USS Mustin DD-413
History of the USS Mustin DD-413
By Fred Branyan

The USS Mustin was the 5th of 12 Sims class destroyers commissioned from 9/1/1939-5/15/1940. The hull numbers for the class were 409-420. They were the last pre-war destroyer class, and the last single stack destroyer built by the USN. Following classes went to split powerplant designs requiring 2 stacks to reduce the potential of power loss to the single compartment containing the boilers. (The same design in the carriers Hornet and Yorktown were major design defects contributing to their loss). The class reflected the design strategy of the 1936 Navy to continue to include torpedoes for offensive surface action despite the growing realization that destroyers would probably have to fight their way through opposing destroyers and cruisers in any Pacific fleet action. For that situation guns were preferred.

An additional 70 tons were added to the prior Mahan class. The class was the 1st to use the Mark 37 director for its 4 5" 38 caliber guns. As seen in the bridge and the hull it also included streamlining to reduce air and water drag. The design agent was Gibbs and Cox of New York. The 3 high pressure super heated 715F/565psi boilers were built by Bureau Express, the 2 geared turbines by Westinghouse, the combination produced 50,000 hp to turn the 2 propellers.

The specs were 1570 tons standard displacement, 2465 tons full load displacement, fuel load 2929 barrels, endurance 3660 nm at 20 knots, 6500nm at 12 knots, length 347'11", beam 35'7", draft 17'4", highest speed achieved 38.7 knots, design speed 35-37 knots depending on source, armament 4 5" guns (mount 3 open position, others in single gun turrets), 2 each centerline torpedo launchers each armed with 4 21" torpedoes, 2 depth charge racks with 10 charges each. Original AA protection consisted of 4 .50 caliber guns. Complement 16 officers and 235 enlisted (10/182 according to another source). No armor protection was included anywhere on the ship.

Paint schemes for USS Mustin were as follows: MS 12 mod 1942, MS 21 1943, MS 22 1945. The succeeding Benson and Gleaves class ships were built using the same hull, but with split boiler/turbine room combinations vs the consolidated design in the Sims class. The following shipyards each built 2 of the class: Bath , Federal (Kearny NJ ), Newport News , Boston Navy Yard, Norfolk Navy Yard, Charleston Navy Yard, Philadelphia Navy Yard.

The USS Mustin DD 413 was named for Capt. Henry C. Mustin, 1874-1923, a pioneer naval aviator. He was the 1st to be catapulted from a USN ship, flew combat missions from the USS Mississippi vs Mexico in 1914, amongst other distinctions. The ship was the first, but not the last, to be named for a member of this distinguished naval family. The Mustin was laid down on 12/20/1937 at Newport News Shipbuilding. She was launched 12/8/1938 with Mrs. Lloyd Mustin daughter in law of Capt. Mustin as sponsor, and commissioned on 9/15/1939 LCDR James S. Freeman commanding.

She served with the Atlantic fleet following her commissioning, performing Neutrality Patrol missions. In 1941 the lowest 8 hull numbers of the Sims class were formed into Destroyer Squadron 2. On 12/7/1941 she was being overhauled at the Boston Navy Yard but departed the next day to escort two battleships. She completed overhaul at Charleston Navy Yard on 1/3/1942, transited the Panama Canal 1/20/1942 and arrived at Pearl Harbor on 2/17/1942. She escorted convoys from PH to the US west coast until 4/3/1942 .

After escorting a convoy to Samoa and returning to PH on 5/24/1942 , Mustin escorted a merchantman to Midway Island, arriving back at PH on 6/5/1942. The battle occurred while she was on the way back. Once back at PH she departed almost immediately with TF 17 to search for IJN survivors of the battle. Upon return to PH on 6/13/1942 she began 2 months of training.

The Mustin again sailed with TF 17 on 8/17/1942 as it departed for the Guadalcanal campaign. In addition to supporting the 1st Marine Division on Guadalcanal, the TF raided Buin, Faisi and Tonolai. During the 10/26/1942 the Mustin shot down 5 enemy planes, rescued 337 Hornet crewmen, and shortly after dark the she and the Anderson were ordered to sink the Hornet to prevent capture by the IJN. Despite firing 369 rounds of 5"38 caliber ammo and 9 torpedoes at the ship -3 from Mustin and 6 from Anderson--- when they departed at 2140 she was still afloat although burning "fiercely" and slowly sinking. The following Sims class destroyers were also part of TF 17: Anderson DD 411, Hughes DD 410, Morris DD 417, and Russell DD 414 (42% of the class were present for this battle).

Following Santa Cruz she conducted patrol and convoy duty from Noumea and Espiritu Santo. She joined TF 16 on 11/11/1942 for the 3rd Battle of Savo Island on 11/14-15/1942, during which the USS Washington fired on and sank the IJN battleship Kirishima, and hits were recorded on accompanying IJN destroyers and cruisers by the accompanying USN destroyers. On Christmas Mustin fired on shore targets on Guadalcanal after escorting transports there. In February 1943 Mustin went back to carrier escort ops off Guadalcanal, then to patrol/escort duties until her 4/14/1943 return to PH.

Mustin arrived at Adak, Alaska on 4/24/1943 where she patrolled NW of the island until late May. Her TF then sailed to cover the invasion of Attu. Throughout the summer she patrolled the foggy, dangerous waters of the Aleutians, bombarded Kiska and prevented Japanese reinforcement of the island. After covering the 8/15/1943 recapture of Kiska she sailed for an overhaul at Mare Island, returning to PH on 10/31/1943.

She departed PH with TF 52 on 11/10/1943 for the invasion of Makin 11/20/1943. From there she sailed for CA for rehearsals of the Marshalls invasion. On 1/30/1944 she conducted bombardment ops of the island of Wotje after staging thru Lahaina Roads, Maui, on the way back. on 1/21/1944. On 1/31/1944 she screened cruisers bombarding Kwajalein, and fired on that island herself the next day. She escorted various TF's around the island for the next 2 weeks, returning to PH 3/3/1944.

Mustin then joined TF 58 to escort tankers while it struck the Caroline Islands of Palau, Yap, Woleai and Ulithi on 3/30-4/1/1944. She returned to the SW Pacific 4/7/1944 to screen carriers conducting support of amphibious assaults on New Guinea. While there she conducted escort, patrol, bombardment, and fighter director missions. These operations continued through 9/1944.

On 9/15/1944 Mustin served as primary fighter director for the initial assault on Morotai Netherlands East Indies. She departed Humboldt Bay there 10/16/1944 with reinforcements for the Leyte operation, arriving there on 10/23/1944. She departed that day with a convoy to clear the Battle of Leyte Gulf. She conducted fleet defense support of the Philippines operation, shooting down 3 planes on 11/27/1944.

Following rehearsals off New Guinea, Mustin left for the assault on Luzon 1/9/1945, and conducted bombardment, AA defense, and anti-sub ops off Lingayen. She departed on 2/2/1945 for Guadalcanal to serve as anti sub patrol while awaiting rehearsals for the Okinawa operation.

Departing Ulithi her TF arrived off Hagushi Beach Okinawa on 4/1/1945. She screened transports during the initial assault. Until 4/5/1945 she guarded the transports against kamikaze attacks. She escorted a convoy from Saipan and Ulithi from 4/5-17/1945, then returned to fire support, radar picket, anti sub, and AA duty off Okinawa. On 5/2/1945 she joined an escort carrier group operating SE of the island.

Mustin departed on 5/28/1945 for San Pedro CA for yard overhaul and alterations, arriving on 6/18/1945. She departed on 8/21/1945 and sailed for Ominato, Japan following refresher training for occupation duty. She returned to the West coast late that year, then departed for PH and duty in Operation Crossroads, the Bikini atomic tests. Heavily damaged and contaminated in that test, she was sunk as a target off Kwajalein in the Marshalls on 4/18/1948. She was stricken by the Navy on 4/30/1948 . Fellow Sims class targets at Bikini were Anderson DD 411 (sunk outright at test on 7/1/1946 ), Hughes DD 410, and Wainwright DD 419. Hughes was the last one sunk on 10/16/1948 near the Farallon Islands off the coast of CA .

