Commodore William H. Macomb, born 6 June 1819 in Michigan, served with distinction during the Civil War. He took part in the riverine warfare along the Mississippi, commanded Shamrock in the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, headed the naval force which captured Plymouth, N.C., and led an expedition up the Roanoke River in North Carolina. For his gallantry in action with the North Atlantic Squadron, he was advanced several numbers in his grade. Commodore Macomb died on 12 August 1872 in Philadelphia.
Commodore Macomb’s first cousin, Rear Adm. David B. Macomb, born near Tallahassee, Fla., 27 February 1827, entered the Navy as third assistant engineer in 1849. Prior to the Civil War, he served with the Ringgold Expedition which explored the North Pacific and the China and Japanese Seas; and he accompanied Commodore Perry’s fleet to Japan, 1853‑55. After the start of hostilities in 1861, he took part in the blockade of Charleston, S.C., and of Pensacola, Fla., then at Boston helped build monitors Nahant and Canonicus. He subsequently served on the latter with the James River Fleet and the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron. He contributed several inventions to the Navy including the Macomb Bilge Strainer and the hydraulic lift used in the turrets of ironclads. He retired in 1889 and died 27 January 1911 in New York City.
(DD‑458: dp. 2,230; l. 348'2"; b. 36'1"; dr. 15'8"; s. 37.5 k.; cpl. 276; a. 4 5", 5 1.1", 5 20 mm.; 5 21" tt., 2 dct., 6 dcp.; cl. Weaves)
Macomb (DD‑458) was laid down 3 September 1940 by the Bath Iron Works Corp., Bath, Maine; launched 23 September 1941; cosponsored by Mrs. Ryland W. Greene and her sister, Mrs. Edward H. Chew, granddaughters of Commodore William H. Macomb; and commissioned 26 January 1942, Lt. Comdr. W. K. Duvall in command.
Following shakedown, she operated off the east coast escorting convoys and aircraft carriers. These convoy missions took Macomb south to the northern coast of South America, east to the west African coast, and north to Newfoundland. Standing out of Boston on 5 July 1942, Macomb escorted a U.S. Army transport and an English ship to Greenock, Scotland, arriving 12 July. She operated between Scotland and Iceland, making one round‑trip voyage to New York for availability, until 25 September 1942, when she anchored at Norfolk, Va. Departing Norfolk on 11 October, she screened aircraft carrier antisubmarine patrols in the Caribbean until heading for the north African coast 7 November. Arriving on the 11th, she acted as carrier screen during the landings at Casablanca and returned to Boston after the landings were secure.
After overhaul at Boston, Macomb again operated as convoy escort along the east coast and in the Caribbean. Following a cruise which took her close to the coast of north Africa, the destroyer commenced operating out of Argentia, Newfoundland, on North Atlantic patrol. While on this patrol her convoy and antisubmarine duties took her to Iceland and England. During this early 1943 period, German submarines were extremely active, sinking many Allied ships with their “wolfpacks.”
In August of 1943 Macomb returned from a tour of duty with the British Home Fleet and operated again off the Atlantic seaboard with only one break until mid‑1944. On this one exception she made an uneventful cruise to the Azores; Freetown, Sierra Leone; Dakar, Senegal; and Bermuda before returning to Boston in late December 1943.
On 20 April 1944 the destroyer got underway for the Mediterranean where she operated off the Algerian coast on antisubmarine duty. On 16 May, just before midnight, she commenced a 72‑hour submarine chase that ended when U‑616 was blasted to the surface by Macomb’s depth charges and then sunk by her guns. In mid‑August 1944 she took part in the invasion of southern France, returning to antisubmarine patrol afterward.
Macomb arrived at Charleston Navy Yard 9 November for conversion to a destroyer minesweeper. Redesignated DMS‑23, 15 November, she joined Mine Squadron 20 and, after refresher training, departed for the Pacific 3 January 1945. Arriving in the western Pacific in mid‑March, Mine Squadron 20 joined TG 52.2 and steamed toward Okinawa. They were the first task group to enter Okinawan waters and remained until after the completion of the operations. Only one of the 11 ships in the squadron escaped kamikaze hits, and one, Emmons, was sunk on 6 April. The squadron suffered some 300 casualties, including over 100 killed
Macomb, participating in the entire campaign, shot down many enemy planes. On 27 April, in the early predawn hours, an enemy aircraft raid was picked up by her radar. For 1 hour, Macomb fired almost continuously while maneuvering at top speed; three planes were splashed. Her luck ran out on 3 May during a twilight enemy raid. She downed one Japanese plane but a second came in fast and crashed into her, causing extensive damage. For this campaign, Macomb was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation for having, “...by her own aggressiveness and the courage and skill of her officers and men, contributed essentially to the success of the Okinawa invasion...”
Macomb proceeded to Saipan for battle repairs following the 3 May engagement. Soon after the repairs were completed, the war’s end was announced. Macomb rendezvoused with the 3d Fleet on 13 August en route to the Japanese home islands. On 29 August, just ahead of Missouri and Iowa, she dropped anchor in Tokyo Bay, where she was witness to the formal surrender.
Leaving Tokyo Bay on 4 September 1945, she commenced sweeping mines in the Japanese area, off Okinawa, near the entrance to the Yellow Sea, and in the Chosen Straits.
Departing Sasebo, Japan, on 5 December 1945, Macomb steamed for Norfolk, Va., and Atlantic Fleet duty. In June, 1946, Charleston, S.C., become her home port; and, until September 1949, Macomb went on patrols and took part in exercises along the eastern coasts of the United States and Canada and in the Caribbean.
On 6 September 1949, Macomb departed Charleston for the first of three brief tours of duty with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean. She returned to Charleston on 13 October. Her second trip to the Mediterranean came in 1951, 20 March to 5 October; the third, 22 April to 24 October 1953. During each cruise Macomb participated in the 6th Fleet exercises and operations, lending support to American diplomatic efforts at settling the unstable political situations then existent in many of the Mediterranean countries.
In July of 1954, Macomb wasplaced in reserve. On 19 October she decommissioned and transferred to the Japanese Government, becoming Hatakaze (DD‑182) in the Japanese Maritime Self‑Defense Force.
Macomb received five battle stars for World War II service.