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Navsource Online: Destroyer Escort Photo Archive

Ship's patch courtesy of Nick Tiberio

USS William C. Miller (DE 259)

Flag Hoist / Radio Call Sign:
N - G - O - U
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row: Combat Action Ribbon (retroactive)
Second Row: American Campaign Medal - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal w/ 7 stars - WWII Victory Medal

Class: Evarts
Type: GMT (diesel-electric tandem motor drive, short hull, 3" guns)
Displacement: 1,140 tons (light), 1,430 tons (full)
Length: 283' 6" (wl), 289' 5" (oa)
Beam: 35' 0" (extreme)
Draft: 11' 0" (draft limit)
Propulsion: 4 GM Model 16-278A diesel engines with electric drive, 6000 shp, 2 screws
Speed: 19 kts
Range: 4,150 nm @ 12 knots
Armament: 3 - 3"/50 Mk22 (1x3), 1 - 1.1"/75 cal. Mk2 quad AA (4x1), 9 x 20mm Mk 4 AA, 1 Hedgehog Projector Mk10 (144 rounds), 8 Mk6 depth charge projectors, 2 Mk9 depth charge tracks
Complement: 15 / 183
Willliam C. Miller (DE 259) Building and Operational Data:
  • 10 January 1943: Keel laid by the Boston Navy Yard, Charlestown, Mass.
  • 22 February 1943: Launched and christened, sponsored by Mrs. Melvin B. Miller, the mother of the late Radioman 3d Class Miller
  • 02 July 1943: Commissioned at the Boston Navy Yard, Lcdr. Frederick C. Storey, USNR, in command
  • 17 December 1945: Decommissioned at the Mare Island Navy Yard, Vallejo, Cal. after 2 years and 5½ months of service
  • 08 January 1945: Struck from the NVR
  • 10 April 1947: Sold for scrapping to Mr. Fred Perry of New York City, N.Y. (scrapping completed 19 November 1947)
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    William C. Miller

    35k William Cicero Miller was born on 18 July 1919 in Thomasville, N.C. and enlisted in the Navy as an apprentice seaman at Raleigh, N.C. on 20 October 1937. After instruction at the Naval Training Station, Norfolk, Va., Miller was advanced to the rate of seaman 2d class on 21 February 1938 and joined Scouting Squadron (VS) 6, attached to the aircraft carrier Enterprise (CV 6), on 30 September of that year. Miller remained with VS-6 into 1941 and became the rear-seat man for Lt. Clarence E. Dickinson, Jr. around April of that year. In the ensuing months the two became an efficient pilot/radioman team; and, on the morning of 07 December 1941, they both boarded their aircraft, a Douglas SBD-3 Dauntless, for what was to be a routine scouting flight. They were under orders to proceed to Ford Island and land there to refuel. Their ship, Enterprise, together with the rest of Task Force 8, would return later that day. Dickinson and Miller arrived over Oahu to discover the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor underway.

    After one of the section had been shot down by a Japanese fighter, the commander of VS-6, Lt. Comdr. Halstead Hopping, broadcast the word that Pearl Harbor was being attacked. Miller and the other rear-seat men immediately unlimbered their .30-caliber machine guns. Attacking "Zero" fighters riddled Dickinson's plane, but Miller, already wounded once, downed one and ultimately exhausted his ammunition in the defense of the aircraft until she had been set afire. Dickinson called for Miller to bail out but received no answer. The pilot managed to get out of the falling plane; but Miller, either dead or so severely wounded that he was unable to free himself from the aircraft, remained with it until it crashed into a cane field. For his devotion to duty, despite his wounds, Miller was awarded a posthumous commendation by the Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet.

    USS William C. Miller (DE 259) (1943-1945) was the first ship named in his honor.
    Nick Tiberio
    Shelton, Conn.
    William C. Miller
    243k 15 May 1945: Vallejo, Cal. - Broadside view of William C. Miller off Mare Island. She was in overhaul at the yard from 12 April until 28 May 1945.

