Mugford file photo [4261]


CountryUnited States
Ship ClassBagley-class Destroyer
BuilderBoston Navy Yard
Laid Down28 Oct 1935
Launched31 Oct 1936
Commissioned16 Aug 1937
Decommissioned29 Aug 1946
Sunk22 Mar 1948
Displacement1,500 tons standard; 2,325 tons full
Length342 feet
Beam36 feet
Draft13 feet
MachineryTwo propellers
Power Output49,000 shaft horsepower
Speed38 knots
Range6,500nm at 12 knots
Armament4x5in, 4x0.50cal machine guns, 12x21in torpedoes


ww2dbaseMugford joined the United States Navy Pacific Fleet in late 1937 and operated off the west coast of the US before the US joined the war. When the Japanese struck Pearl Harbor on 7 Dec 1941, she was present, offering her anti-aircraft guns to down three Japanese aircraft. She was sent with the task force to relieve Wake Island, but that mission was called off when the Japanese completed the conquest there. She performed convoy duties between the US and Australia in the first few months of 1942, in which capacity she rescued the survivors of the Australian hospital ship Centaur off Point Lookout, Queensland, Australia, after Centaur had been sunk by a Japanese submarine the previous day.

ww2dbaseIn Aug, Mugford was dispatched to the Solomon Islands. On 7 Aug, she was on patrol off Lunga Point, Guadalcanal with other ships when the task group was attacked by Japanese aircraft; Mugford suffered three near misses and one bomb hit that resulted in 8 killed, 17 wounded, and 10 missing, but she also downed two aircraft. On 8 Aug, she downed another Japanese aircraft, this time without damage to herself, and rescued two Japanese aviators. On 9 Aug, she participated in the Battle of Savo Island, rescuing 400 survivors of heavy cruisers Vincennes and Astoria. After repairs at Sydney, Australia, between 16 Sep and Dec 1942, she patrolled and escorted convoys in the Coral Sea and in waters off northern Australia. In Jul 1943, she participated in the assulat of Woodlark Island off the eastern tip of New Guinea. On 4 Aug, she escorted LST landing craft during the invasion of Lae. In late Aug, she conducted pre-invasion bombardment at Finschafen, and remained there for support until Oct. On 14 and 15 Dec, Mugford participated at the landings on Arawe, New Britain. Later that month, she supported the assault on Buna and Cape Gloucester. After repairs at Milne Bay, New Guinea, she returned to patrol and escort duties until May 1944.

ww2dbaseDuring the Mariana Island campaign in Jun 1944, Mugford escorted aircraft carriers and battleships while they attacked Japanese positions; she also participated in several night time bombardment missions during the campaign. She participated in the Battle of the Philippine Sea while escorting carriers, while during the landings on Guam she served as one of the many radar picket ships. On 28 Aug, she sortied with Task Force 38 for attacks on Japanese shipping in the Bonin, Yap, and Palau Islands area as indirect support for the Palau invasion in the following month. On 12 and 13 Oct, she downed several Japanese aircraft during an air raid on the Task Force 38. In late Oct, Mugford escorted carriers Enterprise, Belleau Wood, and Franklin, damaged during Leyte actions, to Ulithi. Returning to the Leyte area, she received a hit from a special attack D3A Navy Type 99 dive bomber, killing eight men. After temporary repairs, she sailed to Mare Island Navy Yard in the United States for permanent repairs until 4 mar 1945.

ww2dbaseReturning to the western Pacific in mid‑Mar 1945, Mugford served radar picket and anti-submarine patrol duties between Ulithi and Saipan until the end of the war.

ww2dbaseAfter the war, Mugford served in Task Group 55.7 with primary task of transporting Allied prisoners of war from Japan to Okinawa and escorting carriers in the Nagasaki-Sasebo area. She returned to the United States on 19 Nov 1945 at San Diego, and underwent overhaul in preparing for participation in the Bikini Atoll atomic tests, code named Operation Crossroads, as a target. After being struck by atomic detonations, she participated in decontamination experiments. She was sunk off Kwajalein, Marshall islands in 1948.

ww2dbaseSource: United States Navy Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.

Last Major Revision: Jul 2007

Destroyer Mugford Interactive Map


Mugford off Boston, Massachusetts, United States, 25 Oct 1937Mugford at Havana, Cuba, circa late 1937Lieutenant Commander Burke aboard his destroyer, Mugford, circa 1939-1940Officers of destroyer Mugford Ens. Robert Main, Lt. Ephraim McLean, Lt. Robert Speck, Lt. Cmdr. Arleigh Burke, Ens. Arthur Johnson, Lt. Gelzer Sims, and Lt. (jg) Robert Holmes, Jun 1939
See all 14 photographs of Destroyer Mugford

