Vice Admiral Morton Deyo: WWII Service

by William A. Gage, Department Head


Rear Admiral's pennant with 2 stars, this would have been flown aboard USS Tuscaloosa during D-Day invasion
Rear Admiral’s pennant with 2 stars, this would have been flown aboard USS Tuscaloosa during D-Day invasion

James D. Julia, Inc. is proud to have been selected by the Maria Ten Eyke Mayo Deyo (Lila) Garnett estate to sell at auction the personal effects of Vice Admiral Morton Lyndholm Deyo (July 1 1887–November 10, 1973).

Deyo had a storied 38 year naval career starting with his graduation from the United States Naval Academy in 1911, and proceeding through to the Second World War and beyond.

Prior to WW II Deyo served on no less than 7 different ships and taught at the Naval War College and was an aid to the Secretary of the Navy.

In WWII in the early 1940s he was commander of Destroyer Squadron II and in 1944 he commanded the Western Operation Neptune Force “U” supporting the landing of the American First Army at Utah and Omaha beaches. It was for this navel gunfire support at Utah Beach in the Normandy invasion that he was awarded his first “Legion of Merit” medal from the President. It was on the ship “Tuscaloosa” (CA-37) that he coordinated the bombardment.

After the landings at Normandy and assisting in the successful landings of the First U.S. Army in the Madeleine area as well as commanding a group of warships that blasted enemy strung points in the vicinity of Cherbourg, France he commanded task groups in the pacific.

Deyo was named to command Task Force 54, the bombardment group for the Okinawa invasion. Considered his crowning achievement in the pacific was his command of gunfire and covering force for the assault on Iwo Jima and the occupation at the battle of Okinawa. For this service he was awarded the “Distinguished Service” medal. It was during this time his Flagship the “Tuscaloosa” was targeted by two Japanese Kamikaze but was able to continue with the action after “splashing” them in their wake before harm could befall them…During the battle of Okinawa he was the last naval commander to form a battle line with battleships as they prepared to intercept the Japanese battleship “Yamato.”

At the war’s end, he accepted the surrender of Japanese forces in the Pacific at Sasebo, Kyushu. He received his second Legion of Merit award in the form of a gold star in lieu of a second award of the Legion of Merit.

Planning maps used by Admiral Deyo aboard the USS Tuscaloosa on D-Day June 6, 1944
Planning maps used by Admiral Deyo aboard the USS Tuscaloosa on D-Day June 6, 1944

After his death in 1973 his namesake lived on with the launching of the USS Deyo (DD 989) on March 31, 1979. It was the 27th Spruance class destroyer. It saw action in both the Persian Gulf wars and supported Desert Storm. The destroyer was decommissioned on November 6, 2003.

In James D. Julia’s Winter Fine art, Asian & Antiques auction on February 8th & 9th it is with great anticipation and honor that we offer a number of historical items from both his Atlantic and Pacific campaigns. These items will be auctioned on Day 2 (Feb 9th) and include:

  1. The invasion charts used on the bridge of the “Tuscaloosa” by Vice Admiral Deyo in the bombardment and support of troops landing at the Utah and Omaha beaches in the invasion of Normandy (Lot 2091)
  2. A large photography scrapbook portraying the Okinawa invasion campaign including the raising of the flag at Iwa Jima and chronicling the surrender ceremonies of the Japanese at the end of the war (Lot 2092)
  3. A Japanese sword presented to Vice Admiral by a Japanese Officer at the signing ceremony (Lot 2097)
  4. Flags of Vice Admiral Deyo used during the invasion of Normandy and on board his ship the “Tuscaloosa” (Lot 2090)
  5. The presentation christening bottle and documents relating to the launching of the USS Deyo on March 31, 1979 along with a number of items from his desk and office including hats, awards, badges, and personal mementos (Lot 2095)
  6. Presidential commissions and Naval Academy Diploma (Lot 2093)