Cecil J. Rhodes

USS Cecil J. Doyle (DE-368)


USS Cecil J. Doyle off coast of Japan in 1945.
Career
Ordered:
Laid down: 1944
Launched: 1 July 1944
Commissioned: 16 October 1944
Decommissioned: 2 July 1946
Fate: Scrapped
Struck:
General characteristics
Displacement: 1,350 tons
Length: 306 ft (93 m)
Beam: 36 ft 8 in (11 m)
Draft: 9 ft 5 in (3 m)
Speed: 24 knots (44 km/h)
Complement: 186
Armament: 2 × 5 in/38 (2x1)
4 × 40mm (2x2)
10 × 20mm (10x1)
3 × 21 in torpedo tubes (1x3)
8 × depth charge projectors
1 × depth charge projector (hedgehog)
2 × depth charge tracks
USS Cecil J. Doyle (DE-368) was a United States Navy John C. Butler-class destroyer escort. She was named for Cecil J. Doyle.

Cecil J. Doyle was launched on 1 July 1944 at Consolidated Steel Corporation, in Orange, Texas, sponsored by Mrs. O. P. Doyle; and 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 to reach the survivors of torpedoed Indianapolis (CA-35). 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. Captain Claytor ordered his Communications Officer Lieutenant James A. Fite, Jr. to inform command that they were rescuing the crew of the Indianapolis; this was the first definitive message of the Indianapolis's fate. 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 1,199 aboard the 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.

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