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Hull Number: DD-944

Launch Date: 03/18/1957

Commissioned Date: 03/07/1958

Decommissioned Date: 08/11/1983

Call Sign: NAHB






Wikipedia (as of 2024)

Henry Maston Mullinnix (July 4, 1892 – November 24, 1943) was a United States Navy aviator and admiral who served in World War I and World War II. Mullinnix was killed in action while commanding a Navy escort carrier division and task force group when his flagship, the escort carrier USS Liscome Bay (CVE-56), was sunk by a Japanese submarine near the Gilbert Islands during World War II. He was the fourth of five US Navy admirals killed in battle during WWII, including: Isaac C. Kidd (1941, Attack on Pearl Harbor); Norman Scott and Daniel J. Callaghan (same day, 1942, Naval Battle of Guadalcanal); and Theodore E. Chandler (1945, invasion of Lingayen Gulf).

Mullinnix was born in Spencer, Indiana in 1892. He was president of his senior class at Attica High School where his father was a Principal, graduating in 1909. He graduated first in his class from the United States Naval Academy in 1916.[1] He served in the destroyer Balch (DD-50), engaged in patrol and escort duty off Ireland during World War I. Following service in Gridley (DD-92) and Brooks (DD-232), he completed work in aeronautical engineering at Annapolis and MIT, receiving an M.S. degree in 1923. After flight training at Naval Air Station PensacolaFlorida, he was designated a naval aviator on January 11, 1924. He was one of those mainly responsible for developing the air-cooled engine for naval aircraft. Besides various shore duty, he served in Saratoga (CV-3)Wright (AV-1), and commanded Albemarle (AV-5), between 1924 and 1941. On November 13, 1942, he was promoted to rear admiral.

Mullinnix commanded Saratoga from April 1943, until August 22, when he was transferred to duty with a carrier division. On November 24, Rear Admiral Mullinnix was on board his flagship Liscome Bay (CVE-56) (under the command of Captain Irving Wiltsie) commanding Carrier Division 24 and Task Group 52.3 (Air Support Group of Northern Attack Force (Makin)-Task Group 52) when the escort carrier/flagship which had just participated in the Battle of Makin was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine and sunk off Makin Island, in the Gilbert Islands.[1] Declared dead a year later, he was posthumously awarded the Legion of Merit:

For exceptional meritorious conduct…as Commander of a Carrier Air Support Group prior to and during the amphibious invasion of Japanese-held Makin Atoll, Gilbert Islands from November 1 to 24, 1943. Displaying outstanding initiative and superior executive ability, Rear Admiral Mullinnix skillfully conducted anti-submarine and air combat patrols supporting our landing operations on this strongly defended island and, through his brilliant leadership, enabled escort carriers to carry out a well coordinated, aggressive attack against the enemy. Rear Admiral Mullinnix’s tireless efforts, meticulous attention to detail and loyal devotion to the accomplishment of an extremely difficult and hazardous mission contributed materially to our subsequent capture of this strategic area.[2]


Stricken 7/26/1990. Sunk as target 8/22/1992.

A Tin Can Sailors Destroyer History


The Tin Can Sailor, April 2001

The DD-944 was launched on 18 March 1957 and commissioned 7 March 1958. Her first Mediterranean deployment was in August 1959. When rebel forces invaded Nicaragua in November 1960, the MULLINNIX was one of the naval units ordered by President Eisenhower to patrol the area of unrest. In March 1965, she carried NASA and media representatives to the primary recovery area for the splashdown of the two Gemini astronauts. A month later, she was patrolling the waters around Guantanamo Bay during the Dominican Republic crisis.

She went into combat for the first time in August 1966. In South Vietnam, she ranged from the DMZ to the Saigon River in support of U.S. and South Vietnamese troops completing 990 missions and firing 13,702 rounds of ammunition. The “Mighty Mux” left Vietnam in mid-September. The following April, in the South Atlantic, she participated in reliability tests of the new Apollo space capsule. Also in April, a helicopter plunged into the sea 1,500 yards from the MULLINNIX. She sped to the scene, where her motor whaleboat picked up three crewmembers from the downed craft. That fall, she completed a two-and-a-half-month UNITAS cruise around South America.

The MULLINNIX was back on the gun line in Vietnam in February and again in May 1969, supporting U.S. Marines and allied forces in the Da Nang, I Corps, and DMZ areas. Her third and final patrol in July was mainly around Qui Nhon and Nha Trang, following which she was chosen 1969’s “Top Gun” destroyer by shore based spotters. During her 231-day deployment the Mighty Mux had fired nearly 21,000 rounds of ammunition.

The MULLINNIX operated in the Mediterranean between May and November 1970 and in early 1971 was in the Caribbean. There, she was assigned surveillance duty off Cienfeugos, monitoring the Soviet submarine presence in Cuba. In July 1971, off the Virginia Capes, her crew rescued two fishermen caught in disorienting rain squalls and low on fuel. That December, she was on alert after the Johnny Express incident and later, monitored two merchant ships transiting the area and established a barrier patrol between Great Inagua and Tortuga Islands.

She began her next Vietnam deployment in April 1972 when she supported South Vietnamese marines in operations Thanh Song and Lam Song. Her tour in Southeast Asia ended in September and was followed in 1973 with overhaul and refresher training. The Mighty Mux was in the Middle East in April 1974 when she assisted the French frigate BALNY, which had lost a propeller in the Gulf of Aden. She towed the ship for two days until relieved by another French ship, the VICTOR SCHOELCHER. By May, she was again in the Gulf of Aden, this time engaged in gathering intelligence on two Soviet merchant ships and a fish factory. In July, in the Indian Ocean, she again assisted a ship in distress when the merchant ship ANNA MARIA lost power following a boiler explosion. The MULLINNIX stood by until civilian tugs arrived to take the stricken ship in tow and then resumed her surveillance of Soviet ships in the area.

Local operations, midshipman training, fleet exercises, and an end of year Mediterranean deployment took the MULLINNIX through 1975. The following year began with operations in the Mediterranean where her whaleboat and its crew won best overall appearance in the Great Sixth Fleet Bicentennial Motor Whaleboat Regatta. She was also voted most spirited ship along the course. Following summer operations out of Norfolk and Newport, Rhode Island, she got underway for Northern Europe in August 1976. Most of 1977 was spent in overhaul at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The MULLINNIX stopped at her new home port in Charleston, South Carolina on her way to Guantanamo Bay for refresher training. During the summer and fall of 1978, she operated in the Middle East, much of the time conducting surveillance operations in the Persian Gulf.

Hurricane David forced the MULLINNIX and other ships in Charleston to put to sea, where she was badly battered by the storm and required “herculean” efforts to complete repairs before her scheduled departure for a two-month North Atlantic cruise. Often operating near the Arctic Circle, she frequently fought rough seas and weather. Port visits in the Netherlands, Scotland, and England were a pleasant respite. Following her return to Charleston and local operations, she got underway for the Caribbean in mid-January 1980. A brief home visit and then, she was off again to the Middle East, where she began her deployment in April with surveillance in the Straits of Hormuz. Later, she operated in the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Aden, and the Red Sea. She returned to the states in August and spent the fall operating off Port Everglades, Florida, and in the Caribbean.

Aware that the Mighty Mux was one of the few “gun ships” still in the active fleet, Muxmen made sure that their tin can lived up to its slogan, “Not Older—Better.” Early in 1981, she set sail for Boston and her regularly scheduled overhaul at General Ship Corporation’s yard in East Boston. There, in the early morning hours of 18 February, BMC Danny Qualls, EN1 Daniel Sanders, and Reservist OS1 Thomas James saw that a fire had broken out in a nearby apartment building. After reporting the fire, Qualls and Sanders went into the burning building, alerted residents, and helped them escape to safety.

By mid-January 1982, the MULLINNIX was back in Charleston. Returning from operations off the Virginia Capes in March, a major steam leak required the evacuation of the forward part of the ship with only minor injuries to eight crewmembers. During the summer, word reached the ship of her proposed decommissioning as well as one last deployment to the Mediterranean. In the Eastern Mediterranean in December, she patrolled the waters off Beirut, Lebanon, in support of the multi-national peacekeeping forces and then, in the new year, took part in carrier battle group contingency operations off Libya. When she celebrated her twenty-fifth birthday in March 1983 in the Republic of the Maldives, her crew was mindful of the fact that the MULLINNIX was the last active FORREST SHERMAN to be forward deployed. As they headed homeward, they also knew that her days were numbered. She was decommissioned on August 11, 1983, at the Naval Station, Charleston, South Carolina, and remained in the inactive fleet until struck from the navy’s list on 26 July 1990.

USS MULLINNIX DD-944 Ship History

Wikipedia (as of 2024)

USS Mullinnix (DD-944) was a Forrest Sherman-class destroyer of the United States Navy. She was named for Admiral Henry M. Mullinnix USN (1892–1943), who was killed in action during World War II, when the aircraft carrier USS Liscome Bay was torpedoed by the Japanese submarine I-175 and sank southwest of Butaritari Island on 24 November 1943.

Mullinnix was built by the Bethlehem Steel Corporation’s Fore River Shipyard in Quincy, Massachusetts, and launched by Mrs. Kathryn F. Mullinnix.

Mullinnix conducted patrol duty in the Caribbean during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, participated in the Gemini program recovery operations in March 1966, and served as plane guard for aircraft carriers on Yankee Station in the Tonkin Gulf, participated in Sea Dragon operations, patrolled on search and rescue duties, and carried out naval gunfire support missions during the Vietnam War.

Mullinix and her sister ship Edson appeared in The Twilight Zone episode “The Thirty-Fathom Grave.”