Vice Adm. Charles H. McMorris, born 31 August 1890 at Wetumpka, Ala., was appointed midshipman in 1908 and commissioned ensign in June 1912. On 11 to 12 October 1942, as commanding officer of San Francisco, he took part in the Battle of Cape Esperance, which deflated Japanese belief in their night fighting superiority. During the Battle, he “...fought his ship valiantly, maneuvering with the expertness of able seaman and striking at the enemy with determined and effective gunfire despite the difficulties of night combat. As captain of the flagship, he rendered valuable service to the Task Force [TF 64] Commander and contributed materially to the success of our forces.” He was awarded the Navy Cross for the above cited actions. In December 1942, he assumed command of Crusier Destroyer Force 8, operating in the northern Pacific. On 26 March 1943, in the Battle of the Komandorski Islands, he used that force to prevent Japanese reinforcement of garrisons on Kiska and Attu. For his able handling of the force in the victory, he received the Distinguished Service Medal. Later, as Chief of Staff of the Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet and Pacific Ocean Areas, he was awarded a Gold Star in lieu of a second Distinguished Service Medal for supervising “...the preparation and execution of strategic and tactical plans for Naval Operations...in the Gilberts, Marshalls, Marianas, Western Caroline Islands, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa...” Retiring as vice admiral, 1 September 1952, he died 11 February 1954 at Valparaiso, Chile.
(DE‑1036: dp. 1,750 (f.); l. 311'9"; b. 37'; dr. 17'2"; s. 22+k.; cpl. 175; a. 2 3", 6 tt., 2 dcp.; cl. Claud Jones)
McMorris (DE‑1036) was laid down 15 November 1958 by the American Shipbuilding Co., Lorain, Ohio; launched 26 May 1959 by Avondale Marine Ways, Inc.. Westwego, La.; sponsored by Mrs. Charles H. McMorris, widow of Vice Adm. McMorris; and commissioned 4 March 1960 at Charleston, S.C., Lt. Comdr. Martin Zenni in command.
After fitting out on the east coast, McMorris proceeded to San Diego where she reported to the Cruiser Destroyer Force, Pacific Fleet. In April. 1961, she headed west for her first 6 months deployment in the Far East. Beginning and ending that WestPac tour on the Taiwan Straits Patrol, she also served with the 7th Fleet’s ASW Group, as station ship at Hong Kong and as good will ship for people‑to‑people visits to Japanese cities on the Sea of Japan.
Employed similarly on her next three WestPac tours, her schedule, as well as her homeport, was changed in 1965. On 17 May she departed Pearl Harbor, her home port since January, for duty off Vietnam. As flagship of CortRon 5 she participated in “Market Time” operations, search and surveillance with the Republic of Vietnam Navy’s Junk Force. During that tour she became the first destroyer escort to engage in shore bombardment in the Vietnamese combat zone.
She returned to Hawaii in late August and followed her South China Sea operations with two cruises, one to the northern Pacific and one to the South Pacific, completing both before the end of the year. Since that time, into 1969 she has conducted special operations under the command of commander, Hawaiian sea frontier when not involved in upkeep and type training.