Ellyson after conversion as a high-speed minesweeper.
A History of the USS Ellyson (“Elly Mae”), DD 454, DMS 19
In honor of Commander Theodore Gordon Ellyson, the USS Ellyson was commissioned DD 454 on 28 November 1941 at the New York Navy Yard. Named for the pioneer of US naval aviation, the Ellyson was built at Federal Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co., Kearny, New Jersey with a peacetime precision which made her one of the fastest destroyers ever to hit the waterways for any navy. Commander J. B. Rooney, USN was given first command.

The same construction qualities were evident for Ellyson’s sister ships for they were among the last destroyers (then modern) to complete construction before the urgency which existed after Pearl Harbor. Their pride of workmanship was exhibited by shipbuilders of Federal Boat who endowed Ellyson with a monthly stipend and an ice cream machine. During the remainder of the war Ellyson was able to furnish ice cream to PT boats and other navy bretheren not so well-equipped. Men of the Ellyson were grateful to the men of Federal.

On 4 January 1942, the Ellyson left New York in a heavy snowstorm for Chesapeake Bay, the beginning of life for another new destroyer, and for the Ellyson, six months of intensive training and patrol duty along the sub-infested Atlantic coast. These first patrols saw the Ellyson protecting our shipping from Halifax to the West Indies and the Panama Canal. Just ten days after feeling the first surge of power in her engines, the Ellyson sighted a lifeboat and the sinking hull of the Norwegian steamer Norness, and was able to rescue 24 officers and men—all that were left of another victim of the merciless U-boat reign. It was in this six months’ period that the Ellyson was a workhorse escort for the ships then preparing for, and leaving to make history—ships like the Hornet, Wasp, Ranger, Iowa, Washington, South Dakota, Alabama, Duke of York, Juneau, Augusta, Tuscaloosa and Cleveland saw the Ellyson’s wake before they moved to the sea frontiers.

On 15 June 1942 in Argentia, Newfoundland, Commander J. L. Holloway, USN, broke the broad command pennant of Commander Destroyer Squadron TEN in the Ellyson, and she was to remain a flagship for the remainder of the war. Consisting of the Hambleton, Rodman, Emmons, Macomb, Forrest, Fitch, Corry and Hobson, DesRon TEN was to become famous in the annals of the Atlantic war as sharpshooters of the destroyer fleet.

July saw the Ellyson escorting a cargo of army planes to Africa, leaving her protectorate to a relay off Accra on the Gold Coast. Jobs of this sort became standard until November when D-day at Casablanca found the Ellyson screening our carriers during the action which ensued. At Fedala during this operation, the Ellyson first showed her endowment of good fortune when, a few minutes after she pulled away from a refueling tanker and the Hambleton came alongside to refuel, a torpedo hit the Hambleton in the engine room spaces.

This was Operation “Torch.” The entire DesRon 10 was involved, divided among Sothern, Northern and Center Attack Groups. The severely-crippled Hambleton was out of action for ten months. Her survival and salvage were extraordinary and a genuine asset to the war effort. Hambleton went on to fight with honor and glory.

On February 6, 1943, Commander E. W. Longton, USN, relieved Commander J. B. Rooney as commanding officer. Shortly thereafter, and with Captain T. L. Lewis, USN as new squadron commander, the Ellyson patrolled the coast of Newfoundland and on May 19th reported with the South Dakota for duty in the British Home Fleet. Escort for battleships and convoys, months of vital naval service were performed in protecting Allied shipping from Iceland to Murmansk and the Firth of Forth; in attempts at luring the Tirpitz and other major German units from their Baltic lairs; and in innumerable anti-submarine engagements. On 7 July, the Ellyson left Scapa Flow for a mock invasion of southern Norway—two days prior to the invasion of Sicily.

There were times of terrible Atlantic storms. Freezing storms. Times when Ellyson’s bow and superstructure were entirely under near-freezing “green water” and always successfully struggled to “come up for air.” Times when rolls were well past 45 degrees. Anxious moments of a different kind. For example, escorting the Tuscaloosa between Bermuda and New York, the bridge inclinometer hit the stops at 65°.

Back in Iceland shortly afterwards, an encounter with an ice flow slashed a 4-by-20-foot hole in her bow during a sham battle between the forces of the “Blues” and the “Reds.” Repairs by the navy’s own Seabees at Hvalfjord fitted the ship for sea again.

Returning to the states in August, the Ellyson left for Argentia, Newfoundland for a two months’ shakedown of the Iowa. In October, the Ellyson left for the Mediterranean with the Iowa, the battleship carrying President Roosevelt enroute to the Teheran Conference. Before this involved journey was over, the Ellyson was seen in the Azores, Brazil, Freetown, Dakar and Bermuda.

During the October 1943 escort (with other destroyers), Ellyson’s steering failed during the high-speed trip, narrowly missing a fatal collision with the Iowa, and thanks to great efforts by the engineering and deck crew, the potential tragedy was avoided.

From January through March, the Ellyson worked with the Ranger, Tuscaloosa and Augusta training for the Normandy invasion. In March, Captain A. F. Converse, USN, relieved Captain T. J. Lewis as commander Destroyer Squadron TEN. Arriving in the Mediterranean on April 30th, the Ellyson two weeks later led a hunter-killer group to the destruction of the U-616 after 72 hours of the longest and most persistent sub chase in history, ending in a spectacular surface engagement and the capturing of thirty survivors.

Plane guard duty was always exciting and exacted utmost vigilance. The reckless speed required to rescue downed navy fliers from North Atlantic waters was an excruciating challenge. A reprint of a letter from former Combat Air Crewman William E. Pine to Ellyson’s reunion chairman Jim Galbreth is included in the addenda.

The Mediterranean Spring of 1944 had been a successful season for Nazi U-boats with Allied shipping and naval vessels suffering heavy losses. A determined effort was launched to clear the Mediterranean of this particular menace.

On 14 May, a British Coastal Command aircraft spotted what turned out later to be one of the Nazis’ ace U-boats, the U-616. Ellyson, Hambleton, Emmons and Rodman went out from Mers-el-Kébir at flank speed. Ellyson made sonar contact and immediately attacked with a depth charge pattern. Sound contact could not be regained after the sea calmed down despite a night-long box search by all four destroyers. A ten-mile-long oil slick was sighted the morning of the 15th but no submarine. Macomb, Nields, Gleaves and Hilary P. Jones were sent out to join the search, which included a sweep by Ellyson of the Spanish coast searching out likely hiding places. The British Coastal Command now spotted U-616 some 40 to 50 miles distant, probably headed for Toulon. This was just before midnight May 16th. All ships raced for the target, which would eventually send up decoy balloons to confuse radar contact.

Macomb did make radar discovery and she and U-616 exchanged fire before the sub dived and Macomb dropped depth charges followed by attacks by Nields and Emmons. Sonar contact was lost and was not regained until 0645 when Hambleton made contact about ten miles from the point of the last contact. Ellyson and Rodman commenced sonar tracking as well. A creeping attack was almost immediately organized with Ellyson and Hambleton directing Rodman on a deliberate course over the sub with other ships circling the arena. Just before Rodman’s charges were to be dropped, Ellyson reported that the sub was coming up and indeed up it came like a super-giant whale in the midst of the excitement. Ellyson commenced firing with her 5-inch guns as U-616 continued under way with the crew abandoning ship in record fashion. Shortly after the sub went down, a tremendous explosion was heard and felt by all.

Ellyson picked up 30 survivors with Rodman picking up the remaining 23. Just one survivor was injured by shrapnel. On the high-speed run back to Mers-el-Kébir, it was learned from the U-616 officers that Ellyson’s initial attack had ruptured a fuel line to the extent that many of the sub’s crew were wading in diesel fuel for the more than 72 hours of the chase. A belated “tip of the cap” to the U-616 who provided Ellyson, with over three days at battle stations, with an experience that all (including the other destroyers) will never forget.

In Plymouth, England on 24 May, the Ellyson prepared for an important role in the invasion of Normandy where she first showed a remarkable prowess for shore bombardment. Particularly outstanding was close fire support work in the action at Pointe du Hoc, where the Ellyson was a major factor in the final victory of our Rangers over the fanatical defending Germans. In was here, too, that the Ellyson was fired upon for the first time, several enemy shells landing nearby or whining through the superstructure, but never quite hitting. While the Ellyson was engaging shore batteries, a nearby sister ship, the Corry, was mined and sunk.

The day after the sinking of U-616, flagship Ellyson left for Plymouth, England, arriving via a roundabout route on May 24 with the entire DesRon 10. Steaming through submarine nets to a designated line mooring in Plymouth Harbor, the entire squadron carefully maneuvered into line with Emmons bringing up the rear to her designated position. Many in the squadron will remember her rapid, precise “parking” in line with thousands of onlookers witnessing the remarkable shiphandling as she took her place among her sister ships.

On 4 June, Ellyson was tied up alongside Augusta for torpedo guard when General Omar Bradley requested permission to come aboard to consult with Admiral Moon and others on the Augusta to help make the decision to postpone Operations “Overlord” and “Neptune” until 6 June.

Ellyson escorted a train of LCIs to Utah Beach, arriving shortly before noon on 6 June. One of the first sights on D-day was the hulk of the Corry, sunk by a mine at 0700 after considerable damaging fire support by Corry, Hobson and Fitch. A discouraging beginning.

Soon thereafter, Ellyson was off Pointe du Hoc with Rangers still pinned down below the cliff. (Destroyer Satterlee had left with the battle seemingly under control.) Establishing communications, a boat was sent over to the hungry Rangers and a target established for Ellyson. With anchors down, 5-inch firing commenced at Nazi tanks. The Rangers came over the top of the cliff. Ellyson fired again with damaging effect. One surviving tank returned to take a bead on Ellyson but narrowly missed. Ellyson retreated at flank speed. The tank retreated, the Rangers went “over the top” to stay and finally take Pointe du Hoc.

On D+1, Ellyson (in the screening section) was the only ship to detect an ME-109 on the attack and simply shot it down. One Nazi plane—to go with U-616 of three weeks earlier.

Ship-to-shore fire support, helping screen the armada against the constant threat of U-boats, E-boats, enemy planes and mines became the routine duty during the balance of the 14 days at Normandy.

On June 25th, the Ellyson was among the attacking ships at the bombardment of Cherbourg, knocking out two major enemy guns, sinking mines and laying smoke screens for harassed larger units like the Texas, Quincy, Glasgow and others in the most perilous and spectacular of all naval bombardments.

The bombardment of Cherbourg was truly spectacular. Ellyson was in Group One, headed by flagship cruiser Tuscaloosa with HMS Glasgow, HMS Enterprise, battleship Nevada and cruiser Quincy. Flanking these ships were destroyers Ellyson, Hambleton, Rodman, Emmons, Gherardi and Murphy. When firing commenced on this beautiful, calm day it seemed as though “all hell broke loose.” Cherbourg was heavily fortified including several huge Krupp batteries, which nearly constantly straddled the attacking ships, which in turn were firing furiously at unseen but spotted targets inland as well as the defending batteries. Much damage was inflicted on German tanks, pillboxes and gun emplacements. Quincy came under heavy attack and Ellyson was ordered to make smoke around straddled Quincy, which was done at high speed without a shell hitting either ship. Several floating mines were destroyed by Ellyson during the three-hour attack. Perhaps the highlight for Ellyson was a solo, nearly-suicidal run toward shore to fire on hidden shore batteries. When too many heavy guns displayed their displeasure at this attack, the near misses made it “too hot to handle” and Ellyson retreated with her skin intact after apparently inflicting some damage to the enemy.

