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Lloyd E. Acree (DE-356)


Lloyd Edgar Acree was born in Beggs, Okla., on 31 July 1920 to Elza A. and Leora T. [Tapp] Acree. His family moved to Tulsa, Okla., the year after he was born. He graduated from Central High School in 1939 and the following year, on 17 October 1940, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy at Dallas, Texas. His brother Paul H. Acree joined just a few months later, and endeavored, albeit unsuccessfully, to be assigned to the same ship as his brother, a practice encouraged by the Navy.

Acree attended training at the Naval Training Station, San Diego, Calif., and was then assigned to the heavy cruiser Salt Lake City (CA-25) effective 10 December 1940. He received promotion to seaman second class on 17 February 1941 and then to seaman first class on 1 July of that same year. A few months later, on 1 August 1941, he promoted to his final rating of aviation ordnanceman third class.

Salt Lake City accompanied the aircraft carrier Enterprise (CV-6) as the carrier was returning from delivering fighters (Grumman F4F-3 Wildcats) to Wake Island, on 7 December 1941. On that date, Japan launched a surprise attack against U.S. forces on Oahu, marking the beginning of the U.S. entrance into the Second World War.

Anxious family members felt some relief when Acree sent them the simple message “All OK,” a few days after Pearl Harbor. With the war in full swing, he started to write home regularly. In his last letter, dated 21 September 1942, he expressed how much he was looking forward to the day he could get back home, “someday, when the war is over…”

In August 1942, American forces in the Southwest Pacific began doggedly trying to stem the tide of Japanese expansion in the Solomon Islands. U.S. marines landed at Guadalcanal on 7 August, and shortly afterwards began improving an airfield, but with only minimal re-enforcements and an incessant Japanese counterattacks by land and sea, the campaign waxed and waned. Salt Lake City took part in the operations in the area from the very beginning and along with a handful of other cruisers and destroyers represented the bulk of the U.S. naval assets in theater to combat the Japanese.

Following a disastrous U.S. naval defeat off Savo Island (8–9 August 1942), as well as in continued Japanese naval bombardments and re-enforcement efforts at Guadalcanal, Rear Adm. Norman Scott received orders to form a task force to intercept Japanese ships known as “the Tokyo Express,” en route to re-supply Japanese forces at Guadalcanal. The U.S. force, Task Group (TG) 64, consisted of four cruisers, which included Salt Lake City, and five destroyers. 

Late on the night of 11 October 1942, TG 64 encountered a large Japanese cruiser-destroyer bombardment group off Cape Esperance, the northernmost point of Guadalcanal, and a furious night battle ensued. In the midst of the engagement, known as the Battle of Cape Esperance, a Japanese shell burst close aboard the starboard side of Salt Lake City and sprayed the cruiser with shell fragments. Acree was loading a 5-inch shell into the No. 3 gun when shrapnel from the explosion tore into his arm and abdomen. He fell to the deck in agonizing pain but, despite his injuries, desperately and gallantly clung to the shell he had been holding in order to prevent it from exploding. Although quickly treated, he succumbed to his mortal wounds a short time later. Salt Lake City, although badly damaged, survived the fight, to do her part in the war effort. Lloyd Acree, the young Oklahoman, was awarded the Navy Cross (posthumously) for his singular act of selfless bravery.


(DE-356: displacement 1,350; length 306'; beam 36'8"; draft 9'5"; speed 24 knots; complement 186; armament 2 5-inch, 4 40-millimeter, 10 20-millimeter, 3 21-inch torpedo tubes; 8 depth charge projectors, 1 depth charge projector (hedgehog), 2 depth charge tracks; class John C. Butler)

Lloyd E. Acree (DE-356) was laid down on 24 January 1944 at Orange, Texas, by Consolidated Steel Corp.; launched on 3 June 1944 and sponsored by Mrs. Leora T. [Tapp] Acree, AOM3c Acree’s mother.

Commissioned on 1 August 1944, at Houston, Texas, Lt. Cmdr. John E. Greenbacker in command, Lloyd E. Acree took on provisions, ammunition and fuel. The following week, on 7 August, the escort ship got underway to conduct structural firing tests in the local area. On 8 August, she steamed into the Bolivar Channel, Galveston, Texas, and entered the dry dock at Todd Galveston shipyard. Two days later, she moved into regular moorings at the dock in Galveston and continued preparations for her upcoming shakedown.

