|USS Maurice J. Manuel (DE-351)|
|Namesake:||Maurice Joseph Manuel|
|Builder:||Consolidated Steel Corporation, Orange, Texas|
|Laid down:||22 December 1943|
|Launched:||19 February 1944|
30 June 1944 to 20 May 1946|
27 April 1951 to 30 October 1957
|Struck:||1 May 1966|
|Fate:||sunk as target August 1966|
|Class & type:||John C. Butler-class destroyer escort|
|Length:||306 ft (93 m)|
|Beam:||36 ft 8 in (11 m)|
|Draft:||9 ft 5 in (3 m)|
|Propulsion:||2 boilers, 2 geared turbine engines, 12,000 shp; 2 propellers|
|Speed:||24 knots (44 km/h)|
|Range:||6,000 nmi. (12,000 km) @ 12 kt|
|Complement:||14 officers, 201 enlisted|
2 × 5 in (127 mm)/38 guns (2×1)|
4 × 40 mm AA guns (2×2)
10 × 20 mm AA guns (10×1)
3 × 21 in. torpedo tubes (1×3)
8 × depth charge projectors
1 × depth charge projector (hedgehog)
2 × depth charge tracks
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.
She was named after Maurice Joseph Manuel who was killed in action at Guadalcanal and received the Silver Star posthumously. She was laid down by Consolidated Steel Corp., Orange, Texas, 22 December 1943; launched 19 February 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Leona Manuel; and commissioned at Orange 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 for convoy escort duty 3 October. Sailing in convoy the 6th, she battled heavy weather in the Atlantic and Mediterranean and safely escorted the first American convoy to Marseilles, France, 20 October. After returning to the United States 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 USS Caswell to the Panama Canal Zone; thence, as part of Escort Division 78, she steamed to the Admiralties, arriving Manus 19 February. Assigned to task force TF 75, she began convoy escort duty to the Philippine Islands 3 March and arrived Leyte Gulf the 8th. She sailed for Melanesia 13 March, reaching Hollandia, New Guinea, the 19th, 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 she 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 she 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 Missouri. The convoy entered Tokyo Bay 31 August; thence, Maurice J. Manuel sailed 1 September via Okinawa to Leyte Gulf where she arrived the 8th.
For more than 2 months the escort ship conducted periodic patrols east of the Philippines out of San Pedro Bay. Departing the Philippines 27 November, she steamed via Eniwetok and Pearl Harbor to the U.S. West Coast, arriving Long Beach, California, 17 December and sailing to San Diego, California, 15 March 1946. Maurice J. Manuel decommissioned there 20 May 1946 and entered the Pacific Reserve Fleet.
Recommissioned as a training ship
Maurice J. Manuel recommissioned at San Diego 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 9 months; thence, she departed Newport 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 4 years Maurice J. Manuel continued to take part in vital preparedness exercises, thus helping U.S. sea power keep prepared to meet overt threats to peace while guarding the free world against Communist Cold War subversion. 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, 24 June for inactivation overhaul, decommissioned there 30 October 1957, and entered the Atlantic Reserve Fleet. Her name was struck from the Navy List 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.
- Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships
- NavSource Online: Destroyer Escort Photo Archive - USS Maurice J. Manuel (DE 351)
- Original Photos from a Korean War officer on board
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