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USS Erie PG-50 was the first of two ships in the Erie class of Patrol Gunboats. Launched and commissioned in 1936, Erie headed east for her shakedown cruise and spent two months temporarily attached to an American force detailed to protect American interests and citizens during the Spanish Civil War.
In February of 1938 Erie headed south and began operations in Central and South America as flagship of of the Special Service Squadron. At the outbreak of the Pacific War Erie was based on the western side of the Panama Canal, but in June of 1942 she was moved to the eastern side and began patrols against German U-boats operating between the canal zone and Cuba. She quickly saw action, rescuing 71 sailors from two separate torpedoed ships within her first week.
While guarding convoy TAG-20 between Port au Spain and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Erie was torpedoed on 10 November, 1942 by U-163. The damage was intense, and she was beached to prevent her from sinking. Seven sailors were killed and eleven wounded, and the fires that raged aboard her were so bad that it was not until equipment was brought in four days later that they could be extinguished.
While undergoing salvage in Willemstadt Harbor, Erie capsized and sank on December 5th, 1942. Deemed beyond economical repair, she was left in place until 1952, when her hulk was removed and relocated in deep water outside of the harbor to make way for its development.
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