Charles Lawrence, who was born in Portland, Oreg., 29 December 1916, enlisted in the Navy 12 February 1940. Serving as an Aviation Machinist's Mate Second Class at the Naval Air Station at Kaneohe, Oahu, Lawrence was killed in action during the Japanese attack on the Hawaiian Islands 7 December 1941.
(DE-53: dp. 1,400; l. 306'; b. 36'10"; dr. 9'5"; s. 24 k.; cpl. 186; a. 3 3", 3 21" tt., 8 dcp., 1 dcp.(hh.), 2 dct.; cl. Buckley)
Charles Lawrence (DE-53) was launched 16 February 1943 by Bethlehem-Hingham Shipyards, Inc., Hingham, Mass.; sponsored by Mrs. S. Lawrence; commissioned 31 May 1943, Lieutenant Commander L. S. Kintberger in command.
Assigned first to escort central Atlantic convoys of tankers between Norfolk, Va., and Casablanca, Charles Lawrence made one such voyage between 16 August and 24 September 1943. She was then transferred to the high-speed tanker convoys formed at New York from ships which had sailed independently up the east coast, now swept of the submarine menace, from West Indian oil ports. Between 13 October 1943 and 23 September 1944, Charles Lawrence escorted eight such convoys to Northern Ireland, returning with the tankers in ballast to New York. This flow of the fuel of war was so safely guarded by her group that only one tanker was lost in any of their passages. Along with the constant alertness against submarine attack, Charles Lawrence had to maintain a high standard of seamanship to keep the seas in all kinds of weather. At one time, during what was known as the "Christmas Hurricane," of 1943, the ships of her convoy were virtually hoveto for 20 hours.
Charles Lawrence was reclassified APD-37 on 23 October 1944, and was converted to a high-speed transport in New York City. After brief shakedown, she cleared Norfolk, Va., 27 January 1945 for Pearl Harbor, where she replenished between 22 February and 5 March. She was routed on to Ulithi, where she arrived 23 March to join the Northern Attack Force Screen for the assault on Okinawa.
Charles Lawrence arrived off the Hagushi beaches 1 April 1945, in the screen for a group of 20 transports. She remained close inshore to guard the launching of the initial assault waves, then moved out to sea to take her place on the semicircular screen established around the transport area. For 3 months she continued to patrol watchfully off Okinawa, guarding against attack by suicide boats and aircraft or submarines. The only interruptions to this vigil came when she was ordered to escort shipping away from the embattled island to ports in the Philippines, Marianas and Carolines. Firing often against the desperate kamikazes, she escaped injury.
After the war, Charles Lawrence covered the landing of occupation forces in the Japanese Inland Sea, then acted as transport between the Philippines and Manus. She returned to San Diego 16 December 1945, and to Norfolk, Va., 30 December. On 21 June 1946 she decommissioned, in reserve at Green Cove Springs, Fla.
Charles Lawrence received one battle star for World War II service.