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  USS Gladiator (AM-319/MSF-319) ARM Santos Degollado (C75/G07/P106)
USN
Auk-class minesweeper
Armada de México
Valle Class Patrol Ship

890 Tons
221' 2" x 32' x 10'
1 x 3" DP gun
2 x Twin 40mm AA guns
2 x 20mm cannons
2 x Depth Charge Tracks
5 x Depth Charge Projectiles

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USN March 11, 1944

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USN February 29, 1952

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USN October 8, 1952

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Armada de México c1993

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Google Earth 2018

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Google Earth 2019
Ship History
Built by General Engineering & Dry Dock Company in Alameda. Laid down January 7, 1943 as HMS Blaze (BAM-6) but was reclassified as Auk-class minesweeper. Launched May 1, 1943 as USS Gladiator (AM-319) the second ship with the name Gladiator, sponsored by Mrs. Madeline A. Silva. Commissioned February 25, 1944 in the U. S. Navy (USN) with Lt. Comdr. Robert W. Costello in command. Painted in dazzle camouflage measures 32/1M with dull black, ocean gray and light gray.

Afterwards conducted a shakedown cruise off San Pedro completed by April 7, 1944 and the same day departs for San Diego arriving the next day. On April 9, 1944 operates with West Coast Sound Training Squadron, under flagship USS Rathburne (DD-113) and conducts anti-submarine warfare training then returns to San Diego on April 14, 1944 and the next day to San Pedro. On April 26, 1944 departs San Pedro to join Task Force 16 (TF-16) and the next day arrives at Treasure Island off San Francisco.

World War II Service
On May 1, 1944 departed San Francisco as part of a convoy to Pearl Harbor. Between May 22, 1944 to September 11, 1944 Gladiator made four round trips escorting convoys from Pearl Harbor including one to Kwajalein and three to Eniwetok. On October 16, 1944 arrives Ulithi. On November 12, 1944 begins patrol and escort duty in the vicinity of Ulithi Atoll then escorts cargo ships to Eniwetok, Kossol Roads and Saipan. On November 25, 1944 placed under the command of Lt. Frederick S. Eyster.

On March 19, 1945 at 2:05pm departs Ulithi Lagoon southern anchorage and joins Task Group 52.3 (TG 52.3) bound for Okinawa. During the voyage the ship was at general quarters several times due to possible enemy aircraft and several floating sea mines were spotted and destroyed. On March 24, 1945 at 6:06am begins minesweeper operations as part of CTU 52.4.4 off Okinawa with air cover provided by U. S. Navy carrier aircraft until the start of the U. S. landings then switched to screening duties.

On April 6, 1945 3:20pm while at station A-1, surprised by an attack by Val dive bomber that was not observed until spotted by lookouts at a range of 4,000 yards at an altitude of 1,000'. Aboard, Gladiator opened fire with 20mm AA firing 400 rounds, 40mm AA firing 52 rounds and 3" gun firing one round. The Val strafed the ship and released a bomb that missed and the attacker was shot down. Possibly the shoot down was aided by U. S. aircraft flying Combat Air Patrol (CAP).

On April 12, 1945 at station B-1 attacked by another Val dive bomber that was shot down and crashed off the starboard beam causing debris to hit the minesweeper. This aircraft was deemed to be a kamikaze attack.

On April 22, 1945 at 6:55pm while at station B-11 strafed by a Tony fighter that resulted in one crew member killed and one wounded before it was shot down and crash into the sea after flying only 50' above the deck. This aircraft was deemed to be a kamikaze attack.

On April 23, 1945 at 1:36am while on station B-11 another Val dive bomber at 2,000' targeted the ship and released a bomb.

On May 19, 1945 departed with a convoy to Saipan and Guam then returned to Okinawa on June 21, 1945. Between July 8, 1945 to July 25, 1945 conducted mine sweeping operations in the East China Sea and destroys six mines then departs for Guam arriving August 11, 1945 for overhaul. For her World War II service, USS Gladiator earned two battle stars.

On November 24, 1945 departs Guam across the Pacific Ocean arriving at San Francisco on December 15, 1945. For the remainder of the year, remained on the west coast. On February 6, 1946 placed under the command of Lt. Philip M. Rogers, Jr. On March 6, 1946 placed under the command of Lt. Comdr. John C. Jolly.

