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Ulvert M. Moore (DE-442)


Ulvert Mathew Moore, born on 26 August 1917 at Williamson, W.Va., enlisted in the Naval Reserve on 15 October 1940 at Washington, D.C., and served as a seaman 2nd class until appointed an aviation cadet on 14 January 1941. After flight training at Jacksonville and Miami, Fla., into the summer of 1941, Moore then received advanced carrier training at Norfolk, Va.

Assigned to Torpedo Squadron (VT) 8, embarked in Hornet (CV-8), soon thereafter, Moore was killed in action on 4 June 1942, during the Battle of Midway. Flying a Douglas TBD-1 Devastator, side number T-8 (BuNo 0324) Ens. Moore and ARM3c W.F. Sawhill, his radiio gunner, perished in VT-8's gallant torpedo attack, led by Lt. Cmdr. John C. Waldron, against the Japanese carrier Akagi of the Midway-bound task force under Vice Admiral Nagumo Chuichi. Moore was awarded a posthumous Navy Cross for pressing home his attack despite being grimly aware that VT-8 had neither fighter cover nor enough fuel to return to Hornet. However, the sacrifice of the torpedo squadrons was not in vain. The attack drew down the Japanese combat air patrol and left the skies above open for the attack of the dive bombers which soon crippled three Japanese carriers on the first day of the battle (the fourth carrier would be mortally wounded that afternoon) and thus paved the way to an American victory.

(DE-442: displacement 1,350; 1ength 306'; beam 36'8"; draft 9'5" (mean); speed 24 knots; complement 186; armament 2 5-inch, 4 40 millimeter, 10 20 millimeter, 3 21-inch torpedo tubes, 2 depth charge tracks, 8 depth charge projectors, 1 depth charge projector (hedgehog) ; class John C. Butler)

Ulvert M. Moore (DE-442) was laid down on 2 December 1943 at Houston, Tex., by the Brown Shipbuilding Co.; launched on 7 March 1944; sponsored by Mrs. L. E. Moore, mother of Ens. Moore; and commissioned on 18 July 1944, Lt. Cmdr. Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr., USNR, the son of the President, in command.

Following shakedown off Bermuda, the escort vessel screened Shamrock Bay (CVE-84) from New York to Norfolk on 18 September before departing the latter port on 5 October in company with Kendall C. Campbell (DE-443). The two DE's escorted Taluga (AO-62) and Aucilla (AO-56) to Aruba, Dutch West Indies, and thence conveyed them to the Canal Zone before continuing on by themselves to the west coast of the United States, arriving at San Diego on 22 October.Ulvert M. Moore and her sister ship subsequently sailed for the Hawaiian Islands, escorting Colorado (BB-46) from San Pedro to Pearl Harbor between 24 and 30 October.

When Ulvert M. Moore had refueled there, urgent orders sent her to sea to join a hunter-killer group based around Corregidor (CVE-58) which was searching for I-12. That Japanese submarine had torpedoed and sunk the American merchantman SS John A. Johnson on 30 October. Corregidor's unit, designated Task Group (TG) 12.3, operated between Hawaii and the west coast until 19 November, when it returned to Pearl Harbor.

After repairs alongside Yosemite (AD-19) from 20 to 23 November, Ulvert M. Moore put to sea on the 24th with TG 12.4, centered around Tulagi (CVE-72), bound for the Carolines, via Eniwetok in the Marshalls. TG 12.4 conducted antisubmarine patrols en route and reached Eniwetok on 2 December and Ulithi on the 7th. Upon its arrival at the latter, the group was reclassifled TG 30.6. The destroyer escort and her mates then operated on antisubmarine patrols in an area from the Marianas in the north to the Palaus in the south.

Following this duty, Ulvert M. Moore replenished her stores at Kossol Roads, Palaus, and got underway on New Year's Day 1945 as part of the screen for TG 77.4, the 14 escort aircraft carriers which would furnish close air support for the landing operations on Luzon and provide air cover for the fire support group, TG 77.2, bound for Luzon. Snooping Japanese planes showed up on the 3d, approached the formation, but kept just out of range.

