Howard D. Crow
Howard Daniel Crow -- born in Alvarado, Tex., on 2 February 1918 -- earned a Bachelor of Science degree from North Texas State Teachers College, Denton, Tex., in 1939, and enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve as an apprentice seaman at Dallas, Tex., on 29 August 1940. After training in the heavy cruiser Quincy (CA-39) (28 October-23 November 1940), Crow received his appointment as a midshipman, USNR, on 16 December 1940. He attended the Naval Reserve Midshipman's School, Northwestern University, Chicago, Ill. (16 December 1940-13 March 1941), after which time he executed his acceptance and oath of office on 14 March 1941. He joined the battleship Maryland (BB-46) a little over a fortnight later, on 29 March 1941. In the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, Maryland -- moored inboard of Oklahoma (BB-37) -- received two bomb hits. Ensign Crow, whose battle station was in the ship's 5th Division, died of his wounds received in action.
(DE-252: displacement 1,200; length 306'; beam 36'7"; draft 8'7"; speed 21 knots; complement 186; armament 3 3", 2 40 millimeter, 8 20 millimeter, 2 depth charge tracks, 8 depth charge projectors, 1 depth charge projector (hedgehog), 3 21" torpedo tubes; class Edsall)
The unnamed destroyer escort DE-252 was laid down on 6 February 1943 at Houston, Tex., by Brown Shipbuilding Co.; named Howard D. Crow (DE-252) on 23 February 1943; launched on 26 April 1943; sponsored by Miss Viola Elaine Warner, the late Ens. Crow's fiancee (who had been recommended for the honor of christening the ship, by his parents); and commissioned at Houston on 27 September 1943, Lt. Comdr. Donald T. Adams, USCG, in command.
Howard D. Crow, Coast Guard-manned, conducted drills in Galveston (Tex.) Bay (1-9 October 1943), "to acquaint the crew with their vessel." Proceeding thence to New Orleans, La., where she took supplies on board, the new destroyer escort then depermed and carried out compass calibration, ultimately clearing the waters off the Crescent City on 18 October 1943, bound for the West Indies. "Incessant drilling enroute," mused one ship's chronicler, "set the crew to wondering if the shakedown had already been initiated." She then conducted her shakedown -- "Daily drills at battle stations, tactical maneuvering, and anti-submarine exercises that gave [the crew] a chance to realize that the shakedown period was rigorous and demanded hard and diligent work from all hands" -- out of Bermuda (22 October-18 November), after which time she underwent post shakedown availability at Charleston, S.C. (20-30 November). Soon thereafter, after departing Charleston, Howard D. Crow encountered "her first heavy weather [en route to Norfolk, Va.] off Cape Hatteras. All hands," observed one Coast Guardsman, "with the exception of a few old salts, came to learn the meaning of the term 'sea-sick' by experience."
Arriving at the Naval Operating Base (NOB), Norfolk, on 1 December 1943, Howard D. Crow served as a training platform for destroyer escort crews, embarking nucleus crews daily, then proceeding to the operations areas in the vicinity of York Spit Channel, conducting the prescribed exercises, then returning to NOB Norfolk an hour before the end of the first dog watch. After a day off (13 December) at the end of that period of work to prepare for "extended duty," Howard D. Crow became a part of Task Force (TF) 66 (Comdr. John Rountree, USCG) on 14 December, serving initially as a check out vessel for the outward-bound convoy UGS-27. Directed to take charge of a delayed section of UGS-27, the explosive-laden freighters James M. Wayne and James McCosh, in company with her sistership Ricketts (DE-254), Howard D. Crow and her consorts sailed during the first watch on 15 December, catching up with UGS-27 on 20 December and taking her assigned station. After turning over it's charges to British escort vessels on New Year's Day 1944, TF-66 reversed course and stood out of the Strait of Gibraltar.
Howard D. Crow, however, soon received orders about an hour before the end of the first watch on 2 January 1944 to return to the open sea to report to the British destroyer HMS Malcolm, reportedly in contact with a U-boat. Forming a scouting line with Pettit (DE-253) and Ricketts, Howard D. Crow and her sisterships found no evidence of Malcolm's presence (she would learn later that the British warship had been ordered to return to the convoy that she had been escorting when she had first made contact with a submersible) but did obtain a radar contact half-way through the mid watch on 3 January. After her challenge had gone unanswered, Howard D. Crow fired three 3-inch illuminating projectiles that soon disclosed a Portuguese "coasting vessel...apparently running in a circle off Casa Blanca [sic] with the idea of entering [the harbor] after daylight." The trio of destroyer escorts returned to Casablanca later that morning.
