The US Navy ship, USS Banning, PCE 886, was laid down on 29 March 1944 at Portland, Oregon, by the Albina Engine & Machine Works; launched on 10 July 1944; and commissioned at her builders’ yard on 31 May 1945, Lieutenant Eugene W. Stetson, Jr., USNR, in command.
Completed just 13 weeks before the Japanese capitulation, PCE 886 saw duty as a weather station ship in the Philippine Islands. After World War II ended, she continued to serve in the Philippines until she was transferred to Pearl Harbor in 1947. The patrol escort provided her weather data collection services in the Hawaiian area until August 1948 when she was reassigned to American Samoa. She plied Samoan waters for the next 14 months, carrying passengers and mail between the various islands of the group. In October of 1949, PCE 886 returned to the United States at Bremerton, Wash., and began preparations for deactivation. On 30 December 1949, the submarine chaser was decommissioned and berthed with the Astoria Group, Pacific Reserve Fleet.
The expansion of the active fleet after the outbreak of hostilities in Korea in June 1950 brought her out of reserve. On 7 September 1950, she was recommissioned as an amphibious control vessel, PCEC 886. Following a lengthy period of training out of San Diego, she arrived in Japan in March 1951. For the next seven months, she provided various services in support of UN ground forces in Korea. Her duties included patrol and escort missions as well as participation in several amphibious demonstrations designed to draw enemy troops away from actual points of attack. The submarine chaser concluded that deployment in October and, in November, entered the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard for overhaul.
After refresher training out of San Diego she headed back to Korea in June 1952. The ship participated in the amphibious feint at Kojo, near Wonsan, on 15 October, a large scale subterfuge which attempted to draw off communist troops from their offensive which was nearing Seoul. PCEC 886 continued to perform training, patrol, and escort missions as well.
Returning to the United States in March 1953, PCEC 886 was decommissioned in August of that year, shortly after Korean hostilities ended. She was berthed with the Pacific Reserve Fleet at Astoria, Oreg., where she remained for eight years. During that time, the submarine chaser was named Banning on 15 February 1956 and simultaneously resumed her original designation, PCE 886. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 1 May 1961. In July 1961 she was turned over to the Hood River Port Commission, Hood River, Ore., for use as a memorial. She remained at Hood River until 1969, when she was returned to the Navy and sold to the Cummings Boat Co. of Tacoma, Washington, which in turn resold her for commercial use under the name Growler.
Banning earned two battle stars for her service during the Korean conflict as PCEC 886.
- Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships