Monaghan file photo [7062]

USS Monaghan

CountryUnited States
Ship ClassFarragut-class Destroyer
BuilderBoston Navy Yard
Laid Down21 Nov 1933
Launched9 Jan 1935
Commissioned19 Apr 1935
Sunk18 Dec 1944
Displacement1365 tons standard
Length341 feet
Beam34 feet
Draft9 feet
Speed36 knots
Crew160
Armament5x5in guns, 8x21in torpedo tubes

Contributor:

ww2dbaseFor such a little ship, USS Monaghan (DD-354) played a very prominent role in the Pacific conflict. Monaghan was among the few vessels inside Pearl Harbor to get under way during the Japanese air attack (sinking a midget submarine on her way out of the harbor) and she was one of three ships lost in the terrible Typhoon Cobra three years later. In between, she participated with distinction in twelve principal engagements of the war.

ww2dbaseMonaghan was the second ship named for Ensign John Robert Monaghan who died a heroic death in 1899 attempting to defend his superior officer against an attack by a vastly superior force of Samoan natives. USS Monaghan was laid down 21 November 1933 at the Boston Navy Yard and was launched 9 January 1935. Miss Mary F. Monaghan, niece of Ensign Monaghan, sponsored the vessel and the ship was commissioned 19 April 1935, Cdr R. R. Thompson in command.

ww2dbaseOf the eight Farragut-Class destroyers built, Monaghan spent more of her time in the Atlantic. She was used extensively in her early years of operation for training purposes. The Navy had already begun the training program that would supply the nation with capable crews in the war to come and many hundreds would learn their trade aboard Monaghan. This alone would have been a worthy legacy for this ship but she was ultimately transferred to the Pacific for operations with her sisters. Plan Orange, the Navy Department's strategy to defeat Japan in the war every planner saw as inevitable, was in full effect. The destroyers required months of "joint operations" to perfect the skills needed in those fleet actions.

ww2dbaseDecember 7, 1941 found Monaghan serving as the ready duty destroyer at Pearl Harbor. At 0751 hours, four minutes before the air attack began, Monaghan was ordered to join USS Ward at the harbor's entrance after Ward fired on an unauthorized submarine attempting to enter Pearl Harbor. As Monaghan was making preparations to get underway, the Japanese air raid began. Monaghan, like all ships in the harbor, opened fire on the attacking planes as soon as ammunition could be brought to her guns.

ww2dbaseJust as Monaghan was getting underway to join Ward, USS Curtiss signaled the presence of a midget submarine in the harbor. So surprising was this signal that Monaghan's commanding officer, Cdr W.P. Burford, remarked out loud that "Curtiss must be crazy." Then he saw what looked to him like over-under shotgun barrels pointed at him out of the water off Curtiss' starboard quarter; he was looking at twin torpedoes in the bow of a breaching Type-A midget submarine. Burford ordered flank speed across the harbor with the idea of ramming the sub. The sub fired a torpedo roughly in Monaghan's direction that porpoised twice before passing along Monaghan's starboard side and striking land near Pearl City behind her. Monaghan's Executive Officer ordered depth charges set at thirty feet, the depth of the harbor channel. All hands prepared for a hard collision as Monaghan bore down upon the sub, but only a "small shock" was felt throughout the ship. Crewmember G.S. Hardon was manning a depth charge rack on the fantail and saw the sub pass under Monaghan's stern close aboard. Acting without orders and on his own initiative, Hardon rolled one depth charge nearly on top of the sub. When the charge detonated, the sub's bow and superstructure were seen momentarily lifted above the surface of the churning water and the sub was not seen again. Hardon was later commended for his good judgment, initiative, and swift action.

ww2dbaseCaptain Burford's earlier order for flank speed across the harbor was not without consequence. Immediately upon reaching the sub's position, full emergency reverse was ordered, but the ship's headway was such that Monaghan still struck a derrick moored at Beckoning Point and also ran aground. Monaghan was undamaged and the crew reacted smartly to free her to resume her sortie out of the harbor.

ww2dbaseShe remained on offshore patrol for the next week, then joined Lexington on a mission to relieve the doomed Wake Island. Wake was captured by the Japanese before Lexington's force could bring aid and the American ships returned to Hawaii.

ww2dbaseMonaghan served as an escort vessel for convoys to and from the mainland and then again sailed with Lexington to the Coral Sea. During the ensuing engagement, part of Monaghan's assignment was to stand out from the main body of the Task Force to transmit important radio messages, thus preserving radio silence within the main formation but creating considerable risk for Monaghan.