Assisted in the unmooring evolution by the harbor tug YT-208, Howard D. Crow stood out shortly after the beginning of the first dog watch on 7 January 1944, and on the westward voyage, escorted the New York section of the returning convoy GUS-26 to its destination (23-24 January). Ordered to proceed thence to the New York Navy Yard, the ship remained there (drydocked on 29-30 January for repairs to her sound gear) until she got underway on 5 February to proceed to the waters off Montauk and Block Island for refresher training with TG 23.9. She pushed on for Casco Bay on 8 February, escorted Tuscaloosa (CA-37) as that heavy cruiser carried out exercises in those waters (14 February), returning thence to New York via the Cape Cod Canal and Long Island Sound.
Howard D. Crow sailed from New York on Washington's Birthday (22 February 1944) with Task Group (TG) 21.9, with convoy CU-15. The passage began uneventfully enough, but during the first watch three days out, the merchant tankers El Coston and Murfreesboro collided during a gale, leaving both badly damaged and burning. Ricketts's men braved burning oil and heavy seas to rescue 33 men from the latter. Howard D. Crow anchored in Lough Foyle, Ireland, on 5 March. A week later (12 March), she sailed in the screen of convoy UC-15, standing up the Ambrose Channel on 22 March. Following an availability at the Naval Supply Depot, Bayonne, N.J., more training ensued, as the destroyer escort got underway on 2 April with four of her sisterships for Area "R", exercising with a friendly submarine and motor torpedo boats in the Montauk, Block Island, training area, completing her work-ups on 5 April to moor at Staten Island the same day. On 6 April, Howard D. Crow and her sisters sailed in the screen of convoy CU-20.
Howard D. Crow (DE-252) at anchor, 2 April 1944, following her availability at Bayonne. Note effectiveness of the two-tone Measure 22 (5-N Navy Blue and 5-H Haze Gray) camouflage, her designating number (252) in 24"-high white numbers, and her armament -- open-mount 3"/50s (two forward, one aft), her 40 millimeter mount, aft, and the 20 millimeter Oerlikons. Her ASW armament consists of the hedgehog forward, just aft of Mt. 31, two depth charge tracks on the fantail, and depth charge projectors ("K-guns") along the main deck, aft, four on the starboard side, four on the port. Also note the single 26-foot motor whaleboat and davits, and life rafts and floater nets. (National Archives Photograph 19-N-76715, Bureau of Ships (19-LCM) Collection, Box 425, Still Pictures Branch, College Park, Md.)
At noon the following day (7 April 1944), Sea1c Thomas J. O'Brien, USCGR, accidentally cut the back of his left hand with a knife while slicing a cake, severing the tendons of two fingers and incising the back of the hand; Howard D. Crow proceeded at full speed to Marchand (DE-249), the division flagship, to transfer the injured sailor for treatment by the division medical officer. Lowering her motor whaleboat at 1400, she transferred O'Brien at 1415, and then began steering courses to recover the craft while her sistership stood by and screened the evolution. The boat's fuel line clogged, however, and it went dead in the water, forcing Howard D. Crow to maneuver to recover it. While the heavy seas complicated the crew's hooking-on, the boat shipped water, and the trailing line on the releasing hook carried away five times because of the excessive rolling of the ship. The boat swamped at 1500, however, and was cut loose from the forward davit, sinking at once and leaving it's crew at the mercy of the heaving sea. Ensign John G. Pickard, USCG, recovered the unconscious Sea1c Anthony Alessi, USCGR, and CEM Horace L. Thomas, USCGR, managed to fasten a line around Ens. Marvin T. Duncan, USCG. Sailors on deck hauled in Duncan, saving him from drowning, but before Thomas could reach safety, a wave threw him against the hull and knocked him unconscious; he sank from sight, beyond recovery. For his selfless heroism in saving Ens. Duncan, CEM Thomas received the Navy and Marine Corps Medal, posthumously. Artificial respiration failed to revive Sea1c Alessi, whom CPhM John L. Magee pronounced dead at 1915; Alessi was buried at sea with full military honors at 1013 the next day.
Howard D. Crow and her divisionmates saw CU-20 safely into Lough Foyle on 17 April 1944, then stood out again with returning convoy UC-20 on 24 April once more bound for New York, arriving on 3 May. Following a brief availability at the New York Navy Yard, the destroyer escort again reported to TG 23.9 for training. Together with rest of CortDiv 20, she then conducted refresher work in the waters off Block Island (16-19 May), after which time she prepared for her next voyage across the Atlantic as part of TG 21.9. Standing out on 21 May with convoy CU-25, delivering it safely to its destination ten days later, Howard D. Crow then shepherded convoy UCT-25 back to the United States, reaching New York on 16 June. She proceeded thence immediately to Boston to undergo an availability (17-28 June), after which time she conducted post-availability training off Montauk (28-29 June), then steamed to New York to join another convoy, TCU-30, standing out, bound for the British Isles, on 2 July.