Ulvert M. Moore went to general quarters twice in the predawn hours of 4 January 1945, fueled from Suamico (AO-49), and spent the afternoon delivering mail via highline transfer to other ships in the task force. While she was casting off from alongside Minneapolis (CA-36), her lookouts noted a Japanese plane slipping into the return flight pattern of the carriers. This kamikaze soon crashed into Ommaney Bay (CVE-79) shortly after 1714, 1,000 yards away from Ulvert M. Moore's starboard bow.

A heavy explosion rocked the "jeep carrier" from stem to stern, and large fires soon broke out along her starboard side. The destroyer escort headed for the scene at full speed and picked up four men, one of whom died before he could be brought aboard ship. All three suffered from flash burns and shock. Ommaney Bay continued to burn fiercely and eventually had to be sunk by a torpedo from Burns (DD-588) at 1845 that day.

With bogies in the vicinity at 0039 on 5 January 1945, Ulvert M. Moore went to general quarters and remained there until 0205. The destroyer escort went to general quarters three more times that day, wice for enemy aircraft and once for a contact which turned out to be friendly. At 1655, the escort vessel received reports of approaching enemy aircraft. Soon Japanese torpedo planes attacked the starboard side of the formation, giving Ulvert M. Moore a few moments before three "Oscar" fighters approached from port. Opening fire from 5,000 yards with her 5-inch battery and from 3,000 yards with her 40-millimeter Bofors guns, Ulvert M. Moore downed one "Oscar" which burst into flames and disintegrated.

Elsewhere in the immediate vicinity, Japanese planes crashed into the Australian heavy cruiser HMAS Australia and Stafford (DE-411). The latter, holed on her starboard side aft, between the after engine room and fire room, initially seemed lost as fire broke out on board. Ulvert M. Moore closed to port and took off 54 men and 3 officers while Halligan (DE-584) nudged alongside to starboard and took off additional crewmen.

Ulvert M. Moore received orders to stand by Stafford, along with Halligan and the fleet tug Quapaw (AT-12) which arrived to take the stricken destroyer escort in tow. Gunfire from Halligan and Ulvert M. Moore splashed a "Val" dive-bomber early on the 6th, before Ralph Talbot (DD-390) relieved Halligan at 1849 on that day. Another Japanese plane ventured too close to the little formation on the 7th, and Ulvert M. Moore's gunners splashed it.

After transferring the crewmen of Stafford, who had been embarked in Ulvert M. Moore, to Ralph Talbot, the destroyer escort resumed antisubmarine patrols in the vicinity of Mindoro Island as part of Task Unit (TU) 77.4.1. While thus engaged, she received orders to assist La Vallette (DD-448) in searching for a Japanese submarine reported by a plane to be running on the surface in the vicinity. Accordingly, Goss (DE-444) accompanied Ulvert M. Mooreand joined La Vallette and Jenkins (DD-447). At 1557 on 30 January, La Vallette made contact and dropped a depth charge barrage but observed no results and soon lost the contact. The group continued to search throughout the night with negative results.

On 31 January 1945, Ulvert M. Moore secured from the search at 1607 and steamed to join up with TG 77.4. En route, the destroyer escort received a radio message from Boise (CL-47) telling of a surfaced submarine on a southeast bearing 8 miles away. Bell (DD-587) and O'Bannon (DD-450) left Boise's screen to investigate. Bell closed to four miles before the enemy submarine, identified by postwar accounting as RO-115,  submerged. At 2037, Ulvert M. Moore received orders to assist in the search and arrived at the scene to complete the hunter-killer group. The destroyer escort detected the submarine at 2152 but briefly lost the contact. Regaining the contact at 2210, she fired her first "hedgehog" pattern four minutes later. At 2227, she fired another "hedgehog" pattern; and three explosions rumbled up from below, muffled noises intermingling with "crunching noises." Twice more, the destroyer escort attacked like a persistent terrier. Another pattern of 7.2-millimeter projectiles left the "hedgehog" mount at 2302, hit the water and plunged downward; 12 seconds later a sharp "crack" followed, as did "distinct and definite bubbling and hissing noises." Men on the destroyer escort's fantail reported seeing a large bubble burst on the surface.

