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U.S. Navy. Via USS Indiana Page
“Tip” Merrill acquired his nickname from a great-grandfather who fought in the battle of Tippecanoe. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1912 and served on warships in the Eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea prior to the First World War. He spent most of that war training new destroyer crews in San Francisco and Detroit.
After the war, he commanded destroyers, saw additional service in the eastern Mediterranean, and spent some time in Naval Intelligence. By 1935 he commanded the Pensacola and in 1937-38 he was an observer with the Chilean Navy. He was an ROTC professor at Tulane University when war broke out.
In April 1942 he became the first
commanding officer of the battleship
January 1943 he
was promoted to rear
admiral and took command of Cruiser
were present at the battle of Rennell
Island, and he became commander of Task Force 36.2 when the heavy
their commander were reassigned to the Aleutians.
It was Merrill's way to meet with his ship captains to discuss tactics following exercises. Merrill was persuaded by his commander of destroyers, Arleigh Burke, to let the destroyers operate independently as soon as they sighted the enemy, dashing in to fire their torpedoes then pulling clear to allow the cruisers to employ long-range gunnery. These tactics gave Merrill the victory at the Battle of Empress Augusta Bay in November 1943, in which his outnumbered force surprised the Japanese and sank a cruiser and destroyer at no cost to the Americans.
The possibility of viewing the sunrise from the sloping deck of a ship stranded on an uncharted shoal is a thought not pleasant to contemplate, especially if said shoal is under the guns of the enemy's coast-defense batteries.
Task Force 36.2 continued to operate in the upper Solomons through March 1944, when Merrill was reassigned to Washington to help negotiate a hemispherical defense agreement with Chile. He served in Washington for the remainder of the war.
Morison (1950) described Ainsworth as "Short, dark
... with the poet's face and shy glance..." He was an excellent ship handler and
determined and energetic in combat. Mick Carney, who had captained Denver recalled that (Tuohy 2006):
[Merrill was] one of the most magnetic personalities I've ever known ... a little fellow with an infectious laugh that started everybody in the vicinity laughing. He was a ruthless slave-driving SOB as far as training was concerned, but when you came into port, he used to say, if we could find a palm tree and a bottle, we'd set up an officers club.
||Born near Natchez, Mississippi
||Graduates from Naval Academy.
Assigned to BB Louisiana
Black Sea and Eastern Mediterranean
||Instructor, Naval Training Camp,
||Executive officer, Naval
Training Camp, Detroit
||Executive officer, Lafayette
Radio Station, France
||Flag lieutenant, U.S. Naval
Forces in the Eastern Mediterranean
||Receiving Ship, New York
||Commander, PG Elcano, Yangtze River
||Squadron engineer, Destroyer Squadron, Asiatic Fleet
||Office of Naval Intelligence
||Commander, DD Williamson
||Office of Naval Intelligence|
||Aide to the Assistant Secretary
of the Navy
||Commander, Destroyer Division 8
||Naval observer, Chile
||Naval War College
||Commander, Destroyer Division of
Leaders in the Pacific
||Commander, Destroyer Squadron 8
||Professor of naval science and
tactics, Tulane University
||Commander, BB Indiana|
||Director, Office of Public
Relations, Navy Department
||Commandant, 8 Naval District,
||Retires from physical disability
||Dies at Natchez, Mississippi
Indiana Page (accessed 2008-1-18)
The Pacific War Online Encyclopedia © 2007, 2009 by Kent G. Budge. Index
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