ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The USS Slater recently celebrated 79 years since its World War Two commissioning. The destroyer escort ship played a pivotal role in the war, fighting Nazi submarines.

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“There was one division of escorts that actually went to Normandy to escort the invasion force” Tim Rizzuto, Executive Director USS Slater told us aboard the ship.

Destroyer Escorts like The Slater essentially served as protectors for allied ships. 

“The Slater was one of those ships that was actually built to escort the convoys and ship the German U boats that were trying to stop the convoys” Rizzuto said.

Named after Alabama sharecropper Frank Olga Slater, it was built in Tampa before its launch onto the high seas. 

The vessel served many missions including transferring torpedoes from captured German u-boats, into the United States. Its service life was short however, being put on reserve in 1946. Following its retirement in the early 90s, she was turned into a museum ship in New York City and was later brought to Albany when the downstate museum needed to downsize. 

“At the time they were interested in waterfront development and they saw this attraction that would draw visitors to the waterfront and that way it succeeded very well”. 

Captain Ruzzioto explained that D day and the war are still very relevant to today. “Our modern world is essentially built around what happened during World War II, this ship was a part of that experience.”

There are about five destroyer escorts believed to still exist around the world. The USS Slater is the only Destroyer preserved in its World War Two configuration and the only one of it’s kind afloat in the United States.