USS Eldridge

USS Eldridge (DE-173), a Cannon-class destroyer escort, was a ship of the United States Navy named for Lieutenant Commander John Eldridge Jr., who led an operation for the invasion of the Solomon Islands.

USS Eldridge (DE-173) underway, circa in 1944.jpg
USS Eldridge (DE-173) c. 1944
United States
NamesakeJohn Eldridge Jr.
BuilderFederal Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, Newark, New Jersey
Laid down22 February 1943
Launched25 July 1943
Commissioned27 August 1943
Decommissioned17 June 1946
Stricken26 March 1951
FateSold to Greece, 15 January 1951
General characteristics
Class and type Cannon-class destroyer escort
  • 1,240 long tons (1,260 t) (standard)
  • 1,620 long tons (1,646 t) (full load)
  • 306 ft (93 m) o/a
  • 300 ft (91 m) w/l
Beam36 ft 10 in (11.23 m)
Draft11 ft 8 in (3.56 m)
Installed power
Speed21 kn (39 km/h; 24 mph)
Range10,800 nmi (12,400 mi; 20,000 km) at 12 kn (22 km/h; 14 mph)
Complement15 officers and 201 enlisted


Eldridge was born in Buckingham County, Virginia, on 10 October 1903 and graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1927. After flight training at Pensacola, Florida, he served at various stations on aviation duty. From 11 September 1941, he was Commander, Scouting Squadron 71, attached to Wasp (CV-7). Lieutenant Commander Eldridge was killed in action in the Solomon Islands on 2 November 1942. For his extraordinary heroism in leading the air attack on Japanese positions in the initial invasion of the Solomons on 7 August and 8 August 1942, he was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross.[1]


Eldridge was laid down 22 February 1943, by the Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in Newark, New Jersey. Eldridge was launched on 25 July 1943, sponsored by Lieutenant Commander Eldridge's widow Mrs. John Eldridge Jr., and commissioned on 27 August 1943.[2]

Service historyEdit

Between 4 January 1944 and 9 May 1945, Eldridge sailed on the vital task of escorting, to the Mediterranean Sea, men and materials to support Allied operations in North Africa and on into southern Europe. She made nine voyages to deliver convoys safely to Casablanca, Bizerte, and Oran.[2]

Eldridge departed New York City on 28 May 1945, for service in the Pacific. En route to Saipan in July, she made contact with an underwater object and immediately attacked, but no results were observed. She arrived at Okinawa on 7 August, for local escort and patrol, and with the end of hostilities a week later, continued to serve as escort on the SaipanUlithi–Okinawa routes until November. Eldridge was placed out of commission in reserve 17 June 1946.[2]

On 15 January 1951, she was transferred under the Mutual Defense Assistance Act to Greece where she served as Leon (D54).[2] Leon was decommissioned on 5 November 1992, and on 11 November 1999, was sold as scrap to the Piraeus-based firm V&J Scrapmetal Trading Ltd.[3]

Philadelphia ExperimentEdit

The "Philadelphia Experiment" was a purported naval military experiment at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, sometime around 28 October 1943, in which Eldridge was to be rendered invisible (i.e. by a cloaking device) to human observers for a brief period.[4][5] The story is considered a hoax: there is a general lack of evidence for the alleged experiment; the person who started the myth—a merchant seaman named Carl Meredith Allen—admitted that he had made up the story and relayed it to author Morris K. Jessup; and the USS Eldridge's deck log and war diary (preserved on microfilm) show that the ship was never in Philadelphia between August and December 1943.[6]



In popular cultureEdit

The film The Philadelphia Experiment is based on the "Philadelphia Experiment" story and features two sailors aboard the USS Eldridge.

The audio drama podcast ars PARADOXICA works on the premise that the Philadelphia Experiment was conducted, but did not work as intended, instead creating time travel. Because of this, people can only travel back in time towards the place and time the experiment initially occurred, the deck of the USS Eldridge in 1943.

The Doctor Who audio drama, The Macros explores the proposed Philadelphia Experiment as if the ship had entered an alternative dimension but at the loss of its crew.

The USS Eldridge makes a brief appearance in the episode "Journey into Mystery" of the Disney+ series Loki, which is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The episode suggested that the Philadelphia Experiment was indeed conducted, and the ship was actually teleported to the Void.[7]


  1. ^ This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
  2. ^ a b c d DANFS 2016.
  3. ^ Leon.
  4. ^ Carroll 2007.
  5. ^ Adams 1987.
  6. ^ "Philadelphia Experiment". Naval History and Heritage Command.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. ^ Anderton, Ethan (7 July 2021). "14 'Loki' Episode 5 Easter Eggs and What They Could Mean for the Marvel Cinematic Universe". /Film. Archived from the original on 7 July 2021. Retrieved 8 July 2021.


External linksEdit