USS Oliver Mitchell (DE-417)
- For other ships with a similar name see USS Mitchell.
USS Oliver Mitchell (DE-417) was a John C. Butler-class destroyer escort acquired by the U.S. Navy during World War II. The primary purpose of the destroyer escort was to escort and protect ships in convoy, in addition to other tasks as assigned, such as patrol or radar picket. Post-war, after active participation in the Pacific War, her crew returned home with five battle stars to their credit.
She was named in honor of 2nd Lieutenant Oliver Mitchell, USMC who was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for “Conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity as a pilot while pressing home his attack in the face of tremendous anti-aircraft fire...”
Oliver Mitchell (DE–417) was laid down 3 January 1944 by the Brown Shipbuilding Co. of Houston, Texas; launched 8 February 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Margaret R. Mitchell, mother of Lieutenant Mitchell; and commissioned 14 June 1944, with Lieutenant Commander Kenneth J. Barclay in command.
Following shakedown off Bermuda, Oliver Mitchell steamed out of Hampton Roads, 31 August 1944, for the Pacific Theater. ASW exercises with her division, CortDiv 72, interrupted her westward passage for a month at Hawaii, but, continuing on, she arrived at Ulithi 1 November. Assigned to Task GroupTG 30.7, she screened USS Anzio (CVE-57) during aerial search and flight operations out of Ulithi until 10 December, then conducted antisubmarine sweeps to the north of task force TF 38 as the fast carriers’ planes flew strikes in support of the Mindoro landings. Continuing screen and plane guard duties with the fast carriers into the new year, 1945, she sailed with them for strikes against Formosa and Luzon in support of the Lingayen assault.
On 2 February, back with her escort carrier group, now TG 50.7, she steamed to the Marianas, thence to the Volcanos where she screened Anzio as its planes bombed Japanese positions on Iwo Jima (16 February – 3 March). With victory in the offing there, the group retired to Leyte prior to deployment off Okinawa.
Departing Leyte Gulf 21 March in TU 52.1.1, the Amphibious Support Force, she sailed into the East China Sea with Western Islands Attack Force. Screening the escort carriers through the assaults on Kerama Retto and against the Hagushi beaches, she retired to Guam 6 April to join TF-51’s escort pool. Returning to the Ryukyus on the 20th, she screened escort carriers as their planes flew air cover and ASW patrols during May. Detached 4 June, she returned to Ulithi, whence she conducted a voyage to Leyte prior to a 47-day deployment at sea screening carrier task forces operating off the east coast of Japan.
During the next four months, Oliver Mitchell escorted forces to Korea for occupation duty and to and along the China coast trying to assuage postwar unrest in that country. On 26 December, pressed into Operation Magic Carpet duty, DE–417 headed back to the United States.
She arrived at San Francisco, California, 15 January 1946 and on 24 April, at San Diego, California, decommissioned and joined the Pacific Reserve Fleet. Later transferred to the Mare Island Reserve Group, she remained a unit of the Reserve Fleet into 1970. She was stricken 15 March 1972 and sold for scrapping 15 January 1973.
Oliver Mitchell earned 5 battle stars during World War II.
- Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships
- NavSource Online: Destroyer Escort Photo Archive - USS Oliver Mitchell (DE-417)