Reaching Londonderry on 11 July 1944 without incident, Howard D. Crow began the homeward voyage on 17 July, with UCT-30. After seeing a detachment of motor vessels to Boston, she returned to the Navy Yard Annex at Bayonne, then pushed on on 6 August for the New London operating area for a brief stint of training. Picking up convoy TCU-35 at New York, the ship sailed for the British Isles on 11 August, reaching Londonderry eleven days later. Howard D. Crow shepherded UCT-35 on the westward run, detached on 2 September to escort the British escort carrier HMS Trouncer to buoy XS. Her escort mission completed on 5 September, the ship ultimately reached Earle, N.J.,on 5 September. Following an availability at the Navy Yard Annex, Bayonne, the ship sailed for the waters off New London, conducting exercises there until returning to Earle on 18 September. She began the next east-bound passage on 20 September, with convoy CU-40, winding up that stint by escorting the Clyde section to its dispersal point ten days later.
Shepherding UC-40B on its way (10-20 October 1944), Howard D. Crow conducted further training off New London, then again set course toward the British Isles, in convoy CU-46 (7-17 November), then UC-46A westbound (22 November-3 December). Reaching New York on 3 December, she remained there for over a fortnight, sailing for the waters off Montauk Point on 18 December, returning to New York on 22 December and spending Christmas there, then sailing the following day (26 December) in the screen of convoy CU-52, bound, once more, for the British Isles. Howard D. Crow escorted the Liverpool section of CU-52 to its destination on 7 January 1945, standing out of the Mersey River and commencing the westward voyage, in the screen of UC-52B, six days later. She arrived back in New York on 23 January, mooring at the New York Navy Yard annex, Bayonne, late that day to begin a period of availability soon thereafter.
On 11 February 1945, Howard D. Crow stood out of Gravesend Bay, during the forenoon watch, having checked the outgoing vessels in convoy CU-58 a short while before. She patrolled the Ambrose Channel, checking the ships standing out, then proceeded to take her assigned station. That afternoon, she escorted the tanker Bulkfuel to her position in the convoy, then set the full war cruising watch. At 1639, however, after having just tested various alarms, Howard D. Crow investigated a sonar contact. She fired 24 Mk. 10 antisubmarine projectiles commencing at 1653, hearing subsequent explosions beneath the surface and obtaining at least one direct hit. The ship sounded the general alarm at 1659, then fired four depth charges at 1717, sighting air bubbles and an oil slick. Less than a quarter of an hour later, the destroyer escort fired three more charges. Soon thereafter, at 1800, sistership Koiner (DE-331) joined the engagement, dropping three patterns of depth charges, the first at 1831, the second at 1841, and the third at 1854, bringing up more oil but finally classifying the contact as "non-sub." The two destroyer escorts soon resumed their voyage Britain-ward. Howard D. Crow's and Koiner's victim was, most certainly, the German Type IXC submarine U-869 (Kapitanleutnant Hellmut Neuerburg) that, having failed to receive instructions re-routing her to another patrol area, found herself in CU-58's path.
Reaching Southampton, England, without further incident on 23 February 1945, after having been detached with the English Channel section of CU-58 on 19 February, Howard D. Crow sailed for home on 26 February with convoy UC-58A, joining the London Section of that assemblage at the outset of the voyage. Mooring at the New York Navy Yard on 9 March, for a brief availability, the ship then proceeded to the Casco Bay operating area, exercising on one occasion with the Italian submarine Maheli (24 March). Howard D. Crow then shepherded CU-64 from the United States to the British Isles (31 March-10 April), seeing the Le Havre, France, section to its destination (11 April) before putting in to Southampton on 12 April. She then escorted UC-64A into Southampton (16 April), then joined UC-64B on 19 April; she prosecuted a submarine contact she first picked up at twilight that day, delivering five attacks, utilizing hedgehog projectiles and depth charges upon what Lt. John M. Nixon, USCG, believed to be a "possible submarine." During the first watch on 22 April, Howard D. Crow made two hedgehog attacks, expending 48 Mk.10 projectiles, and firing or dropping 28 depth charges with no verifiable results.
The German surrender in early May 1945, concluding the war in Europe, found the ship at New York, undergoing a period of repairs and alterations that increased her antiaircraft machine gun battery -- "a good indication," wrote one observer, "that the [Howard D.] Crow was to see the Pacific very shortly." She then carried out one more convoy escort cycle in the Atlantic, seeing CU-71 (20-30 May) to Southampton and UC-71 (3-11 June), the latter being dispersed soon after leaving the English Channel, on 4 June.
Howard D. Crow departed New York with CortDiv 21 on 19 June 1945 for the Chesapeake Bay operating areas; she conducted shore bombardment exercises off Bloodsworth Island on 20-21 June, standing out during the mid watch for Guantanamo Bay, which she reached on 24 June; then, following refresher training in the Guantanamo-Culebra [Puerto Rico] operating areas, she departed Guantanamo on 3 July, bound for the Canal Zone. Reaching Coco Solo, C.Z., on 6 July, she transited the Panama Canal the following day. Then, after a brief time at San Diego, Calif. (15-18 July), she sailed for Pearl Harbor, T.H., arriving there on 25 July. She served as school ship for gunnery students on 2 August, then conducted further exercises in the Hawaiian training area, practicing anti-submarine warfare tactics (5-6 August), then working with the submarine Sargo (SS-188) (13 August). She moored alongside sistership Pettit on 14 August, where she celebrated V-J Day.
