Lt. Comdr. Alexander Slidell MacKenzie, born 24 January 1842 in New York, was appointed midshipman 29 September 1855. Serving in Hartford on the China station at the outbreak of the Civil War, he returned to the United States and joined Kineo, in which he served during Farragut’s daring dash past Forts Jackson and St. Philip on the lower Mississippi to capture New Orleans in 1862. During 1863 and 1864 he participated in the blockade of Charleston and the attacks on Fort Sumter and Morris Island. After the end of the war, he returned to the Far East in Hartford, in which he served until 13 June 1867, when he was killed on Formosa while leading a reprisal attack against those responsible for the deaths of the entire crew of the American bark Rover.
(DD‑614: dp. 1,620; l. 348'4"; b. 36'1"; dr. 17'4"; s. 37.5 k.; cpl. 259; a. 4 5", 4 40mm., 7 20mm., 5 21" tt., 6dcp. cl. Benson.)
The third MacKenzie (DD‑614) was laid down 29 May 1941 by the Bethlehem Steel Co., San Pedro, Calif.; launched 27 June 1942; sponsored by Miss Gail Nielsen, descendant of Lt. Comdr. Alexander S. MacKenzie; and commissioned 21 November, Comdr. D. B. Miller in command.
MacKenzie transited the Panama Canal 1 March 1943, after completion of shakedown and training cruises, and continued on to spend her entire World War II career in the Atlantic and Mediterranean theaters. She arrived at Casco Bay, Maine, 13 March and commenced coastwise escort duties. In May, she graduated to transatlantic convoy assignments, completing two voyages to the Mediterranean by the end of June. On 16 May, she made two depth charge attacks on a sonar contact; postwar review of German records proved them successful in the sinking of U‑182.
Relieved of transatlantic duties at the end of June, she reported to the staging area for the “Cent” Attack Force, one of three such forces to initiate the Sicilian campaign. On 9 July she departed the north African coast, arriving at Scoglitti, Sicily, the next day to screen the transport vessels and provide fire support. Three days later, the destroyer returned to convoy duty, conducting convoys between the United States and the Mediterranean until 7 October, and then engaging in escort work between North America and the United Kingdom. After repairs at Swansea, England, in the late autumn, she made two more ocean crossings before beginning operations in the Mediterranean.
On 18 March 1944, MacKenzie steamed into the harbor at Naples to report for screening, fire support and antisubmarine patrol duties in conjunction with the Anzio operation. Starting her Anzio assignments with an assist in the sinking of a two‑man submarine on the 19th, she continued to provide excellent support on this front until resuming convoy duties 6 June. Taking up the offensive again in August, MacKenzie took part in operation “Anvil,” providing fire support for this invasion of southern France. On 15 September, she departed the Mediterranean and headed for Boston and a 5‑month repair and overhaul period.
The destroyer took up duty in the Mediterranean again in February 1945 and from 28 March through 21 April spent her days in the bombardment of the Franco‑Italian border and her nights on the blockade of the Gulf of Genoa. In May, having assisted in the continuance of an effective second front, MacKenzie was assigned to convoy duty in the Strait of Gibraltar. She remained in the Mediterranean after the capitulation of the Third Reich, cruising its waters until returning to the United States in July.
Upon her arrival, MacKenzie underwent overhaul preparatory to going to the Pacific. But, with the end of Pacific hostilities in mid‑August, her orders were changed and on 4 November she entered the Charleston, S.C., Navy Yard for inactivation. She decommissioned 4 February 1946 and in January 1947 entered the reserve fleet at Philadelphia, Pa., where she remains into 1969.
MacKenzie received four battle stars for World War II service.