Naval History and Heritage Command

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Howorth (DD-592)

(DD-592: dp. 2,050; l. 376'6" ; b. 39'8"; dr. 17'9"; s. 35 k.; cpl. 273; a. 5 5", 5 40-mm., 7 20mm., 10 21" it, 6 dcp., 2 dct.; cl. Fletcher)

William L. Howorth was born in Massachusetts 16 July 1841, and was appointed Acting Master's Mate 29 April 1863. Attached to Monticello, a blockader off North Carolina, Howorth accompanied the redoubtable Lt. W. B. Gushing on a reconnaissance up the Cape Fear River to Wilmington 23-24 June 1864, gaining valuable information about Confederate defenses. Later in the year, Howorth joined Cushing's famous expedition up the Roanoke River to sink Confederate ram Albemarle. The ram was destroyed 27 October, but the launch carrying the Federal sailors was destroyed. Gushing and one other man escaped, while Howorth and others were captured. In his report Gushing noted: "Acting Master's Mate William L. Howorth, of the Monticello, showed, as usual conspicuous bravery." Howorth was promoted to Acting Master and exchanged in February 1865. Honorably discharged in October, he reentered the Navy in 1866 and was appointed ensign 12 March 1868. He resigned 4 April 1869.

Howorth (DD-592) was launched by Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, Wash., 10 January 1943; sponsored by Mrs. R. P. Bromley; and commissioned 3 April 1944, Comdr. E. S. Burns in command.

After exhaustive shakedown training had been completed, Howorth sailed 22 July 1944, screening a large convoy carrying Marines toward Pearl Harbor. The ship arrived 7 days later and began a second training period in Hawaiian waters. Departing 25 August she joined the 7th Fleet at Hollandia and, after brief stops at Purvis Bay and Manus on escort duty, she arrived at newly-taken Morotai 30 September. The next 2 weeks were spent in the busy Solomons on escort and antisubmarine duty.

Howorth steamed out of Humboldt Bay 16 October en route to Leyte. Arriving 22 October, three days after the initial landings, the ship guarded the transport anchorages while other fleet units decimated the Japanese in the epochal Battle for Leyte Gulf. She next made convoy voyages to Kossol Roads, Guam, and Manus before returning to Leyte for the Ormoc landings 7 December 1944. Next on the destroyer's schedule was the Mindoro operation. Howorth departed 12 December with Nashville and soon came under kamikaze attack. Upon arrival off Mindoro, the destroyer moved to Mangarin Bay for shore bombardment, aiding the assault troops by knocking out enemy emplacements. She was attacked by three suiciders, and while two were shot down close aboard, the third damaged Howorth's mast before splashing. Accordingly, the ship returned to Hollandia via Leyte, arriving 28 December. With the bases on Mindoro necessary for air support of Lingayen Gulf landings under construction, preparations continued for the invasion of Luzon.

The Lingayen operations got underway 9 January, and Howorth arrived with the first reinforcement group 13 January, after again fighting off suicide attacks en route. The ship was occupied until 1 February providing fire support to ground forces in the area, fighting off air attacks, and patrolling to seaward of the Gulf. From Luzon she sailed to Saipan 15 February to take part in rehearsals for the next major amphibious assault, Iwo Jima.

Howorth arrived off Iwo Jima with the invasion fleet 19 February and, as troops landed for what was to be one of the hardest fought campaigns of the war, she began nearly a month of continuous air action and shore bombardment. With accurate ground support fire Howorth contributed much to the taking of this strategic island. Departing 14 March, she spent only a short rest at Ulithi before getting underway again, this time for the Okinawa invasion, last stop on the island road to Japan itself.

The veteran destroyer screened a transport group from Ulithi, arriving Okinawa with the huge invasion fleet 1 April. Once again she performed shore fire and screening duties, and shot down many attacking aircraft as the Japanese made a desperate attempt to stop the landings. While proceeding with cruiser St. Louis to station 1 April, Howorth and the larger ship were attacked by no less than eight kamikazes. While literally splashing planes on every quarter, the destroyer was crashed in the superstructure. Nine men were billed, but while the fires were being extinguished the last kamikaze was shot down astern.

Howorth was routed back to the United States for repairs, arriving Mare Island 2 May 1945. After shakedown training in early July, the ship sailed 15 July for Pearl Harbor and was en route to Adak. Alaska 15 August when the surrender of Japan was announced. She departed Adak 31 August for Japanese waters to screen flight operations and receive former prisoners of war before mooring at Yokohama 17 September 1945. Escort work carried Howorth to Pearl Harbor and back to Japan in October. She sailed finally from Tokyo Bay 11 November, arriving San Francisco 28 November. She decommissioned 30 April 1946 at San Diego and remained in the Pacific Reserve Fleet until March 1962 when she was sunk in torpedo tests off San Diego.

Howorth received five battle stars for World War II service.

Published: Thu Mar 31 10:12:41 EDT 2016