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USS AULT (DD-698) - an Allen M. Sumner-class destroyer

In Commission 1944 to 1973

DD-698 Deployments - Major Events

Add a DD-698 Shellback Initiation Add a DD-698 Deployment - Major Event
Month Year to Month Year Deployment / Event
NOV1943-Keel Date: 15 NOV 1943
at Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Company
MAR1944-Launch Date: 26 MAR 1944
MAY1944-Commissioned: 31 MAY 1944
MAY1956-SEP1956North Atlantic-Med-Indian Ocean
FEB1960-SEP1960Mediterranean - Black Sea
AUG1961-FEB1962Mediterrean Cruise
FEB1967-SEP1967West Pac-Viet Nam
SEP1967-Shellback Initiation - 4 SEP 1967 - Pacific Ocean
JUL1969-JAN1970Mid-East Cruise
JUL1969-Shellback Initiation - 21 JUL 1969 - Atlantic Ocean
JUL1973-Decommissioned: 16 JUL 1973

DD-698 General Specifications

Class: Allen M. Sumner-class destroyer

Named for: William B. Ault

Complement: 336 Officers and Enlisted

Displacement: 3218 tons

Length: 376.5 feet

Beam: 41 feet

Flank Speed: 36 Knots

Range: 3 300 Nautical Miles

Final Disposition:Sold 30 April 1974 and broken up for scrap.


Ault (DD-698) was laid down on 15 November 1943 at Kearny N.J. by the Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Co.; launched on 26 March 1944 sponsored by Mrs. Margaret U. Ault the widow of Comdr. Ault; and commissioned on 31 May 1944 Comdr. Joseph C. Wylie in command.

After fitting out the destroyer departed New York on 10 July 1944 for shakedown training in the Caribbean. She returned to New York for post-shakedown availability and to complete preparations for the long cruise to join the action in the Pacific. Acting as an escort for Wilkes- Barre (CL-103) Ault sailed on 6 September for Trinidad. Detached from escort duty upon her arrival she transited the Panama Canal and proceeded independently via San Diego to Pearl Harbor where she arrived on 29 September.

After three months of intensive training in Hawaiian waters the warship got underway on 18 December and headed west to join Vice Admiral John S. McCain's Fast Carrier Task Force. After a refueling stop at Eniwetok on Christmas Day Ault entered Ulithi Lagoon on 28 December 1944 and along with her sister ships of Destroyer Squadron (DesRon) 62 reported to Rear Admiral Bogan for duty in the escort screen of Task Group (TG) 38.2.

When Ault reached the forward area Leyte was in American hands; but the Philippines were still the focus of the carrier's operations and they were directed to strike targets on Luzon and Formosa early in January 1945. Ault sortied on 30 December 1944 with TG 38.2 screening that task group. After the strike on Formosa on 9 January the destroyer in company with Waldron (DD-699) Charles S. Sperry (DD-697) and John W. Weeks (DD-701) swept Bashi Channel ahead of Task Force (TF) 38 while proceeding into the South China Sea. Heavy weather as well as the proximity of the enemy created a tense atmosphere in which the carriers continued to mount strikes against the Camranh Bay area Hong Kong Hainan Swatow and the Formosa Strait. Returning to the Pacific through the Balintang Channel on the night of 20 January the task force launched final strikes against Formosa and Okinawa before returning to Ulithi on 25 January.

Shortly before the assault on Iwo Jima TF 38 was reorganized as TF 58 under Vice Admiral Mitscher. Ault was assigned to Rear Admiral Sherman's Essex (CV-9) TG 58.3 which launched diversionary strikes against Formosa Luzon and the Japanese mainland on 16 and 17 February. The carriers provided air cover for the operations on Iwo Jima on 19 February and raided the Tokyo area on the 25th and Okinawa on 1 March before retiring to Ulithi on 4 March.

The destroyer returned to the action with TG 58.3 on 14 March for operations to neutralize Japanese air power during the forth. coming Okinawa campaign. In response to strikes against Kyushu and Honshu. the Japanese retaliated with air strikes against the task group; and on 20 March Ault splashed her first two enemy planes. On 23 and 24 March the task group launched preinvasion strikes against Okinawa; and on 27 March Ault assisted the ships of DesRon 62 and four cruisers in shore bombardment of Minami Daito Shima. The warship's next two months were enlivened by days and nights of continuous general quarters. Kamikaze attacks on 6 and 7 April damaged Haynsworth (DD-700) and Hancock (CV-19). On 11 April a suicide plane that missed Essex came perilously close to Ault; but her gunners splashed the plane close aboard her starboard quarter. Kidd (DD-661) was badly hit that day. Ault again participated in the bombardment of Minami Daito Shima on 10 May then rejoined the task force to assist in repelling heavy enemy air attack. While screening Bunker Hill (CV-17) on the morning of the 11th Ault splashed one kamikaze but two others hit the carrier. After rescuing 29 men from the stricken ship the destroyer escorted her to the replenishment group and rejoined the action on the 13th. During attacks on 13 and 14- May she succeeded in splashing three more planes. On 1 June Ault put into San Pedro Bay Leyte after 80 days at sea.