Ulvert M. Moore closed the vicinity of the strong contact at 2336 and again at midnight. The eighth attack groved to be the killer; for, 15 seconds after the "hedgehog" depth charges hit the water, three violent explosions sent out concussions felt by topside personnel in Ulvert M. Moore and the three other ships. A last explosion rumbled up from below, the death agony of the RO-boat and a "definite bluish light similar to burning gas" was noted. For two hours, the ships searched the vicinity to confirm the "kill." Men topside in Ulvert M. Moore noted the strong odor of diesel oil, an object which resembled a life jacket, small boxes and pieces of deck planking, and a considerable amount of paper.

Ulvert M. Moore retired to Ulithi and remained there from 6 to 18 February 1945 before departing with other ships of CortRon 70 and Tulagi, as part of TU 50.7.3 to provide antisubmarine protection for the carriers which would furnish close air support for the forces attacking Iwo Jima. The ship thus began her most grueling period, as she steamed continuously for 78 days to support this operation and the subsequent one against Okinawa. The destroyer escort operated with Tulagi and, later, Anzio (CVE-57), southeast of Okinawa. During the Okinawa operation, President Roosevelt died on 12 April, a loss felt not only by the nation and the Fleet, but by Comdr. Roosevelt, Ulvert M. Moore's commanding officer.

Returning to Guam on 6 June, Ulvert M. Moore soon shifted to Ulithi for major repairs. On 19 June 1945, the escort vessel put to sea with TG 30.8, the group providing logistics support for Adm. William F. Halsey Jr.s air strikes against the Japanese home islands. She operated with this unit until returning to Guam on 24 July. Three days later, the ship joined the hunter-killer group based around Salamaua (CVE-96), in operating on antisubmarine patrol northeast of Luzon.

Two atomic bombs, dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August, respectively, hastened the collapse of Japanese resistance. At this time, Ulvert M. Moore was operating with Salamaua on antisubmarine patrol east of Formosa, a duty in which she remained engaged until putting into Leyte on 25 August.

Ulvert M. Moore screened TG 32.1, the supporting escorts for TF 32, then en route to Tokyo Bay for the Japanese surrender. On 2 September 1945, the escort vessel entered Tokyo Bay, in the words of her ship's historian, as "a fitting culmination to approximately 14 months of strenuous operation."

After conducting antisubmarine and mine patrol duties in Japanese home waters, escorting Japan-bound transports with occupation forces embarked, and destroying floating mines with light-caliber gunfire, Ulvert M. Moore operated in the Philippines into the winter before she returned via Pearl Harbor to the United States. Arriving at San Diego on 22 November 1945, the destroyer escort was decommissioned there on 24 May 1946 and placed in reserve.

Ulvert M. Moore remained inactive until the onset of the Korean War in the summer of 1950. The escort vessel was accordingly recommissioned at San Diego on 27 January 1951 and assigned to CortRon 9. After shakedown, she departed San Diego on 19 April, bound for the Far East.

Arriving at Sasebo, Japan, on 17 May 1951, Ulvert M. Moore joined Task Force 72 for Formosa patrol duty, standing guard off Taiwan, to deter against possible communist Chinese incursions against the Nationalist Chinese. The destroyer escort was detached from this duty on 10 June and arrived at Buckner Bay two days later. She then conducted hunter-killer exercises as she steamed north to Japan.