ww2dbaseMonaghan screened Enterprise and Yorktown in the decisive Battle of Midway before sailing to support the defense of the Aleutian Islands. A collision in heavy fog required initial repairs at Dutch Harbor and then Mare Island in San Francisco Bay. Monaghan rejoined the fleet at Fiji just in time for an accident to damage her again. She bent a propeller at Noumea and had to return to Pearl Harbor.

ww2dbaseMonaghan returned to the Aleutians as part of TG 16.6. On 26 March 1943 this group engaged the Japanese in the significant Battle of the Komandorski Islands. This was the last true surface battle in naval history and the "never give up" fighting spirit of the US forces gave them a decisive victory. A month later, Monaghan pursued submarine I-7 until the sub was driven onto the rocks of Kiska Island and abandoned.

ww2dbaseIn Dec 1943 Cdr Waldemar F.A. Wendt took command of Monaghan after his duties in Operation Torch in North Africa. Cdr Wendt commanded Monaghan for a year, transferring to his next assignment days before Monaghan's demise. After the war, as a 4-star Admiral, Wendt served as Commander-in-Chief of US Naval Forces in Europe from 1968 until his retirement in 1971.

ww2dbaseMonaghan served in many more operations against Japanese strong points in the Central Pacific; screening the fast carriers off Saipan, Eniwetok, Guam, and in the Battle of the Philippine Sea.

ww2dbaseOn 25 July 1944 Monaghan sailed for Puget Sound for an overhaul. After training off California and Hawaii, she sailed for Ulithi 11 November. There she joined the escort for three fleet oilers bound for a December 17th rendezvous with Task Force 38, whose planes had been striking central Luzon in support of the Mindoro invasion. TF 38 and the refueling group sailed directly into what would later be called Typhoon Cobra, a fierce storm that claimed 790 lives and sank three destroyers: Spence (DD-512), Hull (DD-350), and Monaghan. The nearly 100-knot winds and sixty-foot waves railed the Monaghan on her beam-ends but, for a time, she recovered from the rolls. Finally, a huge wall of water hammered the vessel under. Three days later, only six survivors of the gallant Monaghan were rescued by USS Brown (DD-546). Admiral Nimitz said the tragedy of Typhoon Cobra, "represented a more crippling blow to the Third Fleet than it might be expected to suffer in anything less than a major action." Veteran of so many actions against a human enemy, in the end Monaghan fell victim to the sailor's oldest enemy, the perils of the sea.

ww2dbaseDespite her many days under repair during the war, Monaghan received 12 battle stars for World War II engagements.

ww2dbaseThe midget submarine sunk by Monaghan on December 7, 1941 was later brought to the surface. Without ceremony, the hulk was used as part of the landfill for an expansion of the Pearl Harbor Submarine base in the 1960ís. Some sources suggest the bodies of the two Japanese submariners, Naoji Iwasa in command and crewman Naokicki Sasaki, were still aboard when the sub was placed in the fill, but this is uncertain.

ww2dbaseSources: Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships; US Navy Report of Japanese Raid on Pearl Harbor, USS Monaghan; Wikipedia; Patriot Defenders; Pearl Harbor History Associates; Samuel Eliot Morison's Rising Sun In The Pacific, Gordon Prange's At Dawn We Slept, Japan-101.

Destroyer USS Monaghan Interactive Map

USS Monaghan Operational Timeline

19 Apr 1935 Monaghan was commissioned into service.
14 Jul 1943 Destroyer USS Monaghan bombarded Japanese positions at Gertrude Cove, Kiska, US Territory of Alaska unopposed, firing 100 127mm rounds.
20 Jul 1943 US destroyers USS Aylwin and USS Monaghan bombarded Kiska, Aleutian Islands.

Photographs

Destroyer Dale leading destroyer Monaghan through a turn during an exhibition off San Diego, California, United States by US Navy Destroyer Squadron 20 for Movietone News, 14 Sep 1936US Navy Destroyer Squadron 20 laying a smoke screen off San Diego, California, United States, 14 Sep 1936; note destroyers Farragut, Dewey, Hull, Macdonough, Worden, Dale, Monaghan, and AylwinDestroyer Monaghan, 28 Apr 1938Port side view of destroyer Monaghan, date unknown
See all 7 photographs of Destroyer USS Monaghan



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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. CMJ says:
24 Mar 2010 02:13:45 PM

The history of the Monaghan was a well written tribute to a proud little ship that always gave her all dispite being "accident-prone". She has the honor of carrying out some of the first offensive operations of the war and the fact that her accidents didn't stop her from earning 12 battle-stars means she earned the lable "warship". In the end it seems appropriate that the only thing that could best her was the one threat that has vexed sailors and ships from the first days of ships - the dangers of the Sea itself. She may be gone but should never be forgotten.
2. Ramiro Jr says:
22 Nov 2010 08:06:40 PM