    (U.S. Navy photo #DE-259 19-N-86023 from the National Archives and Records Administration, courtesy of  Chris Wright)
    Ed Zajkowski
    Narvon, Pa.
    William C. Miller
    354k 15 May 1945: Vallejo, Cal. - Port quarter view of William C. Miller off Mare Island.

    (U.S. Navy photo #DE-259 19-N-86025 from the National Archives and Records Administration, courtesy of  Chris Wright)
    William C. Miller
    97k 15 May 1945: Vallejo, Cal. - Port bow, 45° off-centerline, view of William C. Miller in the Napa River off Mare Island Navy Yard.

    (U.S. Navy Photo #DE-259-3589-45)
    Darryl Baker
    PNCM, USNR (ret.)

    Vallejo Naval & Historical Museum
    William C. Miller
    97k 15 May 1945: Vallejo, Cal. - Port quarter view of William C. Miller off Mare Island.

    (U.S. Navy Photo #DE-259-3586-45)
    William C. Miller
    162k 19 May 1945: Vallejo, Cal. - After plan view. Stern of the USS Pensacola (CA 24) is in the background.

    (U.S. Navy Photo #DE-259-2493-45)
    William C. Miller
    159k 19 May 1945: Vallejo, Cal. - Forward plan view.

    (U.S. Navy Photo #DE-259-2796-45)
    William C. Miller
    206k 26 May 1945: Vallejo, Cal. - After plan view of William C. Miller inboard and Cabana (DE 260) outboard at Mare Island. Both ships received new 40 mm gun mounts during their overhauls. Other ships in the background are O'Brien (DD 725), USS Kimberley (DD 521), Howorth (DD 592) and ARD 11 (with Coghlan (DD 606) in the dock).

    (U.S. Navy Photo #DE-259-3797-45)
    William C. Miller
    179k 26 May 1945: Vallejo, Cal. - Forward plan view of William C. Miller inboard and Cabana outboard.

    (U.S. Navy Photo #DE-259-3798-45)
    William C. Miller
    102k undated wartime image Mike Hamilton
    son of
    Edward L. Hamilton
    S1c,USS Miller

    William C. Miller History
    View the USS William C. Miller (DE 259) DANFS history entry located on the Naval History and Heritage Command web site.
    View a short article on the design and development of the Evarts Class DE submitted by Bob Sables.

    William C. Miller's Commanding Officers
    Thanks to Wolfgang Hechler & Ron Reeves
    Dates of Command Commanding Officers
    1.) 02 Jul. 1943 01 Jan. 1944Lcdr. Frederick C. Storey, USNR (Comm. CO)
    2.) 01 Jan. 1944 20 Feb. 1945Lcdr. Duncan Forbes Francis, USNR
    3.) 20 Feb. 1945 - .. Nov. 1945Lt./Lcdr. Richard Small, USNR
    4.) .. Nov. 1945 - 21 Dec. 1945Lt. Irving Heddens Smith Jr., USNR (Decomm. CO)

    Crew Contact And Reunion Information

    Contact Name:Richard A. Eckersall

    Note About Contacts

    Contact information is compiled from various sources over a period of time and may, or may not, be correct. Every effort has
    been made to list the newest contact. However, our entry is only as good as the latest information that's been sent to us. We list
    only a contact for the ship if one has been sent to us. We do NOT have crew lists, rosters, or deck logs available. Please see the
    Frequently Asked Questions section on NavSource's Main Page for that information.

    Additional Resources

    Richard Eckersall's DE-259 Dedication Page
    Tin Can Sailors
    The U.S. Navy Memorial
    Destroyer Escort Sailors Association
    The Destroyer Escort Historical Museum
    The Destroyer History Foundation
    To The DE, FF, LCS Photo Index Page
    Back To The Main Photo Index

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    This Page Created And Maintained By Mike Smolinski
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    by Paul R. Yarnall, All Rights Reserved.
    Page Last Updated: 28 June 2023