D. H. Ramsey Library Special Collections and University Archives

Capt. Robert E. Harris, USN and Joanne S. Harris
USS Asheville Collection


" USS Asheville PGM 84 print of original painting", [original is in color]Capt. Robert E. Harris, USN and Joanne S. Harris, USS Asheville CollectionD.H. Ramsey Library, Special Collections, UNC Asheville 28804

Title Capt. Robert E. Harris, USN and Joanne S. Harris
USS Asheville Collection
Alt Title Capt. Robert E. Harris, USN and Joanne S. Harris USS Asheville Collection [USS Asheville PGM 84]
Creator Michael G. Harris
Identifier http://toto.lib.unca.edu/findingaids/mss/harris_robert_joanne_ussasheville/
Keyword :
USS Asheville ; PGM 84 ; US Navy ; Asheville, N.C ; ships ; WWII ; Puget Sound Naval Shipyard ; 13th Naval District ; Seattle, WA ; Walter Ashe ; Joanne S. Harris ; Capt. Robert E. Harris ; Lt. Henry Dale ;  William Thomas Ingram
Asheville (U.S. gunboat).
Sailors -- North Carolina -- Asheville
United States. Navy -- History -- 20th century
Description This small collection contains documents and memorabilia pertaining to the USS Asheville PGM [Patrol Motor Gunboat] 84 commissioning ceremony. The collection contains the program for the commissioning ceremony ;  ship information ; congratulatory letters to Captain Lt. Henry Dale ; brief commissioning speaker biography; pictures of U.S Navy commanders; history of the other USS Ashevilles ;evolution of the patrol motor gunboats ; a brief biography of sponsor Joanne S. Harris ; commissioning day event outline ; Asheville, N.C information, Tacoma, WA information ; and brief biographies and photographs of the USS Asheville Officers and crew.  
Publisher D.H. Ramsey Library, Special Collections, University of North Carolina at Asheville 28804
Contributor Michael G. Harris
Date 2007-10-09 updated 2008-3-19
Type Collection ; Realia
Format 1 oversized print ; 1 document box : 2 commissioning ceremony [programs], 1 slide, 1 5"16mm film reel ; 1 wooden box containing broken christening bottle
Source M2007.16.1
Language English
Relation Is related to: Walter Ashe Collection [The USS Asheville] , D. H. Ramsey Library, Special Collections UNC Asheville Is related to: Walter F. Ashe Oral History, Ramsey Library Oral History Collections ; See also: http://www.ussasheville.com/Asheville%20Ships.htm a site that details the current USS Asheville submarine and contains additional information on the previous USS Ashevilles.
Coverage 1920-1966 ; Asheville, NC 
Rights Any display, publication, or public use must credit the D.H. Ramsey Library, Special Collections, University of North Carolina at Asheville.
Copyright retained by the creators of certain items in the collection, or their descendents, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Donor Donor number 322
Acquisition  2007-10-09, addendum
Citation Walter Ashe Collection, D.H. Ramsey Library, Special Collections, University of North Carolina at Asheville 28804
Processed by Special Collections staff, 2007 ; 2008
Biography & History

Capt. Robert E. Harris, USN was Supervisor of Shipbuilding for the 13th Naval District headquartered in Seattle, WA.  His wife, Joanne S. Harris worked for the N.Y Shipbuilding Company during WWII.  She was asked by the owner of Tacoma Boat Works to sponsor the launching of the third USS Asheville [PGM 84].  On August 6th 1966, she commissioned the USS Asheville [PGM 84] by breaking the ceremonial champagne bottle across the hull of the new patrol gunboat.

Asheville, N.C. has given its name to four U.S. navy vessels. The first USS Asheville, Patrol Gunboat 21 was commissioned on July 6, 1920 and was destroyed in WWII when it was sunk on March 3rd, 1942 while on patrolling duties off the island of Java. As part of a five boat patrol, the USS Asheville was ordered to engage in the evacuation of Java and the surrounding islands when the Japanese overran the islands. When engine trouble delayed the departure of the Asheville and two other ships in the accompanying patrol (the Australian ship,Yarra and the USS Pillsbury), they were hit with gunfire from Admiral Kondo's forces and  all three vessels were sunk with great loss of life.

The second USS Asheville (Patrol Frigate 1) commissioned on December 1, 1942, was originally intended for the Royal Navy as part of the Lend-Lease Program, but was retained by the U.S. Navy for service.  The U.S Navy used her to escort convoys between N.Y and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in 1943.  The ship was used to conduct coastal patrol off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.  After which time the P.F 1 was used for anti-submarine warfare development projects and as an experimental long range radar ship. This second USS Asheville was decommissioned on January 14, 1946 and subsequently scrapped.

The Patrol Motor Gunboats, which measured between 90 to 110 feet, were necessary during WWII for inland and coastal escorting purposes.  Originally, this need was filled by converted submarine chasers and patrol craft.  Retrofitted, these boats were slower but their expanded armaments contributed as strong surface and air attack deterrents.    

Box # Folder Item Description
MS2007.16.1   1  USS Asheville PGM-84 Commissioning 6 Aug. 1966 [two copies]
    2 Slide
    3 5" 16mm film reel
    1 Wooden box containing broken champagne bottle. Label inside box lid reads:  "Presented to Mrs. Robert E. Harris, commemorating Launching, USS Asheville (PGM-84), 5-1-65."
OS2007.16.1   1 Oversized USS Asheville PGM-84 print of the original painting by Fred Mason for the General Electric Company.