Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships

Office of the Chief of Naval Operations
Naval History Division • Washington

USS O'Neil (DE-188)

William Thomas O'Neill, Jr. was born 28 November 1914 in Stamford, Connecticut. On 17 July 1940, he enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve as Apprentice Seaman at New York City. Her performed his active duty for training aboard U.S.S. New York. On 16 September 1940, he was appointed Midshipman, USNR, and completed training at Abbott Hall, Northwestern University, Chicago, Ill.

O'Neill was commissioned Ensign on 12 December 1940 and assigned to U.S.S. Arizona for duty.

Ensign O'Neill reported for duty on 29 December 1940. He was declared officially dead as of 7 December 1941, the date of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, T.H.

(DE-188: dp. 1,620, l. 306'; b. 36'7"; dr. 11'8" s. 21 k.; cpl. 216; a. 3 3", 6 40mm; cl. Cannon

O'Neill (DE-188) was laid down 26 August 1943 by Federal SB and Drydock Corp., Newark, N. J., launched 14 November 1943; sponsored by Mrs. W.T. O'Neill; commissioned 6 December 1943, Lt. David S. Bill, Jr. in command.

Following a shakedown cruise to Bermuda, O'Neill reported to the U. S. Atlantic Fleet for duty. Her first major assignment was a convoy operation from New York to the United Kingdom. This was followed by a series of similar operations, shepherding convoys between U. S. ports and: Casablanca, French Morocco, Bizerte, Tunisia, and Belfast North Ireland. All Atlantic crossings were made without the loss of a single vessel.

On October 31st O'Neill transited the Panama Canal and reported to the Pacific Fleet. Arriving in the forward area in December, she joined the Third Fleet under Admiral Halsey and took part in the operations which culminated in the reconquest of Luzon.

In February 1945, O'Neill became a unit of the 5th Fleet under Admiral Spruance, and served as an escort for the transports which landed the Third Marine Division at Iwo Jima. This landing took place on February 24th, and thereafter O'Neill served in the anti-submarine screen around the island.

After a passage to Milne Bay, New Guinea, O'Neill joined the force assigned for the invasion of Okinawa. The initial landings were made on 1 April. In the prolonged fight for the island, she served almost continuously for 60 days on ASW picket duty--shooting down a Japanese twin-engined bomber on 25 May, and being hit by a suicide plane on the 26th. On the latter occasion two men were killed and 17 were wounded aboard the ship.

Shortly after a change of command on 16 June, O'Neill returned to San Pedro, Calif. for repairs of battle damage and major overhaul. While in San Pedro the war in the Pacific came to an end. On completion of overhaul, she again transited the Panama Canal, returning to the Atlantic Fleet.

O'Neill was placed out of commission in reserve on 2 May 1946 and berthed at Green Cove Springs, Fla., until 23 October ;950, at which time she was transferred to the Netherlands under the Mutual Defense Assistance Program. O'Neill was struck from the U. S. Naval Register on 20 December 1950. After operating as Dubois (F809) she was returned to the USN in December 1967, and was sold to a scrap yard in West Germany in February 1968.

Transcribed and formatted for HTML by Patrick Clancey (patrick@akamail.com)