Created shortly after WWII, this film tells the story of the destroyer escorts and their service in the U.S. Navy. These were fast and maneuverable ships that cost half of what a conventional destroyer cost, and could perform all the same rolls. The film shows the construction and launch of various ships including USS McConnell (DE-163), USS Frament (DE-677) and USS Brennan (DE-13) during WWII. These "hellcats of the fleet" are then shown preparing for sea duty and making a combat deployment.
The Destroyer Escort was the United States Navy mid-20th century classification for a 20-knot (23 mph) warship designed with endurance to escort mid-ocean convoys of merchant marine ships. Kaibōkan were designed for a similar role in the Imperial Japanese Navy. The Royal Navy and Commonwealth forces identified such warships as frigates, and that classification was widely accepted when the United States redesignated destroyer escorts as frigates in 1975. Destroyer escorts, frigates and kaibōkan were mass-produced for World War II as a less expensive anti-submarine warfare alternative to fleet destroyers.
Post war destroyer escorts and frigates were larger than those produced during wartime, with increased anti-aircraft capability, but remained smaller and slower than post war destroyers. As Cold War destroyer escorts became as large as wartime destroyers, the United States Navy converted some of their World War II destroyers to escort destroyers.