Born 3 July 1917 at Rock Springs, Wyo., Lloyd Jones Mills enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve as seaman second class 4 December 1940. He was appointed aviation cadet 6 March 1941, naval aviator 22 August 1941, and commissioned ensign 19 September 1941. Ensign Mills was killed 30 July 1942 in an airplane crash during the Aleutian Islands campaign, and was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism and extraordinary achievement in action 1 to 15 June 1942.
(DE‑383: dp. 1,200; l. 306'; b. 36'7"; dr. 8'7"; s. 21 k.; cpl. 186; a. 3 3", 3 21" tt., 8 dcp., 1 dcp. (hh.), 2 dct.; cl. Edsall)
Mills (DE‑383) was laid down 26 March 1943 by Brown Shipbuilding Co., Houston, Tex.; launched 26 May 1943; sponsored by Mrs. James E. Mills; and commissioned 12 October 1943, Lt. Comdr. J. S. Muzzy, USCG, in command.
After shakedown out of Bermuda, Mills trained nucleus crews for frigates and destroyer escorts off Norfolk until 10 January 1944 when she began transatlantic convoy escort duty. On her second voyage into the Mediterranean, Mills’ convoy was attacked before dawn 1 April 1944, 56 miles west of Algiers by German torpedo bombers. SS Jarard Ingersoll, a Liberty ship, was hit and set blazing. Mills picked up survivors who had abandoned ship, and sent a boarding party to extinguish her fires. British tug Mindfull and Mills then towed Jarard Ingersoll to Algiers.
By V‑E Day, for which she was moored at Brooklyn Navy Yard, Mills had completed nine voyages on escort duty to the Mediterranean, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and France. Mills left New York 30 May 1945 for the Panama Canal and Adak, Alaska, arriving 8 July. She served there as weather station, plane guard, and escort between Alaskan ports until sailing 20 August for occupation duty, arriving 9 September at Ominato Ko, Honshu.
Briefly returning to Alaska 25 September to 17 November, Mills steamed west again to operate out of Taku and Tuington, China, until 11 February 1946. Returning to the States via Pearl Harbor and the Panama Canal, she arrived Charleston, S.C., 22 March, sailed 25 April for Green Cove Springs, Fla., and decommissioned 14 June to go into reserve.
Eleven years later, after installation of additional radar and electronic equipment and enlargement of her superstructure at Boston Naval Shipyard, Mills was reclassified DER‑383 and recommissioned 3 October 1957, Lt. Comdr. Joseph E. Feaster in command. Assigned as a radar picket of the North American Continental Air Defense System to deter surprise attack by locating and reporting aircraft headed toward North America, Mills sailed 3 April 1958 from Newport, R.I., for Argentia, Newfoundland to begin her first picket. She made 17 subsequent 3‑ to 4‑week pickets on the barrier stretching from Newfoundland to the Azores through 28 July 1961, as well as one off the southeast coast of the United States.
Between 28 August 1961 and the end of 1963, Mills served primarily on the new Greenland‑Iceland‑United Kingdom Barrier designed to extend protection to the NATO allies.
In 1964, Mills was assigned to operation “Deep Freeze,” the U.S. Naval Force supporting scientific research in Antarctica. During the austral summer seasons of 1964‑65, and 1966‑67, and 1967‑68, Mills took station to provide weather information and electronic navigational aid to aircraft ferrying men and equipment between Christchurch, New Zealand, and McMurdo Station, Antarctica.
Each of these seasonal deployments required an 11,000‑mile voyage via the Panama Canal to Dunedin, New Zealand, Mills’ base of operations with “Deep Freeze”. At the end of each deployment, Mills completed a round‑the‑world cruise by returning to Newport via Suez. In 1965, when she did not serve with “Deep Freeze”, Mills was underway schoolship off Florida. On 3 September 1968, Mills became an operational Naval Reserve training ship at Baltimore, Md.
Mills received one battle star for World War II service.