On 18 August 1944, Lloyd E. Acree fueled to capacity at Baytown, Texas, and the next morning at 1005, got underway for her shakedown at Great Sound, Bermuda, British West Indies. Travelling in company with fellow escort ship Haas (DE-424) the pair arrived at Great Sound on 26 August and Lloyd E. Acree dropped her anchor in five fathoms of water. For the next month, the ship participated in vigorous training exercises as a part of Task Group 23.1 Operational Training Command. The escort ship finally completed her shakedown on 23 September, and steamed that same day to Boston, Mass. She arrived on the 24th and moored port side to pier 7 in East Boston. Lloyd E. Acree remained at anchor in Boston from 24 September to 5 October, for a period of post-shakedown availability.

Lloyd E. Acree stood out from Boston on 5 October 1944 to conduct “high speed tests of her pinion bearings” in the nearby waters of Broad Sound, Nahant, Mass. She returned to Boston later that evening, and then early the following day, weighed anchor and shaped a course for Kingston, Jamaica. At 1509 on 10 October, she arrived at the Trinidad Leasehold Fuel Dock, Kingston. On the 11th, Lloyd E. Acree joined company with Haas to escort the troop ship Duchess of Richmond to Bermuda. The ships arrived safely in Bermuda on 14 October, at which point Lloyd E. Acree began steaming independently for Norfolk, Va., arriving there on 16 October and mooring starboard side to Pier 22.  

Designated for service in the Pacific, on 21 October 1944, Lloyd E. Acree stood out from Norfolk and joined company with Escort Division (CortDiv) 82 headed for Balboa, Canal Zone. Other ships in her company included Doyle C. Barnes (DE-353), Kenneth M. Willett (DE-354), Jaccard (DE-355), George E. Davis (DE-357) and Mack (DE-358). Lloyd E. Acree and her cohorts arrived at the Canal Zone on 26 October and transited the Panama Canal the following day. On the 28th, Lloyd E. Acree steamed out of Balboa in company with George E. Davis for the Galapagos Islands. 

CortDiv82 reconstituted in the area of the Galapagos on 31 October 1944, and set a course for Bora Bora, Society Islands. Following a week of hard steaming Lloyd E. Acree arrived at Faanui Bay, Bora Bora, on 12 November. Underway early the next day Lloyd E. Acree and the rest of CortDiv82 continued on to Espíritu Santo, New Hebrides Islands, arriving at Segond Channel, Espíritu Santo, on the 21st. At last, on 28 November, CortDiv82 arrived at Humboldt Bay, Hollandia, New Guinea, to begin operating with the Seventh Fleet.  

On 8 December 1944, Lloyd E. Acree steamed with CortDiv82 to Mios Woendi, Padaido Islands, New Guinea. They arrived without incident the following day and then spent a few days moored at the port. Lloyd E. Acree stood out from Mios Woendi on the 11th and followed a coastal route to Hollandia, arriving on 12 December. The next day the escort ship joined with Task Unit (TU) 76.4.21 safeguarding a convoy of 44 merchant ships to Leyte, Philippines. Lloyd E. Acree arrived in San Pedro Bay, Leyte, on 21 December. She got underway again on 27 December for Kossol Roads, Paula Islands, arriving there on the 29th and anchoring in berth 90.  

Lloyd E. Acree stood out from Leyte on 1 January 1945 to escort convoy 7, to San Pedro Bay. The escort ship arrived at her destination without incident on the morning of the 4th. After topping off her fuel, she got underway again that same day in company with Jaccard to rendezvous with TU 76.4.27. On the 5th, Lloyd E. Acree met with the task unit at sea and took up her station screening approximately 60 ships en route to Leyte. She arrived at Leyte the following day and dropped her anchor in the harbor for the evening.

In company with fellow escort ships Jaccard, Key (DE-348) and Jessie B. Rutherford (DE-347), Lloyd E. Acree got underway on 7 January 1945 to escort convoy PH 1, composed of approximately 19 merchant ships. Following a weeklong voyage, she arrived at Hollandia on 13 January. Lloyd E. Acree remained at anchor at Hollandia for several days and then on the 15th joined with TU 76.4.3 escorting 48 ships to Leyte. Lloyd E. Acree arrived at her destination on 21 January and then made the voyage two more times, steaming from Leyte to Hollandia with convoy PH 4 (23–29 January); and Hollandia to Leyte with convoy GI 8 (31 January–6 February).

