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USS Hoel (DD-533)

Please see below for item level images and donated collections containing photographs of USS Hoel (DD-533)

USS Hoel (DD-533) was laid down on 4 June 1942 at San Francisco, Calif., by the Bethlehem Steel Co.; launched on 19 December 1942; sponsored by Mrs. Louise Hoel Mills Crane, granddaughter of the ship’s namesake; and commissioned on 29 July 1943, Cmdr. William D. Thomas in command.

After outfitting in the San Francisco Bay area, USS Hoel (DD-533) put to sea on 16 August 1943, arriving at San Diego, Calif., the following afternoon to begin her shakedown. Her shakedown completed, Hoel got underway on 16 September 1943 and once again dropped an array of depth charges, this time for the purpose of testing the structural strength of the ship. She then proceeded north up the California coast and conducted fighter director and torpedo exercises in Monterey Bay the next day.

Departing on the morning of 23 January 1944, USS Hoel (DD-533) sailed for the Marshall Islands with TF 51, screening for the transports of TG 51.1, the operation’s reserve forces. Overnight on 3–4 February, USS Hoel (DD-533) and USS Trathen patrolled ten miles off the southern and eastern ends of the atoll. The next day, the two destroyers took station to the west of Bigej Island for call fire duty. USS Hoel (DD-533) sailed with USS Miller (DD-535) on the 6th as the latter vessel transported Adm. Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet, to Roi-Namur for an inspection ashore and then returned to her anchorage in the lagoon. On the morning of the 19th, USS Hoel (DD-533) bombarded Eniwetok Island and provided close support fire as American troops streamed towards the island. On 5 March 1944, USS Hoel (DD-533) left Eniwetok in company with attack transport USS Cambria (APA-36), cruisers USS Louisville, USS Portland, and IUSS ndianapolis, and DesDiv 93 less Trathen. 

For her next assignment, USS Hoel (DD-533) helped screen attack cargo ship USS Aquarius (AKA-16); attack transports USS Dupage (APA-41), USS Crescent City (APA-21), USS Elmore (APA-42), and USS Wayne (APA-54); and fleet tug USS Menominee (AT-73) from Purvis Bay to Emirau and back, making a brief detour with USS McCord on the return trip to disembark fighter director teams at Koli Point, Guadalcanal (8–14 April). Hoel operated out of Purvis Bay for most of July 1944, getting underway again on the 1st to conduct a test firing of special projectiles. On the 7th, she exercised her antiaircraft and night torpedo attack skills with USS McCord and USS Hazelwood. Hoel steamed across Iron Bottom Sound the next afternoon to Lunga Point, Guadalcanal, to rendezvous with Coulee Dam, but the tanker was delayed so the destroyer anchored there for the night. 

Around 0815, USS Hoel (DD-533) took a hit to her forward engine room from an eight-inch shell that disabled her starboard engine. By 0840, USS Hoel (DD-533) was dead in the water with a heavy 20° list to port, the sea lapping at her fantail. Kintberger passed the word to abandon ship. Battered from having absorbed, in Kintberger’s estimation, more than 40 direct hits from five-, eight-, and sixteen-inch shells, USS Hoel (DD-533) finally surrendered to the sea at 0855. USS Hoel (DD-533) was stricken from the Navy Register on 27 November 1944.

For a complete history of USS Hoel (DD-533) please see its DANFS page.