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Mack (DE-358)


Harold John Mack, born on 29 December 1917, four days after the first Christmas of the Great War [World War I) n Le Mars, Iowa, enlisted in the U.S. Navy on 18 May 1938 and reported to the heavy cruiser Vincennes (CA-44) on 14 September 1938 after completion of training at Great Lakes, Illinois. 

During action against the Japanese forces off Savo Island on 9 August 1942, Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class (GM2c) Mack fell incapacitated by severe wounds in both legs. In spite of his injuries, he continued to fulfill his duties as gun captain until ordered to abandon ship. After the loss of the ship, Mack was reported missing in action and was declared dead on 10 August 1943. For his “courageous fighting spirit” and heroism Mack was awarded the Navy Cross posthumously.

(DE‑358: displacement 1,350; length 306'0"; draft 13'4"; speed 24.3 knots; complement 232; armament 2 5-inch, 4 40-millimeter, 10 20-millimeter, 3 21-inch torpedo tubes, 8 depth charge projectors, 1 depth charge projector (Hedgehog), 2 depth charge projectors; class John C. Butler)

Mack (DE‑358) was laid down on 14 February 1944 at Orange, Texas, by Consolidated Steel Corp., Shipbuilding Division; launched on 11 April 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Gertrude Mack, mother of the late GM2c Mack; and commissioned on 16 August 1944, Lt. Cmdr. John F. Nelson, D-V(G), USNR, in command.

After shakedown exercises off the east coast, Mack assembled with ComCortDiv 82 at Norfolk, Va., 17 to 20 October 1944, and departed on the 21st for the Panama Canal en route to the Pacific. Becoming a unit of the Seventh Fleet, Mack escorted convoys between Hollandia, New Guinea, Kossol Roads, Palau Islands, and Leyte until March 1945. On 2 March she commenced antisubmarine patrols in the South China Sea off the Philippines. Investigating sonar contact on the 13th, Mack grounded on an uncharted shoal in Mangarin Bay, damaging both screws and tail shafts. Towed to Hollandia for repairs, 14 April to 4 June, she returned to escort duty between Hollandia and Manila on the 14th.

A month later, Mack commenced working under the orders of the Port Director, Manila, escorting ships to San Fernando, Luzon, until 3 August 1945 when she was placed under the authority of the Port Director, Subic, and escorted a convoy of landing craft from Subic Bay to Okinawa.

Two days after the signing of the surrender terms in Tokyo Bay, on 4 September 1945, Mack began air‑sea rescue patrols between the Philippines and the Palaus, returning to escort duty on the 16th to accompany a slow tow through the “typhoon belt” to Okinawa. Completing that assignment, she commenced air‑sea rescue patrols east of Samar, Philippine Islands. Relieved of this duty on 6 December 1945, Mack got underway for Okinawa and Shanghai on 8 December, returning to Subic Bay on the 27th.

While standing by for escort duty at San Fernando, 10 January 1946, Mack answering a distress call from the U.S. Army freighter FS‑274, proceeded through heavy weather to the disabled ship’s position. In the course of passing much needed food and water to the crew of the Army vessel, the two ships collided, causing damage to Mack’s bow (11 January). Mack returned to San Fernando and escorted the waiting ships to Subic Bay, remaining at Subic for three weeks undergoing repairs and holding drills.

Departing Subic Bay on 11 February 1945, Mack joined Escort Division 33 and set course for Tsingtao, China, where the Seventh Fleet was lending support to U.S. China policy; standing by to protect, if necessary, American interests during the fighting between the Nationalist forces and the Communists. Arriving on the 20th, Mack took part in training exercises off the China coast and made brief trips to Shanghai and Taku before departing Chinese waters on 15 April for Okinawa to embark naval passengers en route to the United States.

Arriving San Pedro on 11 May 1946, Mack debarked her passengers, unloaded her ammunition and began undergoing a period of inactivation and preservation. Mack was placed out of commission in reserve on 11 December 1946 at San Diego. She remained part of the Pacific inactive Fleet, berthed at Mare Island, Vallejo, Calif., through the end of the 1960s. Stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 15 March 1972, the ship was disposed-of, by Navy Sale, on 1 May 1973, to be broken up for scrap.

Updated, Robert J. Cressman

28 July 2022

Published: Fri Jul 29 20:02:41 EDT 2022