Robert M. La Prade was born 4 August 1916 at Kennedy, Tex. He served in the Army prior to enlisting in the Marine Corps 16 April 1940. Commissioned 1st lieutenant 1 January 1943 while serving in the Pacific campaign he died of wounds received in the action at Guadalcanal Lieutenant La Prade was awarded the Navy Cross “for extraordinary heroism and outstanding courage during action against enemy Japanese Forces at Guadalcanal 20 January 1943. Operating behind the enemy lines, Lieutenant La Prade, in command of a combat patrol which wiped out one enemy machinegun position, was critically wounded twice. . . . Despite his insistence that they leave him behind, he was carried back to our lines where he with unfaltering disregard for his own ebbing strength, continued to give directions and formation until he lost consciousness. His indomitable fighting spirit and inspiring devotion to the accomplishment of an important mission were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service...Ē
(DE-409 dp. 1,350; l. 306'; b. 36'8"; dr. 9'5"; s. 24 k.; cpl. 186; a. 2 5", 4 40mm., 10 20mm., 3 21" tt., 9 dcp., 2 dct.; cl. John C. Butler)
La Prade (DF-409) was laid down 18 November 1943 by Brown Shipbuilding Co., Houston, Tex.; launched 31 December 1943; sponsored by Mrs. J. T. La Prade, mother of the late Lieutenant La Prade; and commissioned 20 April 1944, Lt. Comdr. C. M. Fellows in command.
Completing shakedown off Bermuda, La Prade departed Norfolk 27 June 1944 for the Pacific, arriving Pearl Harbor 25 July. The destroyer escort engaged in ASW, screening, and escort operations out of Pearl Harbor and departed 8 September for Eniwetok. Operating out of Eniwetok and Ulithi, La Prade continued escort and patrol services, sailing with a Hunter-Killer task group during the Palau Islands invasion. When the Palaus, needed as logistic bases for the Philippine Island invasion, were secure, La Prade returned to Eniwetok 9 October and resumed escort and patrol duty.
While escorting damaged Canberra (CA-70) to Manus on 12 November, La Prade was detached to aid a distressed PBM seaplane. The destroyer escort salvaged the portable equipment and stood guard until Onslow (AVP-48) arrived to direct the rescue operations. From November 1944 until March 1945, La Prade escorted convoys to Leyte, Manus, and Ulithi. She also joined Casco in a joint attack on a Japanese midget submarine in the entrance to Kossal Roads Harbor, Palau Islands.
Departing Ulithi 30 March, she steamed toward Okinawa to join the screen for oilers engaged in replenishing Vice Admiral Mitscherís fast carrier task force. With American troops struggling to establish a garrison next door to Japan, the oilers and their screening units played a vital role in keeping supplies moving into the embattled island. La Prade continued to support the campaign until Okinawa was declared secured 26 June. La Prade performed escort and patrol operations for the rest of the war before joining the Japan occupation forces at Sasebo 23 September.
The destroyer escort returned to Okinawa 10 October and 4 days later headed home, arriving San Diego 5 November. La Prade remained at San Diego until 11 May 1946 when she commissioned and joined the Pacific Reserve Fleet. At present she is berthed at Stockton, Calif.
La Prade received one battle star for World War II service.