Charles Arthur Tabberer--born on 18 December 1915 in Kansas City, Kan.--enlisted in the Naval Reserve on 12 October 1939 and was appointed an aviation cadet on 11 January 1940. Following flight training in Florida at Pensacola and Miami, Cadet Tabberer was designated a naval aviator on 1 November. He was commissioned an ensign in the Naval Reserve on 12 December. After further training at San Diego, Calif., he was ordered to report to Fighting Squadron 5 (VF-5) which was then assigned to Yorktown (CV-5).
Ens. Tabberer served with VF-5 throughout his short naval career. Promoted to lieutenant (junior grade) on 29 May 1942, his squadron was assigned to Saratoga (CV-3) for the invasion of Guadalcanal in the southern Solomon Islands. Lt. (jg.) Tabberer was one of the 11 "Wildcat" (F4F) pilots lost when elements of the Japanese 26th Air Flotilla opposed the Guadalcanal invasion forces on 7 August. Through the efforts of Tabberer and his comrades, the Japanese aerial forces were beaten back. For his sacrifice, Lt. (jg.) Tabberer was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, posthumously.
(DE-418: dp. 1,350; l. 306'0"; b. 37'7"; dr. 13'4"; s. 24.3 k. (tl.); cpl. 222; a. 2 5", 10 40mm., 3 21" tt.; cl. John C. Butler)
Tabberer (DE-418) was laid down at Houston, Tex., on 12 January 1944 by the Brown Shipbuilding Co.; launched on 18 February 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Mary M. Tabberer; and commissioned on 23 May 1944, Lt. Comdr. Henry Lee Plage, USNR, in command.
On 27 June, Tabberer headed toward Bermuda for shakedown training. At the end of a fortnight's post-shakedown availability at the Boston Navy Yard, she got underway on 16 August to escort Severn (AO-61) to the Hawaiian Islands. The two ships transited the Panama Canal late that month and reached Pearl Harbor on 7 September. For over a month, the destroyer escort conducted underway training in the waters surrounding the islands. Her exercises included antisubmarine warfare drills and gunfire practice. She also screened carriers Coral Sea (CVE-57), Ranger (CV-4), and Saratoga (CV-3) during night flying qualifications and amphibious support training.
On 16 October, Tabberer sortied from Pearl Harbor with Task Group (TG) 12.7, a hunter/killer group built around Anzio (CVE-57), formerly Coral Sea (CVE-57). Upon arrival at Eniwetok on the 23d, the ships joined Admiral Halsey's 3d Fleet and, on 27 October stood out of Eniwetok as TG 30.7. After stopping at Ulithi during the first three days of November, the task group headed for the 3d Fleet fueling group's operating area to conduct antisubmarine sweeps. On 18 November, TG 30.7 registered its first kill when Tabberer's sister-ship Lawrence C. Taylor (DE-415) sent I-41 to the bottom after a coordinated depth charge attack with Melvin R. Nawman (DE-416). Following a replenishment period at Ulithi, Tabberer sortied with TG 30.7 on 9 December to resume antisubmarine sweeps of the Philippine Sea during Task Force 38's Luzon strikes in support of the Mindoro landings.
On 17 December, as Tabberer was steaming in company with the 3d Fleet fueling group to the east of the Philippine Islands, rising wind and a choppy sea forced her to break off preparations to take on fuel. The barometer dropped precipitously as the weather grew worse. By evening, the little warship was fighting a full typhoon. During the night, Tabberer lost steerageway and could not fight her way out of the deep troughs. She frequently took rolls up to 60 degrees and, on several occasions, approached an angle of 72 degrees from the vertical.