My Uncle Rudolpho Villanueva was lost with this ship.
3. RFB says:
26 Dec 2011 05:05:54 PM

My uncle Richard F. Bard, aged 27, MM1, went down with the Monaghan that awful day. My grandmother never got over losing her youngest son.
4. Thomas G. Parker says:
9 Jan 2012 08:31:58 PM

My great uncle Raymond Otis Burnett of Munday, Texas was assigned to the Monogham in 1944 as chief pharmacist mate and went down that day.
5. Anonymous says:
2 Apr 2012 05:02:35 PM

My half-brother, Lee Roy Stutes, was on this ship and lost his life. He had been in the Navy only 10 months.
6. MMY says:
28 May 2012 02:46:43 PM

My mother lost her brother on the Monaghan. Its amazing the emotional wallop that effects me for an uncle I never met. The ties of bloodlines reach across time. My condolences to all families afftected by the loss of these brave sailors.
7. william mc nutt says:
7 Nov 2013 10:11:25 PM

I believe my father Robert Mc Nutt was the 3rd survivor
8. Dan Fox says:
17 Dec 2014 12:28:15 PM

My Grandfather MM1 Lloyd Fox was lost with the USS Monaghan!
9. James H. says:
9 Jul 2015 06:54:23 AM

My uncle...MARVIN EARL STOWE...was on the ill fated ship.
10. Cliff says:
26 Dec 2015 05:34:39 AM

My farther...Freckrick L. Costa was on this ship at Pearl Harbor.
11. Anonymous says:
20 Jan 2016 11:22:58 AM

Edwin "Butch" Cochran was lost with the USS Monaghan and though he died well before I was born his lost left deep scars on my mother for whom he was more like a beloved brother than a first cousin.
12. Ross Dickerson says:
23 Feb 2016 05:57:09 PM

The USS Monaghan, then under the command of Captain Buford, rescued my father and his PBY crew at the Battle of Midway. The ship caught up to the Enterprise Task Group only to be ordered to return to the site of the PBY and obtain the Norden Bomb Site which was left behind. The Battle at that point was basically over so Monaghan was ordered to screen the Yorktown salvage operation and witnessed the Hamman and Yorktown sink. I don't believe my Dad ever knew that his savior and crew sank in the Typhoon, but I'm pleased I ran across the rest of the story.
13. Ruger says:
25 Sep 2016 03:17:29 PM

I am looking for information about Rex Umpleby who died during Typhoon Cobra on USS Monaghan. Does anyone know about him? He was a relative.
14. Charles Loftus says:
5 Mar 2017 05:07:11 PM

Maternal uncle was enlisted crew during WW2 he was S2/C and survived WW2. His name was Vernon Allen and was from Arizona.
15. Mary Jo Hargrave says:
20 May 2017 08:42:36 AM

My father, Richard K. Hargrave, was on the Monaghan when it sunk on December 18, 1944. Does anyone know anything about him?
16. Commenter identity confirmed David Stubblebine says:
20 May 2017 06:24:43 PM

Mary Jo Hargrave (above):
The Muster Rolls for the USS Monaghan reveal nothing about your father, which is not surprising since your father was an officer and the Muster Rolls only detail the enlisted personnel. A Google search revealed what you probably already know. The 18 Jan 1945 issue of the Lowell Tribune (Indiana) says your grandparents received a notice declaring your father Missing in Action (http://www.lowellpl.lib.in.us/hargrave.htm) and Naval-History.net list of casualties lists your fatherís name (http://www.naval-history.net/WW2UScasaaDB-USNbyNameH.htm). The second entry also lists your fatherís service number which may be useful if you want to request a copy of his service record (http://ww2db.com/faq/#3).

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More on USS Monaghan
Event(s) Participated:
» Attack on Pearl Harbor
» Battle of Midway and the Aleutian Islands
» Aleutian Islands Campaign
» Mariana Islands Campaign and the Great Turkey Shoot
» Typhoon Cobra

Document(s):
» US Navy Report of Japanese Raid on Pearl Harbor, Enclosure E, USS Monaghan

Destroyer USS Monaghan Photo Gallery
Destroyer Dale leading destroyer Monaghan through a turn during an exhibition off San Diego, California, United States by US Navy Destroyer Squadron 20 for Movietone News, 14 Sep 1936
See all 7 photographs of Destroyer USS Monaghan




Famous WW2 Quote
"The raising of that flag on Suribachi means a Marine Corps for the next 500 years."

James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945