Task Force 58 was redesignated TF 38; and on 1 July Ault sortied for strikes against the Japanese home islands. On 18 and 19 July the ship joined with Cruiser-Division 18 and other destroyers in an anti shipping sweep of Sagami Wan and a bombardment of Nojima Saki. The following day she rejoined the task group and continued to support the carriers until Japan capitulated on 15 August.

Ault operated off the coast of Honshu on patrol until 2 September when she entered Tokyo Bay and anchored near Missouri (BB-63) during the formal surrender ceremony on board that battleship. The destroyer soon resumed patrol with the task group out of Tokyo and continued that duty until 30 October when she steamed for Sasebo Japan to perform more carrier and escort duties. On 31 December 1945 the destroyer departed Japan bound for the United States and arrived at San Francisco on 20 January 1946. After a short respite she was underway again and headed via the Panama Canal for Boston. Following brief stops along the east coast the vessel entered the shipyard in Boston on 26 April 1946 for a well-deserved overhaul.

The yard work was completed on 15 March 1947 and Ault steamed to Charleston S.C. her base for local operations and training exercises until 12 July when she sailed for New Orleans and two years there as a Naval Reserve training ship. During her operations in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean she visited such ports as Guantanamo Bay Cuba Kingston Jamaica Coco Solo Canal Zone; Port-au-Prince Haiti Veracruz Mexico and Puerto Cabezas Nicaragua. During this period she also performed planeguard duties for carriers operating out of Pensacola Fla. and underwent an overhaul in Charleston from 24 February to 11 May 1948.

On 21 August 1949 after a month of intensive training in Guantanamo Bay Ault put into Norfolk to fit out for her first Mediterranean cruise. From 6 to 16 September the warship steamed across the Atlantic to join 6th Fleet tactical exercises and maneuvers including a simulated assault on Cyprus. Her ports of call included Aranci Bay Sardinia Cannes France; Argostoli and Piraeus Greece and Famagusta Cyprus. Ault departed Gibraltar on 16 November; headed for the British Isles and put into Plymouth England on 19 November. Prior to leaving Europe she called at Antwerp Belgium Rouen France Portland England; and Leith Scotland. She moored in Norfolk on 26 January 1950 and prepared for inactivation. She was placed out of commission in reserve on 31 May and was towed to the Charleston Naval Shipyard for berthing in the Inactive Reserve Fleet.

However her respite was brief. With the outbreak of the Korean War the Navy needed more active destroyers. On 15 November 1950 Ault was recommissioned at Charleston under the command of Comdr. Harry Marvin-Smith. She steamed to her home port Norfolk for the Christmas holidays and to Guantanamo Bay for refresher training in March. After a postshakedown overhaul in Charleston the ship returned to her home port sortied with her sister ships of DesRon22 and carried out antisubmarine warfare exercises in Cuban waters. She returned to Norfolk on 13 August for upkeep.

Ault sailed for the Mediterranean on 3 September for another tour with the 6th Fleet and stopped for liberty calls in ports in Sicily Italy France Greece and Portugal. On 30 January 1952 she departed Gibraltar in Destroyer Division (DesDiv) 222 and steamed via Bermuda to Norfolk where she arrived on 10 February.

The warship's activities during the first few months of 1952 consisted of training exercises in the Virginia capes Caribbean operations and an upkeep period in Charleston. On 4 June she embarked midshipmen for a training cruise that took them to Torbay England; Le Havre France; and Guantanamo Bay. Upon her arrival back at Norfolk on 4 August Ault conducted local type training into the new year.

During February 1953 the shin Participated in drills in the Caribbean while operating out of St. Thomas and St. Croix Virgin Islands. On 11 March she commenced an overhaul in the Charleston Naval Shipyard. Upon completion of the yard work she steamed back via her home port to Guantanamo Bay where she arrived on 31 July for refresher training. Following two months training and one month loading supplies Ault departed Norfolk on 2 November with DesDiv 222 for an around-the- world cruise. After transiting the Panama Canal and stopping at San Diego Pearl Harbor and Midway she arrived at Yokosuka Japan on 6 December and reported for duty with the 7th Fleet.

