Ellis II (Destroyer No. 154)
The first Ellis retained her Confederate name.
George Henry Ellis born in Peoria, Ill., in 1875, enlisted in the Navy in 1892. Chief Yeoman Ellis was killed 3 July 1898 while serving in Brooklyn during the Battle of Santiago. DD-154 was named in his honor.
The second Ellis (Destroyer No. 154) was launched 30 November 1918 by William Cramp & Sons, Philadelphia, Pa.; sponsored by Mrs. E. T. Stotesbury; and commissioned 7 June 1919, Lieutenant Commander T. E. Van Metre in command. She was reclassified AG-115 on 30 June 1945.
Ellis' first cruise, between 16 June 1919 and 15 August, was to the Black Sea, carrying Food Administration officials for famine relief work, and British and American military officers between Constantinople, Turkey; Varna, Bulgaria; and Batum, Russia. She returned to a year of exercises on the east coast and in the Caribbean. From 29 September 1920 to 16 March 1921 she was in reserve at Charleston. She sailed north to fire test torpedoes off Newport, lay again at Charleston from October 1921 through February 1922. On 27 February she entered Philadelphia Navy Yard, where she was out of commission from 17 June 1922 to 1 May 1930.
Ellis served with the Scouting Fleet along the east coast, off Panama and Cuba, and from March 1932 through October in exercises between San Diego and San Francisco. She was in rotating reserve at Norfolk and Boston in 1932 and 1933. In April 1933 she searched for the ill-fated airship Akron, and found wreckage off the New Jersey coast. Based on New York through the summer of 1933, she escorted the Presidential yacht along the New England coast to Campobello, Nova Scotia, where on 1 July she embarked President F. D. Roosevelt and his party, transferring them to Indianapolis (CA-35). She escorted Indianapolis to Annapolis, where the President again visited Ellis on 4 July. She also trained members of the Naval Reserve before departing New York 8 September for Key West.
The next year, Ellis cruised to Cuba, again escorted the President, this time in a private yacht, and on 24 October 1934 passed through the Panama Canal to be based on San Diego. Training operations took her to Alaska and Hawaii during the next year and a half, and on 7 June 1936 she returned to Miami for east coast reserve training duty until decommissioned at Philadelphia 16 December 1936.
Ellis was recommissioned 16 October 1939, and from her bases at Charleston and Norfolk, patrolled the east coast concentrating on antisubmarine warfare. Between 22 June and 21 July 1941, she sailed from Newport to escort transports carrying the first Marines to the occupation of Iceland, and a month later sailed to base at Argentia for escort duty to Iceland and to midocean rendezvous.
Returning at intervals to Boston for replenishment and repairs, she served thus until March 1942, when her operations were extended to the Virgin Islands. She escorted coastal convoys, on 15 July 1942 attacking a submarine off Cape Hatteras. From October 1942, she also guarded convoy routes between Trinidad and Brazil, and in March 1943 was assigned to transatlantic convoys.
Between 20 March 1943 and 25 June, Ellis escorted two top priority tanker convoys with Aruba oil for north Africa, then troop transports to Londonderry. From August to November, she twice guarded escort carriers ferrying Army planes to Ireland and north Africa. Ellis escorted SS Abraham, Lincoln to the Azores in January 1944, and while on patrol there rescued two downed British pilots. Returning to north African convoy duty, Ellis made two voyages from the east coast to Casablanca, Algiers, and Bizerte between February and June. On 11 May, off Bizerte, she was attacked by four bombers, three of which she had a hand in splashing, and drove the fourth away.
The remainder of the war, Ellis guarded carriers training pilots, experimented with torpedo aircraft, twice made escort voyages to Recife, Brazil. She was decommissioned at Norfolk 31 October 1945 and sold 20 June 1947.
Ellis received one battle star for World War II service.