USS Marchand, DE-249

Feb. 14, 2021 PRINT | E-MAIL

USS Marchand (DE-249)

Roy Joseph Marchand, born in Crandall, Miss., 17 September 1920, enlisted in the Navy 18 October 1939. After duty in heavy cruiser SAN FRANCISCO (CA-38), light cruiser BOISE (CL-47) and transport HENDERSON (AP-1), he was transferred to oiler PECOS (AO-6) 2 May 1940. On 1 March 1942, enemy planes from Japanese aircraft carrier SORYU attacked and sank PECOS near Christmas Island. Assigned to an antiaircraft gun, he remained at his post until bomb fragments put the gun out of commission; then he acted as messenger for the commanding officer until fatally wounded. Fireman First Class Marchand was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for his courageous dedication to duty. 

DE-249 Edsall Class Destroyer Escort

Displacement: 1,200 t. 

Length: 306’ 

Beam: 36’7” 

Draft: 8’7” 

Top Speed: 21 knots

Complement: 186 

Armament: 3 3”; 2 40mm; 8 20mm; 2 depth charge tracks; 8 depth charge projectors; 1 hedge hog Class: EDSALL 

MARCHAND (DE-249) was laid down by Brown Shipbuilding Co., Houston, Tex., 30 December 1942; launched 30 March 1943; sponsored by Mrs. Charles D. Marchand, mother of Fireman First Class Marchand; and commissioned 8 September 1943, Lt. Comdr. G. F. Lynch, USCG, in command. MARCHAND departed Houston 14 September for shakedown training off Bermuda until 31 October when she arrived at the Charleston Navy Yard. After antisubmarine warfare exercises while based at Quonset Point, R.I., in November, she arrived at Provincetown, Mass., the 20th. After service as target ship for training operations of Torpedo Squadron 13, the escort ship sailed for Norfolk, Va., arriving 12 December. As the flagship of Escort Division 20, MARCHAND departed Norfolk 14 December, escorting a convoy to Europe, and arrived in the Straits of Gibraltar 2 January 1944 to turn over the convoy to British warships. She then set course for Morocco, arriving Casablanca 7 January. The ship got underway the next day for the east coast, arriving New York 24 January. 

MARCHAND conducted exercises in Block Island Sound and Casco Bay, Maine, until departure from New York 22 February with convoy CU-15 for Ireland. About 2200, on 25 February, during a heavy gale, SS EL COSTON rammed SS MURFREESBORO. As MARCHAND came to the assistance of the badly damaged and burning merchant ships, EL COSTON’s bow rammed MARCHAND on her starboard side amidships, damaging the plates of her forward control room. MARCHAND then stood by and received 28 survivors while sister ship RICKETTS (DE-254) took on board 33 others. The next day, MARCHAND steamed for Bermuda as escort for EL COSTON. Shortly after midnight the 27th, the remaining 56 crew members of EL COSTON had to abandon ship. After the merchant ship sank at 0142, MARCHAND directed her course for New York, where the survivors were debarked 1 March. 

On 6 April, MARCHAND again sailed in convoy from New York for Northern Ireland, arriving Lisahally 17 April. She returned to New York 3 May. From 21 May 1944 to 11 June 1945, she made nine more round trips escorting convoys from New York or Boston to United Kingdom ports. MARCHAND departed New York 19 June for training in the Chesapeake Bay, then to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, before sailing for the South Pacific. 

She arrived Pearl Harbor 26 July. With the Japanese surrender 15 August, she cleared Pearl Harbor 12 days later for maneuvers off Eniwetok and Kwajalein Atolls, Marshalls, from 3 September to 15 October. She continued on to Guadalcanal, arriving the 18th, before returning to Pearl Harbor 10 November by way of Canton, Phoenix Islands, where she debarked her U.S. Coast Guard passengers. On 17 November, the escort ship steamed for home, arriving San Diego, 6 days later to debark more men of the Coast Guard. On the 25th, MARCHAND headed for the east coast, via the Panama Canal, reaching New York 11 December. She then got underway 21 January 1946 for Green Cove Springs, Fla., arriving the 23d for inactivation. On 25 April 1947, she decommissioned and entered the Atlantic Reserve Fleet at Green Cove Springs. Into 1960 she is berthed at Orange, Tex. 

MARCHAND was stricken from the Navy Register on 2 January 1971 and sold for scrap on 30 January 1974.

From the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, (1969) Vol. 4, p.232.