USS Maurice J. Manuel
|Name:||Maurice J. Manuel|
|Namesake:||Maurice Joseph Manuel|
|Builder:||Consolidated Steel Corporation, Orange, Texas|
|Laid down:||22 December 1943|
|Launched:||19 February 1944|
|Struck:||1 May 1966|
|Fate:||sunk as target August 1966|
|Class and type:||John C. Butler-class destroyer escort|
|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 knots (44 km/h; 28 mph)|
|Range:||6,000 nmi (11,000 km; 6,900 mi) at 12 kn (22 km/h; 14 mph)|
|Complement:||14 officers, 201 enlisted|
USS Maurice J. Manuel (DE-351) was a John C. Butler-class destroyer escort acquired by the U.S. Navy during World War II. The primary purpose of the destroyer escort was to escort and protect ships in convoy, in addition to other tasks as assigned, such as patrol or radar picket.
The ship was named after Maurice Joseph Manuel who was killed in action at Guadalcanal and received the Silver Star posthumously. The destroyer escort's keel was laid down by Consolidated Steel Corp. at their yard in Orange, Texas on 22 December 1943. Maurice J. Manuel was launched on 19 February 1944, sponsored by Mrs. Leona Manuel. The vessel was commissioned at Orange on 30 June 1944, Lt. Comdr. William M. Lowry in command.
World War II North Atlantic operations
After shakedown off Bermuda, Maurice J. Manuel served as a training ship out of Norfolk, Virginia, until steaming to New York City for convoy escort duty on 3 October. Sailing in convoy on 6 October, she battled heavy weather in the Atlantic and Mediterranean and safely escorted the first American convoy to Marseilles, France on 20 October. After returning to the United States on 7 November, between 25 November and 24 December, she escorted another convoy to southern France, steamed to the coast of North Africa, and returned to New York.
Transferred to the Pacific Fleet
On 16 January 1945 Maurice J. Manuel sailed for duty in the Pacific She escorted the attack transport USS Caswell to the Panama Canal Zone; thence, as part of Escort Division 78, she steamed to the Admiralties, arriving at Manus on 19 February. Assigned to Task Force (TF) 75, she began convoy escort duty to the Philippine Islands on 3 March and arrived in the Leyte Gulf on 8 March. She sailed for Melanesia on 13 March, reaching Hollandia, New Guinea on 19 March, and between 21 and 28 March again returned to Leyte.
Convoy duty in the Pacific
Maurice J. Manuel maintained her busy pace. Convoy runs sent her between Leyte and New Guinea, the Palaus, and Ulithi, as well as among the Philippines to Manila Bay, Subic Bay, and Lingayen Gulf. Late in July the destroyer escort made a run to Okinawa out of Subic Bay; and as the war ended 15 August, she patrolled the coast of Luzon out of Lingayen Gulf. On 26 August Maurice J. Manuel departed Manila Bay for Tokyo Bay, Japan, escorting SS Winthrop Victory and USS General S. D. Sturgis. The latter ship carried high-ranking military and naval officers from the United States, Australia, Canada, China, and the Netherlands East Indies to Japanese surrender ceremonies on board the battleship Missouri. The convoy entered Tokyo Bay 31 August; thence, Maurice J. Manuel sailed on 1 September via Okinawa to Leyte Gulf where the ship arrived 8 September.
For more than two months the escort ship conducted periodic patrols east of the Philippines out of San Pedro Bay. Departing the Philippines on 27 November, she steamed via Eniwetok and Pearl Harbor to the U.S. West Coast, arriving at Long Beach, California on 17 December and sailing to San Diego, California on 15 March 1946. Maurice J. Manuel decommissioned there on 20 May 1946 and entered the Pacific Reserve Fleet.
Recommissioned as a training ship
Maurice J. Manuel recommissioned at San Diego on 27 April 1951, Lt. Comdr. G. A. Sullivan in command. After shakedown, she proceeded to the east coast for duty with the Atlantic Fleet, arriving Newport, Rhode Island, 11 August. During the next several months she participated in type-training and squadron exercises along the Atlantic coast, in the Caribbean, and in the Gulf of Mexico. From July to September 1952 she served as training ship for the Fleet Sonar School at Key West, Florida. She continued a busy pattern of training and readiness operations between New England waters and the Caribbean during next nine months; thence, she departed Newport on 16 July 1953 for deployment to northern Europe. With midshipmen embarked, she cruised the North Atlantic, the North Sea, and the Baltic Sea, visiting Bergen, Norway, and Copenhagen, Denmark. Steaming via Guantánamo Bay, she returned to Norfolk, Virginia, 3 September.
During the next four years Maurice J. Manuel continued to take part in preparedness exercises. Her duties carried her from Argentia, Newfoundland, to Colón, Panama. In addition, she provided continued support to the Fleet Sonar School, and she conducted another midshipman cruise during July and August 1955.
After completing convoy training exercises off the east coast in May 1956, Maurice J. Manuel sailed to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on 24 June for inactivation overhaul and decommissioned there on 30 October 1957. The ship entered the Atlantic Reserve Fleet. Her name was struck from the Navy List on 1 May 1966, and in August 1966 she was used as a target to destruction.
- This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.