Mugford Operational Timeline

16 Aug 1937 Mugford was commissioned into service.
28 Jul 1942 US Navy and Marines began a four-day amphibious landing exercise at Fiji as rehearsals for the Guadalcanal landings set for two weeks later.
5 May 1944 Battleships USS Maryland, Colorado, Washington, and California escorted by destroyers USS Mugford, Bagley, Sterett, Wilson, Shaw, Helm, Ross, and Selfridge departed San Francisco, California bound for Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
10 May 1944 Battleships USS Maryland, Colorado, Washington, and California escorted by destroyers USS Mugford, Bagley, Sterett, Wilson, Shaw, Helm, Ross, and Selfridge arrived at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii from San Francisco.
27 Nov 1944 US Navy Task Group 77.2 consisting of battleships USS Maryland, USS West Virginia, USS Colorado, and USS New Mexico, cruisers USS Denver, USS St. Louis, USS Columbia, USS Minneapolis, and USS Montpelier, destroyers USS Nicholas, USS Waller, USS Eaton, USS Cony, USS Mustin, USS Conway, USS Pringle, USS Lang, USS Sigourney, USS Saufley, USS Aulick, USS Renshaw, USS Taylor, USS Edwards, and USS Mugford, tanker USS Caribou, and other patrol craft were patrolling in Leyte Gulf, Philippines when the group came under a concentrated Japanese special air attack from 20 to 30 aircraft. All but two of the Japanese planes dived on the formation in the sustained attack. Submarine chaser SC-744 was sunk and battleship Colorado and cruisers St. Louis and Montpelier were damaged.
29 Nov 1944 US Navy Task Group 77.2 consisting of battleships USS Maryland, USS West Virginia, and USS New Mexico, cruisers USS Denver, USS Columbia, USS Minneapolis, USS Montpelier, and USS Portland, destroyers USS Nicholas, USS Waller, USS Cony, USS Conway, USS Pringle, USS Lang, USS Saufley, USS Aulick, USS Renshaw, USS Edwards, USS Mugford, and USS Connor, and other patrol craft were patrolling in Leyte Gulf, Philippines when the group came under a Japanese air attack where special attack aircraft that damaged Maryland, Saufley, and Aulick.
29 Aug 1946 Mugford was decommissioned from service.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Daniel Loehman says:
29 May 2010 11:26:35 AM

My un cle Willie Verba was a sailor on the USS Mugford. He told me stories about his tour of duty. Reading up on the USS Mugford i didn't realize how important the ship was in the war! Is their anyway i could give my uncle information on living crew members? He is in a nursing home and wears his Mugford cap all the time.
2. Jane Dolan says:
29 Sep 2010 08:52:34 AM

In reference to the battle of Leyte: the date the eight men died is missing. I know that because my uncle Monell H. Monson Sr. died in that battle. The date was December 5, 1944.
Biography of Monell H. Monson
Monell Monson Sr. was born in 1911 to Mons and Ellen Monson in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. He attended Zion Lutheran Church and schools in Grand Rapids.
In 1933 he left Minnesota for Montana. Upon his arrival in Victor, Montana he met Alfred Simonsen. Alfred was ill and needed help on his ranch because he had a wife and 5 children to feed. This is where Monell met his bride Mabel Simonsen they married in 1937. They had two children Monell and Melvin.
Monell Sr. joined the Navy in January of 1944 and went through basic training at Farragut, Idaho. He boarded the destroyer U.S.S.Mugford on Aptil 13, 1944 destination South Pacific. Monell was on watch December 5, 1944 as a fireman first class. The ship was near Leyte, Philippines. * "The ship was engaged in air action when fire from the topside of the ship was sucked into the fire room. He got to the medical section on the ship through his own efforts but died a few hours later from extensive burns."
The military did not ship remains home immediately, so Monell was temporarily buried on the island of Leyte. In September of 1948 his remains arrived back in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, by train. Monell's family held services at Zion Lutheran Church. His final resting place is Itasca Cemetary, Grand Rapids. Minnesota.
*Information from a letter written by: Lieutenant B.W. Mallory, U.S.N. Executive Officer.
3. Billy Joe Berry says:
22 Jan 2012 07:43:32 AM

My dad (Franklin Berry Seamen 1st Class) as wounded aug 7,1942 on the USS Mugford. He received shrapnel near his heart and in his head. Dad spent some time at a hospital first in mew zealand then in australia before coming home. THANK YOU VETERANS AND SOLDIERS
4. Lisa Pizani says:
4 Mar 2013 10:04:48 AM

My father-in-law survived the Dec. 5, 1944, attack.
5. Kandie L. Rosales/MitchellAnonymous says:
7 May 2015 05:35:18 PM

My father, Charles Christopher Mitchell (Mitch or Chris) enlisted June 1941, Seaman 1st Class on USS Mugford. On Dec. 7th 1941, Battleship USS Mugford was moored port side to the USS Sacramento, in berth No. 6. The Crew shot down several Japaneses planes.
After the war, my mother said my dad would wake covered in sweat screaming, "Damn Kamikaze's". He himself, spoke little of the war.
The book 'Unbroken' speaks of the Palmyra Islands at the time USS Mugford was stationed there. I'm looking into it.
6. Mike Roberts says:
28 Mar 2016 05:15:13 PM

My grandpa John Etta Black was on the U.S.S. Mugford during the attack on Pearl Harbor. I can remember him teling us stories of that day. He was an 18-year-old sailor on board the Mugford when the planes came in. I can remember him describing the chaos due to the lack of senior officers around to coordinate a response, how some sailors were injured not by enemy fire but by mistakes made trying to operate guns they didn't know how to use properly. Years later, when my family went with him to the movie "Pearl Harbor," my aunt asked him if the battle scene was realistic. He said "I don't know--I couldn't see anything but smoke." We all miss him, as many families miss their survivors who have now passed on. Thank you to all who sacrificed and served.
7. Steven Ravenscroft says:
27 Jul 2017 11:41:14 PM

My father was one of the survivors of the hospital ship Centaur. I was wondering if anyone had photos of the rescue. I know most time camera,s are not allowed but some people still had them.

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More on Mugford
» Burke, Arleigh

Event(s) Participated:
» Attack on Pearl Harbor
» Guadalcanal Campaign
» New Guinea-Papua Campaign, Phase 3
» Marshall Islands Campaign

» US Navy Report of Japanese Raid on Pearl Harbor, Enclosure E, USS Mugford

Destroyer Mugford Photo Gallery
Mugford off Boston, Massachusetts, United States, 25 Oct 1937
See all 14 photographs of Destroyer Mugford

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