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Knight (DD-633)

Austin Melvin Knight, born in Ware, Mass., 16 December 1854, graduated from the Naval Academy in 1873. After service as a Passed Midshipman, he was commissioned Ensign 16 July 1874. He served in various sea and shore assignments over the next two decades, including tours at the Naval Academy, and in Tuscarora, Constellation, Chicago, Monadnock, and Lancaster.

During the Spanish-American War he served in Puritan, blockading the coasts of Cuba and Puerto Rico. After attending the Naval War College at Newport in 1901, he commanded several ships during the next decade including Yankton, Washington (ACR-11), and Castine. Knight was promoted to Captain in 1907 and was commissioned Rear Admiral 29 January 1911. Subsequently he served twice as Commander in Chief, Atlantic Reserve Fleet, and commanded the Special Squadron and the Narragansett Bay Naval Station.

From 15 December 1913 to 16 February 1917 he served with distinction as President, Naval War College. On 22 May 1917, he took command of the Asiatic Fleet with the rank of Admiral (temporary); he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal during Allied naval operations at Vladivostok, Siberia. He transferred to the retired list 16 December but subsequently served on active duty from 13 March 1919 until 30 June 1920 as Senior Member, Board of Awards. He died 26 February 1927, at Washington, D.C., and was buried at the Naval Academy Cemetery. On 17 November 1930, Austin Melvin Knight was commissioned Admiral posthumously on the Retired List from 26 February 1927. 

(DD-633: dp. 1,630; l. 348'4"; b. 36'1"; dr. 17'5"; s. 35 k.; cpl. 261; a. 4 5", 4 40mm., 4 20mm., 5 21" tt, 6 dcp., 2 dct.; cl. Heaves)

Knight (DD-633) was laid down 18 March 1941, by Boston Navy Yard; launched 27 September 1941; sponsored by Miss Elizabeth H. Royal, granddaughter of Admiral Knight; and commissioned 23 June 1942, Lt. Comdr. Richard B. Levin in command.

After shakedown off New England, Knight arrived Norfolk 6 October to prepare for Operation "Torch," the invasion of North Africa. She cleared Chesapeake Bay 23 October, joined her task force on the 27th, and arrived off Safi, French Morocco, 8 November. After serving as landing control ship, during the assault, she conducted antisubmarine patrols until she sailed 13 November for the United States, arriving Norfolk 24 November.

From 12 December to 28 April 1943, Knight escorted three convoys between New York and the Moroccan ports of Casablanca and Fedhala. Steaming to Norfolk 29 May, she departed 8 June in convoy for the Mediterranean, where she arrived Oran, Algeria, 22 June to prepare for the invasion of Sicily. Sailing 5 July with Rear Admiral A. G. Kirk's Task Force 85, she arrived off Scoglitti during first watch 9 July. As a fire support ship during "Cent" Force landings on the 10th, she silenced enemy shore batteries and screened transports from hostile submarines and planes. On the llth she downed an attacking enemy fighter and on the 13th sailed, arriving Oran 16 July.

Knight made escort and patrol runs along the Algerian and Tunisian coasts, then returned to Sicily 31 July to provide effective fire support for General Patton's 7th Army. She operated out of Palermo until 22 August, helping repel several German night-bombing attacks and bombarding targets along the northern coast to Cape d'Orlando. While on an escort run to Malta 11 August, she rescued two sailors who were knocked overboard Brant (ARS-32) when the salvage repair ship, displaying inadequate recognition signals, was shelled and damaged by friendly gunfire the previous day. After escorting convoys between Palermo and Bizerte, Tunisia, Knight returned to Sicily 7 September for the invasion of Italy.

As flagship for Task Group 80.4, Knight closed Ventotene Island off Gaeta, Italy, 8 September and supported the capture of German and Italian troops on the 9th. Arriving Salerno Bay 10 September with 87 German prisoners embarked, she fought off enemy air attacks the 10th and llth that damaged Savannah (CL-42). The destroyer then supported the capture of Capri 13 September. During the next 2 weeks she operated along the coast of Italy in search of enemy submarines and supply convoys; and she guarded transports in the Gulf of Salerno from intermittent air attacks. On 27 September she embarked Rear Admiral Richard L. Conolly and sailed for Tunisia, arriving Bizerte the 28th. Proceeding along the North African coast, she departed Oran 30 September for the United States, arriving New York 9 October.

Between 21 October and 1 May 1944, Knight engaged in five Atlantic convoy escort runs from New York to ports in the United Kingdom. On 17 May she again sailed for the Mediterranean from Norfolk, reaching Oran 28 May. For almost 2% months she steamed from North Africa to Italy and Gibraltar on antisubmarine patrols and escort missions. Returning New York from Oran 22 August, she resumed convoy escort duty to the British Isles 20 September. After two runs to England, she again took up convoy operations in the Mediterranean, making three runs between Norfolk and Oran from 28 December to 2 June 1945.

From 3 June to 24 July Knight was converted to a high-speed minesweeper at Philadelphia Navy Yard. Re-classified DMS^40 on 23 June, she arrived Norfolk 25 July, received intensive training in minesweeping, and departed 12 August for the Pacific. Steaming via San Diego and Pearl Harbor, she reached Okinawa 28 September. Assigned to Mine Squadron 21, she departed Okinawa 16 October for the Yellow Sea, where she swept for mines from 19 October to 16 November. Her operations between Okinawa and the Japanese home islands continued until 24 February 1946, when she departed Kobe for the United States, arriving San Francisco 5 April. Knight steamed to Bremerton, Wash., 27 to 30 November and decommissioned 19 March 1947. Reclassi-fied DD-633 on 15 July 1955. Knight was berthed in the Pacific Reserve Fleet at Stockton, Calif., until she was struck from the Navy List 1 December 1966. As of 1 September 1967 Knight is scheduled to be used as a target off San Diego.

Knight received four battle stars for World War II.

Published: Thu Mar 31 11:15:22 EDT 2016