USS Joyce, DE-317

Oct. 12, 2022 PRINT | E-MAIL

USS Joyce (DE-317)

Edsall Class Destroyer Escort

Builder: Consolidated Shipbuilding Corporation, Orange, Texas

Commissioned: 30 September 1943

Decommissioned: 1 May 1946 (USCG crew removed)

Disposition: Reclassified and converted DER-317 on 13 September 1950 and recommissioned on 28 February 1951 (Navy crew). She was decommissioned for the final time on 17 June 1960 and was sold for scrap on 11 September 1973.

Displacement: 1,253 tons standard; 1,102 tons full load
Length: 306’ oa
Beam: 36’7”
Draft: 10' 5' full load
Machinery: 2-shaft Fairbanks Morse diesels, 6,000 bhp
Range: 10,800 nm at 12 knots
Top Speed: 21 knots
Complement: 186
Armament: 3 x 3”/50; 2 x 40mm; 8 x 20mm; 3 x 21" torpedo tubes; 2 depth charge tracks; 8 depth charge projectors; 1 hedge hog.

USS Joyce was named for Philip Michael Joyce. He was born 23 October 1920 in St. Louis, Missouri and enlisted in the Navy 11 July 1940. Selected for an appointment as a midshipman during his preliminary training, he was commissioned Ensign, 28 February 1941. He served on seaplane tender Langley (AV-3) until 10 August when he reported to destroyer Peary (DD-226) for duty in the Pacific. Following the outbreak of war between the United States and Japan, Peary suffered heavy damage during an enemy air attack while moored at Cavite, Philippines, 10 December. Despite this and two subsequent attacks, Peary reached Darwin, Australia, effected repairs and commenced antisubmarine patrols. While anchored in Darwin Harbor 19 February 1942, she was destroyed by five bombs which struck her during a devastating enemy raid. Though fighting to the end, Peary went down; and ENS Joyce perished in a holocaust that only one officer and 30 men survived.

Commanding Officers:
LCDR Robert Wilcox, USCG: 30 September 1943 - 5 October 1944 LCDR Benjamin P. Clark, USCG: 5 October 1944 - 14 August 1945 LCDR Hubert G. all, USCGR: 14 August 1945 - 18 December 1945 LCDR John F. Thompson, Jr., USCG: 18 December 1945 - 3 January 1946 LT Charles W. Scharff, USCG: 3 January 1946 - 26 March 1946 LCDR Emmett P. O'Hara, USCG: 26 March 1946 - 1 May 1946.

Official Coast Guard History:

The Coast Guard-manned destroyer escort USS Joyce (DE-317) was built by the Consolidated Shipbuilding Corporation in Orange, Texas, and was commissioned under the command of LCDR Robert Wilcox on 30 September 1943. After brief calls at Galveston and New Orleans, for fitting out, the Joyce, in October, 1943, underwent four weeks of shakedown and training exercises at Bermuda. She was then assigned to Escort Division 22.

On 2 December 1943, she sailed from Norfolk as part of the escort of a convoy bound for the Mediterranean. The crossing was made without incident. The escorts screened the troop and cargo ships through the Straits of Gibraltar, transferred them to a British escort group and put in at Casablanca. On the westward trip to New York Joyce encountered the worst and most prolonged storm of her career.

Following intensive training at Casco Bay, Maine in late February, 1944, Escort Division 22 assembled, consisting of the Flagship USS Poole (DE-151), with Peterson (DE-152), Harveson (DE-316), Joyce, Kirkpatrick (DE-DE-318), and Leopold (DE-319), all of which were manned by Coast Guard personnel. These were to help guard fast convoys between the United States and United Kingdom. On the night of 9 March 1944, 400 miles south of Iceland, Leopold, while investigating a radar target, was torpedoed amidships, and later broke in two and sank. Joyce, four miles distant at the time, was designated rescue ship. Twice, while dead in the water picking up the 28 survivors, Joyce got underway precipitately to evade torpedoes, the screws of which were detected by sonar. Eleven of the crew received the Navy and Marine Corps Medal, and the commanding officer, LCDR Wilcox, and two men received commendations from the commander in chief, Atlantic Fleet, for their outstanding performance of duty on this occasion.

An opportunity to retaliate for the loss of Leopold was afforded the Division on the next outward voyage. On the morning of 16 April 1944, while taking her station in the convoy, the SS Pan Pennsylvania, one of the world's largest gasoline tankers, was torpedoed and set aflame. After picking up thirty-one survivors, including the master, Joyce located the submarine [U-550] by sonar and brought it to the surface with one pattern of eleven depth charges. With the aid of Peterson and the Navy-manned USS Gandy (DE-764; Leopold's replacement), the submarine's guns were quickly subdued. Her crew thereupon abandoned and scuttled her. Thirteen of the submarine's company were picked up by Joyce, including the commanding officer, although one later died of wounds he received during the fire-fight. LCDR Wilcox received the Legion of Merit and the USSR Order of the Fatherland War, 1st Class, and LT John L. Bender, USCGR, Nelson W. Allen, SOM 2/c, USCGR, and Winston T. Coburn, SOM 2/x, USCGR, received the Bronze Star Medal.

Joyce made eleven round trips across the Atlantic, celebrating VE Day in mid-ocean on her last return voyage. Her ports of call were Casablanca (12/22/43), Londonderry (3/11/44; 4/26/44; 6/10/44; 7/21/44), Loch Ewe, Scotland and Londonderry (8/31/44), Liverpool (10/17/44); Glasgow, Scotland (12/4/44); Falmouth, England (1/21/45); Portsmouth (1/25/45); Le Havre, France (3/11/45); Southampton (3/12/45); and Birkenhead, England (4/28/45).

While the ship was fitting out at Bayonne, New Jersey, on 19 May 1945, Joyce crewman Walter G. Ruding, F 1/c, USCGR, with considerable risk, rescued a yard worker from drowning. He was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal. Joyce, with Escort Division 22, departed New York on 4 June 1945 for the Pacific Area, undergoing training en route at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. V-J Day found Joyce still at Pearl Harbor. Her first Pacific mission was the escorting of troop carriers for the initial occupation landing at Sasebo, Japan, on 22 September 1945. While engaged in her second Pacific mission, the escort of troops from Manila to Wakayama, Japan, Joyce was ordered home and sailed from Leyte Gulf on 1 November 1945 for New York, where she arrived on December 10th. Her last voyage was to Green Cove Springs, Florida, where she arrived 21 January 1946, to join the Inactive Reserve Fleet. Here her Coast Guard crew was removed 1 May 1946.

Her ports of call alter leaving New York on her Pacific mission were Guantanamo, Cuba (6/10/45); Coco Solo, Canal Zone (6/22/45); San Diego, California (7/1/45); Pearl Harbor, T. H. (7/11/45); Saipan, Marshall Islands (9/11/45); Sasebo, Japan (9/22/45); Leyte, P. I. (10/2/45); Manila, P. I. (10/21/45); Leyte, P. I. (11/2/45); Pearl Harbor, T. H. (11/15/45); San Diego, California (11/23/45); Coco Solo, Canal Zone (12/3/45); New York (12/10/45); and Green Cove Springs, Florida (1/24/46).