Please Report Any Broken Links Or Trouble You Might Come Across To The Webmaster
Please Take A Moment To Let Us Know So That We Can Correct Any Problems And Make Your Visit As Enjoyable And As Informative As Possible.

Navsource Online: Destroyer Escort Photo Archive

Ship's patches courtesy of Mike Smolinski

USS Walton (DE 361)

Flag Hoist / Radio Call Sign:
N - T - O - U
Tactical Voice Radio Call: "Otis"

Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row: Combat Action Ribbon (retroactive) - China Service Medal - American Campaign Medal
Second Row: Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal - World War II Victory Medal - National Defense Service Medal w/ 1 star
Third Row: - Korea Service Medal w/ 2 stars - Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal - Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation
Fourth Row: Philippine Liberation Medal - UN Korean Service Medal - Republic of Korea War Service Medal

Class: John C. Butler
Type: WGT (geared-turbine drive, 5" guns)
Displacement: 1350 tons (light), 1745 tons (full)
Length: 300' (wl), 306' (oa)
Beam: 36' 10" (extreme)
Draft: 11' 0" (draft limit)
Propulsion: 2 "D" Express boilers, 2 geared turbine engines, 12,000 shp, 2 screws
Speed: 24 kts
Range: 6,000 nm @ 12 knots
Armament: 2 - 5"/38 cal. DP guns (2x1), 4 - 40mm AA (2x2), 10 - 20mm AA, 3 - 21" TT, 1 Mk10 Hedgehog, 8 Mk6 Depth Charge Projectors, 2 Mk9 Depth Charge Stern Racks
Complement: 14 / 201
Walton (DE 361) Building and Operational Data:
  • 21 March 1944: Keel laid at the Consolidated Steel Corp., Orange, Tex.
  • 20 May 1944: Launched and christened, sponsored by Mrs. Clara Olson, mother of the late Sergeant Merrit C. Walton
  • 04 September 1944: Commissioned at the Orange City Dock, Lcdr. Wilbur S. Wills Jr., in command
  • 31 May 1946: Decommissioned at San Diego, Cal. after 1 year 9 and months of service having steamed 69,854 miles
  • 03 August 1946: Inactivation completed at San Diego, Cal.
  • 26 January 1951: Recommissioned at San Diego, Cal., Lcdr. John D. Brink in command
  • 04 November 1951: Homeport reassigned to Pearl Harbor as a unit of Escort Division 92 (with DE's 440, 699, and 700)
  • 20 July 1958: Assigned to NRT, 12th Naval District at San Francisco, Cal. as a unit of Reserve Escort Division 12
  • 01 October 1961: Activated for the Berlin Crisis, homeport assignment changed to Pearl Harbor, Hi. as a unit of Escort Squadron 7 (CortDiv 71)
  • 01 August 1962: Returned to San Francisco, deactivated, returned to the NRT Program as a unit of Reserve Destroyer Squadron 27
  • 20 September 1968: Decommissioned at the U. S. Naval Ship Inactivation Facility, San Francisco Naval Shipyard, Mare Island Division, after 17 years and 8 months of service
  • 23 September 1968: Struck from the NVR with a total of 19 years and 5 months of service
  • 07 August 1969: Sunk as target off California
    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Contributed
    By And/Or Copyright


    49k Merrit Cecil Walton was born at St. Paul, Minn., on 18 December 1915. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps on 19 May 1937 at San Francisco, Calif., and initially served at San Diego, Calif., before going to the Asiatic Station that autumn. As a member of the 4th Marine Regiment, quartered in the International Settlement of Shanghai, China, Walton witnessed part of the bloody battle that raged for that key city between Chinese and Japanese forces and, as such, was an early observer of Japanese aggression in the Far East. During his tour in China, he received promotion to private, 1st class, on 10 May 1939.