Of the 12 prewar members of the Sims class, 5 were lost in action, 1 in the Mediterranean Sea - Buck DD 420-and the rest in the Pacific. Hammann DD 412 was torpedoed at Midway, Sims DD 409 sunk by aircraft at Coral Sea, O'Brien DD 415 was torpedoed by I-19 on 9/15/1942 and lost 10/19/1942 en route to PH for repairs, and Walke DD 416 was sunk off Guadalcanal on 11/15/1942. One or more of them were present at the sinking of all four US carriers lost in 1942. Sailors lost on these ships were 150/80/237/none listed for O'Brien /88, for a total of 555.

Kamikazes accounted for the following KIAs: 16 on
Anderson 11/1/1944 ; 18 on Hughes 12/10/1944 ; and 24 on Morris 4/6/1945. Anderson also lost 6 to shore based artillery on 1/30/1944. Total lost to non sinking events was 64, bringing the grand total lost for the class to 619. The Bikini tests accounted for 4. The remaining 3, Morris DD 417, Roe DD 418, and Russell DD 414,--the 1st and last were with Hornet at Santa Cruz--were sold for scrap in 8-9/1947.

During its service the Mustin performed every type of mission for which it was designed and a few for which it was not. It served in the crucial Guadalcanal campaign which some argue truly turned the tide of the war against Japan. It remained operational almost continuously throughout the war. She and the members of her crew made vital contributions to the ultimate defeat of Japan.

The USS Mustin DDG 89 was commissioned on 7/26/2003 to honor all members of the Mustin family who have served their country in the USN. According to my review of Navy and Marine Corps Awards Manual Navpers 15,792 (Rev 1953), the Mustin earned the following awards for its service in WWII, listed in priority according to the regulation:

1. COMBAT ACTION RIBBON: (authorized retroactive to WWII in 2000)

2 . AMERICAN DEFENSE SERVICE MEDAL: Awarded for continuous service in the U.S. armed forces for a period of at least one year between 9/8/39-12/7/41. Bronze "A" awarded to ships operating in potential contact with the Axis forces in the Atlantic Ocean from 6/21-12/7/41.

3. AMERICAN CAMPAIGN SERVICE MEDAL: Awarded for service in the armed forces within the American Theater between 12/7/41-1/2/46.

4. ASIATIC-PACIFIC CAMPAIGN MEDAL: Awarded for service in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater between 12/7/41-3/2/46. Bronze star equals 1 engagement ("battle") star, each silver star equals 5 bronze. Total awarded, 13.

5. WORLD WAR II VICTORY MEDAL: Awarded to all service personnel/ships who were on active duty at any time from 12/7/41-12/31/46.

6. NAVY OCCUPATION SERVICE MEDAL: Awarded for participation of enemy territory occupied after the surrender.

7. PHILIPPINE PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION: Awarded to units involved in actions related to the liberation of the Philippine Islands from 10/17/44-7/4/45, same award criteria as the USN P.U.C (same as Navy Cross for an individual).

8. PHILIPPINE LIBERATION RIBBON: Awarded to personnel who participated in the liberation of the Philippine Islands from 10/17/44-9/3/45.1 Bronze star indicates active combat vs, enemy units and service for not less than 30 days in Philippine waters during the campaign.

9. PHILIPPINE INDEPENDENCE RIBBON: Awarded to recipients of 8.

Note: According to the regulation 9 requires eligibility for both the Philippine Defense and Liberation ribbons. The Defense ribbon is for operations in the islands from 12/8/1941-6/15/1942. Since the great majority of those eligible for the Defense ribbon became POWs it does not make sense for this reg interpretation. Photos of the ribbon display on the nav bridge of Alabama, and photos of ribbons on crew of the Washington on their web site, confirm that the 1953 reg is in error. The site below puts Mustin in the Philippines for 1-2/1945 which meets the 30 day and combat requirements for 1 star for 8 above. . The regulation has no details for 7, it does for 8 and 9. 
© 2009 Fred Branyan all rights reserved

Page published Aug. 27, 2009