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McDermut

 

David A. McDermut, a native of New York, was appointed midshipman 8 November 1841 and attained the rank of lieutenant commander 16 July 1862. During the Civil War he served in Potomac and Marion before assuming command of Cayuga 2 December 1862. He commanded Cayuga until 18 April 1863 when he was killed in action against Confederate forces, in Sabine Pass.

 

II

 

(DD‑677: dp. 2,050; l. 376'6"; b. 38'8"; dr. 17'9"; s. 35 k.; cpl. 319; a. 5 5", 10 40mm., 7 20mm., 10 21" tt., 6 dcp., 2 dct.; cl. Fletchcr)

 

The second McDermut (DD‑677) was laid down 14 June 1943 by the Federal Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co., Kearny, N.J.; launched 17 October 1943; sponsored by Mrs. Woodrow Wilson, widow of the 28th President of the United States; and commissioned 19 November 1943, Comdr. P. L. Wirtz in command.

 

McDermut, departed New York 25 January 1944 for duty with the Pacific Fleet. She arrived at Kwajalein 4 March, remained until the 20th and then crossed to Majuro where she joined TF 58, the fast carrier force. She sortied with TG 58.2, 22 March, and before returning to Majuro, 6 April, participated in strikes on the Palaus, Yap, Ulithi, and Woleai. Next assigned to cargo and escort work, she steamed back to Pearl Harbor, returning to Kwajalein 31 May.

 

On 10 June she got underway with TG 52.17 for Saipan and preinvasion bombardment duties. Assigned to fire support during the landing operations, the destroyer cruised off Tanapag Harbor, firing on small Japanese demolition craft as they attempted to set fire to shipping there. After the 17th she took up antisubmarine and antiaircraft patrol duties which she continued until the 24th. She then steamed to Eniwetok where she joined TF 53, and with that force bombarded the shore and then covered the landings at Guam. On 22 July she returned to the SaipanTinian area for further fire support duties during mopping up operations on the latter island.

 

McDermut, detached from her second duty with TG 52.179 4 August, sailed to Guadalcanal for rehearsal landings in preparation for the Palau offensive. By 15 September she was in position off Peleliu to support the 1st Marine Division as it landed, shifting to Angaur on the 17th to assist Army assault units. Departing the Palaus on the 21st, she headed northeast for ASW/AAW patrol duty during the occupation of Ulithi Atoll.

 

Assigned next to the 7th Fleet, McDermut reported 1 October at Manus, the staging area for the Leyte operation. On the 11th, the fleet sortied from Seeadler Harbor, entering Leyte Gulf in the early morning hours of the 20th. On that morning McDermut, screening the transports as they approached the Dulag landing area, warded off enemy planes and rescued downed American pilots. In the afternoon, she was ordered to join with McGowan (DD‑678) and Melvin (DD‑680) in an antitorpedo‑boat screen in Surigao Strait. Later, as reports of Japanese fleet movements were added to the seemingly constant air attacks on shipping in Leyte Gulf, two more ships of DesRon 54, Remey (DD‑688) and Monssen (DD‑798), joined the screen.

 

On the night of the 24th Rear Admiral Oldendorf deployed his forces for what was to be the last engagement of a battleline, the Battle of Surigao Strait. ComDesRon 54 divided his ships into eastern and western Attack Groups to launch offensive torpedo attacks as the Japanese steamed up the strait. McDermut was assigned to the Western Group with Monssen and positioned close to the Leyte shore. Soon after midnight the enemy was reported entering the strait. Between 0300 and 0301 the Eastern Group commenced launching torpedoes, firing 27 “fish” in less than 2 minutes. At 0310 McDermut and Monssen launched their attack. At 0320 explosions flashed, McDermut’s torpedoes hitting three destroyers. Yaniagunio sank immediately, while Michishio and Asagumo were disabled and drifting, the latter having lost her bow.

