Owen William Huff
Rank(s): Lieutenant Commander
Dates of Service: 3/27/1945 - 7/8/1947
Birth Date: 1/7/1903
Death Date: 1/12/1987
Owen Huff was born on January 7, 1903 in Columbus, Ohio. He enlisted in the navy in 1920. In November 1932, he was promoted to warrant boatswain and assigned to the tug Algorma (AT-34), which was a part of the Pacific Fleet’s Base Force on the West Coast. The tug regularly towed targets for gunnery exercises. From 1938 to 1940, Huff was stationed at the Boston Navy Yard. He was promoted to chief warrant boatswain toward the end of that period, and ordered to USS Sandpiper (AM-51), a minesweeper often employed as a seaplane tender in the Caribbean. Promoted to lieutenant early in 1943, he became commanding officer of the new fleet tug Hopi (AT710), which became flagship for the Mediterranean Salvage and Firefighting Group. As such, she participated in the assault landings at Sicily, Salerno, Anzio, and in southern France. At Anzio, Huff and his crew fought successfully without assistance for 18 hours to save the ammunition-laden Liberty ship Elihu Yale, set ablaze by a German bomb. For his part, Huff was awarded a Legion of Merit.
Huff took command of Constitution on March 27, 1945, no doubt a welcome respite from his busy two years in a combat zone. That October, he was promoted to lieutenant commander. A year later, the American Civil War corvette Constellation, which had been at Newport, Rhode Island, was brought to Boston and moored directly across the pier from Constitution. Huff also became her commanding officer. While the frigate hosted visitors on a daily basis, the corvette was used as quarters for Constitution’s crew. Huff left both ships in July 1947.
Huff retired from the navy in December 1948. He died, following a brief illness, in the base hospital at Camp Pendleton, California, on January 12,1987.