Joseph Mason Reeves, born in Tampico, III., on 20 November 1872, graduated from the Naval Academy in 1894. Initially assigned to San Francisco (Cruiser No. 5), he served in Oregon (Battleship No. 3) during the Spanish-American War, participating in the action against Admiral Cervera's fleet at Santiago in June and July 1898. After the turn of the century, he served in San Francisco, Wisconsin (Battleship No. 9), and Ohio (Battleship No. 12) in addition to tours ashore at Newport and the Naval Academy, where he was an instructor in the Department of Physics and Chemistry (1906-08). Following duties as ordnance officer on board New Hampshire (Battleship No. 25), he served as ordnance officer in the staff of the Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet. Assignment to the Board of Inspection and Survey and a tour as Commanding Officer, Naval Coal Depot, Tiburon, Calif., followed. In April 1913 he assumed command of Jupiter (Collier No. 3), the Navy's first electrically propelled vessel. Detached in April 1914, he commanded St. Louis (Cruiser No. 20) and various other ships until assigned to Oregon, June 1915, as Commanding Officer. Detached for shore duty at the Mare Island Navy Yard, in June 1916, he commanded Maine (Battleship No. 10) during World War I, earning the Navy Cross for "exceptionally meritorious service" during that tour. After the war, he served as Naval Attache at Rome and in April 1921 assumed command of the armored cruiser Pittsburgh (CA-4). Captain of the Mare Island Navy Yard at the end of that year, he commanded North Dakota (BB-29), 1922-23, then attended and afterward served on the staff of the War College at Newport. After October 1925, he twice served as Commander, Aircraft Squadrons, Battle Fleet, interspersed with duty on the General Board, June 1929-June 1930. Fifteen months later he became Senior Member of the Board of Inspection and Survey, Pacific Coast Section. Another tour at Mare Island followed and in June 1933 he became Commander, Battleships, Battle Force, with the rank of vice admiral. Assigned Commander, Battle Force, U.S. Fleet, with the rank of admiral, the following month, he was designated Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Fleet, on 26 February 1934. In June 1936 he was ordered to Washington, D.C., where he served on the General Board until 23 November. Retired seven days later he was recalled to active duty on 13 May 1940. Advanced to vice admiral on the retired list, he served in the Office of the Secretary of the Navy from 21 May 1940 until 23 December 1946. He died at Bethesda, Md., on 25 March 1948.
(DLG-24: displacement 7,630 (full load); length 533’; beam 54’10”; draft 25’3”; speed 31+ knots; complement 377; armament 4 3-inch, 6 21-inch torpedo tubes, ASROC, DASH, Terrier missile system; class Leahy)
The second Reeves (DLG-24) was laid down 1 July 1960 by the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Wash.; launched 12 May 1962; sponsored by Mrs. Joseph M. Reeves, Jr., daughter-in-law of the late Vice Adm. J. M. Reeves; and commissioned 15 May 1964, Capt. Wynne A. Stevens, Jr., in command.
Following an extended trial and shakedown period, Reeves, a guided missile frigate homeported at Long Beach, underwent availability and further training and, on 10 April 1965, departed California for her first tour with the 7th Fleet in the western Pacific. Deployed for just over 6 months, she operated primarily in support of Allied operations in the Republic of Vietnam, serving as an AAW picket, first with TG 77.3 built on Oriskany (CVA-34), then with TG 77.6 centered on Midway (CVA-41). Returning to Long Beach 3 November, she conducted local operations for the remainder of the year and into 1966. On 26 May, she got underway for Japan and a 2-year non-rotated tour with the 7th Fleet. Arriving at her new homeport, Yokosuka, 16 June, she departed again in July and on the 7th anchored at Danang, RVN to begin another tour off that embattled coast. For the next 2 years, she regularly sailed south from Japan for air-sea rescue tours off Vietnam, compiling a total of 493 days underway, 312 of which were spent in the Gulf of Tonkin.
Rotated back to the United States in August 1968, Reeves operated out of Long Beach for the remainder of the year, participating in local operations and testing and evaluating radar systems. With the new year, 1969, however, Reeves was ordered to Bath, Maine, for overhaul and modernization. Arriving 31 March, she was placed out of commission, special, 10 April, and the extensive modification work was begun.
Reeves was recommissioned 29 August 1970 at Bath, Captain W. S. Mayer, USN, in command. She spent the period 10 September-19 November making the passage from Bath to her new home port, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The uncommonly long duration of the passage was due to frequent stops along the way at various places for additional work to be done and by a three-week refresher training period in the vicinity of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. After arriving at Pearl Harbor, Reeves engaged in numerous exercises and operations in the area around Hawaii.
June 1971 found her steaming westward for deployment in the Gulf of Tonkin. Reeves returned to Pearl Harbor 20 December 1971 and remained in the Hawaii-west coast area until September 1972, participating in various operations and exercises, notably a Midshipman cruise in July. She departed Hawaii, 18 September, headed for her second WestPac deployment since recommissioning, arriving in Subic Bay, Philippine Islands, 14 days later. After six months in the western Pacific, stationed off the coast of Vietnam, Reeves sailed into port at Pearl Harbor 17 March 1973.
Reclassified a guided missile cruiser CG-24, on 30 June 1975, Reeves was decommissioned and stricken from the Navy Register on 12 November 1993 at Pearl Harbor.
Reeves earned three battle stars for Vietnam service.
23 September 2005