Hovey (Destroyer No. 208)
(DD-208: dp. 1,190; l. 314'4"; b. 30'8" ; dr. 9'3" ; s. 35 k.; cpl. 167; a. 4 4", 8 .50 cal. mg., 2 dct.; cl. Clemson)
Charles Emerson Hovey was born in Portsmouth, N.H., 10 January 1885. Ensign Hovey graduated from the Naval Academy in 1907. He served in Pampanga in the Philippines in 1911. While in charge of a shore party on the island of Basilan, Ensign Hovey was killed by gun shot when attacked by hostile natives 24 September 1911.
Hovey (Destroyer No. 208) was launched 26 April 1919 by William Cramp & Sons, Philadelphia ; sponsored by Mrs, Louise F. Kautz, sister of Ensign Hovey; and commissioned 2 October 1919, Comdr. Stephen B. McKinney in command.
After shakedown off the coast of Florida and in the Caribbean Hovey sailed from Newport 19 December 1919 in company with Chandler for the Azores and Brest, France, for duty as station ship. She sailed from Dalmatia, Italy 10 July 1920 for the Adriatic to deliver important papers and claims. Arriving Constantinople 12 July she later visited various Russian ports as station ship until 17 December when she sailed for Port Said, Egypt, and duty with the Asiatic Fleet in the Philippines. Hovey remained on the Asiatic station until she returned to San Francisco 2 October 1922, decommissioning at San Diego, 1 February 1923.
Hovey recommissioned 20 February 1930 at San Diego, Commander Stuart O. Greig in command. After shakedown out of San Diego and Mare Island she served principally as training ship for reservists until 9 April 1934 when she transited the Panama Canal, arriving New York 31 May. After training and fleet exercises out of New England and off the Florida coast, Hovey returned to San Diego 9 November. After overhaul at Mare Island, she resumed her operations along the West Coast with additional exercises and fleet problems in the Canal Zone and Hawaiian waters.
With the advances in technology and the good foresight and judgment of our naval leaders in strengthening America's Navy, Hovey converted to a high speed minesweeper and was reclassifled DMS-11 19 November 1940. After intensive training she sailed 4 February 1941 for duty at Pearl Harbor. When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor 7 December 1941 Hovey was steaming in company with Chandler as antisubmarine screen for Minneapolis, engaged in gunnery practice some 2C miles off Pearl Harbor. The minesweeper immediately took up patrol and convoy duty around Pearl Harbor until 20 May when she escorted a 20-ship convoy to San Francisco, arriving 31 May. Hovey returned to Pearl Harbor in mid-June and sailed 10 July for the southwest Pacific escorting Argonne in company with Southard. She reached the Fiji Islands 23 July and joined Minesweeping Group of Rear Adm. Richmond K. Turner's South Pacific Amphibious Force the 31st.
On 7 August during the invasion of Guadalcanal, the first amphibious assault in the long island-hopping campaign, Hovey was assigned a screening station for the transports. Then, shortly before 0800, she took a bombardment station to cover the landings east of Gavutu. Japanese shore batteries opened up but were quickly silenced by accurate fire from Hovey and the other ships providing fire support. She next joined other DMS's for sweeps between Gavutu and Bungana Islands. The next morning she steamed into Lengo Channel to help ward off an attack by a squadron of torpedo bombers. The fire from our own surface units was so intense that it caused the enemy to drop their torpedoes prematurely at too great a range, thereby rendering the attack almost totally ineffective.
Hovey continued her operations around Guadalcanal before retiring to New Caledonia 13 September for replenishment. From there she proceeded to Samoa before returning to Ndeni, Santa Cruz, with a reconnaissance party of Marines on board. Returning to New Caledonia, Hovey departed 10 October with two PT boats in tow and 127 drums of aviation gasoline on board, which she delivered to Tulagi two days later. Hovey continued escort duty between Guadalcanal and Espiritu Santo, until she returned to San Francisco 19 April 1943 for overhaul. She joined a convoy out of Mare Island 31 May for New Caledonia, arriving 10 August. She then resumed her escort and patrol duties until 30 October when she joined Rear Adm. T. S. Wilkinson's III Amphibious Force for the Cape Torokina landing, 1 November 1943. Never before in the Pacific had a major landing been made so close to a major enemy air base as Torokina was to Rabaul. But Wilkinson's force had excellent air coverage and the operations went off so well that he informed his transports that they could bombard Cape Torokina. For the next week during the seizure of Empress Augusta Bay, Hovey operated with the invasion forces, screening transports and making prelanding sweeps.
