From the “Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships,”
(1969) Vol. 4, p.203.
Charles Nance Major, born 24 February 1915 in
Richmond, Va., enlisted in the Naval Reserve 1 August 1940.
Following training in battleship ARKANSAS (BB-33) and in
Midshipman’s School at Chicago, he was commissioned ensign
14 March 1941. He served in destroyer LEARY (DD-158) from
April until December, when he reported to Norfolk for duty
in the 5th Naval District. On 9 February 1942, he reported
to the Armed Guard Center at New York City for duty in SS
R. P. RESOR, a tanker owned by Standard Oil Co. of New
Jersey. The tanker loaded a cargo of bulk crude oil at
Houston, Texas and, while steaming for Fall River, Mass.,
she was torpedoed off Manasquan, N.J., by U-578 late 26
February. The German torpedo exploded against the tanker’s
portside. Explosions and raging fires engulfed R. P. RESOR
from her bridge aft, and she burned out of control before
sinking 2 days later. All but two of her merchant crew and
armed guard, including Ensign Major, died in the attack.
Displacement: 1,400 t.
Speed: 24 k.
Armament: 3 3”; 4 1.1”; 8 20mm; 3 21” torpedo tubes;
2 depth charge tracks;
8 depth charge projectors;
1 hedge hog
MAJOR (DE-796) was laid down by Consolidated Steel
Corp., Orange, Tex., 16 August 1943; launched 23 October
1943; sponsored by Ens. Margaret Roper Major, Ensign Major’s
widow; and commissioned at Orange, Tex., 12 February 1944,
Lt. Comdr. 0. W. Goepner in command.
Following shakedown off Bermuda, MAJOR served in the
Caribbean Sea frontier and escorted convoys between Cuba and
Trinidad until arriving Boston, Mass., 11 June. She
underwent training out of Casco Bay, Maine, with ships of
Escort Division 56 before arriving Yorktown, Va., 2 July for
convoy escort duty. On 4 July she sailed as part of TF 61
and escorted UGS-47, a 68 ship convoy, to Bizerte, Tunisia,
where she arrived 23 July. Between 30 July and 18 August,
she escorted a westbound convoy back to the United States.
MAJOR again sailed with TF 61 as convoy escort 12
September, but on the 25th she left UGS-54 and steamed to
Plymouth, England, arriving 29 September. There she met a
convoy of 18 LSTs and 20 LCIs, and between 5 and 24 October
she sailed as escort to Charleston, S.C. During the next 2
months, MAJOR made another convoy run to north Africa and
back; and, after returning to Boston 29 December, she served
as submarine training target ship out of New London. Thence
she sailed 21 February 1945 for duty in the Pacific.
Arriving Manus, Admiralties, 1 April, MAJOR escorted a
convoy from Hollandia, New Guinea, to Leyte Gulf,
Philippines, where she reported for duty with the Philippine
Sea frontier. During the remainder of the war she operated
out of Leyte Gulf, patrolling for enemy submarines,
providing passenger and mail service to islands in the
southern Philippines, and conducting periodic convoy escort
duty, including a run to New Guinea and back. Late in July
she reached Okinawa as escort for an LST convoy, thence she
departed 1 August guarding LSTs bound for Leyte. Three days
later, as destroyer escort EARL V. JOHNSON (DE-702) dueled
with a Japanese submarine, MAJOR protected the convoy, which
arrived at Leyte Gulf 7 August.
Following the cessation of hostilities 15 August, MAJOR
steamed to Manila 18 August and escorted LSTs to Japan. She
anchored near mighty MISSOURI (BB-63) in Tokyo Bay 1
September and the following day witnessed the Japanese
surrender on board the giant battleship. After returning to
the Philippines later that month, she operated out of Leyte.
Late in 1945 she steamed to the west coast. MAJOR
decommissioned at Long Beach 13 March 1948 and entered the
Pacific Reserve Fleet. At present she is berthed with the
Pacific Inactive Fleet at Stockton, Calif.
[Stricken from the Navy Register on 1 December 1972,
MAJOR was sold on 27 November 1973.
K. Jack Bauer and Stephen S. Roberts, “Register of Ships of
the U. S. Navy, 1775-1990,” p.231.]
Copyright © 1996-2000, Andrew Toppan. All Rights Reserved.
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