Gunnery drill on board Howard D. Crow, circa late 1945, employing 3"/50, 40- and 20-millimeter batteries.
(Capt. Harold D. Muth, USCG, Ret.)
Instead of returning to the U.S., however, Howard D. Crow and her sisters proceeded thence to Eniwetok, in the Marshall Islands; underway on 27 August 1945, she crossed the International Date Line at the end of the first watch on 31 August and arrived at her destination on 6 September. Underway on 12 September to rendezvous with the submarine Scabbardfish (SS-397), Howard D. Crow met the Eniwetok-bound boat on the 14th, and reached their destination the following afternoon. On 16 September, the destroyer escort sailed for the Solomon Islands, and reached Tulagi on 20 September. On 5 October, however, Howard D. Crow grounded on a shoal, 400 yards from Tanambogo (the buoy marking the shoal was discovered missing). The commanding officer, Lt. Frederick T. Carney, USCGR, who had relieved Lt. Nixon just three days before (2 October), donned a shallow water diving outfit and personally inspected the damage, finding all propeller blades to be bent and nicked.
Howard D. Crow transported Capt. Walter G. Thomson, D-V(G), USNR, Commander, Southern Solomons, and a party of seven officers and 31 men to the Russell Islands on 13 October 1945, then returned the captain and his party back to Guadalcanal the next day. The destroyer escort sailed for Eniwetok on 20 October, arriving five days later, then, two days later, entered the auxiliary floating drydock AFDL-7, where the ship's force scraped and painted the bottom over the ensuing days. Undocked on 1 November, the drydock crew having been "unable to do a satisfactory job of repairing [the] screws with [the] facilities at hand," Howard D. Crow sailed for Pearl Harbor late that afternoon. The destroyer escort reached Pearl on 9 November, and entered the concrete floating dry dock ARDC-2 two days later. Undocked on 20 November and assigned to the Hawaiian Sea Frontier the same day, she sailed for Weather Station B (within 100 miles of 42°N, 172°W) in the northern Pacific, arriving there on 29 November, where she remained, carrying out her meteorological work, using her engines only at mealtimes to reduce rolling when the winds varied from force 3 to force 7.
By 6 December 1945, however, evaporator failure and the lack of fresh water compelled Howard D. Crow to radio Commander, Hawaiian Sea Frontier, of her plight. Directed to head for Midway, she ran out of all fresh water by the first watch on 7 December. With the crew substituting fruit juice and beer at meals for water, and using water from breakers for cooking and baking, the ship reached Sand Island, Midway, on the afternoon of 8 December, receiving 3,200 gallons of fresh water after her arrival. Following evaporator repairs, Howard D. Crow, embarking 25 men from NOB Midway for transportation to the Navy Personnel Staging Center at Pearl, got underway for Oahu on 13 December, but suffered an evaporator casualty during the first watch one day out. By the next day (15 December), her crew and passengers were back to canned fruit juice and beer in place of water and coffee; the exhaustion of the last of the fresh water forced her cooks to use sea water for boiling eggs and washing dishes. Ultimately, Howard D. Crow made port on the 16th, her fresh water tanks empty. Three days later, she sailed for the west coast of the United States.
Two days before Christmas of 1945, en route to San Pedro, Howard D. Crow overtook the disabled large infantry landing craft LCI(L)-29, that had left Pearl on 14 December and was also en route to the west coast, and took her in tow. Transferring her charge to the fleet tug Moreno (ATF-87) an hour after the end of the mid watch on 27 December, the destroyer escort moored at San Pedro that evening. Proceeding thence on 7 January 1946, she transited the Panama Canal for a second time (13 January), clearing Coco Solo on 15 January, bound for New York, reaching her destination on 20 January, where she received an availability in connection with her planned transfer to the 16th (Inactive) Fleet. Departing New York on 20 February, Howard D. Crow arrived at St. John's River, Jacksonville, Fla., on 22 February. Shifting to Green Cove Springs, Fla., on 15 March, she was decommissioned there on 22 May 1946 and was placed out of commission, in reserve.
Five months after she had been placed in reserve, Howard D. Crow was taken in tow, bound for the Merrill Stevens Drydock, Jacksonville. A collision with a bridge at Jacksonville on 22 October 1946, however, caused extensive flooding damage in her machinery spaces. Taken in tow by the auxiliary ocean tug ATA-210 on 27 October 1946, Howard D. Crow reached Charleston for repairs the next day, where she was inactivated on 31 March 1947. She underwent repairs to her machinery spaces while her main engines received a supplementary overhaul, work that extended into 1948. ATA-209 then took the destroyer escort in tow on 18 February 1948 and took her to Mayport, Fla., arriving the next day.