Hovey continued screening and escort duties in the Solomons until 5 April 1944 when she escorted Linden-wald from Tulagi to Majuro, Marshall Islands. She returned to Espiritu Santo 11 April and on the 20th joined Task Unit 34.9.3 (Captain Kane in Petrof Bay) delivering replacement planes to other carriers at Manus. The task unit rendezvoused 29 April with Fast Carrier Task Force 58 to furnish replacement planes for the first strikes on Truk. Proceeding to Florida Island, Hovey departed for the West Coast, arriving 31 May via Pearl Harbor.
Repairs complete, Hovey sailed for Pearl Harbor 29 July to become flagship for Mine Squadron Two (Commander W. R. Loud). She sortied from Port Purvis 6 September as part of the antisubmarine screen for Rear Admiral Oldendorf's Western Gunfire Support Group for operations in the southern Palaus. After sweeps between Angaur and Peleliu Islands and in Kossol Passage Hovey took up antisubmarine patrol in the transport area off Peleliu Island. She joined the Minesweeping and Hydrographic Group of Rear Adm. Thomas Sprague's Escort Carrier Group for the Invasion of Leyte (17-25 October 1944). On the 17th she began sweeping ahead of the high speed transports and fire support vessels in the approach to the landing beaches on Dinagat Island. After more sweeps through Looc Bay and the Tacloban-Dulag approach Hovey retired to Manus 25 October.
As flagship for Commander Loud's Minesweeping and Hydrographic Group, Hovey departed Manus 23 December, arriving Leyte Gulf the 30th. She sortied 2 January 1945, proceeded south through Suriago Strait and passed into the Mindanao Sea en route to the landings on Lingayen, Luzon. Many snoopers harassed the convoy during the night but no attacks developed until morning of the 3d. From then on the convoy was under air attack so much that Hovey had to adopt the policy of not firing unless she was directly under attack, lest she expend all her ammunition. By (i January the minesweepers were in the entrance to Lingayen Gulf. At 0800 the sweepers came under attack and Hovey immediately splashed one suicide plane. As the ships made a return sweep, two suicide planes made straight runs on the last two ships in the column, crashing Brooks and Long. Hovey slipped her gear and stood in to assist Long. Long's entire bridge and well deck was on fire, with intermittent explosions coming from the forward magazine and ready ammunition. Because of the explosions and air attacks, Hovey could not get alongside, but spent an hour picking up 149 survivors. At dark the sweepers made their night retirement and began steaming off the entrance to Lingayen Gulf. No more attacks occurred until 0425, 7 January, when enemy aircraft were picked up on radar. At 0450, one plane flying low to the water came in from the starboard quarter passing ahead of Hovey. A few moments later another plane coming from the port beam was put on fire by Chandler. This plane passed very low over Hovey and crashed on the starboard beam. At 0455, the instant the burning plane crashed, Hovey was struck by a torpedo on her starboard side in the after engineroom. Lights and power were lost instantly. The stern remained nearly level and sinking to the top of the after deck house, the bow listed 40 degrees to starboard and rose out of the water, the ship breaking in half. Two minutes later the bow listed to 90 degrees, rose vertically and rapidly sank in 54 fathoms of water, suffering 24 killed in addition to 24 more men who were survivors from Long and Brooks.
In 1778 John Paul Jones said "I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast for I intend to go in harms way". So it was with Hovey. Though lightly armed, she braved enemy shore fire, strafing and bombing attacks to complete minesweeping, fire support, escort duty, and many other missions. Constantly vigilant and ready for battle she fought her guns valiantly, inflicting serious damage on vital enemy units. She steamed boldly through enemy waters, contributing directly to the success of eight major operations. Her own gallant fighting spirit and the skill and courage of her entire crew reflected the highest credit upon Hovey and the U.S. Naval Service.
Hovey received eight battle stars for World War II service.