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Cecil J. Doyle (DE-368)


Cecil John Doyle -- born in Marshall, Minn,. on 10 August 1920 -- enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve on 26 March 1941 and following aviation training at Corpus Christi, Tex., was appointed a Second Lieutenant, USMCR, on 6 April 1942. Second Lieutenant Doyle displayed extraordinary heroism while attached to Marine Fighting Squadron (VMF) 121 in the Solomon Islands (18-25 October 1942), in the battle for Guadalcanal.  Declared missing in action on 7 November 1942, he was awarded, posthumously, the Navy Cross.

(DE-368: displacement 1,350; length 306'; beam 36'7"; draft 13'4"; speed 24 knots; complement 186; armament 2 5-inch, 4 40 millimeter, 10 20 millimeter, 8 depth charge projectors, 1 depth charge projector (hedgehog), 2 depth charge tracks, 3 21-inch torpedo tubes; class John C. Butler)

Cecil J. Doyle (DE-368) was laid down on 12 May 1944 at Orange, Texas, by the Consolidated Steel Corp.;  launched 1 July 1944; sponsored by Mrs. O. P. Doyle; and commissioned at the City Docks, Orange, on 16 October 1944, Lt.Cmdr. Douglas S. Crocker, DE-V(G), USNR, in command.

Five minutes into the forenoon watch on 21 October 1944, Cecil J. Doyle stood down the Sabine River and soon passed into the Gulf of Mexico, where she carried out structural firing of her 40- and 20-millimeter batteries and expended 24 plaster-loaded hedgehog projectiles, then a full power run. Setting course for Galveston, Texas, the new escort vessel moored at Todd's Dry Docks during the afternoon watch on the 22nd. Following drydocking there (22-26 October), the ship depermed alongside Pier 41 on the 27th, then shifted to Pier 29 later that afternoon. Outside of standing out of Galveston to calibrate her radio direction finder on 4 Novemnber, the ship continued her fitting out period remained alongside Pier 29 for the first few days in November.  Shifting to Texas City, Texas, to fuel at the Humble Oil Co. dock there (5 November), she returned to Galveston, then sailed  for Bermuda, British West Indies, reporting for duty soon after departing Pier 29 on 5 November.

Standing in to Great Sound, Bermuda, during the first dog watch on 10 November 1944, Cecil J. Doyle reported to Commander Task Group (TG) 23.1 (Commander DD-DE Shakedown Task Group) soon after her arrival that day, and the next day received her operating schedule. Underway early on 12 November, the ship exercised out of Great Sound (13-14 November), and Murray's Anchorage (14-15 November), operating off Bermuda each day.

On 16 November 1944, Cecil J. Doyle got underway at 0634 but experienced a casualty to no.1 main engine just 24 minutes later. Although she attempted to clear the channel and drop anchor, she ran aground off Ireland Point, Bermuda, at 0716, damaging her starboard propeller and  shaft. Two tugs soon arrived and towed the ship free at 1000 and took her to an anchorage in Great Sound. At 0725 the following day [17 November], the escort vessel got underway for Boston, standing in to Boston Harbor shortly after mid day on the 21st, and mooring at the navy yard soon thereafter. Entering dry dock on 29 November, she remained drydocked (save one period on 5-6 December) until 18 December. On that day, Lt. Cmdr. W. Graham Claytor, Jr., D-V(G), USNR, relieved Lt. Cmdr. Crocker of command. 

Cecil J. Doyle continued her concurrent repairs and post-shakedown availability at Boston through Christmas of 1944, completing her dock and sea trials (26 December) and  a full power run and a structural depth charge practice (28 December). Underway for Bermuda on 29 December, she arrived there on the last day of the year 1944, reporting to Commander TG 23.1 in the destroyer tender Altair (AD-11) to continue her shakedown.

For over a fortnight, Cecil J. Doyle participated in a wide variety of training: anti-submarine attack exercises with the old (1928) Italian submarine Giovanni da Procida  (2-3 January and 5 January 1945), formation steaming, gunnery and combat information center (CIC) exercises with the destroyer Soley (DD-707); an anti-wolf pack screening exercise (7 January); short range battle practice, and practice in night illumination and night screening (8-9 January); day and night battle practice and exercises in passing mail and towing with Albert T. Harris (DE-447) (11-12 January); anti-submarine attack exercises with the newer (1938) Italian mine-laying submarine Atropo (13 January); a fueling-at-sea exercise with oiler Chiwawa (AO-68) (14 January); anti-aircraft battle ptractice, shore bombardment exercises, night convoy screening, depth charge and hedgehog firing exercises (15-16 January); killer group anti-submarine training (18 January); and anti-submarine training with the U.S. submarine R-9 (SS-86) (19 January). Upkeep alongside Altair, at moorings in Great Sound or in Murray's Anchorage punctuated her underway periods,

