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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORY AND HERITAGE COMMAND
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Charles P. Cecil

 

Charles Purcell Cecil was born in Louisville, Ky., 4 September 1893. He graduated from the Naval Academy and was commissioned ensign in 1916. His extraordinary heroism in World War II, first as commander of Destroyer Division 5 in the Battle of Santa Cruz 26 October 1942, and later as commanding officer of Helena (CL-50) in hazardous mine laying and shore bombardment off Kolombaranga 13 May 1943 and in the Battle of Kula Gulf 5-6 July 1943 were recognized with the Navy Cross, a Gold Star in lieu of a second Navy Cross, and the Bronze Star. Rear Admiral Cecil was killed in an airplane crash in the Pacific 31 July 1944.

 

(DD-835: dp. 2,425; l. 390'6"; b. 41'1"; dr. 18'6"; s. 35 k.; cpl. 367; a. 6 5", 5 21"tt., 6 dcp., 2 dct.; cl. Gearing)

 

Charles P. Cecil (DD-835) was launched 22 April 1945 by Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine; sponsored by Mrs. C. P. Cecil; and commissioned 29 June 1945, Commander W. Outerson in command.

 

Charles P. Cecil arrived at San Diego, her home port, 20 November 1945, and almost at once sailed on a tour of Pacific duty which found her operating as part of Joint Task Force One in the atomic bomb tests at Bikini, as well as supporting occupation forces with operations in Japanese waters. She returned to San Diego 9 August 1946, and took part in exercises off the west coast until 26 August 1947, when she cleared for her second deployment to the Far East. She touched at many Pacific islands as well as calling at ports in China, Japan and Okinawa before her return to San Diego 5 May 1948.

 

Reclassified DDR-835 18 March 1949, Charles P. Cecil left San Diego astern 4 April 1949, bound for Newport, R.I., and assignment to the Atlantic Fleet. First from Newport, and from December 1950, from Norfolk, Va., Charles P. Cecil operated through I960 with the Atlantic Fleet, taking part in midshipmen training cruises, periodic deployments to the Mediterranean, and the overhauls and refresher training necessary to maintain her readiness. She participated in a long list of North Atlantic Treaty Organization operations, in waters ranging from those north of the Arctic Circle to the Mediterranean. Her tours of duty with 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean included one which coincided with the Suez Crisis of fall 1956, during which she took up watchful patrol in the eastern Mediterranean.

 

From January 1959, when she was fitted with highly complex electronic computational and tracking equipment, Charles P. Cecil concentrated on air defense experiments and exercises, contributing to the development of advanced techniques. Her training, however, continued to include the areas such as antisubmarine warfare and amphibious operations required of the versatile destroyer.