USS Mustin (DD-413)

USS Mustin (DD-413) was a Sims class destroyer that served with the Neutrality Patrol in 1940-41, before moving to the Pacific after Pearl Harbor. She took part in the invasion of Guadalcanal, the battle of Santa Cruz, the naval battle of Guadalcanal, then moved to the Aleutians in 1943, covering the invasions of Attu and Kiska. She then covered the invasion of the Gilberts in 1943 and the Marshalls in 1944, before joining the fast carriers for their raids and the invasion of Hollandia on New Guinea. She then remained off New Guinea and took part in the series of invasions that left west along that island, ending with the invasion of Morotai in the Dutch East Indies. Late in 1944 she supported the invasion of Leyte, then Luzon in 1945. She supported the invasion of Koinawa, then returned to the US for a refit that lasted to the end of the war. She was used as a target at the Bikini atoll tests and was decommissioned in August 1946.

The Mustin was named after Henry C. Mustin, who was the first pilot to be catapulted from an aircraft, and few the first combat missions by American naval aircraft, flying from USS Mississippi in Mexico in 1914.

The Mustin (DD-413) was laid down by the Newport News Shipbuilding Co on 20 December 1937, launched on 8 December 1938 when she was sponsored by Mustin’s daughter-in-law, and commissioned on 15 October 1939. She departed for her shakedown cruise on 28 October with the Hughes and Sterett, which took place in the Gulf of Mexico.


Curtiss SBC-3 passes USS Mustin (DD-413)
Curtiss SBC-3 passes USS Mustin (DD-413)

On 29 May 1941 the Mustin, Hammann, Rowan and Anderson left Long Beach, officially heading back to Hawaii, but soon after leaving port they were ordered to change course and instead head for the Panama Canal. On 30 May they met the Philadelphia, and on the night of 8-9 June they passed through the Panama Canal.

They then joined the Atlantic Fleet, and took part in the neutrality patrol in the western Atlantic.

In early September she formed part of the screen of Convoy TF-15, heading to Iceland.

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor she was undergoing an overhaul at Boston, but she was able to return to sea on the following day to escort the Idaho (BB-42) and Mississippi (BB-41). However there was clearly still work to be done, and she moved to Charleston to have the overhaul completed, arriving on 19 December.


The overhaul was completed on 3 January 1942, and she passed through the Panama Canal on 20 January, reaching Pearl Harbor on 17 February. From then until 3 April she escorted convoys heading between Hawaii and San Francisco.

In May she escorted a convoy to Samoa, returning to Pearl Harbor on 24 May. She then escorted a merchant ship to Midway, and was on her way back to Pearl Harbor during the battle of Midway, arriving on 5 June. On 7 June she sortied with TF 17 to search for any Japanese survivors of the battle. After failing to find any she returned to Pearl Harbor on 13 June. She then spent the next two months training and patrolling from Pearl Harbor.

On 17 August the Mustin sortied with the Hornet (CV-8)’s Task Force 17, heading to Guadalcanal. Her group screened the southern approaches to Guadalcanal during the early fighting. She then screened the Hornet as her aircraft hit Buin, Faisi and Tonolai. 

On 15 September the submarine I-19 fired six torpedoes at the US fleet. Two or three hit and sank the Wasp (CV-7). Another passed directly under the Mustin before hitting the North Carolina (BB-55), causing damage that knocked her out of the war for two months.

The Mustin took part in the battle of the Santa Cruz Islands (26 October 1942), where the carrier Hornet was crippled by air attack. It was soon realised that it would be impossible to save her before the fleet would have to withdraw, and the decision was made to abandon ship.

The Mustin was then given the task of sinking the Hornet. She fired a salvo of eight torpedoes at her, with rather unimpressive results. Two ran erratically and missed. One exploded prematurely. Two hit but didn’t explode. Only three of the eight exploded, and they didn’t do enough damage to actually sink the carrier. The Anderson then hit her with six of her eight torpedoes, but once again she remained afloat. The two destroyers then fired hundreds of 5in rounds into the carrier, but again without success. By now a Japanese fleet was approaching, and the two American destroyers were forced to retreat. Two Japanese destroyers then reached the Hornet but decided it wouldn’t be possible to tow her. Instead they fired four Long Lance torpedoes, all of which exploded, but the Hornet still didn’t sink until early on the following day.

The Mustin was part of TF 16 during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal of mid November 1942. On 25 December she took part in a shore bombardment of Japanese positions on Guadalcanal.


In February 1943 the Mustin screened the carriers during air operations over Guadalcanal. She then returned to patrol and escort duties, before departing for Pearl Harbor on 14 April.