On 20 December Ault collided with Haynsworth (DD-700) during ASW exercises in the Sea of Japan. The former's bow was torn off at frame eight and the damaged destroyer was towed to Yokosuka for repairs by Grapple (ARS-7). On 14 March 1954 Ault once again got underway for training and a subsequent voyage westward through the Indian Ocean the Mediterranean Sea across the Atlantic Ocean to arrive home at Norfolk on 4 June. She operated with various warships along the way and made port calls at Hong Kong Singapore; Colombo Ceylon Port Said Egypt Athens Naples Villefranche France; Barcelona Spain; and Gibraltar. For the remainder of 1954 she operated along the east coast.

For the first six months of 1955 the destroyer conducted Caribbean exercises and local operations including planeguard duty off Jacksonville Fla. with carrier Lake Champlain (CV-39). She entered the Norfolk Naval Shipyard on 1 July for a three-month overhaul which was followed by one month of refresher training at Guantanamo Bay. The warship returned to her home port on 26 November and commenced type training and local operations along the east coast.

On 1 May 1956 Ault sailed for the Mediterranean where she participated in Kiel Week ceremonies in Kiel Germany; 6th Fleet exercises and a month and one-half in the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. The cruise ended with her arrival in Norfolk on 17 September.

On 28 January 1957 Ault got underway again with DesRon 22 for a five-month tour of duty overseas. The destroyer exercised with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean and called at ports in Italy Greece Turkey Lebanon and Sicily before returning to Norfolk in June. After three months of local operations along the east coast Ault sortied with Essex on 3 September to join other destroyers in North Atlantic and Arctic waters for Operation "Strikeback." Upon completion of the exercise she put into Cherbourg France on 30 September for a short leave period before heading home. She moored in Norfolk on 21 October and resumed local operations. On 19 November she entered the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. After a four-month overhaul refresher training and upkeep the destroyer got underway on 17 June 1958 for hunter-killer operations in the Atlantic with Leyte (CV-32). On 2 September she steamed in company with DesDiv 222 to the Mediterranean for another six-month deployment before resuming local operations out of Norfolk in March 1959.

In June the ship entered the Great Lakes for Operation "lnland Sea " a celebration honoring the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Later in the year she assisted the Fleet Sonar School in Key West Fla. and participated in Atlantic coast exercises.

With the beginning of 1960 Ault was again deployed to the Mediterranean. During her seven-month tour with the 6th Fleet the destroyer became one of the first American warships to enter the Black Sea since World War II. She returned to Norfolk in September and commenced overhaul in December. Ault emerged from the shipyard in March 1961 sailed to Guantanamo Bay for refresher training and then resumed normal operations. She returned to the Mediterranean in August to participate in NATO Exercises "Checkmate I" and "Checkmate II " and Operation "Greenstone." She also took part in Operation "Royal Flush V" with the British Navy prior to her steaming back to the United States.

In June 1962 Ault entered the Boston Naval Shipyard for a fleet rehabilitation and modernization (FRAM) overhaul. Designed to extend the life of the destroyer by eight years the overhaul enabled her to meet the challenge of newer and faster enemy submarines. Ault's 40- millimeter and 20-millimeter gun mounts were removed and her 01-level afterdeck was converted to a helicopter flight deck to facilitate the use of drone antisubmarine helicopters (DASH) one of the Navy's newest weapon systems which enabled the destroyer to reach out farther in search of submarine targets.

After completion of the overhaul in February of 1963 Ault devoted the rest of the year to improving her readiness and the skill of her crew through various exercises and training cruises. Following a midshipmen cruise during the summer the ship proceeded to Norfolk to take on DASH and to continue training. Ault was the first destroyer to carry the drones to Europe when she sortied for the Mediterranean in February 1964 with DesDiv 142. Following participation in NATO exercises and visits at the usual ports in the Mediterranean the destroyer returned to the United States and a new home port Mayport Fla. She spent the remainder of the year operating in the Key West area. In January 1965 she participated in Operation "Springboard" in the Caribbean which was highlighted by several gunnery exercises and the firing of hundreds of rounds of ammunition in shore bombardment exercises at Culebra Island. The warship also trained in Hunter-Killer operations in March and was on station in the western Atlantic for the Gemini 3 space shot.

On 17 March Ault steered a familiar course toward the Mediterranean. Besides a full three-month schedule of drills the ship made port calls in Marseilles Golfe Juan Livorno Naples and Palma before returning to Norfolk to spend the last four months of 1965 in the local operating areas training requalifying in gunfire support and going to sea for hurricane evasion. As a result of her intensive training Ault won the DesRon 14 battle efficiency award as well as battle efficiency awards for both the operations and weapons departments.