The high winds and seas continued to batter her on the 18th. By 1830, her mast and radio antennae were gone. At 2130, a signalman trying to rig an emergency antenna sounded the "man overboard" alarm. Tabberer rushed to the rescue. Once on board, the sailor reported that he was from Hull (DD-350) and that his ship had gone down about noon that day. Thus, she was the first ship of the 3d Fleet to learn of the tragedy of 18 December 1944. Though unable to call for help, she immediately embarked upon a search for other survivors. Her rescue efforts continued through the night, all day on the 19th, and into the 20th. In all, she saved 55 officers and men both from Hull and Spence (DD-512). Later, Tabberer was relieved by other units of the fleet, and they rescued an additional 36 men, a few of whom belonged to the crew of the typhoon's third victim Monaghan (DD 354). Outstanding rescue efforts during the storm won several members of Tabberer's crew Navy and Marine Corps medals, Lt. Comdr. Plage, the Legion of Merit, and the ship, the Navy Unit Commendation.
On 21 December, the destroyer escort reentered Ulithi lagoon before heading back to Hawaii. She stopped at Eniwetok early in January 1945 and reached Oahu soon thereafter. Following a short availability, she stood out of Pearl Harbor on 29 January. She steamed via Eniwetok and Saipan to screen TF 38 during the air strikes in support of the marines who stormed ashore at Iwo Jima on 19 February. Tabberer remained in the Volcano Islands through the first week of March, screening the carriers from enemy submarines and aircraft. Though the task force was subjected to several air attacks and carriers suffered kamikaze and bomb hits, Tabberer sustained no damage. On 7 March, she headed for the Philippines and entered San Pedro Bay, Leyte, on the 12th.
From late March to early May, the destroyer escort cruised with various task groups of TF 38 during the invasion of Okinawa. Once again, she protected the American carriers from Japanese submarines and aircraft while their planes struck enemy positions. Although she operated continuously for 52 days and sighted many unidentified planes, the ship never came under attack. Frequently, she rejoined the Anzio hunter/killer group for night antisubmarine sweeps.
Tabberer put into Apra Harbor, Guam, on 11 May to replenish and make repairs. On the 23d, she departed again and rejoined Anzio for further antisubmarine operations on the sea lanes between Okinawa and the Marianas. On 31 May, Anzio planes scored a kill, and Tabberer assisted Oliver Mitchell (DE 417) in recovering evidence of their success. Following a visit, lasting just over a fortnight, to San Pedro Bay, Leyte, she resumed antisubmarine sweeps with the Anzio task group. For the remainder of the war, she hunted Japanese submarines and protected the logistics group during the 3d Fleet's final air assault on the Japanese home islands. During the final month of the war, she destroyed mines and rescued four downed Anzio aircrewmen.
After the cessation of hostilities on 15 August 1945, Tabberer remained in the Far East to support the occupation forces. She escorted ships between Okinawa, Jinsen, Korea, and Tientsin and Taku, China. She also destroyed mines in the Yellow Sea. On 22 December, the little warship departed Tsingtao, China, to return to the United States. Along the way, she made stops at Okinawa, Eniwetok, and Pearl Harbor before entering San Francisco on 15 January 1946. In April, she shifted to San Diego where she was placed out of commission, in reserve, on 24 April 1946.
Tabberer was recommissioned at San Diego on 7 April 1951, Lt. Comdr. Willard J. McNulty in command. In June, she changed home ports from San Diego to Newport, R.I., and in August reported for duty with the Atlantic Fleet. For the next nine years, she operated along the Atlantic seaboard from Key West, Fla., to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Frequently, she operated in the Caribbean area, often near Guantanamo Bay and Vieques Island. Tabberer participated in a variety of exercises and, on several occasions, embarked Naval Academy and NROTC midshipmen for their summer cruises. She left the western Atlantic only once during this period--in the fall of 1957--for a two-month deployment to the Mediterranean. After that, she resumed her operations along the east coast.
On 19 April 1959, the destroyer escort put into port for the last time. At Philadelphia, she began preparations for deactivation. Tabberer was placed out of commission in reserve, in May 1960 and was berthed at Philadelphia for the remainder of her career. On 1 August 1972, her name was struck from the Navy list; and, on 3 October 1973, she was sold for scrapping to Mr. David Hahn of Key West, Fla.
Tabberer earned four battle stars and a Navy Unit Commendation for service in World War II.