USS Overton (DD-239)
|Namesake:||Macon C. Overton|
|Builder:||New York Shipbuilding|
|Laid down:||30 October 1918|
|Launched:||10 July 1919|
|Commissioned:||30 June 1920|
|Decommissioned:||30 July 1945|
|Struck:||13 August 1945|
|Fate:||sold for scrapping, 30 November 1945|
|Class and type:||Clemson-class destroyer|
|Length:||314 feet 5 inches (95.83 m)|
|Beam:||31 feet 8 inches (9.65 m)|
|Draft:||9 feet 10 inches (3 m)|
|Speed:||35 knots (65 km/h)|
|Range:||4,900 nm @ 15 kn (9,100 km at 28 km/h|
|Complement:||122 officers and enlisted|
|Armament:||4 x 4 in (100 mm) guns, 1 x 3 in (76 mm) gun, 12 x 21 inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes|
Overton was laid down 30 October 1918, by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation; named prior to launching 10 July 1919; sponsored by Mrs. Margaret C. Overton, mother of Captain Overton; and commissioned 30 June 1920, Arthur David Murray in command. Writing to his wife Effie, just five days later Murray declared that he was "training a new crew of only three of which have ever been on a destroyer before". Murray reported that he had lost 14 pounds in the previous three weeks and stated, "this is the only ship that has gone in with only one officer - the rest have from four to eight - but I expect more officers any day . . . so you see it took me only a little over three years to get a battle ship of my own."
Following shakedown, Overton operated with the 3rd, then 5th, Destroyer Squadrons off the east coast. While with the latter in early September 1920, she assisted in the rescue of S-5. She was then assigned to the 2nd Destroyer Squadron and ordered to European Waters. Departing New York, 14 September, she joined the Black Sea Detachment at Constantinople, 5 October. For the next year and a half she performed quasi-diplomatic and humanitarian roles necessitated by the aftermath of World War I. Cruising regularly to Caucasian, Romanian, and Turkish Black Sea ports, she also steamed into the Mediterranean to visit Levantine cities. She distributed relief supplies, provided transportation and communication services and relocated refugees. Much of the latter was accomplished following the capitulation of General Pyotr N. Wrangel's White Army to Bolshevik forces in the Crimea in November 1920. In July, 1922, Overton returned to the US for abbreviated exercises with the Scouting Fleet and, then, in October, as Turkish-Greek hostilities flared at Smyrna, rejoined the Turkish Waters Detachment for another six-month tour.
In mid-May 1923, the destroyer sailed west to Italy, from where she returned to New York, arriving 12 June. Independent, squadron, and fleet exercises over the next eight years kept her in the Atlantic with but two interruptions, deployments in 1925 and 1926 to the Pacific for Fleet Problems.
On 3 February 1931, Overton was placed out of commission in reserve. The following year she was placed in rotating reserve commission, and served in that capacity until again decommissioned, in reserve, 20 November 1937.
World War II
With the outbreak of hostilities in Europe in 1939 Overton recommissioned 26 September and was assigned to Neutrality Patrol. Moored at Boston, Massachusetts on 7 December 1941, her assignments changed little with American entry into World War II. Escort of convoy and antisubmarine warfare (ASW) patrols continued; at first to Iceland, then in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. Between July, 1942, and February, 1943, she performed similar missions along the east coast. Then, from 7 February until 26 May, she escorted convoys between New York and Casablanca. Overhaul followed and toward the end of June Overton joined one of the first escort carrier groups, TG 21.11 centered on Santee, and, with that group, covered the Norfolk-Casablanca convoy route. On the 14th and 30 July, planes from her group were credited with sinking U-160 and U-43.
|HX 155||18-25 Nov 1941||from Newfoundland to Iceland prior to US declaration of war|
|ON 31||4-15 Nov 1941||from Iceland to Newfoundland prior to US declaration of war|
|HX 170||16-24 Jan 1942||from Newfoundland to Iceland|
|ON 61||1-10 Feb 1942||from Iceland to Newfoundland|
Overton returned to Norfolk, 6 August, and emerged from refitting as APD-23 (effective 21 August). On 22 October the high speed transport sailed for the Pacific. She arrived at Pearl Harbor, 12 November; underwent further training; and, on 22 January 1944, headed west with the Advance Southern Transport Group for Kwajalein. Before dawn on the 31st, she put reconnaissance troops ashore at Gehh (from where they moved to Ninni) and at Gea to control the Gea Pass into the southern end of the lagoon. She then took up bombardment, fire support and reconnaissance duties. On the 4th, she covered the capture of Bigej and, on the 8th, sailed for Pearl Harbor and the west coast. By 29 May, however, she was back in the Pacific theater, en route to Saipan with Marines embarked. Until 24 June, she screened the transport area and patrolled off Tinian, then retired to Eniwetok to escort convoys to Saipan. In July she resumed patrol and bombardment duties off Tinian, then covered LCTs to Guam, and, at the end of the month, escorted LSTs to Pearl Harbor.
Overton steamed west again 15 September, this time to Manus, and from there, on 12 October, to the Philippines to cover UDT personnel put ashore prior to the landings on Leyte. Supply convoy assignments preceded her next amphibious operation, Lingayen Gulf. On 27 December, she departed Humboldt Bay. On 6 January 1945, she entered the Gulf and, on the following day, once again covered UDT personnel ashore. Throughout the landings and until the 12th, Overton screened heavy units and transports, then retired to Leyte.
From Leyte, the APD steamed to Ulithi, from where she screened the fast carriers' logistics support group to UNREP areas until early March. She next patrolled off Iwo Jima, and, on 10 March, resumed escort assignments. A run to Leyte was followed by convoy duty to Okinawa. She arrived at the latter island 11 April and patrolled on radar picket station until the 15th, then headed for Saipan. From there, she was routed back to the United States.
She arrived at San Francisco 15 May and was ordered on to Philadelphia for inactivation. Decommissioned 30 July 1945, she was struck from the Navy List, 13 August, and sold for scrapping, 30 November, to the Boston Metals Company, Baltimore, Maryland.
Overton earned 8 battle stars during World War II.
- This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.