Thomas Wright Rudderow, born at Philadelphia, Pa., 8 August 1885, attended the Pennsylvania Nautical School and served as navigator and watch officer in SS Adams and SS Mexico prior to assuming duties as Port Captain, Port of Philadelphia in 1914. Commissioned ensign in the Naval Militia of Pennsylvania 14 July 1916, he was mustered into Federal service 7 April 1917 and assigned in May, to Prinz Eitel Friedrich, later renamed DeKalb. On 1 July 1918 he transferred to the U.S. Naval Reserve Force and in September reported for duty with Destroyer Forces at Queenstown, Ireland. He served in Allen (DD-66) during November 1918; in McCall (DD-28) from December 1918 to March 1919; and under Commander, Flotilla B, Destroyer Force, Atlantic, between March and June 1919. Relieved from active duty 25 June 1919, he remained in the Naval Reserve until transferred to the Honorary Retired List 1 September 1939. On 3 January 1942 while Superintendent and Commanding Officer of the Pennsylvania Nautical School Ship Seneca, Lieutenant Comander [sic; Commander] Rudderow was recalled to active duty and assigned to a Cythera (PY-26), another World War I veteran then being fitted out for coastal patrol work. Assuming command of Cythera when she commissioned 3 March, Lieutenant Commander Rudderow was killed when his ship was torpedoed by U-402 off the North Carolina coast 2 May 1942. Only two of Cythera's crew survived. They were picked up by the German submarine, taken to Germany, and interned for the duration of the war.
(DE - 224: displacement 1,450; length 306’; beam 37’; draft 13’9”; speed 24 knots; complement 221; armament 2 5”, 8 40mm., 10 20 mm., 3 21” torpedo tubes, 2 depth charge tracks, 8 depth charge projectors, 1 depth charge projector (hedgehog-type); class Rudderow)
Rudderow was laid down 15 July 1943 at the Philadelphia Navy Yard; launched 14 October 1943; sponsored by Mrs. Thomas W. Rudderow; and commissioned 15 May 1944, Lt. Comdr. Malcolm W. Greenough, USNR, in command.
Commissioned as more and better equipment and weapons and improved organization and tactics were winning control of the Atlantic shipping lanes for the Allies, Rudderow completed shakedown off Bermuda and through the summer of 1944 participated in hunter-killer activities and escorted convoys along the east coast. In October she sailed, with her fellow escorts, and escorted convoys along the east coast. In October she sailed, with her division - CortDiv 74, for the Pacific. Departing Staten Island on the 14th, she transited the Panama Canal on the 23d, and on 21 November joined the 7th Fleet at Humboldt Bay, New Guinea. Assigned to coastal escort duties through December, she got underway for Luzon 8 January 1945. On the 21st she saw her convoy of landing craft safely into Lingayen Gulf and between then and 7 February patrolled in the Lingayen antisubmarine screen. On the 7th she escorted landing craft to Subic Bay, then steamed back to Lingayen Gulf, whence she covered the retirement of LSTs, LCTs and 1 AO to Leyte, 9-13 February. A week later she steamed into the Mindanao Sea to assist the torpedoed destroyer Renshaw (DD-499) in salvage operations and escort her to San Pedro Bay.
Mission accomplished on the 24th, Rudderow prepared for Operation "Victor IV," the assault and occupation of Zamboanga. Sailing 8 March, she arrived off the landing area with echelon V-4-E early on the 10th and, as the troops pushed into the peninsula, patrolled between Tictauran and Great Santa Cruz islands. Retiring on the 11th, she returned with a reinforcement convoy from Leyte on the 16th, and patrolled in Basilan Strait as the Army occupied the island of the same name. Between the 25th and the 28th, she escorted a convoy from Puerto Princesa, Palawan, to Zamboanga, then sailed north arriving in Mangarin Bay, Mindoro, for antisubmarine patrol duty on the 30th.
By mid-April Rudderow was back at Leyte and by the end of the month again was operating in the Sulu Sea. On 5 May she departed Tawi Tawi and headed southwest to escort ATR-64 and her tows - a PT boat drydock and a gasoline barge - to Tarakan, Borneo. Late in the afternoon she sighted and partially destroyed - as a menace to navigation - a floating island complete with palm trees and other plants. Concussion from the depth charges she fired caused damage to gear already weakened by the warm salt water and humid climate of the southwest Pacific. Making temporary repairs, she continued on, arrived the next day, and patrolled off the target area until the 8th. Between the 8th and 11th, she escorted resupply convoys from Morotai to Borneo and on the 12th got underway to tow a damaged PBM to Tawi Tawi. Completing that 261-mile tow on the 13th, she returned to the Halmaheras briefly and on the 19th stood out for Leyte and much-needed repairs.
Back at sea with the new month, June, Rudderow escorted landing craft to Panay and resupply convoys to Morotai, then on the 18th reported for duty under Commander, Philippine Sea Frontier. Interisland escort duty, with one run to Hollandia and one to Ulithi, followed. Between 27 July and 1 August she escorted reinforcements to Okinawa then returned to the Philippines, where she remained, based at Subic on escort and training duty with fleet submarines, through the end of the year.
On 3 January 1946 Rudderow headed for the United States. Arriving at San Diego at the end of the month, she was designated in commission, in reserve in March, and was decommissioned 15 January 1947. Inactivation completed in March 1947, the destroyer, originally berthed at San Diego, was transferred in May 1957, to the San Francisco Group, Pacific Reserve Fleet, where she remained until struck from the Navy list 1 November 1969 and sold for scrap to Nicolai Joffe Corp. that same day.
Rudderow earned two battle stars during World War II.
21 October 2005