    Returning to the United States in the autumn of 1940, Walton served successive tours of duty at the Marine barracks at Mare Island, Vallejo, Calif.; the Naval Air Station, Lakehurst, N.J.; Quantico, Va.; and New River, N.C. He was promoted to sergeant on 01 August 1941 and platoon sergeant on 08 April 1942. Platoon Sergeant Walton was serving in a parachute battalion as part of the 1st Marine Division (Reinforced) that was selected to land in the Solomons in August 1942. Companies A and B of that battalion landed on the island of Gavutu on the morning of 07 August 1942. The enemy, already alterted by the landings on Guadalcanal and Tulagi, met the marines' frontal assault with a withering fire.

    Although fully aware of the danger involved, Platoon Sergeant Walton volunteered to reconnoiter the position of a troublesome Japanese machine gun nest threatening his platoon's right flank. Once he had spotted the weapon's location, he led a daring attack during which the leathernecks silenced the gun. Mortally wounded, however, Platoon Sergeant Walton died later that same day. Posthumous awards accorded the sergeant included the Navy Cross, the Purple Heart, and a share of the Presidential Unit Citation awarded the 1st Marine Division (Reinforced).

    USS Walton (DE 361) (1944 - 1968) was the first ship to be named in his honor.

    (Photo taken at Sutton, Nebr. during Sgt. Walton's last visit to his cousin Evelyn A. Goesch, Rod's Mom.)
    Rod Ulibarri
    San Jose, Cal.
    41k 20 May 1944: Orange, Tex. - Walton being side-launched. Nick Tiberio
    Shelton, Conn.
    347k undated postwar image: USS Walton (DE 361) underway, circa later 1950s or early 1960s, probably entering or leaving port.

    (U.S. Naval Historical Center photo #NH 107607 from the Naval History and Heritage Command)
    Mike Smolinski
    Clifton, N.J.

    Navsource DE/FF/LCS
    Archive Manager
    125k Undated Postwar Photo (1950's / 1960's) Nick Tiberio
    Shelton, Conn.
    125k Undated Postwar Photo (1950's / 1960's) Mike Smolinski
    Clifton, N.J.

    Manager, Navsource
    DE / FF / LCS Archive
    168k 24 - 26 February 1962: Saigon, Vietnam - Walton moored at Saigon after sailing up the Saigon River.

    (Photo taken by Herb Mesler, RM1)
    Herb Mesler
    RMC, USNR (ret.)
    DE 361, 1961 to 1962
    419k circa 1962: Pearl Harbor, Hi. - An official U.S. Navy photo of Walton passing Hospital Point at Pearl Harbor. Ken W. Sayers
    Lt., USNR
    471k circa 1962: off the coast of Pearl Harbor - An official U.S. Navy photo of Walton at sea. This photo and the one prior were probably taken during Walton's last deployment to the Pacific.
    285k 25 June 1965: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada - USS Walton (DE 361) stands off while arriving for a port visit to Vancouver.

    (Photograph by Walter E. Frost) (Photo #AM1506-S3-3-: CVA 447-8887 from the City of Vancouver Archives)
    472k 28 June 1965: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada - USS Walton (DE 361) stands off while departing a port visit to Vancouver.

    (Photograph by Walter E. Frost) (Photo #AM1506-S3-3-: CVA 447-8887.1 from the City of Vancouver Archives)
    202k 03 October 1965: Alameda, Cal. - Walton in drydock during an overhaul at Todd Shipyard. Ken W. Sayers
    Lt., USNR
    156k 01 February 1966: Treasure Island, Cal. - Walton moored at Treasure Island Naval Station, pier 14N.
    138k 28 August 1966: Treasure Island, Cal. - Walton returning to Pier 14N after Cruise 8E-RC to San Diego.
    198k December 1966: Treasure Island, Cal. - Walton breasting out from Pier 14N.
    162k 07 May 1967: San Francisco Bay - Walton serving as the flagship for San Francisco’s annual Blessing of the Fleet event in Raccoon Strait. Note the Mk 32 torpedo tubes near the stack, which had been installed only a week earlier.
    305k 07 May 1967: San Francisco Bay - Pleasure boats inspecting Walton while she served as the flagship for the Blessing of the Fleet festival in Raccoon Strait.