 

After launching their torpedoes, the destroyers retired north as planned, hugging the coastlines of Leyte and Dinagat to avoid fire from the ships of DesRons 24 and 56 and those of the battleline. The squadron’s total score with its 47 torpedoes, was five hits and three enemy ships sunk, more than earning Admiral Oldendorf’s praise of a “brilliantly conceived and well executed” torpedo attack.

 

The following evening McDermut departed for Hollandia, arriving 30 October. During November she screened convoys to Leyte and in December headed for the Sulu Sea to support the initial attack on Mindoro on the 15th. By the 26th she was back in Leyte Gulf to take up patrol at the entrance to Sari Pedro Bay. On 11 January 1945 McDermut steamed into Lingayen Gulf for shore bombardment duty with the reinforcement echelon for Luzon operations. She departed on the 15th, and 8 days later arrived at Ulithi for a 2 month overhaul.

 

McDernut joined the fast carriers again, 3 April, as they provided air support for the Okinawa campaign. In the screen of TG 58.4, she participated in strikes on enemy installations, shipping, and troop concentrations in the Ryukyus and Kyushu. By 1 July the carriers were once again set to strike at the enemy’s northern home islands. On the 7th McDermut was sent to intercept the Japanese hospital ship Takasago Marti and divert her from a course which would have taken her into the task force’s fueling area. On the 8th, the ship was located and a boarding party was dispatched with a message guaranteeing safe conduct if the captain and crew would comply with instructions and courses given. By the 10th, the ships of TF 38 had refueled and were underway to conduct strikes against the Tokyo industrial area. McDermut released her charge and rejoined TG 38.4 for further strikes on Honshu, Hokkaido, and the Kuriles.

 

The destroyer was detached from the carrier force 12 August with orders to proceed, via Adak, to the west coast for a navy yard overhaul. On the 14th, she received word of the Japanese surrender, and new orders to return to Japanese waters with TF 92 for occupation duty in the Ominato Naval Base area. Two months later she departed Japan for San Francisco. Arriving in November, she remained in operation on the west coast until decommissioning and going into reserve 15 January 1947.

 

In 1950, as hostilities again flared in the Western Pacific, McDermut was brought out of mothballs and recommissioned at Long Beach 29 December. By 6 June 1951, she was at Yokosuka ready for action off Korea. On the 13th, she rendezvoused with TF 77 for operations along the Korean east coast and in Van Dieman Strait. In August she conducted ASW training off the Japanese coast, returning to TF 77 on the 30th. From 21 September through 4 October she participated in the bombardment of Wonsan and then headed south for duty with TG 96.7 off Okinawa. She rejoined TF 77 3 November for another month of Korean combat duty before departing for the United States 7 December.

 

On 12 August 1952, McDermut once again joined U.N. naval forces off the Korean coast, reporting to the bombardment group in the Wonsan‑Songjin‑Yang‑do area on the 13th. In mid‑Septeniber she steamed to Japan for escort and plane guard duty with carriers conducting training exercises, followed by duty with the Taiwan patrol. By 26 December she was back off the east coast of Korea for flight operations screening duty with TF 77. On 29 January 1953 she departed for San Diego, arriving 16 February.

 

For the next 10 years, McDermut maintained an annual schedule of 6 months of west coast operations alternated with western Pacific deployments. The latter, in 1954‑55, involved her in the efforts of the 7th Fleet to preclude the possibility of the occupation of the Tachen Islands by Chinese Communist Forces.

 

During 1963 the destroyer remained on the west coast conducting local operations until decommissioned at San Diego on 16 December. She was berthed at San Diego as a part of the Pacific Reserve Fleet and struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 1 April 1965. McDermut was sold on 4 January 1966 to the National Metal & Steel Corp., Terminal Island, Calif., and was towed away for scrapping in February 1966.

 

McDermut received 10 battle stars for World War Il service and 5 battle stars for Korean service.