USS Cecil J. Doyle

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United States
Name: Cecil J. Doyle
Namesake: Cecil J. Doyle
Builder: Consolidated Steel Corporation, Orange, Texas
Laid down: 12 May 1944
Launched: 1 July 1944
Commissioned: 16 October 1944
Decommissioned: 2 July 1946
Struck: 1 July 1967
Fate: Sunk as target, 2 December 1967
General characteristics
Class and type: John C. Butler-class destroyer escort
Displacement: 1,350 long tons (1,370 t)
Length: 306 ft (93 m)
Beam: 36 ft 8 in (11.18 m)
Draft: 9 ft 5 in (2.87 m)
Propulsion: 2 boilers, 2 geared turbine engines, 12,000 shp (8,900 kW); 2 propellers
Speed: 24 kn (44 km/h)
Range: 6,000 nmi (11,000 km) at 12 kn (22 km/h)
Complement: 14 officers, 201 enlisted

USS Cecil J. Doyle (DE-368) was a United States Navy John C. Butler-class destroyer escort. She was named for United States Marine Corps aviator 1st Lieutenant Cecil J. Doyle, a posthumous recipient of the Navy Cross for heroism during 18 to 25 October 1942 in the Solomon Islands campaign.[1]

The destroyer escort was launched on 1 July 1944 at Consolidated Steel Corporation, in Orange, Texas, sponsored by Mrs. O. P. Doyle. Cecil J. Doyle was commissioned on 16 October 1944, with Lieutenant Commander D. S. Crocker, USNR, in command.


Cecil J. Doyle carried out her first mission while still in shakedown, when she cruised on an air-sea rescue station during the flight of Government officials to the Yalta Conference. On 30 January 1945, she rendezvoused with HMS Ranee, and guarded the escort carrier through the Panama Canal and north to San Diego, California. Cecil J. Doyle continued on to Pearl Harbor and Eniwetok, where she arrived on 28 March to join the Marshalls-Gilbert Patrol and Escort Group. Her escort duties took her to Guam, and Ulithi, where on 30 April she was transferred to the Carolines Surface Patrol and Escort Group. On 2 May, Cecil J. Doyle's commanding officer became Commander, Screen, Peleliu, protecting the great anchorage in Kossol Roads.

While on patrol, Cecil J. Doyle several times rescued downed aviators, and on 27 May 1945, bombarded a bypassed Japanese garrison on Koror Island. On 2 August, she was ordered to the rescue of a large group of men in rafts reported at 11°30' N., 133°30' E., and bent on top speed to be the first ship to reach the survivors of the torpedoed cruiser Indianapolis. Her commanding officer, W. Graham Claytor Jr., approached at night and turned searchlights on the water and straight up on low clouds, lighting up the night and exposing his ship to possible attack by Japanese submarines.[2] Captain Claytor ordered his Communications Officer Lieutenant James A. Fite, Jr. to inform command that they were rescuing the crew of Indianapolis; this was the first definitive message of the fate of Indianapolis. She rescued 93 survivors, and gave final rites to 21 found already dead. Remaining in the area searching until 8 August, Cecil J. Doyle was the last to leave the scene. While only 316 men were rescued out of the crew of 1,196 aboard Indianapolis, Captain Claytor's actions were widely credited by survivors with preventing an even greater loss of life.

From 26 August 1945, when she sailed into Buckner Bay, Okinawa, the destroyer was assigned to occupation duty. She sailed with hospital ships to Wakayama, Japan, to evacuate released prisoners of war, then screened aircraft carriers providing air cover for landing of occupation troops. Through 12 November, she cruised on courier duty between Japanese ports, and after drydocking at Yokosuka, sailed for San Francisco, California, arriving there on 13 January 1946.

She was decommissioned and placed in reserve at San Diego on 2 July 1946. On December 2, 1967, Cecil J. Doyle was sunk as a target during live-fire practice.


  1. ^ Cecil J. Doyle letters and news clippings.
  2. ^ Marks(April 1981)pp.48-50


This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.

  • Marks, R. Adrian (April 1981). "America was Well Represented". United States Naval Institute Proceedings.
  • Quotes from article by journalist Don Phillips of the Washington Post in Tribute to W. Graham Claytor, Jr., published May 1994
  • Survivors Groups official website for the U.S.S. Indianapolis
  • Doug Stanton, In Harm's Way: The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors (ISBN 0-8050-7366-3)
  • Richard F. Newcomb, "Abandon Ship!: The Saga of the U.S.S. Indianapolis, the Navy's Greatest Sea Disaster" (ISBN 0-06-018471-X)

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