With the Korean conflict, however, came greater demands on the far-flung Navy, and Howard D. Crow was recommissioned at Mayport on 6 July 1951, Comdr. Lewis E. Davis, Jr., in command, and assigned Newport, R.I., as a home port effective 12 July. On 16 July, the ship departed Green Cove Springs to resume active service with the Fleet. She operated out of Jacksonville until 31 August, alternating periods at sea with in-port upkeep. Pausing at Norfolk (2-10 September), the ship then proceeded to Newport, R.I., arriving there on 11 September. She operated in Narragansett Bay for a brief period before she sailed for Guantanamo Bay, arriving there on 23 September. Howard D. Crow operated out of Guantanamo into mid-November, punctuating that period with a port visit to Santiago de Cuba (19-21 October). Reaching Newport on 14 November, she remained there until the 26th, on which day she got underway for Boston, arriving at her destination two days later. Returning to Newport on 10 December, she remained there into mid-January of the following year.
Howard D. Crow sailed for Norfolk on 15 January 1952, and arrived there the following day but paused there only a brief time before getting underway for Key West, making arrival there to become Sonar School training ship on 19 January. The destroyer escort operated out of Key West into April, punctuating her operations in those waters with a visit to Havana, Cuba (22-24 February). Underway on 9 April, she paused briefly at Newport (12-14 April) before standing in to the Boston Naval Shipyard for a three-month regular overhaul. Howard D. Crow called at Hingham, Mass. (21-22 July) before she returned to Newport (22 July-5 August), then sailed for the Tidewater area, visiting Norfolk (5-6 August), en route to Cuban waters. The destroyer escort conducted refresher training out of Guantanamo Bay into late September, punctuating the training with a visit to Port au Prince, Haiti (30 August-1 September). Underway from Guantanamo on 19 September, the ship returned to Newport on 23 September for a resumption of local operations. She remained there into February of the following year.
During February 1953, Howard D. Crow continued to operate predominantly out of Newport, interspersing time there with visits to New Bedford, Mass. (13-16 February) and New York City (20-24 February). After a visit to Fall River, Mass., the ship returned to Newport, departing thence on 2 March for warmer climes to participate in Operation Springboard. Howard D. Crow visited San Juan (6-11 March) and St. Thomas (12-22 March), then operated off Onslow Beach, N.C., returning to Newport on 31 March, whence she served as Destroyer Force, Atlantic (DesLant) gunnery school ship through June. In July and August, she "distinguished herself in her speciality [ASW] while conducting exercises with [Commander, Hunter-Killer Forces, Atlantic Fleet]." The destroyer escort rounded out the year with local operations, and a holiday period at New Bedford.
Subsequently departing New Bedford on 4 January 1954, Howard D. Crow reached Key West on 7 January, and operated thence, as ASW school ship, into late March, punctuating that time with a visit to Havana (19-22 February) and returning to her home port on 29 March. Arriving to the Boston Naval Shipyard on 13 April for overhaul, the ship departed the yard on 29 June. After a period of time at Newport (30 June-15 July), Howard D. Crow sailed for Guantanamo Bay for refresher training (19 July-26 August), returning to her home port on 30 August. While at Newport, she suffered enough damage when Hurricane Edna lashed the area in September to compel her return to the Boston Naval Shipyard for repairs (14 September-7 October). The destroyer escort then participated in Atlantic Fleet exercise (LantFlEx) 1-55 off Labrador in October and November.
Howard D. Crow stood out of Newport on 10 January 1955 to take part in Springboard exercises. She then frequented the waters off St. Thomas (14-27 January), Ciudad Trujillo, Dominican Republic (28-31 January) and operated in the San Juan-St. Thomas area (1-7 February) before turning her bow northward once more. Following a period of time in her home port (14 February-22 March), the ship returned to Key West on 25 March, operating thence into mid-May as ASW school ship, paying a call during that period to Havana (6-8 May). After time at Newport (17 May-6 July), and Norfolk (7-11 July), Howard D. Crow sailed to return to European waters for the first time since 1945 as part of Midshipman Cruise Baker. She punctuated her operations with port calls to Edinburgh, Scotland (26 July-1 August) and Copenhagen, Denmark (4-9 August) before she sailed to return to Cuban waters. She spent the remainder of the year out of familiar ports, Guantanamo (25-29 August), Norfolk (2 September), Newport (3-31 September) (where she received the Battle Efficiency "E" for 1954-55), and Key West (25 September-4 November), the last-named time as ASW school ship interspersed with a port visit to Miami (28-30 October). She rounded out the year at her home port, arriving there on 8 November.
Clearing Newport on 10 February 1956, the destroyer escort called at Quincy, Mass.(11-13 February), returning to Key West on 17 February. Then, following a visit to Havana (9-11 March), Howard D. Crow returned to operate out of Key West on 11 March. Returning to Newport on 3 April, she conducted exercises out of that port through late June, interspersing those operations with a brief visit to Bridgeport, Conn., (18-20 May). She spent part of the summer, through mid-August, operating out of Key West, punctuating that work with a second recreational visit that year to Havana (10-12 August). Returning to Newport on 20 August, she paused at Earle, N.J., to offload ammunition (23 October), proceeding thence to New York Naval Shipyard for an overhaul that kept her in yard hands into the following year.
Emerging from the yard on 29 January 1957, Howard D. Crow paused again at Earle, that time to load ammunition (29-30 January), returning to her home port on the last day of January. The destroyer escort then sailed for Cuban waters on 11 February, conducting exercises en route to Guantanamo Bay, whence she conducted refresher training from 19 February to 26 March, a period of work punctuated by a visit to Santiago de Cuba (15-17 March). After a brief stay at Newport (30 March-8 April) she visited Providence, Rhode Island (8-15 April), then paused at her home port (15 April-2 May) before sailing for San Juan. The ship operated in the Puerto Rico area through the first week of August, interspersing time in those waters with a period at Key West (21 June-2 August) as ASW training ship. Departing San Juan on 9 August, Howard D. Crow sailed for Newport. Pausing there only a short time (13 August), she shifted to Providence for her second visit of the year (13-19 August), before she returned to Newport. Shortly thereafter (1 September 1957), Howard D. Crow's home port was changed from Newport to Key West.
Howard D. Crow, painted Measure US-27 (5-H Haze Gray), underway at sea, February 1957, her hull number in white with black shadowing. Her gun armament at this time consists of 3"/50s and 40 millimeters, no wartime 20 millimeter mounts remain. Gone also are the triple torpedo tube mount and depth charge projectors along her main deck, aft. Her ASW armament consists at this time of the hedgehog forward and two depth charge tracks on the fantail. Also note difference in antennae carried on her mast from the 2 April 1944 view. (National Archives Photograph 80-G-1010089, Record Group 80, Box 2742, Still Pictures Branch, College Park, Md.)
Departing Newport on 3 September 1957, having been visited by Vice Admiral Jerauld P. Wright, Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, the destroyer escort sailed for European waters to take part in North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) fall exercises. After operating south of the British Isles until 12 September, she shaped course for Norway, reaching Tromso on 18 September. Putting to sea on 23 September from that Norwegian port, Howard D. Crow operated in the Norwegian Sea and the North Sea, then called at the French ports of Le Havre (30 September) and Dunkerque (1-11 October). More exercises followed before she then returned home. Following tender availability at Newport (21 October-18 November), she sailed for her new home port, reaching Key West on 21 November. She remained there, operating as ASW school ship, through the end of the year.
Howard D. Crow sailed from Key West on 25 January 1958; she spent brief periods of time at Mayport (27 January), Charleston (28 January), Jacksonville (29 January-5 February), Charleston a second time (6 February) before returning to her home port on 8 February. She operated as ASW school ship until 10 May, when she sailed for San Juan. She paused at that port only briefly (13 May) before she stood out to operate off Puerto Rico, where she served as communications ship (14-18 May) during successful recovery operations for the nose cone of a Jupiter rocket. Pausing briefly at San Juan (19-20 May) after the conclusion of that work, Howard D. Crow returned to Key West on 22 May to operate from that port into the autumn of 1958, punctuating that time with visits to Miami (29 May-1 June), Havana (13-15 June, 8-10 August), and Guantanamo (3-6 August).
Assigned duty as a Naval Reserve training ship in September 1958, Howard D. Crow reached Galveston, her new home port, on 1 November 1958. The ship then began conducting two-week reserve cruises for reservists to meet their annual underway training obligations and to train, to the fullest extent possible, a "selected reserve" crew that would, once it had attained a satisfactory qualification level, man the ship in time of national emergency. The target date for selected reserve status depended upon the completion of a new concrete pier at Pelican Island, in the Galveston Ship Channel.
Howard D. Crow welcomed the reservists -- some 130 officers and men from the Galveston-Houston area, under Comdr. Ralph Childs, USNR-R -- for on-board indoctrination during her overhaul at Galveston (1 November 1958-26 March 1959). Proceeding thence to Guantanamo, via Key West (28-30 March 1959), the ship conducted four weeks of refresher training, punctuating that time with a period of "special operations" (22-23 April) and a visit to Kingston, Jamaica (25-26 April) toward the end of that period of work. For the remainder of 1959, Howard D. Crow took reservists from the Sixth, Eighth, and Ninth Naval Districts on two-week cruises, training and integrating the selected reserve crew, steaming to the Key West operating area for gunnery and ASW training, punctuating those evolutions with visits to posts such as Miami, Kingston, New Orleans, Port Everglades, and Tampa. She also conducted cruises for various local scouting groups, Navy League-sponsored groups and other organizations, in addition to entertaining various groups in dockside visits.
Howard D. Crow continued that routine through mid-1961, and as the ship headed for Charleston, increasing tensions over Berlin resulted in the mobilization of all 40 Selected Reserve ships; consequently, Howard D. Crow's reserve complement were flown to that port to meet her on 1 October 1961. Her home port was changed from Galveston to Key West effective 2 October 1961; she was also reassigned from Reserve Destroyer Squadron (ResDesRon) 34 to Destroyer Division (DesDiv) 101 on the same date. Upon completion of an availability at Charleston, the ship sailed for five weeks of refresher training at Guantanamo Bay, via Key West. She spent a Christmas leave period at Houston, the home town for most of her crew, before returning to Key West to resume duty as sonar school ship. She remained based there into the following summer, a period punctuated by a tender overhaul alongside Yellowstone (AD-27). On 30 June 1962, her home port assignment was changed from Key West to Galveston; she accordingly departed Key West on 11 July 1962, and was placed "in commission, in reserve" effective 30 July 1962. Effective 1 August 1962, Howard D. Crow was reassigned back to ResDesRon 34, reverting to her previous status as Naval Reserve Training ship, Group I. Following another availability alongside Yellowstone at Mayport (4-25 September), the ship received her annual overhaul at the Todd Shipyard Corp., Galveston (1 October-15 December), during which time she was assigned to Reserve Destroyer Division 343, effective 10 December 1962.
After refresher training at Guantanamo with her nucleus crew, Howard D. Crow returned to Galveston on 24 February 1963, then conducted back-to-back weekend and two-week training cruises for the rest of the year, work interspersed with visits to Key West, Tampa, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, Jacksonville, and St. Petersburg, New Orleans, Brownsville (Tex.) and Montego Bay, Jamaica. During 1964, the ship cruised to San Juan, and then took part in Springboard evolutions before conducting reserve cruises to Ft. Lauderdale and Key West, Montego Bay and Houston, a three-day scientific cruise to the Flower Banks, and visits to Ocho Rios, Jamaica, and Lake Charles, Louisiana. Following a call at Port Isabel, Tex., Howard D. Crow proceeded to New York City with her Selected Reserve Crew embarked, and visited the World's Fair. Concluding the summer with visits to Miami and Gulfport, Miss., the ship also visited Tampa for Veteran's Day, then received a tender availability alongside Cascade (AD-16) at Pensacola, Florida.
As the year 1965 unfolded, Howard D. Crow conducted dockside and underway training for Reserve Crews from the Eighth and Ninth Naval Districts and her Selected Reserve crew, interspersing her four underway cruises with liberty at New Orleans, Ft. Lauderdale, Montego Bay and Grand Cayman, British West Indies, by the end of May. Punctuating her next period of training with a visit to Kingston for liberty, Howard D. Crow reverted from "in commission, in reserve, Group I" to "in service, in reserve, Group II" effective 1 July 1965, upon her return to Galveston on 4 July, along with escort ship Walton (DE-361). Lt. Merton A. Pearson became Officer-in-Charge. Departing her home port to proceed to Charleston on 2 August, Howard D. Crow underwent pre-overhaul availability alongside Everglades (AD-24), a period lengthened by Hurricane Betsy, that developed east of the Windward Islands toward the end of August, then moved toward the Carolina coast, developing into a tropical storm, before swirling sharply to the southwest when roughly 350 miles off the coast of Florida coast, moving toward the Florida Keys on 7 September as a category 3 hurricane, then making landfall at Key Largo, and ultimately moving its destructive way into the Gulf of Mexico, and eventually, flooded much of New Orleans. Once Betsy had dissipated,"the first storm in United States history to exceed $1 billion in damages," Howard D. Crow departed Charleston for Jacksonville, where she ended the year 1965 at the Rawls Brothers' Division of Jacksonville Shipyards, Inc., being overhauled.
During that period of yard work that stretched out in duration to five months, vice the originally estimated three due to problems of supply, and "the inability of the engineering plant to function as designed at full power," Howard D. Crow received repairs to all 3-inch gun mounts and the fire control director. Despite advice sought and received from the Navy's Boiler Technical Laboratory, the engineering plant, while accepted for operation, could still not develop full power. Emerging from the yard on 20 March 1966, the ship steamed thence to Charleston to re-ammunition and resupply storerooms, partly with supplies stripped from the Reserve Fleet in Orange (at a savings of $119,000 to the taxpayers). Howard D. Crow returned to Galveston on 29 March 1966.
Following a tender availability alongside Arcadia (AD-23) at Key West (23 May-10 June 1966), Howard D. Crow, with Commander, Naval Reserve Destroyer Divisions, Eighth Naval District, and his staff, and the Selected Reserve Crew embarked, sailed on 17 June 1966 in company with destroyers Haynesworth (DD-700) and Hyman (DD-732), with their respective Selected Reserve Crews embarked, for ASW, gunnery, tactical exercises in the Key West area that concluded on 3 July. Later in the year, after a tender availability alongside Everglades at Key West, the ship, along with Hyman and escort ship Tweedy (DE-532) and Naval Reserve Air Squadrons, participated in exercises (16-18 September), with Sea Poacher (SS-406) providing services. She conducted a dependents cruise on 15 October, and subsequently received an availability alongside Yellowstone at Mayport (29 November-8 December), ending the year moored alongside the Navy Pier, Pelican Island, Galveston.
An inspection in January 1967 deemed Howard D. Crow an "effective Group II ship" in the Naval Reserve's ASW training program, and after a tender availability alongside Yellowstone (11 February-9 March) resumed training the Selected Reserve Crew and two-week active duty sailors after her return to Galveston on 10 March. She underwent an availability alongside Arcadia (26 May-19 June) at Key West, upon completion of which she was to embark her Selected Reserve Crew, but prior to getting underway for the return trip to her home port, an inspection revealed complete deterioration in the bearings of no.3 generator, lengthening her stay in port. Her Selected Reserve Crew was flown to Key West to join her there for the cruise previously planned to Guantanamo. The generator casualty, however, resulted in Howard D. Crow operating locally with the radar picket escort ship Calcaterra (DER-390) in and around Key West, evolutions interspersed with a port call at Ft. Lauderdale. Standing out of that port on 25 June, the ship received direction diverting her to New Orleans for a repair availability at Avondale Shipyard. She returned to Galveston on 22 July. She then conducted a dependents cruise on 19 August. Proceeding thence to Charleston, the ship received a tender availability alongside Everglades (24 August-8 September), after which time she returned to her home port for the remainder of the year.
Howard D. Crow began the year 1968 at her home port; during January she shifted her berth once to allow Haynesworth to get underway (25 January), then conducted equipment tests the following day. On 10 February, Rear Admiral George R. Muse, Commander, Naval Reserve Training Command, and Rear Admiral Pierre Charbonnet, Commandant, 8th Naval District, toured the ship. A fortnight later, Howard D. Crow stood out during the mid watch on 24 February, and rendezvoused with the submarine Quillback (SS-424) at 0800. She conducted two periods of antisubmarine exercises with that boat before returning to port the next morning (25 February). She would then sail for Charleston during the first watch, in company with Haynesworth. Reaching Charleston Naval Base during the forenoon watch on 29 February, the destroyer escort shifted to the Charleston Naval Shipyard on 27 March, where she underwent an InSurv inspection (28-29 March). That having been accomplished, Howard D. Crow sailed for Galveston at 1300 on 4 April, and arrived on 8 April. Outside of a drydocking at the Livingston Shipyard at Orange, Tex., (23-24 May), the ship remained at her home port until almost mid-June 1968.
Howard D. Crow sailed for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, during the first watch on 14 June 1968, in company with Haynesworth and Hyman; escort ship Darby (DE-218) later joined them two days later. The ship conducted anti-aircraft and submarine tracking exercises on 18 June, mooring at Guantanamo later that same day. Following that first period of underway training out of Guantanamo with a recreation visit to Montego Bay, Jamaica (21-23 June), Howard D. Crow returned to Guantanamo Bay on the morning of the 24th, and exercised with submarine Trutta (SS-421) that day. Further underway operations followed, after which point the destroyer escort sailed to conduct training in the Key West Operating Area, ultimately returning to Galveston on 30 June. Later in the summer, the ship conducted a local area VIP Cruise (20 July), followed by a dependent's cruise (21 July).
After remaining inactive the rest of July 1968, through August, and into the first half of September, Howard D. Crow conducted depth charge exercises on 13 September 1968, then anchored in Sabine Pass. Underway the following morning, she moored at the U.S. Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility, Orange, Tex., later the same day, and "commenced transferring material and equipment to Hyman in accordance with inactivation procedures outlined for this ship." Simultaneously decommissioned and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 23 September 1968, ex-Howard D. Crow was accepted by the Inactive Ship Facility, Orange, the same day.
On 26 January 1970, Assistant Secretary of the Navy Frank Sanders authorized the ship for use as a target to destruction, and on 11 March 1970 she was earmarked for that purpose for use in Second Fleet exercises slated to take place in the Virginia capes or Caribbean operating areas in May-June 1970. The commanding officer of the fleet tug Kiowa (ATF-72), that had been assigned to tow the ship to the requisite area, however, reported her as "unacceptable" for the purpose on 27 April 1970. "To preclude loss of services" the inactive ship facility offered the use of ex-Darby (DE-218) instead, and suggested to Naval Ships Systems Command headquarters that ex-Howard D. Crow be disposed-of by the Defense Surplus Sales Office. Consequently, the Lone Star Towing Co. tug Cochise took the Atlantic convoy veteran, the ship having been acquired by Coastal Pools, Inc., of Beaumont, Tex., in tow on 18 September 1970 and removed her from naval custody.
Robert J. Cressman, 2 May 2007