Glasgow was the only Group One ship damaged (Group Two, in a different sector, took more punishment, with Texas and destroyers O’Brien, Barton and Laffey hit with varying severity) but when retreat was ordered all ships felt they were lucky to be afloat and were relieved to be heading back to England.

Cherbourg, which had been a key fortification to the overall success of the invasion, fell on June 27th and the men of the Ellyson knew they had helped.

At southern France, the Ellyson led the destroyer Fire Support Group in close on the heels of the minesweeps, knocking out innumerable enemy troop concentrations, machine gun nests, shore batteries and tanks during a one-sided contest, which saw the enemy defenses shattered before they had a chance to resist the landings.

The code name for the invasion of southern France was Operation “Anvil.” In preparation for expected anti-naval personnel weapons, Ellyson was ordered from Palermo to Taranto to unload her torpedoes to avoid their on-deck explosion.

Arriving at St. Raphaël at daybreak on August 15, Ellyson, following the minesweeps, led all ships in to the assault area and immediately opened fire on all targets in sight (as did Hambleton, Rodman, Emmons, Macomb, Forrest, Fitch and Hobson). The marksmanship was awesome and so destructive that when the troop landings were made the fatalities were far fewer than anticipated.

A highlight for Ellyson was making radio contact with army spotters inland who now directed Ellyson’s fire onto a retreating Nazi tank column and reported their complete destruction by Ellyson’s rapid-firing (“for effect”) at unseen targets (except by the spotters).

There followed two busy weeks of fire support and patrolling including the capture by Ericsson and Ellyson of a trawler at about 0500 on August 27. Its cargo turned out to be the entire 50-man crew of a Nazi U-boat trying to escape from the Toulon area.

Although there were many enemy torpedo boats, human torpedoes and the constant mine hazard, Ellyson once again remained unscathed while acquiring a yet-broader scope of wartime battle experience.

With Captain R. A. Larkin, USN, as squadron commander, the Ellyson in November again returned to the states, this time for conversion to a destroyer minesweep and new designation DMS 19, flagship of a newly-formed and now-famous Mine Squadron TWENTY, composed of the converted destroyers Hambleton, Rodman, Emmons, Macomb, Forrest, Fitch, Hobson, Butler, Jeffers, Harding and Gherardi. Lieutenant Commander R. W. Mountrey, USNR, assumed command to lead the Ellyson inspiringly through the most perilous period in its career.

The trip back to the states was reasonably uneventful but for three events. On the way up the coast toward New England, the combination of a rough sea, snow and bitter cold kept some of the crew chipping away at ice, which formed to an inch or more in thickness all over the exterior of the ship. Another was the journey through the Cape Cod Canal where thousands of cheering people lined the banks having been given advance notice that Destroyer Squadron Ten was coming through. Ellyson was proud to be able to display a picture of a U-boat and Nazi plane on her bridge. Lastly, DesRon 10 was now designated to be converted to destroyer-minesweepers with Ellyson continuing as flagship.

It should be pointed out that the new squadron, although minus Corry, now numbered 12 battle-experienced ships and crews. The conversion to destroyer-minesweepers included major overhauls. A bit of trivia was Ellyson’s speed trials outside Boston harbor when, lightened by the absence of ammunition and unneeded stores, the tachometer hit the stops at 41 knots and the “props” went 8 turns beyond—a probable 42 knots. It had been assumed that Ellyson’s top speed was 35 knots.

On the way to the Pacific frontier, Ellyson’s brand new sonar dome collided with a whale, which put the ship in dry dock for five days and tied up the entire squadron to the extent that destination Iwo Jima went “by the board.”

