Father was in USS Mugford at Battle of Savo Island

Hi Mac,

I stumbled across some of your articles on the internet and really enjoyed them.  I'm an amature WW2 historian, and got interested in it at an early age.

My father was a Metalsmith in the Navy aboard the USS MUGFORD, DD389, sister ship to the USS BLUE. He told my brother and I many stories about the war, both good and bad.

On August 7, 1942, off Lunga Point, Guadalcanal, MUGFORD was hit with a bomb from an attack by 3 Val bombers. Dad's ship stayed on station, and picked up surviors from the cruiser's VINCINNES and ASTORIA, which I believe were sunk the same day as your ship, CANBERRA. 

Later, MUGFORD rescued the survivors from the HMAS Centaur after she was sunk by a Japanese sub off Australia. Anyway, dad always loved Australia, but after the war he never had a chance to go back. Once I retire, I plan on going for him.

Dad passed away in March, 2001, and being as he was a life member in the Pearl Harbor Survivor's Association, my brother and I took his ashes to Pearl Harbor on 12/07/2001. We scattered his ashes between the ARIZONA and MISSOURI, about 100 yards out facing the 1010 dock, where his ship (MUGFORD) was berthed. The U.S. Navy provided him with full military honors, even though he left the navy in October, 1945.

He was navy to the end though, and made sure my brother and I served in the navy also. My brother was on a destroyer, and I served 13 years and was aboard 2 aircraft carriers and several shore stations. Anyway, I just wanted to say hello, and keep up the good work of preserving history. 

With Aloha - Jerry Johnston, Long Beach, CA USA


Thank you for your interesting letter. When in HMAS Canberra, we were in the same US Task Force at times with USS Mugford, and I think she was in Sydney Harbour at the time of the Japanese Midget Submarine attack on the 31st May/1st. of June in 1942, as was Canberra. A night of errors that the defence managed to muddle through, but the Japanese were indeed unlucky not to claim both USS Chicago, and indeed Canberra too.

I have attached my piece on the sinking of our Australian Hospital ship Centaur, and USS Mugford going to the aid of her few survivors, a nasty night again. ( See "Australian Hospital ship Centaur Torpedoed by Japanese Submarine") Denise and I were guests aboard Missouri on the 2nd. of September 2005, for the 60th. anniversary of signing of the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay back on the 2nd. of September 1945, when I was present there in HMAS Shropshire, the replacement heavy cruiser for our sunken Canberra.

Nice to talk, take care now.



back to letters index


This site was created as a resource for educational use and the promotion of historical awareness. All rights of publicity of the individuals named herein are expressly reserved, and, should be respected consistent with the reverence in which this memorial site was established.

Copyright© 1984/2014 Mackenzie J. Gregory All rights reserved