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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
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Oliver Mitchell

 

Oliver Mitchell, born 14 March 1917 at Los Angeles, Calif., enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve 23 May 1941 and was appointed Aviation Cadet in the US Naval Reserve 3 September 1941. Commissioned 2nd Lieutenant, USMCR, 14 March 1942, he was assigned to combat duty in the Solomons the following July. He was killed in action while engaging Japanese destroyers off Ramos Island, 28 August 1942. 2nd Lt. Mitchell was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for “Conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity as a pilot while pressing home his attack in the face of tremedous anti-aircraft fire. His aggressive fighting spirit and heroic devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”

 

(DE417: dp. 1,745; l. 306’; b. 36’8”; dr. 13’4”; s. 24.3 k.; cpl. 222; a. 2 5”, 4 40mm., 10 20mm., 2 dct, 8 dcp., 1 dcp. (hh.), 3 21” tt.; cl. John C. Butler)

 

Oliver Mitchell (DE–417) was laid down 3 January 1944 by the Brown Shipbuilding Co., Houston, Tex.; launched 8 February 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Margaret R. Mitchell, mother of 2nd Lt. Oliver Mitchell; and commissioned 14 June 1944, Lt. Comdr. Kenneth J. Barclay in command.

 

Following shakedown off Bermuda, Oliver Mitchell steamed out of Hampton Roads, 31 August 1944, for the Pacific Theater. ASW exercises with her division, CortDiv 72, interrupted her westward passage for a month at Hawaii, but, continuing on, she arrived at Ulithi 1 November. Assigned to TG 30.7, she screened Anzio (CVE–57) during aerial search and flight operations out of Ulithi until 10 December, then conducted anti-submarine sweeps to the north of TF 38 as the fast carriers’ planes flew strikes in support of the Mindoro landings. Continuing screen and plane guard duties with the fast carriers into the new year, 1945, she sailed with them for strikes against Formosa and Luzon in support of the Lingayen assault.

 

On 2 February, back with her escort carrier group, now TG 50.7, she steamed to the Marianas, thence to the Volcanos where she screened Anzio as its planes bombed Japanese positions on Iwo Jima (16 February–3 March). With victory in the offing there, the group retired to Leyte prior to deployment off Okinawa.

 

Departing Leyte Gulf 21 March in TU 52.1.1, the Amphibious Support Force, she sailed into the East China Sea with Western Islands Attack Force. Screening the escort carriers through the assaults on Kerama Retto and against the Hagushi beaches, she retired to Guam 6 April to join TF 51’s escort pool. Returning to the Ryukyus on the 20th, she screened escort carriers as their planes flew air cover and ASW patrols during May. Detached 4 June, she returned to Ulithi, whence she conducted a voyage to Leyte prior to a 47-day deployment at sea screening carrier task forces operating off the east coast of Japan.

 

During the next four months, Oliver Mitchell escorted forces to Korea for occupation duty and to and along the China coast trying to assuage postwar unrest in that country. On 26 December, pressed into Magic Carpet duty, DE–417 headed back to the United States. She arrived at San Francisco 15 January 1946 and on 24 April, at San Diego, decommissioned and joined the Pacific Reserve Fleet. Later transferred to the Mare Island Reserve Group, she remains a unit of the Reserve Fleet into 1970.

 

Oliver Mitchell earned 5 battle stars during World War II.