Arriving at Yokosuka on 16 June, she departed there nine days later and headed for the west coast of Korea to join the British carrier HMS Glory for screen and patrol duty. In August, Ulvert M. Moore participated in bombardment and covering operations at Wonsan, Korea, during minesweeping operations there and came under fire for the first time from communist shore batteries. Her guns covered the retirement of the more lightly constructed minecraft and earned the ship a "well done." After conducting frequent patrols north to Songjin and Chongjin, Korea, for shore bombardment and anti-junk patrol, the destroyer escort put into Sasebo on 25 August for refit.

The following month, Ulvert M. Moore continued her operations off the coast of Korea undertaking bombardment and call-fire missions in support of United Nations ground troops at Wonsan, Songjin, and Chongjin on the east coast of Korea. Near the end of the month, the ship proceeded towards Okinawa, conducting hunter-killer exercises en route.

However, Typhoon "Ruth" prevented successful completion of their evolution and forced Ulvert M. Moore and the other ships of CortRon 9 back towards Korea. Arriving off Hungnam on 14 October, the destroyer escort proceeded to her interdiction patrol station and watched for enemy junk traffic off the coast. Early on the morning of 17 October, communist shore batteries shelled the ship, lobbing a salvo close aboard the escort vessel. One shell hit the after steering engine room, and fragments killed one man almost instantly. In addition, the splinters wounded an officer and an enlisted man. Efficient and rapid damage control work soon repaired the damage, allowing the ship to return to action. Ulvert M. Moore remained on the station, conducting shore bombardment, serving on antisubmarine patrol, and patrolling to locate and destroy enemy junks or mines, until she departed Korean waters on 6 November, arriving at San Diego, via Japan, on 26 November.

After an overhaul at the San Francisco Naval Shipyard and antisubmarine and air defense training off the coast of California, Ulvert M. Moore got underway for the Far East and her second tour off Korea, departing San Diego on 18 October 1952.

Ulvert M. Moore subsequently took part in operations interdicting communist coastal rail traffic and harassing enemy logistics movements. She remained thus engaged until 19 December before conducting a period of hunter-killer exercises off Okinawa between 27 December 1952 and 9 January 1953.

On 31 March, Ulvert M. Moore's commanding officer assumed duties as Commander Task Group (CTG) 95.3, to enforce Japanese and South Korean fishing rights Off Korean coastlines, before she sailed for the west coast of the United States, making port at San Diego on 6 June 1953. After conducting local operations, including antisubmarine, air defense, and type training evolutions, Ulvert M. Moore again sailed for the Far East, departing the west coast for Yokosuka on 20 May 1954.

During this tour, the ship's duties consisted primarily of escorting fleet tankers and ammunition ships. In addition, she also participated in a marine landing exercise, a hunter-killer training operation, and conducted antisubmarine exercises with Colombian, British, and Dutch naval units. She weathered three major typhoons during the deployment: "Grace," while moored at Sasebo; "June," during a sortie with a typhoon-evasion task force from Tokyo Bay; and "Lorna," while at sea off the southeast coast of Japan. Upon completion of her tour, Ulvert M. Moore departed Yokosuka, bound for San Diego via Midway and Pearl Harbor. While en route home, she encountered a storm which battered her for 10 days and produced many heavy rolls in the storm-tossed seas.

Ulvert M. Moore subsequently conducted three more WestPac deployments into 1958. During one of these, in early 1958, she participated in Operation "Skyhook." Placed out of commission, in reserve, on 10 October 1958 at Astoria, Oreg., the destroyer escort remained inactive until struck from the Navy list on 1 December 1965. She was authorized for destruction as a target vessel on 18 April 1966 and subsequently sunk off San Nicholas Isle on 13 July 1966 by aircraft fromCoral Sea (CVA-43) and by surface gunfire.

Ulvert M. Moore (DE-442) was awarded five battle stars for her World War II service and three for Korea.

Robert J. Cressman

Updated, 10 February 2021

Published: Wed Feb 10 09:01:15 EST 2021