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John R. Craig (DD-885)

(DD-885): dp. 2,425; l. 376'6"; h. 41'1"; dr. 18'6"; s. 34.5 k.; cpl. 367; a. 6 5", 16 40mm., 20 20mm., 5 21" tt.; 6 dcp., 2 dct.; cl. Gearing)

John Rich Craig, born 13 September 1906 in Jacksonville, Fla., graduated from the Naval Academy in 1930 and received flight training the following year. During 1935 and 1936 he underwent submarine training. Prior to the outbreak of World War II, he commanded R-17 (SS-94). He took command of Grampus (SS-207) 16 September 1942. and during the next 6 months he led the submarine on daring attacks against Japanese shipping. She sank two enemy transports and a cargo ship and damaged three enemy destroyers. While on her sixth war patrol, Grampus was lost in the Southwest Pacific with all hands 22 March 1943. Lt. Comdr. Craig was awarded the Navy Cross posthumously for his extraordinary heroism.

John R. Craig (DD-885) was laid down by Consolidated Steel Corp., Orange, Tex., 17 November 1944; launched 14 April 1945; sponsored by Mrs. Lilian Hyde Craig, widow of Lt. Comdr. Craig; and commissioned 20 August 1945, Comdr. L. G. Cornwell in command.

After shakedown in Caribbean John R. Craig, departed Charleston 19 January 1946 for San Diego arriving 1 February. She departed 7 February to join the 7th Fleet and assist in repatriating Japanese soldiers from North China. The destroyer returned San Diego 31 January 1947. In the years prior to the Korean conflict John P. Craig alternated Far Eastern deployments with periods of intensive training off the California coast.

As the conflict in Korea intensified, John R. Craig arrived in the combat zone 19 February 1951. She immediately commenced operations with Task Force 77, screening carrier strikes on enemy shore positions. During the Chinese Communist spring offensive the destroyer performed shore bombardment in the Wonsan area, knocking out enemy installations and disrupting transportation.

But for two brief periods in San Diego, she continued operations off Korea during the remainder of the conflict.

Following the cessation of hostilities, John R. Craig continued patrol operations south of the 38th parallel to insure peace in Asia. From 1954 to 1962 the destroyer engaged in exercises off the West Coast with annual deployments to the Far East.

During her 1955 cruise she took an active part in the evacuation of Chinese nationalists from the Tachen Islands. Subsequent cruises consisted of exercises with the Japanese Self Defense Force in 1957, ASW exercises, Formosa Patrol and maneuvers with the Chinese Nationalist Navy during the 1961 cruise. She arrived San Diego 6 March 1962 for a FRAM overhaul and received helicopter facilities. John R. Craig completed the overhaul 15 March 1963 and once again joined the Pacific Fleet. Following training exercises, the destroyer sailed 17 October for duty with the 7th Fleet. She immediately commenced patrol duty in the Formosa Straits to deter Communist aggression. She patrolled the Formosa Straits and visited Hong Kong; Subic Bay; Sasebo; Taiwan; and Okinawa before returning to San Francisco 19 May 1964.

John R. Craig operated along the West Coast until heading back to the Far East 6 March 1965. She left Sasebo 8 April to screen Midway during strikes against enemy targets in South Vietnam. But for a brief run to Subic Bay, she remained on this duty until 2 July. After a visit to Hong Kong she was designated flagship for a new naval gunfire support group. During the next 20 days he guns were rarely silent as she pounded enemy targets ashore. On 11 August she headed home and arrived San Diego exactly a month later. Her service during the year won her the Battle Efficiency "E" for DesRon 1.

After operations off Southern California, she entered Hunters Point Naval Shipyard 1 December for overhaul. Ready for action at the end of March 1966, she trained out of San Diego until sailing for the Far East 28 July. On 13 September she entered the Gulf of Tonkin for plane guard duty. Ten days later she provided naval gunfire support for Operation "Golden Fleece" in Quang Nga; Province. Next came Operations "Sea Dragon" and "Traffic Cop", interdiction of supply from the North to the Demilitarized Zone. During this duty she engaged enemy shore batteries and shelled North Vietnamese radar sites.

The destroyer departed the Gulf of Tonkin 4 December and returned home early in 1967 to prepare for future action.

John R. Craig received four battle stars for Korean war service.

Published: Thu Jul 23 11:32:04 EDT 2015