On 23 March, the Ellyson was the first invading ship to enter Okinawan waters, leading the advance minesweeping group into the Kerama Retto eight days before the invasion. During the pre-invasion days, the Ellyson cleared the waters ahead of battleships and cruisers of Task Force 58 on fire support missions, at night went out on picket duty, and with other destroyer minesweeps acted as supporting ships for the smaller minesweeps as approaches and inner harbors were swept. After the landings the Ellyson spent most of her time on all-important and ever-eventful picket stations and screening line. The new squadron was everywhere, performing its new and widely-varied tasks with notable mastery. The combined tasks as minesweeps, escorts, pickets and gunfire support ships took a tremendous toll, however, and of the squadron of twelve which had left Pearl Harbor at the end of February, only three survived the onslaught [undamaged]. Only one ship was sunk, however, On April 6th, the Emmons, a great favorite of the squadron, fought an historic and gallant battle against more than fifty kamikazes—odds which few fighting in all history have had to surmount—and after shooting six enemy planes before taking five suicide hits and four near-misses, besides again being bombed and still burning, the Emmons was forced to abandon ship—a twisted, charred and still-burning wreck which the Ellyson was ordered to sink that night while another big raid came in from the north.

North Atlantic Patrol, Casablanca, Normandy, Cherbourg and southern France now began to seem like training exercises. During the eight days before “Love Day,” 1 April 1945, Ellyson and the rest of the squadron were sweeping ahead of Task Force 58, providing anti-submarine and anti-aircraft screen and occasionally participating in shore bombardment of pre-invasion targets. Action was everywhere, including frequent night raids by Japanese bombers.

On Love Day plus One, while screening and patrolling north of Okinawa, a “Val” dive bomber initially attacked toward the port bow, was driven back, but came in low on the starboard side when Ellyson again opened fire, splashing her first Jap plane at 0612.

During the entire historic sea-air battle for Okinawa, Ellyson was ringside either physically or by radio-radar communications, seeing or hearing the desperate long battle first-hand. On at least three occasions, Ellyson’s relieving destroyers were sunk or badly damaged, convincing her crew even more that “Elly Mae” was indeed a lucky lady. A somewhat typical experience was an Ellyson radar picket report to central control near the transport area: “DELEGATE this is FIFTH AVENUE over. FIFTH AVENUE this is DELEGATE go ahead. DELEGATE, FIFTH AVENUE reports many bogies, angels low, course 180, speed 175, headed this station over. FIFTH AVENUE this is DELEGATE. Will try to send friendly. Good luck and keep us advised.” That particular fight split up before coming into visual sight and Marine Corsairs slammed into the Japs that kept coming our way, just one of many skirmished in which daring Marine pilots probably saved Ellyson from destruction.

Ellyson’s flagship radios permitted almost all voice communication so that many air-to-air battles were heard and the victories and defeats of navy versus kamikazes were known to the Ellyson as they were occurring. This including the sinking or damaging of over 120 destroyers, destroyer-minesweepers and destroyer escorts and the anguishing sight of damaged ships limping or being towed to a rear area.

On the morning of 6 April, Ellyson had to repel four different Japanese air attacks between 0330 and 0930 and was with Emmons, Rodman and Hambleton off Ie Shima on a minesweeping mission when Ellyson and Hambleton were ordered back to the transport area for refueling before returning to protect the small minesweepers at work in the area. It was then that the main raid came in, smashing Emmons and blowing the bow off Rodman. It was a sad day for the men of the Ellyson who were not allowed to return north to the aid of her two sister ships, but a wise decision because Ellyson and Hambleton probably would not have lived to fight another day. Nine other destroyers were hit that day; eight severely.

On April 8th, the Navy and the Pentagon decided that the American public should be told about the terrible losses the US Navy was bearing in Okinawa. It was second page news, for the front pages carried news of the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The battle went on and on.

