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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORY AND HERITAGE COMMAND
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Exultant

 

Joyful, elated.

 

II

 

(AM-441: dp. 620; l. 172'; b. 36'; dr. 10'; a. 16 k.; cpl. 74; a. 1 40 mm.; cl. Agile)

 

The second Exultant (AM-441) was launched 6 June 1953 by Higgins, Inc., New Orleans, La.; sponsored by Miss A. Brooks; and commissioned 22 June 1954, Lieutenant R. T. Gregory in command. She was reclassified MSO-441 on 7 February 1955.

 

Exultant first tied up at Charleston, her home port and headquarters for the Mine Force, Atlantic Fleet, 23 July 1954. Along with the coastwise training operations vital to maintaining her readiness, she cruised to the Mediterranean to serve with the 6th Fleet in 1955, 1957-1958, and 1959-1960. During all of these tours of duty, she exercised with ships of other NATO navies, joined in fleet operations, and visited a large variety of Mediterranean ports.

 

In both 1956 and 1957, Exultant spent a month in northern waters, in 1956 exercising with minesweepers of the Royal Canadian Navy out of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and in 1957, participating in cold weather sweeping operations out of Argentia, Newfoundland. Her other activities through July of 1960 included fleet operations in the Caribbean, as well as individual training there, amphibious exercises on the beaches of North Carolina, and participation in experimental operations in the development of mine warfare.

 

On 12 August 1960, while underway off the east coast, Exultant suffered extensive interior damage from a flash fire in her engineering spaces. Valiant performance of duty by the minesweeper's damage control parties, and gallant help from Nimble (MSOŚ459) extinguished the flames and enabled Exultant to return safely to port. Five of Exultant's crew lost their lives in the blaze.