Ships of Pearl Harbor: USS USS Macdonough

April 23, 2019

The keel of the destroyer that would become known as USS Macdonough (DD-351) was laid down at the Boston Navy Yard in May of 1933, eight years before the outbreak of World War II in the Pacific. Construction on the new Farragut-class destroyer was completed in August of the following year, and she was commissioned into the United States Navy on March 15, 1935, named for a 19th-century American naval officer, Thomas Macdonough, Jr. USS Macdonough underwent her initial shakedown cruise to Europe and South America before being assigned to the Pacific Fleet based in San Diego.

USS Macdonough at Pearl Harbor

USS Macdonough remained in San Diego until October of 1939, when she was transferred to Pearl Harbor as part of Destroyer Squadron 1. Macdonough was in port on the morning of December 7, 1941, when an aerial striking force of the Imperial Japanese Navy launched its devastating attack on the naval base. At the time of the assault, Macdonough was moored in East Loch alongside fellow Farragut-class destroyers, USS Farragut (DD-348), USS Dale (DD-353), and USS Aylwin (DD-355). Since the four ships were moored on the opposite side of Ford Island from the attackers' primary targets lined up along Battleship Row, Macdonough was able to open fire on the incoming planes. According to action reports from that chaotic morning, USS Macdonough was credited with downing one Japanese plane, while herself sustaining no damage.

After the Attack

USS Macdonough (DD-351) after overhaul, January 1943

USS Macdonough (DD-351) after overhaul, January 1943

When the Japanese planes withdrew, Macdonough joined the ships charged with locating the Japanese task force. When no sign of the enemy fleet was found, she returned to Pearl Harbor. She would spend the next few months scouting the ocean southwest of Oahu. After these patrols, which took her all the way to New Guinea, where she served as support for airstrikes on Salamaua, Lae, and Bougainville, Macdonough returned to her home port of Pearl Harbor, where she served as an escort to convoys sailing to and from ports along the west coast of the United States.

During her service in the Pacific Theater, USS Macdonough took part in the invasion of Guadalcanal, providing cover for the August 7, 1942 landings. She continued escorting convoys between the western Pacific and Pearl Harbor for the rest of the year before returning to Mare Island for overhaul.

USS Macdonough in the Pacific Theater

After the overhaul was completed, Macdonough was sent to the Aleutians, where she patrolled until May of 1943, when a collision forced her to return to Mare Island. By late September, she was headed back to the western Pacific, where she took part in the invasion of Makin Island. The beginning of 1944 saw the assault on the Marshall Islands. Later that year, she was involved in the invasion of the Marianas and Saipan. In the fall of that year, Macdonough played a role in the liberation of the Philippines, her last major combat operations of the war.

On September 3, 1945, Macdonough returned to the United States and ultimately ended up at the New York Navy Yard, where she was decommissioned on October 22, 1945. A little over a year later, she was sold for scrap.

For her service during the War in the Pacific, USS Macdonough was awarded 13 battle stars.

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