USS MASSEY 1951-1956  


In April 1953 MASSEY departed the U.S. with a hunter-killer group for Joint Anti-Submarine Warfare School at Londonderry. Northern. Ireland. After participating in joint ASW operations with Royal Navy units, MASSEY proceeded to join the U.S. SIXTH Fleet in the Mediterranean for a six-month tour.

On 3 July in Genoa Italy, CDR H. Kriloff was relieved by CDR R. B. Harrell, USN.

In the Mediterranean, MASSEY took part in Operations “Blackwave” and “Weldfast” in the Greek – Thrace area. The ship visited the ports of: Cannes France; Valencia Spain; Genoa, Naples, Venice and Taranto Italy; Trieste; Izmir Turkey; Phaleron Bay (Athens & Pyraeus) Greece; and Cagliari Sardinia. In August of 1953, MASSEY was directed to proceed with USS FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT (CVA 43) to the Greek Ionian island of Cephalonia to render aid to the survivors of a disastrous earthquake. Along with other naval units in the area, MASSEY served in giving medical and material assistance to the stricken. In October 1953, MASSEY was detached from the SIXTH Fleet and returned to her homeport of Norfolk, VA.

From October until November the MASSEY operated in the Norfolk area but was then sent to Pensacola, Florida to act as plane guard for the USS MONTEREY. Upon completion of this assignment, the MASSEY returned to Norfolk for the annual holiday period. This was followed by a period of intensive ASW training in the Norfolk area.

On 6 May 1954, MASSEY entered the Norfolk Naval Shipyard at Portsmouth for her regular two-year overhaul. Upon completion of the yard period in August 1954, the ship was ordered to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for a six week refresher training period. During this period, MASSEY visited two liberty ports of Santiago, Cuba and Port au Prince, Haiti, returning to Norfolk in October. During October and November, MASSEY participated in ASW and type training exercises, returning to homeport for the holiday leave and upkeep period in December.

On 5 January 1955, MASSEY departed Norfolk to join the SIXTH Fleet for a six month cruise in the Mediterranean, arriving at Oran, Algieria on 19 January. During this deployment, MASSEY participated in various SIXTH Fleet operations and exercises plus visited the following ports: Malta, Istanbul, Phaleran Bay, Naples, Monaco, Livorno, Toulon, Palma de Mallorca, Tangiers and Gibraltar. On 7 May, MASSEY was detached from the SIXTH Fleet and departed Gibraltar for Norfolk, Virginia. After arrival in Norfolk, the ship was once again assigned to the Atlantic Fleet’s Hunter Killer ASW Force (HUKFORLANT) and engaged in various ASW and type training exercises. In August 1955 CDR F. L. Englander, USN relieved CDR  R. B. Harrell, USN as Commanding Officer.

In September, MASSEY departed Norfolk for a two month cruise to Lisbon, Portugal and participated in Operation Centerboard. Upon returning from Lisbon, ASW and type training exercises were resumed and conducted until February, with December 1955 and January 1956 being set aside for the holiday in-port leave period.

In February 1956, MASSEY departed Norfolk for Operation Springboard and gunfire support exercises on Puerto Rico’s Culebra and Vieques Islands and visited the ports of: Ciudad Trujillo, Dominican Republic; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Bermuda. MASSEY returned from Operation Springboard in March and resumed type training exercises followed by two training operations – INTEX and AIRDEX during April and May.

MASSEY took part in a summer cruise in July and August of 1956 that embarked about 60 midshipmen from Annapolis for Midshipmen Cruise Bravo. This was to be a two month training cruise to Valencia, Spain; Dublin, Ireland; then on to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In July, under the command of CDR.  F. L. Englander, USS MASSEY won the Battle “E” award for operational readiness and efficiency, making the third such award for the ship.

“On the second day after departing Dublin, Ireland for Guantanamo (GTMO), Captain Englander suddenly collapsed. There was no warning or previous symptoms. Our Ship’s Doctor was a pediatrician so we recruited two other medical doctors to assist. They all concurred in the diagnosis, so we transferred him to USS WISCONSIN BB 64 via high line. I immediately assumed command and we continued on to GTMO. My recollection was this occurred in mid August. We subsequently returned to Norfolk where I was relieved by CDR Dan James and assumed my old job as X.O.”

- LCDR Richard J. Plante

After the ships return to Norfolk, VA in July of 1951, MASSEY participated in fleet exercises in the Atlantic until May 1952 when she entered the Norfolk Naval Shipyard for regular overhaul. Between August 1952 and April 1953, MASSEY underwent a training period at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and participated in general fleet exercises in the Atlantic.

“I relieved LCDR Richard J. Plante who took over when CDR Felix Englander suffered a heart attack. I was enroute to the JAMES C. OWENS (DD776) in Sept 1956 and was diverted to the MASSEY. Dick Plante returned to be the best X.O. in the Navy”.

- CDR Daniel V. James

Note:  The historical information provided on this web site is not the official history of the USS MASSEY.  It is based in part on the recollection of many authors, some former Commanding Officers, all former MASSEY shipmates, who contributed to developing the chronology of events that marked some of the noteworthy contributions of this fine Man O' War to our Navy's history over nearly 30 years of active service.

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