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Jouett

 

James Edward Jouett was born near Lexington, Ky., 7 February 1826 and was appointed Midshipman 10 September 1841. He served on the African coast in Decatur with Mathew C. Perry and in John Adams during the Mexican War.

 

At the beginning of the Civil War, Jouett was captured by Confederates at Pensacola but was soon parolled. He then joined the blockading forces off Galveston, distinguishing himself during the night of 7 to 8 November 1861 in the capture and destruction of Confederate schooner Royal Yacht. Jouett later commanded Montgomery and R. R. Cuyler on blockading duty and in September 1863 took command of Metacomet. In the Battle of Mobile Bay, 5 August 1864, his ship was lashed to Admiral Far-ragut's flagship Hartford as the gallant ships entered the bay. Monitor Tecumseh was sunk by an underwater "torpedo", but the ships steamed boldly on, inspired By Farragut's famous command: "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead." Metacomet was sent after two Confederate gunboats, and in a short chase Jouett riddled Gaines and captured Selma.

 

Jouett had various commands ashore and afloat after the Civil War, taking command of the North Atlantic Squadron in 1884. In 1889 he commanded a naval force which forced the opening of the isthmus of Panama, threatened by insurrection. Rear Admiral Jouett retired in 1890 and lived for most of his remaining years at "The Anchorage," near Sandy Springs, Md. He died 30 September 1902.

 

II

 

(DD-396: dp. 1,850; l. 390'11"; b. 36'11"; dr. 11'4"; s. 38 k.; cpl. 235; a. 8 5"; 2 1.1"; 9 21" tt.; cl. Somers)

 

The second Jouett (DD-396) was laid down 26 March 1936 by Bath Iron Works Corp., Bath, Maine; launched 24 September 1938; sponsored by Mrs. J. R. Todd; and commissioned at Boston 25 January 1939, Comdr. G. W. Clark in command.

 

Following shakedown training which took Jouett to England and Ireland, the ship returned to Norfolk 29 April 1939 and began operating on neutrality patrol along the East and Gulf Coasts. She stood out of Pensacola Bay 15 February 3940 as one of the escorts for Tuscaloosa (CA-37), carrying President Roosevelt on a cruise through the Gulf of Panama, returning to Pensacola 1 March 1940. Jouett then set course for the Panama Canal and the Pacific, arriving Pearl Harbor for duty 10 April 1940.

 

The destroyer remained in Hawaiian waters during the next year exercising with America's vital carriers and perfecting tactics. Sailing 18 April 1941, Jouett accompanied Yorktown (CV-5) through the canal to Cuba, proceeding from there to Port-of-Spain, Trinidad. 19 May. The ship then joined a cruiser and destroyer force under Rear Admiral Jonas H. Ingram charged with guarding against German surface or submarine attacks on American shipping. Jouett was at Port of Spain 7 December 1941 when the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor brought America into the war. The ship then began offensive antisubmarine patrols between Brazil and Africa, helping to keep the all-important ocean supply lines open. She accompanied Army engineers to lonely Ascension Island 30 March 1942 where an airfield was carved from the bleak landscape. Jouett convoyed the precious oil tankers from Trinidad south during the months that followed, often attacking submarines with depth charges. In December 1942, the ship returned to Charleston for repairs, hut by 21 January 1943 she was back in Natal harbor, Brazil.

 

Jouett received President Vargas of Brazil 27 January 1943, providing quarters for him and his party during important conferences on board Humboldt (AG-121) with President Roosevelt. Following the talks, which cemented relations between the countries and provided for closer naval cooperation, President Vargas departed Jouett 29 January.

 

The veteran destroyer resumed her escort duties in February, and 14 May joined in the search for U-128 off Bahia, Brazil. Aircraft dropped depth charges on the sub and brought her to the surface where gunfire from Jouett and Moffett (DD-362) sent her to the bottom. The destroyer continued to serve with Admiral Ingram's crack antisubmarine force, now 4th Fleet, through the rest of 1943. On New Year's Day 1944 she joined Omaha (CL-4) for ocean patrol; and the ships intercepted German blockade runner SS Rio Grande, with a vital cargo of crude rubber. After the crew abandoned ship, Omaha and Jouett sank the German ship. This effective closing of the South Atlantic to German blockade runners was demonstrated even more forcefully 5 January when patrol planes reported a strange ship identifying herself as Floridian. Intelligence identified her, however, as blockade runner Burgenlund. Before aerial attacks could begin Omaha and Jouett picked her up on radar and closed in. Scuttling charges and the cruiser's gunfire sank her just after 1730.

 

Jouett returned to Charleston once more in March 1944 and engaged in training operations in Casco Bay, Maine, before sailing for England in convoy 16 May 1944. There she joined a Reserve Fire Support Group for the long-awaited invasion of France. Jouett arrived off Omaha beach 8 June, escorting coastal steamers with support troops embarked. She repelled an air attack that day, and until 21 June screened British heavies during shore bombardment and provided antisubmarine screen for the Omaha Beach transport area. The second front established, Jouett escorted convoys to and from the Firth of Clyde until 12 July 1944 when she sailed with a convoy for Algeria.

 

The destroyer arrived at Oran 21 July to prepare for the next major European operation, the invasion of southern France. Departing Naples 14 August, Jouett arrived off the Delta assault area next day and, as troops landed, acted as command ship of the Convoy Control Group charged with the smooth routing and unloading of support troops. This duty continued until 3 September, after which the ship operated on patrol out of Toulon. In early October Jouett steamed off Cape Ferrat, giving gunfire support to American troops in the bitter fighting ashore. She also destroyed mines off San Remo 9 October, destroyed bridges, and covered Allied minesweeping operations in the area.

 

Jouett sailed from Oran 31 December 1944 for repairs at Charleston. After refresher training in Casco Bay in April, the battle4ested ship made convoy voyages to England and Cuba before the end of the war 15 August 1945. She decommissioned at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard 1 November 1945 and was scrapped there in 1946.

 

Jouett received three battle stars for World War II service.