On 7 February 1945, Lloyd E. Acree sortied out from Leyte with TU 78.5, operating near the West Coast of Mindoro, Philippines, in support of troop landings near San Agustin, Mindoro. Acree departed the Mindoro area on 11 February and arrived back at Leyte on the 12th. The escort ship steamed out of Leyte on 15 February and arrived at the Ulithi Atoll on the 18th. She got underway again on 24 February with Jaccard escorting convoy A 1 to Leyte. She arrived at Leyte at the end of the month and then, on 1 March, got underway for Manus, Admiralty Islands, as an escort for convoy PM 1. She dropped her anchor in Seeadler Harbor the following day.

After spending a week at her moorings at Manus, Lloyd E. Acree got underway on 8 March 1945 with convoy AI 3 bound for Leyte, and arrived there on the 13th. On 16 March, she stood out from Leyte and steamed with convoy YLN 104 to Mindoro. While en route on the 17th, a torpedo crossed her bow and she executed an emergency turn. Following a brief search, in which, no submarines were located, she continued on course and arrived at Mangarin Bay, Mindoro, on 18 March.  

Upon her arrival in the Mindoro area, Lloyd E. Acree began an extended anti-submarine patrol in which she cruised on a near daily basis between Mangarin Bay, Manila Bay and Subic Bay, anchoring in the evenings at Subic. She dutifully executed these patrols from 18 March to 27 July 1945. A month into her patrol on 8 April, she rescued the survivors of a USAAF Consolidated B-24 Liberator that had crashed during a bombing run on Formosa [Taiwan]. In the course of her patrol duties, she also supported the training of Seventh Fleet submarines operating in that area.

At the end of July 1945, Lloyd E. Acree resumed her convoy duties. She departed Subic Bay on 27 July and arrived at Okinawa in the Ryūkyūs, on 1 August. Once at Okinawa the escort ship began a series of convoys. Okinawa to Manila with convoy OKI 101 (6–12 August); Manila to Okinawa with IOK 206 (17–21 August); Okinawa to Subic with OKI 104 (22–28 August); and then finally Subic to Hollandia (31 August–3 September). The war in the Pacific ended on 2 September 1945, when Japan formally surrendered on board the battleship Missouri (BB-63). Lloyd E. Acree meanwhile remained at port in Hollandia waiting to receive further orders while undergoing maintenance.

Much to the lament of Lt. Cmdr. Greenbacker and the rest of his crew, Lloyd E. Acree, rather than being allowed to return home, was selected for a post-war assignment in the Pacific. “All of our men wanted to get home to their loved ones,” Greenbacker recalled in the ship’s war history, “and it was sometimes difficult for them to realize how necessary those post-war assignments were for a speedy and safe demobilization.” To support the air traffic necessary for demobilization, the escort ship began conducting weather patrols, steaming from Hollandia to Manila (7–12 October 1945); Manila to Okinawa (9–17 November); Okinawa to Manila (20–28 November); and finally Manila to Samar (19–21 December).

Lloyd E. Acree’s weather patrols concluded in early February 1946, and on the15th, the escort ship got underway from Samar and steamed to Tsingtao [Qingdao], China. She arrived in the vicinity of that fabled port city on 20 February and then spent the next several months operating in the Yellow and East China Seas supporting Chinese Nationalist forces in their civil war with Chinese Communist forces. During this period, she steamed from Tsingtao to Shanghai, China (27 March) and then from Shanghai back to Tsingtao (1–5 April).

Lt. Cmdr. Greenbacker noted in his war history of the escort ship Lloyd E. Acree that “It was a happy day for all hands when, on the 15th of April, the Acree [sic] hoisted her homeward bound pennant and set sail for the United States.” On her voyage home, the escort ship traveled via Guam (20 April), Eniwetok Atoll, Marshalls (24 April), and Pearl Harbor (1 May), at last arriving at San Diego, Calif., on 11 May 1946.

With her arrival stateside Lloyd E. Acree’s veteran crew returned to their homes and just a few months later, on 10 October 1946, she was decommissioned at San Diego. On 20 November, of that same year, she was inactivated and joined the Pacific Reserve Fleet, berthing at Mare Island. On 28 March 1967, the escort ship moved from the Bethlehem Steel Company, San Francisco, Calif., to the Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility, Vallejo, Calif.

Lloyd E. Acree was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 15 Jan 1972. On 15 July 1973, ex-Lloyd E. Acree was sold to National Metal & Steel Corporation for scrapping.

Commanding Officers Dates of Command
Lt. Cmdr. John E. Greenbacker 1 August 1944–10 June 1946
Lt. (j.g.) Carl D. Ruetter 11 June 1946–10 September 1946

Jeremiah D. Foster

14 June 2019

Published: Mon Jun 17 07:45:33 EDT 2019