|Ship Class||Farragut-class Destroyer|
|Builder||Boston Navy Yard|
|Laid Down||21 Nov 1933|
|Launched||9 Jan 1935|
|Commissioned||19 Apr 1935|
|Sunk||18 Dec 1944|
|Displacement||1,365 tons standard|
|Armament||5x5in guns, 8x21in torpedo tubes|
Contributor: David Stubblebine
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 1960â€™s. 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.
Last Major Revision: Jan 2009
Destroyer Monaghan Interactive Map
Monaghan Operational Timeline
|19 Apr 1935||Monaghan was commissioned into service.|
|26 Mar 1943||During the Battle of the Komandorski Islands, Japanese cruisers Nachi, Maya, Tama, and Abukuma with destroyers Wakaba, Hatsushimo, Ikazuchi, Inazuma, and Usugumo plus three transport ships engaged United States Navy cruisers Salt Lake City and Richmond escorted by destroyers Coghlan, Bailey, Dale, and Monaghan in one of the very few pure naval surface battles of World War II involving long-range guns. Nachi was forced to push one of her floatplanes overboard (concussion damage from her own guns), fired several Type 93 "Long Lance" torpedoes at the US forces (none of which hit), and received five hits (killing 14). Salt Lake City sustained moderate damage and was dead in the water for a short time. Bailey, Coghlan, and Monaghan made a bold torpedo attack that became known as the Charge of the Irish Destroyers.|
|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.|
|18 Dec 1944||Many ships from the United States Third Fleet, Task Force 38 sailed into Typhoon Cobra in the Philippine Sea. Three destroyers and 790 men were lost.|
|21 Dec 1944||Destroyer USS Brown picked up the only survivors to be found from the sunken USS Monaghan floating with a life raft. They were Doil Carpenter, Robert Darden, Evan Fenn, William Kramer, Joseph McCrane, and James Story|
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Visitor Submitted Comments
22 Nov 2010 08:06:40 PM
My Uncle Rudolpho Villanueva was lost with this ship.
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.
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.
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.
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 Nov 2013 10:11:25 PM
I believe my father Robert Mc Nutt was the 3rd survivor
17 Dec 2014 12:28:15 PM
My Grandfather MM1 Lloyd Fox was lost with the USS Monaghan!
9 Jul 2015 06:54:23 AM
My uncle...MARVIN EARL STOWE...was on the ill fated ship.
26 Dec 2015 05:34:39 AM
My farther...Freckrick L. Costa was on this ship at Pearl Harbor.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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 fatherâ€™s name (http://www.naval-history.net/WW2UScasaaDB-USNbyNameH.htm). The second entry also lists your fatherâ€™s service number which may be useful if you want to request a copy of his service record (http://ww2db.com/faq/#3).
29 May 2017 04:46:27 AM
I'm looking for information on my mother-in-law's cousin, Sea 1c James Lee. I know he was on either the USS Spence, Hull or Monaghan, but I don't know which one. How can I find out this information? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
1 Jun 2017 03:13:09 PM
James S Lee was on the Monaghan, as was my grandmother's brother Charles Lee Ross, per the appendix to Bruce Henderson's book Down To The Sea.
2 Jun 2017 03:36:00 PM
Does anyone know anything about Bill Halley, he was my grandfathers Uncle.
6 Jun 2017 03:37:16 PM
A William Hally (note the spelling) is listed on the Monaghan, also from Henderson's appendix.
6 Jun 2017 04:09:29 PM
Maddie (#19 above):
WT1c William Thomas Hally, service number 608 55 68, is listed in the Monaghan Muster Rolls from 1941 through to the sinking where he is listed among the missing.
25 Jun 2018 04:04:08 PM
My Uncle George Merwin was on the ship when it heeled over. He was one of the last men recovered. My Grandmother had been told he had died. When he walked in the door she fainted. She thought he was a ghost.
10 Nov 2019 06:54:43 PM
Has anyone ever tried to locate the Monaghan ship? My second cousin was on that ship. His body never recovered
31 Jan 2020 10:03:02 PM
My dad Dwight Moorhead was on the Monaghan on Dec 7 in Pearl Harbor. Is there any one who,knew him Thx.
14 Apr 2020 10:48:49 PM
My grandfather was aboard the USS Monaghan the morning Pearl was attacked. MM1 Leo White. He served aboard her until the end. He died a happy old man after living a full life with many children and grandchildren. He inspired most of his sons and grandsons to serve. He is missed and will never be forgotten.
24 May 2020 11:45:34 PM
My friend Had Lanman was one of the six survivors when it capsized in the hurricane. I can remember his survival story. Shark attacks and more in the days that followed the sinking.
27 May 2020 04:35:39 PM
My dads older brother was Ralph Jennings Wright, radioman second class. He went down with the ship 12/18/44
18 Oct 2020 10:33:44 AM
High School teacher Buck Savage (real name) served aboard the Monaghan.
12 Dec 2020 01:42:22 PM
My uncle Fred Costa served on this ship during Wold War II including Pearl Harbor and Midway. Proud of his service and wish he was still here to discuss those days.
18 May 2021 11:02:33 AM
Here is a link with the names of the 6 surviving crew. I'm still researching for more Info. James Story was my uncle and one of the survivors. https://www.myheraldreview.com/news/benson/evan-fenn-sole-survivor/article_dbe8475e-c7c0-592e-a25f-87413b2f4763.html
8 Aug 2021 03:17:17 PM
My Uncle Vernon B. Allen was assigned to the Monaghan as sonar operator around Jan. 1945. Family history said he was injured in the Battle of Midway and received medical retirement/pension. In 1946 he died in truck accident. He is buried in Bisbee AZ Veteran's area.
14 Nov 2021 03:42:50 PM
My Great-Uncle, Joseph Guio Jr. served on this ship, and died 18 Dec 1944. He is mentioned in the link (posted on 18 May 2021 by John Frazier) https://www.myheraldreview.com/news/benson/evan-fenn-sole-survivor/article_dbe8475e-c7c0-592e-a25f-87413b2f4763.html . I was honored to be present on 11/11/2019 when 75 years later he was posthumously awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal. In part it reads "Despite a serious injury to his foot, he assisted others to reach a life raft, which ultimately aided in the survival of six crewmen"
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Lt. Gen. Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, at Guadalcanal
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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.