The Mustin was then sent to the Aleutians theatre, arriving at Adak on 24 April. She patrolled to the north-west of Adak from then until late May, when she sailed to help cover the occupation of Attu. During the summer she patrolled around the Aleutians, took part in the bombardments of Kiska, and on 25-26 July took part in the ‘battle of the pips’, in which the US fleet spent some time firing on false radar returns. She covered the US recapture of Kiska on 15 August, and then departed for Mare Island and an overhaul.

On 26 October the Mustin left San Francisco with the Hoel, Morris (DD-417), Hughes (DD-410), Cotton (DD-669) and MacDonough (DD-351) heading for Hawaii. The fleet arrived at Pearl Harbor on 31 October.

On 10 November she sortied as part of TF 52 to take part in the invasion of Makin in the Gilbert Islands on 20 November. After the invasion she returned to the US West Coast to take part in rehearsals for the invasion of the Marshall Islands.


On 21 January 1944 the Mustin reached Lahaina Roads, Maui, ready to take part on the invasion of the Marshalls. On 30 January she bombarded Japanese positions on Wotje. On 31 January she screened the cruisers as they bombarded Kwajalein, and on 1 February she took part in the bombardment of the island. She spent the next two weeks operating around Kwajalein and then Eniwotok, before returing to Pearl Harbor on 3 March.

The Mustin then joined the screen of TF 58, and was used to protect the fleet oilers while the carriers hit Palau, Yap, Woleai and Ulithi in the Caroline Islands on 30 March-1 April.

The Mustin was then sent to the south-west Pacific, where she escorted the carriers as they supported the landings at Aitape and Hollandia on New Guinea in April, and at Wakde in May. She was then used on a mix of escort, patrol, bombardment and fighter-director duties during attacks on Noemfoor, Sansapor, Mios Woendi, Humboldt Bay and Biak.

On 15 September the Mustin served as the main fighter-director ship during the landings at Morotai in the Dutch East Indies. She then escorted reinforcements to Morotai.

On 16 October she left Humboldt Bay to escort reinforcements heading to Leyte, arriving on 25 October.  She departed later on the same day, escorting a convoy away from the Philippines. For the first few weeks of November she carried out escort duties between US bases in the western Pacific. She returned to Leyte Gulf on 25 November, where she joined the local defence forces. On 27 November she came under air attack, claiming three victories.


On 7 January the Mustin reported making a sonar contact. The convoy changed course to avoid it, while the Mustin dropped depth charges. However after this the possible target wasn’t found again, so the Mustin continued on her way.

The Mustin supported the invasion of Luzon on 9 January 1945, then spent the next month supporting the land forces, carrying out anti-submarine patrols and on anti-aircraft duties.

She departed from the Philippines on 2 February to join the 5th Fleet at Guadalcanal. She carried out a series of anti-submarine patrols, then took part in the rehearsals for the invasion of Okinawa.

The Mustin’s group staged through the US base at Ulithi. On 1 April she screened the transports off Hagushi Beach during the initial landings on Okinawa. She spent the next four days guarding the transports, in particular against repeated kamikaze attacks. On 5 April the Mustin left Okinawa to collect a convoy from Saipan and Ulithi. She left Saipan on 11 April heading for Ulithi, and returned to Okinawa with the convoy on 17 April.  From then until 2 May she carried out fire support, anti-submarine and anti-aircraft duties off Okinawa. On 2 May she joined the screen of an escort carrier group that was operating to the south-west of Okinawa, before departing on 28 May.

After leaving Okinawa she returned to the US west coast, arriving at San Pedro on 18 June for an overhaul and alterations. She was still at San Pedro when the war ended, and reached Ominato on Honshu to join the occupation forces on 16 September 1945.

After her return to the United States the Mustin was allocated to the forces involved in the atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll. She took part these trials (Operation Crossroads), but survived. She was decommissioned on 29 August 1946 and sunk by gunfire off Kwajalein on 18 April 1948.

Mustin received 13 battle stars for World War II service, for the Buin-Faisi-Tonolai Raid, Santz Cruz, naval battle of Guadalcanal, defence of Guadalcanal, the Aleutians, Gilberts, Marshalls, Pacific Raids of 1944, Western New Guinea, Rennell Island, Leyte, Luzon and Okinawa.

U.S. Destroyers: An Illustrated Design History, Norman Friedmann . The standard history of the development of American destroyers, from the earliest torpedo boat destroyers to the post-war fleet, and covering the massive classes of destroyers built for both World Wars. Gives the reader a good understanding of the debates that surrounded each class of destroyer and led to their individual features.
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (28 December 2022), USS Mustin (DD-413) ,

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