Navy destroyer, USS Mullinnix (DD-944) is named in honor of Rear Admiral Henry M. Mullinnix, USN, a native of Spencer, Indiana. Rear Admiral Mullinnix was aboard the USS Liscome Bay as task force commander when she was torpedoed and sunk by an enemy submarine off Makin Island in the Gilbert Islands are, on November 24, 1943. He was reported missing in action following that catastrophe and was declared officially dead a year later.
For his services in November 1943 he was awarded the Legion of Merit, with the following citation: For exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service to the Government of the United States as Commander of a Carrier Support Group prior to and during the amphibious invasion of Japanese-held Makin Atoll, Gilbert Islands, from November 1 to 24, 1943.
Displaying outstanding initiative and superior executive ability, Rear Admiral Mullinnix skillfully conducted anti-submarine and combat air patrols supporting our landing operations on this strongly defended island and, through his brilliant leadership, enabled escort carriers to carry out a well-coordinated, aggressive attack against the enemy.
Rear Admiral Mullinnix' tireless efforts, meticulous attention to detail, and loyal devotion to the accomplishment of an extremely difficult and hazardous missioncontributed materially to your subsequent capture of this strategic area.
Rear Admiral Mullinnix was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart. In addition, he had the Victory Medal with Destroyer Clasp, the Asiatic-Pacific Area Campaign Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal. An airfield on Buoto Island, Tarawa, in the Gilbert Islands, was named Mullinnix Field in his honor.