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Overton

 

Macon C. Overton was born in Union Point, Ga., 18 August 1890. Mortally wounded while guiding a tank against an enemy position at St. George, France, 1 November 1918, Marine Captain Overton had previously been awarded the Croix de Guerre with silver star and palm for action in the Bois de Belleau (13 June 1918) and the Distinguished Service Cross for action near Mount Blanc (2–10 October 1918). For his courage and leadership at St. George, he was posthumously awarded an Oak Leaf cluster to his Distinguished Service Cross.

 

(DD–239: dp. 1,308 (f.); l. 314’5”; b. 31’8”; dr. 9’10”; s. 35 k.; cpl. 122; a. 4 4”, 1 3”, 12 21” tt.; cl. Clemson)

 

Overton was laid down as DD–239, 30 October 1918, by the New York Shipbuilding Co., Camden, N.J.; named prior to launching 10 July 1919; sponsored by Mrs. Margaret C. Overton, mother of Capt. Overton; and commissioned 30 June 1920, Comdr. Archibald D. Turnbull in command.

 

Following shakedown, Overton operated with the 3rd, then the 5th, Destroyer Squadrons off the east coast. While with the latter in early September 1920, she assisted in the rescue of the submarine S–5. She was then assigned to the 2nd Destroyer Squadron and ordered to European Waters. Departing New York, 14 September, she joined the Black Sea Detachment at Constantinople, 5 October. For the next year and a half she performed quasi-dipolmatic and humanitarian roles necessitated by the aftermath of World War I. Cruising regularly to Caucasian, Roumanian, and Turkish Black Sea ports, she also steamed into the Mediterranean to visit Levantine cities. She distributed relief supplies, provided transportation and communication services and relocated refugees. Much of the latter was accomplished following the capitulation of General Peter N. Wrangel’s White Army to Bolshevik forces in the Crimea in November 1920. In July, 1922, Overton returned to the US for abbreviated exercises with the Scouting Fleet and, then, in October, as TurkishGreek hostilities flared at Smyrna, rejoined the Turkish Waters Detachment for another six month tour.

 

In mid-May, 1923, the destroyer sailed west to Italy, whence she returned to New York, arriving 12 June. Independent, squadron, and fleet exercises over the next eight years kept her in the Atlantic with but two interruptions, deployments in 1925 and 1926 to the Pacific for Fleet Problems.

 

On 3 February 1931, Overton was placed out of commission in reserve. The following year she was placed in rotating reserve commission, and served in that capacity until again decommissioned, in reserve, 20 November 1937.

 

With the outbreak of hostilities in Europe in 1939 Overton recommissioned 26 September and was assigned to Neutrality Patrol. Moored at Boston on 7 December 1941, her assignments changed little with American entry into World War II. Escort of convoy and ASW patrols continued; at first to Iceland, then in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. Between July, 1942, and February, 1943, she performed similar missions along the east coast. Then, from 7 February until 26 May, she escorted convoys between New York and Casablanca. Overhaul followed and toward the end of June Overton joined one of the first escort carrier groups, TG 21.11 centered on Santee (CVE–29), and, with that group, covered the Norfolk-Casablanca convoy route. On the 14th and 30th of July, planes from her group were credited with 2 sinkings: U–160 and U–43.

 

Overton returned to Norfolk, 6 August, and emerged from refitting as APD–23 (effective 21 August). On 22 October the “new” high speed transport sailed for the Pacific. She arrived at Pearl Harbor, 12 November; underwent further training; and, on 22 January 1944, headed west with the Advance Southern Transport Group for Kwajalein. Before dawn on the 31st, she put reconnaissance troops ashore at Gehh (whence they moved to Ninni) and at Gea to control the Gea Pass into the southern end of the lagoon. She then took up bombardment, fire support and reconnaissance duties. On the 4th, she covered the capture of Bigej and, on the 8th, sailed for Pearl Harbor and the west coast. By 29 May, however, she was back in the Pacific theater, enroute to Saipan with Marines embarked. Until 24 June she screened the transport area and patrolled off Tinian; then retired to Eniwetok to escort convoys to Saipan. In July she resumed patrol and bombardment duties off Tinian, then covered LCTs to Guam, and, at the end of the month, escorted LSTs to Pearl Harbor.

 

Overton steamed west again 15 September, this time to Manus. Thence, on 12 October, to the Philippines to cover UDT personnel put ashore prior to the landings on Leyte. Supply convoy assignments preceded her next amphibious operation—Lingayen Gulf. On December 27, she departed Humboldt Bay. On 6 January 1945, she entered the Gulf and, on the following day, once again covered UDT personnel ashore. Throughout the landings and until the 12th, Overton screened heavy units and transports, then retired to Leyte.

 

From Leyte, the APD steamed to Ulithi, whence she screened the fast carriers’ logistics support group to UNREP areas until early March. She next patrolled off Iwo Jima, and, on 10 March, resumed escort assignments. A run to Leyte was followed by convoy duty to Okinawa. She arrived at the latter island 11 April and patrolled on radar picket station until the 15th, then headed for Saipan. From there, she was routed back to the United States. She arrived at San Francisco 15 May and was ordered on to Philadelphia for inactivation. Decommissioned 30 July 1945, she was struck from the Navy List, 13 August, and sold for scrapping, 30 November, to the Boston Metals Co., Baltimore, Md.

 

Overton earned 8 battle stars during World War II.