In and out of radar picket duty, Ellyson and what was left of MinRon 20 were needed to help guide continuing minesweeping and shore bombardment operations. On April 18, Ellyson was screening minesweepers off Ie Shima and observed a seemingly-minor fracas consisting of machine gun and rifle fire only to learn, a few hours later, that beloved war correspondent Ernie Pyle was fatally hit by gunfire in this exchange.

Diaries kept by a couple of crewmembers confirm the ever-changing weather during the Okinawa months. Clear, beautiful days, monsoon-type rains, calm seas, heavy seas, electrical storms and suddenly-changing conditions brought on by both the elements and the enemy. Ellyson was in the middle of two typhoons and survived, it seemed, only by the seamanship of the captain and the bridge crew, the engineering gang, the workmanship of the Federal Boat Works and the grace of God.

8 May 1945. VE Day was announced at 1530. Ellyson left the Naha area to spend the rainy night on patrol before going into the transport area to refuel and replenish the ammunition. For many, the war is over, victory celebrations are exuberant, but not at Okinawa where the war still goes on like never before.

Balancing the U-boat sunk in the Mediterranean, three Japanese planes are painted on the Ellyson’s bridge, all splashed by her guns. The final plane came down in June exploding 25 feet off the bow in a suicide attack, which killed one man and wounded six more.

As of 20 April, only four DMSs were operational—Ellyson, Forrest, Butler and Gherardi. Hambleton returned to duty after kamikaze damage on 3 April while in line with Ellyson. Butler was hit on 26 May and Forrest was hit on 27 May. As previously recorded, Ellyson was hit (principally by the DE she was protecting) on the day the Japanese announced the surrender of Okinawa—22 June 1945. A bit of trivia: Captain Mountrey ordered a hard left as the kamikaze was almost directly over the ship, upside down and the pilot visible in the burning cockpit intent upon dive bombing Ellyson; his only other words were, “Well boys, we’d better duck.”

On June 25th, Ellyson pulled into anchorage for five days of rest and work in celebration of 120 consecutive days of being underway with “way upon her.”

During July, the Ellyson was flagship of a task group commanded by Captain Wayne R. Loud, USN, which swept 7900 square miles of East China Sea, the largest minesweeping operation heretofore registered in the records of naval warfare.

This minesweeping task sounds a little routine and mundane, but the threat of enemy planes still existed, precise navigation was a constant need and the occasional sight of a YMS disappearing with all its crew in a thunderous fireball was enough to keep an American sailor from getting terrible bored. And the memories of dawns which “ … come up like thunder … ” and sunsets went down “ … over China cross’t the bay … ” linger on until the sunset of life grows dark.

At the completion of the China Sea operation, the Ellyson operated with the Third Fleet off Tokyo and on 28 August, following some YMSs and AMs, the Ellyson appropriately became the first major warship to enter Tokyo Bay, going out and reentering later as escort for the San Diego and Missouri, who soon were to make history in the peace-signing ceremonies which followed.

The Tokyo adventures were not as routine to the men of the Ellyson as the foregoing paragraph may seem. The maneuvering outside the harbor for a vast armada to get into some ordained position, for the Ellyson to take aboard a special Japanese pilot to lead the entire entourage into the harbor (fortunately Ellyson had a Japanese-speaking officer aboard since Pearl Harbor in March 1945), and then to be the first American capital ship to enter Tokyo Harbor since before Pearl Harbor was something special. Ellyson was about 3,000 yards from the Missouri, with no ship in between, when the surrender took place. It seemed fitting, but memories of the sacrificial, heroic deeds of our known and unknown fellow sailors unable to be there remained with the men of the Ellyson, the busy and lucky Elly Mae.

Tokyo Bay cleared, the Ellyson was flagship of a task group which swept the southern approaches and entrance of the Inland Sea, Hiro Kuro and Hiroshima Harbors, clearing the way for the forces of occupation which were to follow.

