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Mason

 

The first Mason (DD‑191) was named for John Young Mason, born 18 April 1799, in Greene County, Va. Both a political leader and a diplomat, he was Secretary of the Navy first for President John Tyler from 1844 to 1845 and then for President James K. Polk from 1846 to 1849. As minister to France from 1853, he joined James Buchanan and Pierre Soulé, ministers, respectively, to Great Britain and Spain, in issuing on 18 October 1854 the famous Ostend Manifesto on the justification of seizing Cuba if Spain would not sell the colony to the United States. Mr. Mason died in Paris, France, 3 October 1859.

 

The second Mason (DE‑529) was named for Newton Henry Mason, born 24 December 1918 at New York City. He enlisted as a seaman in the Naval Reserve, 7 November 1940 and on 10 February 1941 was appointed an aviation cadet. Assigned to Fighting Squadron 3 in September, he died following aerial combat against Japanese forces in the Battle of the Coral Sea, 8 and 9 May 1942. Ensign Mason was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his skill and courage in battle.

 

II

 

(DE‑529: dp. 1,140; l. 289'5"; b. 35'1"; dr. 8'3" (mean); s. 21 k.; cpl. 156; a. 3 3", 4 1.1", 9 20mm., 2 dct., 8 dcp. 1 dcp. (h.h.); cl. Evarts)

 

The second Mason (DE‑529) was laid down by Boston Navy Yard, Boston, Mass., 14 October 1943; launched 17 November 1943; sponsored by Mrs. David Mason, mother of Ensign Mason; and commissioned 20 March 1944, Lt. Comdr. William M. Blackford, USNR, in command.

 

Following shakedown off Bermuda, Mason, the first Navy ship with a predominantly Negro crew, departed Charleston 14 June escorting a convoy bound for Europe, arriving Horta Harbor, Azores, 6 July. She got underway from Belfast, Northern Ireland, for the east coast 26 July, arriving Boston 2 August for convoy duty off the harbor through August.

 

On 2 September she arrived New York to sail the 19th in the screen for convoy‑tow NY‑119. The escort ship reached Falmouth, England, with part of the convoy 18 October, and returned to New York from Plymouth and the Azores 22 November. Mason joined TF 64 at Norfolk 17 December. Two days later she sailed in convoy for Europe, passing by Gibraltar 4 January 1945 to be relieved of escort duties. Continuing to Algeria, she entered Oran 5 January for formation of TG 60.11.

 

The escort ship cleared Oran the 7th. Four days later Mason made radar contact with a surface target. She rang up full speed with all battle stations manned to attack the presumptive submarine, rammed, and dropped depth charges. Unable to regain contact, the ship returned to the contact point, where searchlight revealed the target—a wooden derelict about 100 by 50 feet. Mason then steamed to Bermuda for repairs, entering St. George’s Harbor 19 January. Five days later she reached New York Navy Yard.

 

On 12 February Mason departed Norfolk in convoy for the Mediterranean, arriving off Gibraltar the 28th. She cleared Oran 8 March to guard a convoy to Bermuda and Chesapeake Bay before returning to New York 24 March. After sonar exercises off New London, Conn., and fighter-director training with naval aircraft from Quonset Point, R.I., she steamed from Norfolk 10 April with another convoy to Europe, leaving the convoy at Gibraltar the 28th. Mason was 2 days out of Oran en route to the east coast when the German surrender was announced 9 May.

 

Mason arrived at New York 23 May for operations along the east coast into July. From 28 July to 18 August she served as schoolship for the Naval Training Center, Miami, Fla. On 20 August she arrived at New London to be outfitted for long‑range underwater signal testing in the Bermuda area into September. Mason departed Bermuda 8 September for Charleston, S.C., arriving there 2 days later.

 

Mason decommissioned 12 October; was struck from the Navy list 1 November 1945: and was sold and delivered at Charleston to Mr. Thomas Harris of Barber, N.J., 18 March 1947 for scrapping.