Ault participated in Operation "Springboard" in January and February 1966 conducting ASW operations shore bombardment a full power run and various gunnery exercises. She returned to Mayport only to head out to sea again for planeguard duty with Intrepid (CVA- 11). Upon her return to her home port the destroyer underwent a preoverhaul availability and then entered the Charleston Naval Shipyard on 12 April for major work which ended on 14 September. She arrived back in Mayport on 7 October and devoted the last quarter of the year to training at Guantanamo Bay in preparation for a lengthy deployment to Vietnam.

In company with DesDiv 161 Ault departed Mayport on 7 February 1967 transited the Panama Canal on 12 February and stopped at Pearl Harbor Midway and Yokosuka before joining the 7th Fleet on 11 March. After a short period of ASW drills with Spinax (SS-489) near Subic Bay she steamed with Ticonderoga (CVA-14) to station in the Gulf of Tonkin for planeguard duties. On 16 April the destroyer was assigned to TU 77.1.1 for Operation "Sea Dragon " offensive surface operations against waterborne logistic craft and coastal defense sites in North Vietnam. As part of this unit she joined Collett (DD-730) Boston (CAG-1) and HMAS Hobart in conducting sweeps from Cap Lay north to Thanh Hoa.

The warship was relieved on 30 April and returned to Subic Bay for upkeep. On 7 May she got underway to the III and IV Corps areas of South Vietnam to provide gunfire support. For the next three weeks Ault responded to requests for shore bombardment during the day and for harassment interdiction and illumination fire during the night. As the only destroyer available in both Corps areas she was responsible for the coast from the mouth of the Mekong in the IV Corps area to Vung Tau and Ham Tan in the III Corps area.

From 28 May to 2 June Ault provided gunfire support in the I Corps area; then proceeded to Kaohsiung Formosa for upkeep alongside Delta (AR-9) and then a week of rest and relaxation in Sasebo. On 19 June the ship returned to the I Corps area of South Vietnam and in the next three weeks fired over 6 000 rounds of 5-inch ammunition at targets in the Quang Ngai and Chu Lai areas. After a six-day port visit to Hong Kong and five days of upkeep in Subic Bay she once again operated in Operation "Seadragon " came under heavy fire from coastal defense batteries north of Dong Hoi but suffered no casualties or damage On 1 August 1967 Ault completed her Vietnam tour and began her voyage home. She stopped at Kaohsiung Yokosuka Midway Pearl Harbor San Francisco and Acapulco and even made a side trip south of the equator to convert "Pollywogs" into "Shellbacks". " The destroyer transited the Panama Canal on 7 September arrived in Mayport on 11 September and devoted the remainder of 1967 and the first six weeks of 1968 to leave and upkeep.

From 12 to 23 February Ault participated in Operation "Springboard 1968" in the San Juan operating area. On 4 March she participated in another Caribbean exercise Operation "Rugby-Match " a major fleet exercise which simulated a realistic air surface and subsurface threat environment. On 27 April Ault sailed with Bigelow (DD-942) for the Mediterranean and four months of continuous 6th Fleet operations. She returned to Mayport on 27 September underwent upkeep and performed three weeks of planeguard duties in December for Shangri- La (CV-38). As a reward for her high degree of readiness and training Ault was again awarded the battle efficiency "E."

For the first quarter of 1969 the destroyer spent most of her time in port at Mayport. She made cruises to the Caribbean in May June and July for training and returned to her home port to prepare for her last overseas deployment. Ault sailed for the North Atlantic on 2 September 1969 to participate in the NATO exercise Operation "Peacekeeper." However her orders were modified on 24 September and she steamed to the Mediterranean to relieve Zellars (DD-777). She remained with the 6th Fleet for a three-month cruise highlighted by her participation in Operation "Emery Cloth " a British ASW exercise in which Ault was the sole representative of the United States Navy. On 4 December the warship returned home and prepared for Naval Reserve duty. She was designated a Naval Reserve training ship on 1 January 1970 and steamed to Galveston Tex. on 12 January. There she relieved Haynsworth (DD-700) as training ship for Houston naval reservists.

Ault spent the next three years making training cruises in the Gulf of Mexico and in the Caribbean. On 1 May 1973 she departed Galveston for her last cruise a voyage to Mayport for inactivation. The destroyer was decommissioned on 16 July 1973 ending a career of 29 years service. Struck from the Navy list on 1 September 1973 Ault was sold to the Boston Metals Company Baltimore Md. and subsequently scrapped.

Ault earned five battle stars during World War II and two during her operations in Vietnam.

[Note: The above USS AULT (DD-698) history may or may not contain text provided by crew members of the USS AULT (DD-698) or by other non-crew members and text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships]