USS Moale (DD-693)

The USS Moale (DD-693) was an Allen M. Sumner–class U.S. Navy destroyer launched in 1944 and named for Edward Moale Jr., a native of Little Rock (Pulaski County). The vessel saw action in World War II and the Korean War during a nearly thirty-year career.

Edward Moale Jr., was born in Little Rock on September 10, 1866, one of three sons and a daughter of professional soldier Edward Moale and Jeannie Moale. The family did not stay in Little Rock long, as federal census records show them living at Fort Dodge, Kansas, in 1870. By 1880, they were stationed at Fort Benton, Montana, and it was from that state that the younger Moale was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, on June 17, 1882. He graduated thirteenth in his class in 1887 and was commissioned as an ensign in the navy on July 1, 1889. Moale fought in the Spanish-American War aboard the gunboat Helena in 1898, then steamed to Luzon to assist the U.S. Army during the events surrounding the Philippine-American War from 1899 to 1900. He married Adria Maude Semple at King, Washington, on June 15, 1891, and their son Edward Semple Moale, who himself would pursue a naval career, was born on July 22, 1892. Edward Moale Jr. also served aboard the gunboats Scindia, San Francisco, Chicago, and Brooklyn. He contracted a disease while operating in the Cagayan Valley swamps on Luzon in 1899, which resulted in his death at Baltimore, Maryland, on October 23, 1903. He is buried in the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery at Annapolis.

Lieutenant Moale’s namesake vessel had its keel laid on August 5, 1943, at the Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Company of Kearney, New Jersey. It was christened by Henrietta Moale, the late lieutenant’s daughter-in-law, and launched on January 16, 1944, and commissioned under Commander Walter M. Foster on February 28. The USS Moale weighed 3,218 tons, was 376 feet long and forty-one feet wide, and could reach speeds of 36.5 knots. It was armed with six twin five-inch guns, twelve 40mm guns, and eleven 20mm guns.

After a shakedown cruise (test of the ship’s performance) off Bermuda, the Moale trained on the East Coast before departing for the Pacific on August 21. The vessel reached Pearl Harbor on September 15 and underwent additional training until October 25, when it left for the Carolines and arrived at Ulithi on November 5. The Moale joined a fast carrier task force for operations at Luzon and Mindora in the Philippines, then joined the Seventh Fleet on November 27. Two days later, it joined Task Force 77.2 and sailed to Leyte Gulf. On December 12, it returned to Mindoro to provide fire support for ships in the transport area. The Moale finished the year doing cargo runs.

The destroyer joined the U.S. forces at Luzon on January 3, 1945, protecting ships that were bombarding Japanese positions and performing other duties until January 22. It rejoined the fast carrier group in February, attacking Japanese vessels trying to aid the garrison on Iwo Jima. The Moale was assigned to accompany a pair of destroyers damaged in a collision on their way to repair facilities on Saipan, assisting in the sinking of three Japanese gunboats before returning to Iwo Jima on February 19. Its deck and forward five-inch gun mount were damaged in a storm that produced forty-foot waves, and the vessel was dispatched to Pearl Harbor for repairs on February 25, 1945. It returned to duty at Okinawa on June 7, serving on radar picket detail there through June 27. The Moale was at San Pedro Bay at Leyte when the Japanese surrendered on August 15, and it served off the Japanese Coast until September 27 before returning to the United States.

The Moale operated on the West Coast until May 21, 1946, when it was sent to the Bikini Atoll to assist in the atomic bomb tests there. It sailed to Bremerton, Washington, for an overhaul on August 22. When repairs were completed in January 1947, the Moale spent six months in the western Pacific before sailing to San Diego to serve as a training ship for the Fleet Sonar School.

The destroyer transferred to the Atlantic Fleet in the spring of 1949, performing training exercises in the western Atlantic until November 1950, then alternating between the Atlantic and Mediterranean until April 1953. On April 24, the Moale set off on an around-the-world voyage that included four months of service in Korean waters. From 1954 until 1969, the veteran destroyer sailed the Atlantic, Mediterranean, and Caribbean in operations that included service in the eastern Mediterranean during the 1956 Israel-Egypt War, service as the support ship for Scott Carpenter’s May 1962 Mercury spaceflight, and participation in the Cuban quarantine of October and November 1962. The USS Moale, which earned five World War II battle stars and one for Korea, was struck from the navy list on July 1, 1973, then sold for $150,000 on December 1, 1974, to Brownsville Steel of Texas, which broke it up for scrap.

For additional information:
Annual Register of the United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD. Thirty-Ninth Academic Year, 1888–89. Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1889.

“Moale (DD-693).” Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Naval History and Heritage Command. https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/m/moale.html (accessed July 13, 2018).

“USS Moale (DD-693).” NavSource Online. http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/693.htm (accessed July 13, 2018).

Mark K. Christ
Little Rock, Arkansas

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