This minesweeping operation was a genuine disappointment ass well as a “bore” in spite of the peril of the mines and death, which still remained. Most of the navy by now had arrived back in our country, the “good old USA,” to justifiable heroes’ welcomes and the sailors back to their families and friends, back to their farms, offices, factories, schools or whatever, but Ellyson, Hambleton and Gherardi were still out in no man’s land in ignominious status.

Finally, after leaving Okinawa under the command of Lieutenant Commander Hershel V. Sellers, stopping at Eniwetok, Pearl Harbor, San Diego and the Panama Canal. Ellyson cruised into Norfolk on 9 January 1946 and shortly thereafter into Berkeley, smoothly, quietly, unobserved and unheralded. For Ellyson the war was finally over.

When actions came and the Ellyson took a high-ranking professional position in war’s games of give-and-take, she became known as the “Mighty E” and more affectionately to the men who fought her, the “Lady Elly Mae.” Four years of durable and faithful service to freedom’s cause had earned an earnest sentiment.

Along Fate’s maze of tortuous byways, the Ellyson sailed a straight, unerring course with a phenomenal good fortune, which only Fate itself can recount and explain. Destroyer or be destroyed is a battle often decided by the toss of Fortune’s coin; the brave die but a single death; and live or die, history is gloriously compiled of courage and daring. This is the wartime story of the Ellyson.

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Eventually Ellyson was assigned to the newly-created US Mine Force with headquarters at Charleston, South Carolina, under the command of Rear Admiral Francis P. Old, USN. It was during these next few months that “Elly Mae” was decidedly worse off than ever before due to the discharge of service men. She lay in an immobilized state of six months in Charleston, South Carolina, before gaining enough personnel to put back to sea.

Her new assignment took her to Newport, Rhode Island, where she performed the task of target towing and exercising with the submarines operating out of New London, Connecticut. This duty continued until December 1947, at which time she returned to Charleston, South Carolina, to again become immobilized because of the shortage of personnel.

On 6 July 1946, after undergoing extensive overhaul, DMS 19 once more put to sea for refresher training at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. She then returned to Charleston, South Carolina.

With the completion of Navy Day, 1948, at Wilmington, North Carolina, Ellyson proceeded in company with Hambleton to Norfolk, Virginia, to prepare for fleet maneuvers off Newfoundland. In November 1948, departure was made from Norfolk, joining the hunter-killer group, to provide coverage to the other units of the fleet. After competing standard minesweeping exercises at Argentia to insure safe landing by the amphibious forces, Ellyson returned to Charleston for the Christmas holidays and to prepare for a Mediterranean cruise in January 1949.

On 3 January 1949, “Elly Mae” in company with Min Division 4, weighed anchor for Gibraltar, arriving there on 13 January. As a part of the SIXTH Fleet, routine training operations were conducted and calls were made at the following ports: Tripoli, Libya; Augusta, Sicily; Naples, Italy and Toulon, France. Many places were revisits for the ship although they were new for the crew. Upon returning to Gibraltar, Ellyson was greeted by the British destroyer Sibolney, whose officers expressed their pleasure at seeing her once more. They had last seen her in the North Atlantic in 1944.

After a rough crossing of the Atlantic, the “Elly Mae” proceeded to Charleston, South Carolina for upkeep and tender overhaul alongside USS Amphion (AR 13) to prepare for a reserve cruise to southern waters.

For her activities after the war, Ellyson earned dual eligibility for the Navy Occupation Service Medal: in Asia during the period 2 September to 6 December 1945 and in Europe from 11 January to 22 February 1949.

On 4 May 1954, Ellyson’s designation reverted to DD 454 and on 19 October 1954 she was decommissioned.

USS Ellyson (DMS 19, ex-DD 454) earned four battle stars on the European-African-Middle Eastern Area Service Medal and three battle stars on the Asiatic-Pacific Area Service Medal.

Source: A History of the USS Ellyson (Elly Mae), DD 454, DMS 19, prepared for the Ellyson Reunion, October 11–13, 1985, Charleston, South Carolina.