Near the end of her shakedown period, Cecil J. Doyle put to sea during the first watch on 19 January 1945  in company with Bivin (DE-536) for a "special aircraft rescue patrol," plane-guarding for the flights of Yalta-bound officials. She reached her station (34°10'N, 68°15'W) the following day, parting company with Bivin at 1319. Cecil J. Doyle steamed "on various courses and various speeds" on station until relieved by the USCG-manned frigate Moberly (PF-63) on station at 2250 on 21 January. Pursuant to orders, the escort vessel met the submarine rescue vessel Escape (ARS-6) one hour into the afternoon watch on the 22nd to exercise at fueling astern. She wrapped up her shakedown with fighter director exercises at sea off Bermuda (24 January), then underwent a departure inspection conducted by Commander, DD-DE Shakedown Group (25 January) while she lay moored in Great Sound.

After awaiting orders (26-29 January 1945), Cecil J. Doyle got underway at 1630 on 30 January 1945 with orders to meet Convoy UC-53B and the British escort aircraft carrier HMS Ranee.  Steaming singly, the escort vessel encountered a Force 8 wind and sea, and squalls of snow and sleet that reduced visibility to 500 yards, but made contact with Commander Task Unit (TU) 61.1.2 by voice radio at 0800. Effecting a rendezvous shortly before mid day, Cecil J. Doyle was immediately detached to escort Ranee, with the carrier's commanding officer acting as commander TG 21.2.; the two ships set course for the Canal Zone. The escort vessel carried out her initial transit of the Panama Canal (1200-2000) on 6 February, and fueled at Balboa upon completion of the passage. Underway at 1700 the following day, the warship met her British charge in Balboa Harbor and set course for San Diego, California. During the passage, Cecil J. Doyle's gunners, from those on the 5-inchers to those on the Oerlikons, fired target practice on balloons (12 February), then fired practice again two days later, in addition to laying smoke and conducting a flag hoist drill with her Royal Navy charge. Detached by Ranee's captain on 15 February, Cecil J. Doyle proceeded independently to San Diego, mooring at the Destroyer Repair Base later that day

Fueling, taking on supplies, and undergoing voyage repairs occupied Cecil J. Doyle for the next few days (16-18 February 1945), then she sailed for the Hawaiian Islands at 1610 on 19 February, setting course for the island of Oahu. She conducted gunnery practice with all ready guns on 23 February, but changed course in accordance with a despatch from Commander Western Sea Frontier, 20 minutes into the mid watch on the 24th. She steamed at 20 knots and set course to proceed to 28°27'N, 144°46'W to conduct a search for an enemy submarine. Arriving on station at 1450 that same day, the ship conducted a search, but had to report "results negative" the following day. Setting course at 1900, Cecil J. Doyle arrived at Pearl Harbor at 0830 on 28 February, after which time she fueled to capacity at berth H-2, South Channel, then moored in berth D-5, Middle Loch, reporting to Commander Destroyers, Pacific Fleet "ready for duty."

Cecil J. Doyle continued on to Pearl Harbor and Eniwetok, where she arrived 28 March to join the Marshalls-Gilbert Patrol and Escort Group. Her escort duties took her to Guam, and Ulithi, where on 30 April she was transferred to the Carolines Surface Patrol and Escort Group. On 2 May, Cecil J. Doyle's commanding officer became Commander, Screen, Peleliu, protecting the great anchorage in Kossol Roads.

While on patrol, Cecil J. Doyle several times rescued downed aviators, a-d on 27 May 1945, bombarded a bypassed Japanese garrison on Koror Island. On 2 August, she was ordered to the rescue of a large group of men in rafts reported at 11-30' N., 133-30' E., and bent on top speed to be the first to reach the survivors of torpedoed Indianapolis (CA-35). It was Cecil J. Doyle's melancholy duty to radio the first report of the cruiser's loss. She rescued 93 survivors, and gave final rites to 21 found already dead. Remaining in the area searching until 8 August, Cecil J. Doyle was the last to leave the scene.

From 26 August 1945, when she sailed into Buckner Bay, Okinawa, the destroyer was assigned to occupation duty. She sailed with hospital ships to Wakayama, Japan, to evacuate released prisoners of war, then screened carriers providing air cover for landing of occupation troops. Through 12 November, she cruised on courier duty between Japanese ports, and after dry-docking at Yokosuka, sailed for San Francisco, arriving 13 January 1946. She was decommissioned and placed in reserve at San Diego 2 July 1946.

Published: Wed Jun 01 21:24:09 EDT 2016