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Ira Jeffery


Ira Weil Jeffery was born Minneapolis, Minn., 8 March 1918, and enlisted in the Navy 23 August 1940. He was appointed Midshipman in 1941 and, after undergoing officer training at the Naval Reserve Midshipman's School, Northwestern University, was commissioned Ensign 12 June 1941. He reported to battleship California 25 July 1941. During the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor 7 December 1941, Ensign Jeffery organized an ammunition passing party at great risk to his own life in an attempt to maintain a supply of ammunition for the stricken ship's anti-aircraft guns. Ensign Jeffery was killed in the attack, and received a letter of commendation from the Secretary of the Navy for his valor.


(DE-63; dp. 1,400; l. 306'; b. 37'; dr. 9'5"; s, 24 k.; cpl. 186; a. 3 3", 4 1.1", 8 20mm., 2 dct., 8 dcp., 1 dcp. (h.h.),321" tt.; cl. Buckley)


Ira Jeffery (DE-63) was laid down as Jeffery 13 February 1943 by Bethlehem-Hingham Shipyard, Inc., Hingham, Mass.; launched 15 May 1943; sponsored by Mrs. D. C. Jeffery, mother of Ensign Jeffery; renamed Ira Jeffery 29 July 1943; and commissioned 15 August 1943, Lt. Comdr. R. A. Fitch in command.


Ira Jeffery conducted shakedown training off Bermuda and in Casco Bay, Maine, before returning to Naval Torpedo Station, Quonset, R.I., for experiments with noise-makers designed to counter the German acoustic torpedo. She then moved to New York and departed 5 November 1943 with her first Atlantic convoy. During the next year she sailed with seven Atlantic troop convoys, seeing each safely to staging points in Northern Ireland or Great Britain. After her return to Charleston 22 October 1944, Ira Jeffery Joined a large convoy of cranes, powerplants, and tugs bound for the invasion ports of Europe. On the return crossing 20 December 1944 the escort's convoy was attacked by a German submarine. After sinking an LST and damaging Fogg, the submarine was driven off. Ira Jeffery assisted the damaged ship and eventually escorted her through rough seas to the Azores.


Returning to the United State 1 February 1945, the ship spent two weeks working with experimental mines in Chesapeake Bay. She entered the New York Naval Shipyard 15 February for conversion to a high-speed transport. After the installation of troop quarters and extensive alterations she emerged in May 1945 as APD-44 (officially reclassified 23 February 1945) and departed 12 May for shakedown in Chesapeake Bay. Ira Jeffery then sailed 25 May with carrier Antietam for the Panama Canal and Pearl Harbor, where she arrived 18 June 1945.


After training in Hawaiian waters, the ship returned to San Diego 23 July and began training with underwater demolition teams. She sailed 16 August, 1 day after the war's end for the forward areas, stopping at Eniwetok, Ulithi, and Manila. After demolition exercises in Lingayen Gulf, she sailed to Wakayama, Japan, where underwater demolition teams reconnoitered beaches prior to American occupation landings. After the successful operation Ira Jeffery sailed for the United States, arriving San Diego 20 November 1945.


The ship sailed via the Panama Canal for the East Coast and after her arrival Philadelphia 8 December underwent repairs. Ira Jeffery then sailed to Jacksonville, Fla., and decommissioned at Green Cove Springs 18 June 1946. She entered the Atlantic Reserve Fleet and remained there until struck from the Navy List 1 June 1960. She was sunk during tests in July 1962.