Awarded: January 17, 1958
down: August 3, 1959
Launched: August 4, 1960
Commissioned: June 16, 1962
stricken November 20, 1992; sold for
conversion to a power barge - June 20, 1994.
finally scrapped in Brazil
William R. Hoel,
born 7 March 1825 in Ohio, was a Mississippi River steamboat pilot who
entered the Navy 19 October 1861. On 6 February 1862, while serving as the
First Master of Cincinnati, Hoel was wounded during the Battle of Fort Henry.
Less than 2 months later, on 4 April he volunteered to pilot gunboat
Carondelet in her famous run past the Rebel batteries at Island Number 10 to
reach Maj. Gen. John Pope's Army at New Madrid. The gunboat's valiant dash
through a hailstorm of Confederate fire enabled Union forces to cross the
river and to take this key island with quantities of cannon, equipment and
stores. It thus opened the Mississippi for operations by Union gunboats
bringing the Federal Armies in a long stride to within sight of Memphis.
Hoel's courageous and skillful service on this occasion •won the praise of
Flag-Officer Andrew H. Foote, the thanks of the Navy from Secretary Gideon
Welles, and promotion to the rank of Acting Volunteer Lieutenant effective 29
On 10 May 1862 Hoel assumed command of Cincinnati when serious wounds
incapacited her Captain, Comr mander Eoger N. Stembel. The new commander of
the Western Flotilla, Captain Charles H. Davis, took this opportunity to
express his admiration of Hoel. "I can not praise more than they deserve
his high valor and ability. He sets the highest example to those below him,
and if it were possible to give him a permanent position worthy of his
merits, the Navy would be the gainer . . ."
On 29 October, Hoel then took command of Pittsburg on which he served with
distinction in the campaign to take Vicksburg. One of Lieutenant Hoel's
exploits during this campaign is of special interest since it foreshadowed
the heroism of the World War II destroyer which bore his name, USS Hoel
(DD-533). On 29 April 1863, as Acting Rear Admiral Porter's flotilla was
bombarding the Confederate Batteries at Grand Gulf, his flagship, USS Benton,
became unmanageable and was caught under heavy fire in a position where she
could neither steer nor reply to the enemy guns. On seeing Porter's
predicament, Hoel slipped the Pittsburg in between Benton and the flaming
Rebel batteries to protect her by taking the flre himself. In the next 10
minutes his heroism cost the Pittsburg 6 men killed and 8 wounded, but the
sacrifice allowed Ben-ton to extricate herself from the deadly trap. The
bombardment was so successful that the next day General Grant safely moved
his troops across the Mississippi to begin the operations which at long last
isolated and captured Vicksburg.
Hoel was promoted to Acting Volunteer Lieutenant Commander on 10 November
1864. Detached from Pittsburg, he then took command of Vindicator 1 March
1865 on which he served until 7 July 1865. He was honorably discharged on 30
The second Hoel
(DDG-13) was launched 4 August 1960 by Defoe Shipbuilding Co., Bay City,
Mich.; sponsored by Mrs. Harry H. Long, granddaughter of the namesake;
commissioned 16 June 1962, Commander Allen W. Slifer, USN, in command.
After fitting out at Boston, Hoel got underway for her first homeport, San
Diego, putting in at Norfolk; May-port and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Guantanamo
Bay; Cartagena, Colombia; Canal Zone; and Acapuloo, Mexico, during the
voyage. During the passage from Cartagena to the Canal Zone she came upon
sailing yacht Stardrift becalmed and adrift enroute to Sidney, Australia,
from London. Hoel towed the 36-foot craft 100 miles to safety in Panama.
Hoel arrived San Diego 11 September 1962 and spent the ensuing months
completing the various inspections, tests, and trials by the Board of
Inspection and Survey. When successful firing of ASROC and TARTAR missiles
completed her qualification and acceptance trials, Hoel joined the ready 1st
After a 3-week cruise to Esquimau, Canada, Hoel spent April and May of 1963
in Pearl Harbor conducting specialexercises. She then returned to waters off
San Diego to participate in the Presidential Demonstration held for President
The months of July, August, and part of September were spent at Long Beach
Naval Shipyard for the post-shakedown availability assigned each new ship
approximately 1 year after commissioning. At this time improved fire-control
radars were installed and tested by successful missile firings. Hoel departed
Long Beach 17 October 1963 for duty in the Western Pacific to serve as the
flagship of Commander Destroyer Division 12.
In ensuing years she alternated deployments in the Far East with operations
off the West Coast. Her 1966 deployment to the Western Pacific began when she
departed San Diego 28 July. On September she was on search and rescue patrol
off Da Nang, Vietnam. On 8 December the guided missile destroyer became naval
gunfire support ship in the Corps I area. She fired 2,100 rounds destroying
at least 20 enemy structures and 2 trench networks; damaging 61 buildings, 3
bunkers, 8 trench networks, and 5 roads; and killing 24 Viet Cong while
wounding 7. Hoel retired to Hong Kong 21 December but headed for Yankee
Station the day after Christmas to screen Coral Sea (CVA-43). On this patrol
she helped to rescue a pilot after his A-4 Skyhawk had crashed.
Hoel returned to San Diego 3 February 1967 and operated on the West Coast
through mid-year preparing for future action.
-- more USS Hoel history wanted --
Decommissioned 1 October 1990 and stricken 20 November 1992, she was sold 20
June 1994 sold to Consolidated Minerals Inc, Leesburg, FL for $46,476.13 for
conversion to a power generating barge. Conversion work was performed by
Astoria Metals Inc., San Francisco CA. Finally scrapped in Brazil.