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  USS Hovey DD-208 / DMS-11
Clemson class destroyer

1,190 Tons
24 KIA of crew
plus 24 others

Click For Enlargement
USN circa 1930s

Ship History
Named for Ensign Charles Hovey (1885–1911) launched on 26 April 1919 by William Cramp & Sons, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; sponsored by Mrs. Louise F. Kautz, sister of Ensign Hovey; and commissioned 2 October 1919, Commander Stephen B. McKinney in command. Hovey received eight battle stars for World War II service.

After shakedown off the coast of Florida and in the Caribbean Hovey sailed from Newport, Rhode Island 19 December 1919 in company with Chandler (DD-206) for the Azores and Brest, France, for duty as station ship. She sailed from Dalmatia, Italy 10 July 1920] for the Adriatic Sea to deliver important papers and claims. Arriving Constantinople 12 July she later visited various Russian ports as station ship until 17 December when she sailed for Port Said, Egypt, and duty with the Asiatic Fleet in the Philippines. Hovey remained on the Asiatic station until she returned to San Francisco, 2 October 1922, decommissioning at San Diego, 1 February 1923.

Hovey recommissioned 20 February 1930 at San Diego with Commander Stuart O. Greig in command. After shakedown out of San Diego and Mare Island she served principally as training ship for reservists until 9 April 1934 when she transited the Panama Canal, arriving New York 31 May. After training and fleet exercises out of New England and off the Florida coast, Hovey returned to San Diego 9 November. After overhaul at Mare Island, she resumed her operations along the West Coast with additional exercises and fleet problems in the Canal Zone and Hawaiian waters. Hovey converted to a high speed minesweeper and was reclassifled DMS-11 19 November 1940.

Wartime Service
After intensive training she sailed 4 February 1941 for duty at Pearl Harbor. When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor 7 December 1941 Hovey was steaming in company with Chandler as antisubmarine screen for USS Minneapolis (CA-36), engaged in gunnery practice some 20 miles (40 km) off Pearl Harbor. The minesweeper immediately took up patrol and convoy duty around Pearl Harbor until 20 May when she escorted a 20-ship convoy to San Francisco, arriving 31 May. Hovey returned to Pearl Harbor in mid-June and sailed 10 July for the southwest Pacific escorting Argonne (AP-4) in company with Hovey. She reached the Fiji Islands 23 July and joined Minesweeping Group of Rear Admiral Richmond K. Turner's South Pacific Amphibious Force the 31st.

Solomon Campaign
On August 7, 1942 during the American invasion of Guadalcanal and Tulagi, Hovey was assigned a screening station for the transports. Then, shortly before 08:00, she took a bombardment station to cover the landings east of Gavutu. Japanese shore batteries opened up but were quickly silenced by accurate fire from Hovey and the other ships providing fire support. She next joined other DMS's for sweeps between Gavutu and Bungana Islands. The next morning she steamed into Lengo Channel to help ward off an attack by a squadron of torpedo bombers. Intensive US anti-aircraft fire caused the Japanese planes to drop their torpedoes prematurely and hence at too great a range, thereby rendering the attack almost totally ineffective.

Hovey continued her operations around Guadalcanal before retiring to New Caledonia 13 September for replenishment. From there she proceeded to Samoa before returning to Ndeni, Santa Cruz, with a reconnaissance party of marines on board. Returning to New Caledonia,

On October 10, 1942 Hovey departed transporting 127 drums of aviation gasoline aboard and towing two PT Boats along with USS Southard (DD-207). The pair proceeded to a point 300 miles off Tulagi then released PT-38, PT-46, PT-48 and PT-60 which proceeded under their own power to Tulagi PT Boat Base then arrived at Tulagi on October 12, 1942.

Afterwards, Hovey continued escort duty between Guadalcanal and Espiritu Santo, then returned to San Francisco on April 19, 1943 for overhaul. On May 31, 1943 departed Mare Island escorting a convoy across the Pacific bound for New Caledonia. Arriving August 10, 1943 she resumed her escort and patrol duties until October 30, 1943 when she joined Rear Admiral Theodore S. Wilkinson, Jr.'s III Amphibious Force supporting the American landing at at Torokina on November 1, 1943. For the next week during the seizure of Empress Augusta Bay, Hovey operated with the invasion forces, screening transports and making prelanding sweeps.

Hovey continued screening and escort duties in the Solomons until 5 April 1944 when she escorted Lindenwald (LSD-6) from Tulagi to Majuro, Marshall Islands. She returned to Espiritu Santo 11 April and on the 20th joined Task Unit 34.9.3 under the command of Captain Kane aboard USS Petrof Bay (CVE–80), delivering replacement planes to other carriers at Manus. The task unit rendezvoused 29 April with Fast Carrier Task Force (TF 58) to furnish replacement planes for the first strikes on Truk. Proceeding to Florida Island, Hovey departed for the West Coast, arriving 31 May via Pearl Harbor.

Central Pacific campaigns
Repairs complete, Hovey sailed for Pearl Harbor 29 July to become flagship for Mine Squadron Two (Commander W. R. Loud). She sortied from Port Purvis 6 September as part of the antisubmarine screen for Rear Admiral Jesse B. Oldendorf's Western Gunfire Support Group for operations in the southern Palaus. After sweeps between Angaur and Peleliu Islands and in Kossol Passage Hovey took up antisubmarine patrol in the transport area off Peleliu Island. She joined the Minesweeping and Hydrographic Group of Rear Adm. Thomas Sprague's Escort Carrier Group for the invasion of Leyte (17 October–25 October 1944). On the 17th she began sweeping ahead of the high speed transports and fire support vessels in the approach to the landing beaches on Dinagat Island. After more sweeps through Looc Bay and the Tacloban–Dulag approach Hovey retired to Manus 25 October.

Invasion of Luzon
As flagship for Commander Loud's Minesweeping and Hydrographic Group, Hovey departed Manus 23 December, arriving Leyte Gulf the 30th. She sortied 2 January 1945, proceeded south through Suriago Strait and passed into the Mindanao Sea en route to the landings on Lingayen, Luzon. Many reconnaissance aircraft harassed the convoy during the night but no attacks developed until morning of the 3 January. From then on the convoy was under such heavy air attack that Hovey had to adopt the policy of not firing unless she was directly under attack, fearing that she would expend all her ammunition.

In the entrance to Lingayen Gulf, at 8:00 the sweepers came under attack and Hovey immediately shot down one kamikaze suicide plane. As the ships made a return sweep, two suicide planes made straight runs on the last two ships in the column, crashing into USS Brooks (DD-232) and USS Long (DD-209). Hovey slipped her gear and stood in to assist Long. Long's entire bridge and well deck was on fire, with intermittent explosions coming from the forward magazine and ready ammunition. Due to the explosions and air attacks, Hovey could not get alongside, but spent an hour picking up 149 survivors. At dark the sweepers made their night retirement and began steaming off the entrance to Lingayen Gulf.

Sinking History
On January 7, 1945 at 4:25pm enemy aircraft were detected on radar. At 4:50, one plane flying low to the water came in from the starboard quarter and passed ahead of Hovey. A few moments later another plane coming from the port beam was set on fire by gunfire from USS Chandler (DD-206). This plane passed very low over Hovey and crashed on the starboard beam. At 4:55, the instant the burning plane crashed, Hovey was struck by a torpedo on her starboard side in the after engineroom. Instantly, lights and power were lost and the stern remained nearly level and sinking to the top of the after deck house while the bow listed 40 degrees to starboard and rose out of the water, breaking the ship into half. Two minutes later the bow listed to 90 degrees, rose vertically and rapidly sank in 54 fathoms (99m) of water. Aboard, twenty four men were killed, plus an additional twenty four who were survivors from USS Long DD-209 and USS Brooks.

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Last Updated
August 4, 2020


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