On May 30, 1946 arrives San Pedro. Later, towed to San Diego arriving October 2, 1946 and two days later decommissioned as part of the Pacific Reserve Fleet. Postwar, repainted in overall gray.

Korean War Service
Recondition by the Naval Shipyard at Long Beach. On February 26, 1952 placed under the command of LT Joe Roderick Perry. On February 29, 1952 recommissioned at Long Beach Afterwards, readied for minesweeper service. On September 2, 1952 departs across the Pacific for Sasebo arriving a month later. On October 8, 1952 photographed at Sasebo with USS Laertes (AR-20) in a nest of minesweepers. On October 27, 1952 arrives at Wonsan Harbor and performs mine sweeping duties. On November 10, 1952 returns to Sasebo. Afterwards, continues mine sweeping operations at Wonsan Harbor, Inchon and Hungnam with replenishment between patrols at Sasebo and Yokosuka. On March 19, 1953 departs Sasebo across the Pacific Ocean bound for the west coast of the United States.

Postwar
On April 10, 1953 arrived at Long Beach and underwent an overhaul at San Francisco and training exercises off California. On January 15, 1954 departed on a voyage to Acapulco, Mexico then onward to Balboa, Panama until February 12, 1954. Afterwards to Bellingham in Washington.

On February 7, 1955 reclassified as Fleet Minesweeper (Steel Hull) MSF-319. On March 15, 1955 decommissioned and placed into the Reserve Fleet at Green Cove Springs, Florida. Later placed into the Pacific Reserve Fleet at San Diego. On July 1, 1972 struck from the Naval Register.

Mexican Navy
During late 1972 sold to Mexico as one of sixteen Auk-class minesweeper sold for use by the Armada de México (Mexican Navy) as a Valle Class patrol ship. On September 19, 1972 commissioned as ARM Santos Degollado (C75) named for José Santos Degollado (1811–1861) who was a Mexican Mexican military leader and politician. Later, redesignated G07. During 1993, redesignated P106 and remained in active service until at least 2007.

As of October 2020 the ship is moored at Guaymas, Mexico. In the future, it will be scuttled as an artificial reef off San Carlos for SCUBA diving as a project of the Oficina de Convenciones y Visitantes Guaymas San Carlos (San Carlos Tourist Center).

References
NARA USS Gladiator War Diary April 1944
NARA USS Gladiator War Diary January 1945
NARA USS Gladiator War Diary March 1945
NARA USS Gladiator (AM-319) Anti-Aircraft Action Report April 23, 1945 pages 1-15
NARA USS Gladiator (AM-319) Report of Action, 23 March to 23 April 1945 pages 1-11
NARA USS Gladiator (AM-319) Action Report 19 May 1945 pages 1-5
News Long Beach "Mine Sweepers Rejoin Fleet Here / Lay-ups End For 3 Vessels" March 1, 1952
Naval History and Heritage Command - Gladiator II (AM-319)

NavSource - USS Gladiator (photos)
Mexico's Armed Forces A Factbook A Military Studies Report of the CSIS Americas Program, Mexico Project by George W. Grayson (1999) pages 23
Instagram - ocvguaymas October 1, 2020
"La oficina de convenciones y visitantes Guaymas - San Carlos encabeza el proyecto del hundimiento del buque “EX SANTOS” que participo en la Segunda Guerra Mundial, para ahora convertirse en un arrecife artificial en el Centro Turístico de San Carlos, agradecemos a la Marina Armada de México por la donación de dicho buque y al esfuerzo de empresarios de Guaymas - San Carlos por sus aportaciones, así como a las autoridades correspondientes que han logrado que este proyecto inicie su marcha."
[The Guaymas - San Carlos Convention and Visitors Bureau is leading the project for the sinking of the ship "EX SANTOS" that participated in the Second World War, to now become an artificial reef in the San Carlos Tourist Center, we thank the Navy of Mexico for the donation of said ship and the efforts of businessmen from Guaymas - San Carlos for their contributions, as well as the corresponding authorities who have managed to get this project started.]
Instagram - Claudia Pavlovich Arellano October 5, 2020 (video)
"emociona compartirles que @VisitSonora y la @SEMAR_mx trabajan en hacer de este buque un arrecife artificial y lugar de buceo en las aguas del Mar de Cortés, Guaymas-San Carlos. Este proyecto impulsará el turismo de aventura y la recreación familiar en Sonora."

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Last Updated
October 19, 2020

 

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