Kenneth Hart Muir, born 25 July 1916 in Brooklyn, N.Y., enlisted in the Naval Reserve 23 September 1940 to serve as apprentice seaman until he was appointed midshipman 14 February 1941. He died in action as officer in charge of the U.S. Armed Guard on board SS Nathaniel Hawthorne, sunk in the Caribbean 7 November 1942 by U‑508. Although severely wounded, he “ordered the three men near him to leap clear...and then rushed back to help more...to escape. He was still urging his gunners over the side when the ship went down.” For his outstanding courage and unselfish devotion to his men, Lieutenant (jg.) Muir was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and the Navy Cross.
(DE‑770: dp. 1,240; l. 306'; b. 36'8"; . 8'9"; s. 21 k.; cpl. 186; a. 3 3", 2 40mm., 10 20mm., 2 dct., 8 dcp., 1 dcp. (h.h.); cl. Cannon)
Muir (DE‑770) was laid down by Tampa Shipbuilding Co., Tampa, Fla., 1 June 1943; launched 4 June 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Witten H. McConnochie, sister of the late Lieutenant (jg.) Muir; and commissioned 30 August 1944, Lt. Comdr. Theodore A. O’Gorman, USNR, in command.
Following shakedown off Bermuda, British West Indies, Muir operated as schoolship in the Chesapeake Bay area from 16 November into December. On 9 December she sailed for Europe, arriving off Gibraltar the 26th to begin a year of convoy duty between the east coast and Mediterranean ports. She also served as part of a “Killer Group,” TG 22.13, so called because the primary duty was to hunt and destroy enemy submarines. Towards the end of the European war, Muir operated with TF 63 which stymied the German U‑boats’ final thrust against Allied shipping in the North Atlantic.
When the news of Germany’s surrender was received 8 May 1945, Muir and her group began locating German submarines to accept their surrender. On 10 May she and Carter (DE‑112) approached U‑858 through a dense fog, her black flag of surrender barely visible even at close range. She was turned over to two other escort ships for delivery to a U.S. port.
On 17 May Muir joined Sutton (DE‑771) in escorting under guard publicized U‑234, with high‑ranking Luftwaffe officers and men German civilian technicians on board, to Portsmouth, N.H., arriving 2 days later. The escort ship continued on to New York City, mooring the 20th.
From 14 June Muir operated off Mayport, Fla., with Guadalcanal (CVE‑60), training carrier pilots for Pacific duty until Japan surrendered in mid‑August. On 27 August she departed Mayport for Charleston Navy Yard, Charleston, S.C., arriving a day later.
After visiting Houston, Tex., for Navy Day, 27 October, she devoted November and December to a cruise testing “SOFAR,” a new long‑ range, air‑sea rescue method. She traveled 7,500 miles in the Atlantic dropping bombs for naval ships in the Bahamas to pick up the sound waves and plot the position of the DE as far away as Dakar, French West Africa (now Senegal).
In March 1946 Muir reactivated and was assigned to the Operational Development Force., with Norfolk, Va., as her homeport, for service into late 1947. In September 1947 she decommissioned and entered the Atlantic Reserve Fleet at Green Cove Spring until 2 February 1956 when she was delivered on loan under the Military Assistance Program to the Republic of Korea at Boston Naval Shipyard. Struck from the Navy list 1 July 1960, she continues into 1969 to serve the South Korean Navy on loan as Kyong‑ki (DE‑71).