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US Navy Unit Commendation

MARCH 2001
After 55 Years, USS Underhill Awarded Navy Unit Commendation

More than 55 years after the fact, the Secretary of the Navy has presented the NAVY UNIT COMMENDATION to USS Underhill (DE 682), honoring the crew's action during World War II. The last small fighting ship lost to enemy action in World War II, the Underhill was the lead ship in a convoy carrying battle weary soldiers from Okinawa to the Philippines for a much needed rest and reinforcements.

"Stand by to ram," the order from the captain on that July 24, 1945, afternoon, are words never to be forgotten by the surviving crew members of the destroyer escort who had identified kaitens, Japanese midget submarines in the waters. When the Underhill proceeded to ram the kaitens to protect the convoy, two violent explosions severed the ship, and 112 of the 236-man crew went down with the bow of the ship. The stern remained afloat until survivors could be rescued.

Following rescue of survivors, the convoy continued to the Philippines without incident. With the assistance of Senator Kit Bond and his staff and the persistence of Cheryl Jones, daughter of the late Stanley Dace, chief boatswain's mate of the Underhill, the commendation is now reality.

". . . It is highly appropriate that this citation of merit be presented to the crew which manned the guns and protected the convoy enroute to the Philippines," wrote Senator Bond. "This is a fitting tribute to the men of the USS Underhill (DE 682). It is never too late to recognize their
bravery. I salute their service to the Navy and the nation. We can never repay our debt to the shipmates of the Underhill who did not return. . ."

"My family and I are most grateful to Senator Bond for his assistance in obtaining this award," Jones said. "My father had always wanted recognition of the Underhill crew for their heroic action on that fateful afternoon. He was so proud of the crew."

Dace, a former resident of Sullivan, died in November 1995. He was posthumously awarded the bronze star with combat "V" and citation of rnerit in August 1998. One other shipmate, Joe Manory of New York was awarded the Navy and Marine Commendation Medal with Combat "V" in 1998.

Information courtesy of the Underhill Web Site

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