The USS McMorris was the last of four Claud Jones-class destroyers that served in the United States Navy in the mid-20th Century. She was named in honor of Vice Admiral Charles McMorris, who served as the commander of Carrier Task Force 8 and chief of staff for Admiral Chester Nimitz during World War II.
The contract to build the USS McMorris was awarded to Avondale Marine Ways of Avondale, La. Her keel was laid down on Nov. 5, 1958. She was commissioned on March 4, 1960 and was assigned to the Pacific Fleet.
After a shakedown cruise and testing, the McMorris was based in San Diego as a member of Destroyer Squadron Three. In late 1960, the McMorris became the first U.S. Destroy to complete a non-stop, independent voyage across the Northern Pacific without logistical support. She made the 4,966 mile trip from San Diego to Yokosuka, Japan in exactly two weeks.
Between 1960 and 1964, the McMorris would make three Western Pacific patrols. In January 1965, she was re-assigned to Escort Squadron Five and based at Pearl Harbor. In the spring of that year, she was deployed to the Western Pacific again and entered the Vietnam combat zone. She served as the flagship for the commander of Operation Market Time, which was intended to cut off supplies carried from North Vietnam to the Viet Cong in South Vietnam by sea. She was also the first destroyer escort to take part in shore bombardment missions in support of American troops in South Vietnam.
In 1966, the McMorris was re-assigned to Escort Division 11 and was later awarded the division’s Battle Efficiency “E” for outstanding combat preparedness. On Jan. 31, 1967, the McMorris was involved in a collision with the USS Tombigbee off the coat of Hawaii. Two men onboard the McMorris were killed and seven injured as the ship suffered serious damage. She was towed into port and repaired.
In 1968, the McMorris was assigned to the newly-created Escort Squadron One. She would serve two more tours in the Western Pacific between 1969 and 1971. She received the Meritorious Unit Commendation for her role in several special operations in 1970 and was awarded the Arleigh Burke Award for the most improved ship in the Pacific Fleet for 1970-71. She received a second Battle “E” in 1971 as well. She would receive another Meritorious Unit Commendation in 1972.
The McMorris, like the other members of the Claud Jones class, was somewhat experimental. A diesel version of the older Dealey class destroyers, there were designed with the intention of being a cheaper ship that could be rapidly produced in wartime. Their primary mission was anti-submarine warfare, one the Navy and Pentagon quickly decided it was ill-suited for. With both military and civilian leadership souring on the concept of the Claud Jones class, the four ships were rapidly phased out.
The McMorris was decommissioned and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register in 1974. She was sold, along with the rest of the Claud Jones class, to Indonesia. She remained in active service with the Indonesian Navy through the end of the 20th Century.
Characteristics of the USS McMorris (Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Type: Destroyer escort
Displacement: 1,314 long tons (1,335 t) standard; 1,970 long tons (2,000 t) full load
Length: 312 ft (95 m)
Beam: 38 ft 10 in (11.8 m)
Draft: 12 ft 1 in (3.7 m)
Propulsion: 4 × Fairbanks-Morse 38ND8 Diesels; 9,240 shp; 7,000 bhp
Speed: 20–22 knots (37–41 km/h) Range: 7,000 nmi (13,000 km) at 12 kn (22 km/h)
Complement: 171 total: 12 Officers, 159 enlisted men
Armament: • 2 × 3″/50 caliber guns (1×2)
• 6 × 12.75 in (324 mm) Mk.32 torpedo tubes (2×3)
• 2 × Hedgehog anti-submarine mortar
Builder: Avondale Marine Ways, Avondale, La.
Keel laid down: Nov. 5, 1958
Commissioned: March 4, 1960
Decommissioned and struck: 1974
Fate: Sold to Indonesia
November 1958: Keel of USS McMorris laid down
March 1960: USS McMorris commissioned
1965: USS McMorris serves first tour off the coast of Vietnam
January 1967: USS McMorris collides with USS Tombigbee, killing two crew members
1970: USS McMorris wins Meritorious Unit Commendation
1971: USS McMorris wins Arleigh Burke Award
1974: USS McMorris decommissioned
Crewmembers of the USS McMorris:
An unofficial list of crew members that served on the USS McMorris can be found on the unofficial navy website at: http://navysite.de. This list is compiled by former crewmembers that voluntarily register. Some quoted comments from former crewmembers are listed below; many more are available on the source website at the following Web address:
Benjamin Blatt (served October 1968—December 1968): “Homeported at Pearl Harbor. Released from Active Duty as a Reserve with more that 1 year Active Duty under ALNAV 47/68.”