddell’s in Staten Island for much-needed hull repairs, funded privately. Also, Slater’s paint scheme has been returned to her 1945 dazzle camouflage. Soon, she will depart Staten Island and make her way up the Hudson River to Albany, assisted by tugs from New York State Marine Highway and pilots from Sandy Hook and Hudson River Pilots Associations.
In addition to a working crew of volunteers, destroyer escort sailors from World War II, Korea, and Vietnam are expected to be on board for the 24-hour journey. Regardless of the ship that they served in, USS Slater has become every destroyer escort sailor’s ship. For the time they are aboard, Slater is “their ship.” A unique opportunity awaits.
With little fanfare, USS Slater drew crowds along the banks of the Hudson as she headed south. For her return, it is expected that many more well-wishers will journey to the river’s edge to view history as Slater sails past.