James Joseph Raby, born in Bay City, Mich., 17 September 1874, was appointed Naval Cadet 9 September 1891. Commissioned Ensign 1 July 1897, he advanced rapidly in rank, becoming Commander 1 July 1914, Captain 23 November 1919, and Rear Admiral 1 November 1927. In 1912 he commanded Oregon (BB-3) with additional duty as commander of the port of Apra, Guam. During World War I, he received the Navy Cross for convoy escort duty while commanding Albany and later Missouri (BB-11). After various assignments in Washington, D.C., in 1922 he became Commandant of the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Fla., and of the 8th Naval District. In 1931 he became Commandant of the 6th Naval District with additional duty as Commandant of the Navy Yard, Charleston, S.C. He died near Midway, Ga., 15 January 1934.
(DE-698: displacement 1,740 (full load); length 306-0-; beam 36-10-; draft 13-6-; speed 24 knots; complement 213; armament 3 3-, 4 40mm., 8 20mm., 3 21- torpedo tubes, 8 depth charge projectors, 1 depth charge projector (hedgehog-type), 2 depth charge tracks; class Buckley)
The unnamed destroyer escort DE-698 was laid down 7 June 1943 at Bay City, Mich., by the Defoe Shipbuilding Co.; named Raby on 22 June 1943; launched on 4 September 1943; sponsored by Mrs. James Joseph Raby, widow of the late admiral; and commissioned on 7 December 1943 at New Orleans, Lt. Cmdr. J. Scott II, in command.
After shakedown off Bermuda, Raby sailed from Norfolk 10 February 1944 via the Panama Canal for Noumea, arriving 11 March. She then escorted fast convoys from Guadalcanal as far as Manus, in the Admiralties.
Engaged in hunter-killer activities in the Solomons during the early spring, Raby resumed convoy escort missions at the end of June, remaining in the Solomons until 26 October when she got underway for Manus for similar duty in the Admiralties. In December she shifted to Ulithi, and with the new year, 1945, to Guam where she served as escort and patrol ship into June. Between 22 June and 31 August, she completed two slow tows to Okinawa and on 13 September she steamed for Pearl Harbor and the United States.
Remaining in California waters through the winter, she reported to the 7th Fleet for duty in the Far East 6 April 1946, rescuing on the same day, the crew of a downed B-29. She subsequently put into Hong Kong, Kiirun, Shanghai, and Tsingtao, reaching Okinawa 26 June. She operated out of Okinawa, China, and Japan until returning to San Diego 9 April 1947. She was assigned to TF 15 and made two runs from the west coast to Pearl Harbor before getting underway 7 December for Eniwetok, Kwajalein, and Bikini where she arrived 1 May 1948. She returned to Pearl Harbor 27 May and to San Diego 28 January 1949. She conducted local operations on the west coast, making two trips to Pearl Harbor during the rest of the year.
Reclassified as control escort ship DEC-698 on 2 November 1949, Raby transited the Panama Canal 25 January 1950 and arrived at Norfolk 1 February. During the next 3 years, she operated alternately in the Norfolk area and in the Caribbean. At the Naval Shipyard, Philadelphia, from June to September 1953, she arrived in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet berthing area at St. James River, Fla., 24 September. Raby decommissioned 22 December 1953. She was changed back to DE-698 on 27 December 1957. Transferred to the Orange, Tex., berthing area in 1960, Raby was struck from the Navy list 1 June 1968 and subsequently sold for scrap.
Raby earned three battle stars for World War II service.
07 September 2004