    Walton Memorabilia
    Welcome Aboard
    Pamphlet (circa 1961)
    Courtesy of
    Rod Ulibarri
    Table Cloth
    Courtesy of
    Rod Ulibarri

    Walton History
    View the USS Walton (DE 361) DANFS history entry located on the Naval History and Heritage Command web site.
    View the official War History of USS Walton as submitted by the ship at war's end.

    Walton's Commanding Officers
    Thanks to Wolfgang Hechler & Ron Reeves
    Dates of Command Commanding Officers
    1.)  09 Apr. 1944 – 02 May 1946Lcdr. Wilbur Summers Wills Jr., USN (Comm. CO) (USNA ‘39) (Washington, D. C.)
    2.)  02 May 1946 – 31 May 1946Lcdr. Theodore Edward Olsen Jr., USNR (Decomm. CO) (Portland, Ore.)
    3.)  26 Jan. 1951 – .. .... 1952Lcdr. John Daniel Brink, USN (Recomm. CO) (Bridgeport, Conn.)
    4.)  .. .... 1952 – .. .... 1954Lcdr. Albert George Fenley, USN (Stockton, Cal.)
    5.)  .. .... 1954 – 15 Sep. 1956Cmdr. Arthur Tenney Emerson Jr., USN (USNA ‘43) (Washington, D. C.)
    6.)  15 Sep. 1956 – 04 Jan. 1958Lcdr. Herman Edward Meyer, USN (Battle Creek, Iowa)
    7.)  04 Jan. 1958 – 10 Jul. 1958Lcdr. Gordon Buster Tribble, USN (enl. '40, OCS '44) (Honolulu, Hi.)
    8.)  10 Jul. 1958 – 30 Oct. 1959Lcdr. William Carlton Harris, USN (enl. '40 / OCS '45) (Hot Springs, Ark.)
    9.)  30 Oct. 1959 – 14 Jul. 1961Lcdr. John Cochrane McGill Jr., USN
    10.) 14 Jul. 1961 – 20 Oct. 1961Lcdr. Douglas Lloyd Newgard, USN (Chula Vista, Cal.)
    11.) 20 Oct. 1961 – 24 Sep. 1963Lcdr. / Cmdr. Robert Greene Rogers Jr., USNR
    12.) 24 Sep. 1963 – 31 Jul. 1965Lcdr. Harry Byron Knecht, USN (Pleasantville, Oh.)
    13.) 31 Jul. 1965 – 05 Sep. 1967Lt. Leonard Ray Womack, USN (OinC) (Fairview, Okla.)
    14.) 05 Sep. 1967 – 20 Sep. 1968Lt. Robert Dennis Bledsoe, USN (OinC) (Decomm. CO)

    Crew Contact And Reunion Information

    2020 Reunion:
    20 September 2020 at Bloomington, Minn.

    Contact: David Cregut
    Address: 2470 W. 253rd St.
    City/State: Lyndon KS 66451
    Phone: (785) 828-3446
    E-mail: ksstick at
    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

    Tin Can Sailors
    The U.S. Navy Memorial
    Destroyer Escort Sailors Association
    The Destroyer Escort Historical Museum
    The Destroyer History Foundation
    Tin Can Sailors Shipmate Registry - USS Walton
    To The DE, FF, LCS Photo Index Page
    Back To The Main Photo Index

    Comments, Suggestions, E-mail: Webmaster.

    This Page Created And Maintained By Mike Smolinski
    All pages copyright Navsource Naval History
    by Paul R. Yarnall, All Rights Reserved.
    Page Last Updated: 18 January 2023