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Navsource Online: Destroyer Escort Photo Archive

USS Oliver Mitchell (DE 417)

Flag Hoist / Radio Call Sign:
N - T - P - Z
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row: American Campaign Medal - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal w/ 4 stars
Second Row: World War II Victory Medal - Navy Occupation Service Medal - Philippine Liberation Ribbon w/ 1 star

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
Oliver Mitchell (DE 417) Building and Operational Data:
  • 03 January 1944: Keel laid at the Brown Shipbuilding Co., Houston, Tex.
  • 08 February 1944: Launched and christened, sponsored by Mrs. Margaret R. Mitchell, mother of 2nd Lt. Oliver Mitchell
  • 14 June 1944 Commissioned at 16:07 while moored to the Tennessee Coal and Iron Co. dock in the Houston River Ship Channel, Lcdr. Kenneth J. Barclay in command
  • 13 April 1945 - 17 November 1945: Moored at South Harbor, Manila, the Philippine Islands providing electrical power to U.S. Army shore installations
  • 24 April 1946: Decommissioned at San Diego, Cal. after 1 year and 10⅓ months of service, having steamed 117,941 miles, Mitchell was credited with the destruction of one Japanese aircraft
  • 10 July 1946: Inactivation completed at San Diego, Cal., assigned to Submarine Group Two, San Diego Group, Pacific Reserve Fleet
  • 15 March 1972: Struck from the NVR
  • 15 January 1973: Sold for scrapping
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    Oliver Mitchell

    Oliver Mitchell

    Oliver Mitchell

    45k Robert Oliver Mitchell, the son of Nicholas Demetri and Margaret Ruth (Green) Mitchell was born on 14 March 1917 at Los Angeles, Calif. While growing up he was called "Bob". After graduating from Abraham Lincoln High School in 1935, he attended and was graduated from Whittier College in 1939. Following graduation he remained at Whittier College as the school's baseball coach. Enlisting in the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve on 05 June 1941, he was appointed Aviation Cadet in the U. S. Naval Reserve on 03 September 1941. After completing flight training he was appointed 2nd Lieutenant, USMCR, on 14 March 1942, serving under the name Oliver Mitchell.

    Attached to a Marine Scout Bomber Squadron, VMSB-232, he was assigned to combat duty in the Solomons the following July. On 28 August, a pair of scouting bombers spotted four destroyers near Santa Isabel Island, bound for Guadalcanal. Their report reached Henderson Field at 1730, and soon eleven Dauntlesses were en route to intercept. Thirty minutes later, this second flight found the destroyers at a point about fifteen miles north of Ramos Island. Under a rain of 500-lb bombs, one destroyer, Asagiri, exploded and sank almost at once. Another warship, Shirakumo, was badly damaged and left dead in the water.

    Second Lieutenant Oliver Mitchell was not about to let the last destroyer, Amagiri, escape unscathed. He pulled his aircraft around and bore down on the racing vessel, intending to pepper the deck with his forward-facing guns and give his radioman, PFC Frank Schackman, a chance to rake the destroyer with the free gun in the rear. Their single Dauntless was no match for Amagiris hail of antiaircraft fire, and after absorbing several hits, Mitchell lost control of the plane and it plunged into the sea. No parachutes were observed. 2nd Lt. Mitchell was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for "Conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity as a pilot while pressing home his attack in the face of tremedous anti-aircraft fire. His aggressive fighting spirit and heroic devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."

    USS Oliver Mitchell (DE 417) (1944-1946) was the first ship to be named in his honor.

    (Biographical photo from the Missing Marines website)

    Mike Smolinski
    Clifton, N.J.

    Navsource DE / FF / LCS
    Archive Manager
    Oliver Mitchell 71k 08 February 1944: Houston, Tex. - USS Oliver Mitchell being side launched at the Brown Shipbuilding Co. Nick Tiberio
    Shelton, Conn.
    Oliver Mitchell 57k undated wartime image Dave Caputo
    Oliver Mitchell 141k April 1944: Oliver Mitchell at sea. Nick Tiberio
    Shelton, Conn.
    Oliver Mitchell 223k 20 August 1944: the Atlantic Ocean - USS Oliver Mitchell underway east of Nantucket Sound, taken from a blimp of ZP-11.

    (U.S. Navy photo #80-G-245489 from the National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Md.)
    Mike Smolinski
    Clifton, N.J.

    Navsource DE / FF / LCS
    Archive Manager
    Oliver Mitchell 176k 19 December 1944: the South Pacific - USS Oliver Mitchell at sea approaching USS Anzio (CVE 57) for a transfer. Oliver Mitchell is wearing camouflage 32/22D with some worn and some repainted patches.

    (U.S. Navy photo #80-G-298067 from the National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Md.)
    Oliver Mitchell 177k 19 December 1944: the South Pacific - Oliver Mitchell again in a close-up of the port bow about to make the transfer to Anzio. Notice the worn and patched paint as well as the painting of the 5-inch gun barrel.

    (U.S. Navy photo #80-G-298068 from the National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Md.)

    Oliver Mitchell History
    View the USS Oliver Mitchell (DE 417) DANFS history entry located on the Naval History and Heritage Command web site.

    Oliver Mitchell's Commanding Officers
    Thanks to Wolfgang Hechler
    Dates of Command Commanding Officers
    1.) 14 Jun. 1944 22 Dec. 1945Lcdr. Kenneth J. Barclay, USNR
    2.) 22 Dec. 1945 08 Jan. 1946Lt. Ronald W. Wheeler Jr., USNR
    3.) 08 Jan. 1946 11 Feb. 1946Lcdr. Robert Gene Charles, USNR
    4.) 11 Feb. 1946 24 Apr. 1946Lt. Joseph J. Lipchak, USNR

    Crew Contact And Reunion Information

    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 Oliver Mitchell
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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: 06 October 2022