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Straus (DE-408)

David H. Straus, Jr., born in Houston, Tex., on 13 August 1916, enlisted in the United States Naval Reserve, Class V-6, as a storekeeper second class on 31 July 1941 and was placed on inactive duty.

Straus was called to active duty on 18 August and reported to the Receiving Station, San Diego, Calif. On 13 October 1941, he was transferred to Lexington (CV-2). A commission as ensign in the Naval Reserve was issued to Straus on 5 May 1942; but, before he took the oath of office, he was killed on 8 May 1942 when Lexington was sunk during the Battle of the Coral Sea.

(DE-408: dp. 1,350; l. 306'; b. 36'7"; dr. 13'4"; s. 24.3 k.; cpl. 222; a. 2 5", 4 40mm., 10 20mm., 8 dcp., 2 dct., 1 dcp. (hh.), 3 21" tt.; cl. John C. Butler)

Straus (DE-408) was laid down on 18 November 1943 by the Brown Shipbuilding Co., Houston, Tex.; launched on 30 December 1943; sponsored by Mrs. David Straus; and commissioned on 6 April 1944, Lt. Comdr. D. A. Nienstedt in command.

Straus was fitted out and held sea trials at Galveston until 25 April when she sailed to Bermuda for her shakedown cruise. She then sailed to Boston for a post-shakedown overhaul from 28 May to 9 June. The ship arrived at Norfolk on 11 June and sailed for Panama the following week as an escort for Mississinewa (AO-59). The oiler loaded at Aruba, off Venezuela, on 23 and 24 June and continued to Panama. On the evening of the 24th, the escort attacked a sound contact with depth charges and hedgehogs. Oil slicks and bubbles rose to the surface; but Straus had to break off the attack to rejoin Mississinewa. Straus left the oiler at Cristobal and transited the canal on 26 June to sail independently to California.

Straus stopped at San Diego for voyage repairs from 6 to 9 July and then sailed westward, arriving at Pearl Harbor on the 16th. Eight days later, she sailed for the Marshall Islands. The destroyer escort arrived at Eniwetok on 2 August and was assigned to the convoy screen which sailed three days later for the Marianas and arrived off Saipan on 10 August. Straus was assigned to local antisubmarine patrol. On the 13th, she rescued two Army airmen from a piece of driftwood and put them ashore. From 14 August to 14 September, Straus escorted convoys between Eniwetok and Guam. On the latter date, the ship was assigned to the 3d Fleet.

Straus stood out of Apra Harbor on 17 September with a replenishment unit to join the main logistics group, Task Group (TG) 30.8, that was supporting the fast carriers of Task Force (TF) 38. The destroyer was detached from the screen on the 23d to investigate a life raft reported west of Cocos Island. She found a raft carrying three Japanese Army officers and two enlisted men. A boat was dispatched to tow the raft to the ship. Before the boat reached the raft, the two enlisted men had committed suicide. The other three surrendered peacefully, after one was disarmed of a hand grenade. The next day, Straus steamed for a rendezvous with the 3d Fleet for refueling and replenishment operations, after which her unit returned to Saipan. She sailed for Eniwetok on 1 October; and, upon her arrival three days later, she resumed convoy duty.

Straus sailed with a Ulithi-bound convoy on 8 October and arrived five days later. She became station ship for the Commander, Western Carolines, Patrol and Escort Group. The DE moved to the Palau Islands, on 15 November, with her division, Escort Division 65, and was assigned to the screen around Peleliu and Anguar. On the 18th, a report was received that enemy swimmers were moving from Eli Malk Island, under cover of darkness, toward Peleliu. Strausprovided starshell illumination while a landing craft flotilla attacked the swimmers with machine guns and eliminated them. The ship returned to Ulithi on the 26th, and resumed her former duties until March 1945 when she was attached to the 5th Fleet.

Straus departed Ulithi on 26 March with a task unit en route to rendezvous with TG 50.8, the main logistics group that was refueling and replenishing the fast carriers during the Okinawa operations. She remained with the group until 26 June. Two days later, she sailed from Ulithi with a convoy en route to Okinawa. The ships arrived on 2 July, and Straus was assigned to antisubmarine patrol. The DE continued operating in the Okinawa area after the cessation of hostilities with Japan. On 19 September, she sailed with TF 55 for Japan and arrived at Sasebo the following day. The force consisted of a cruiser accompanied by five destroyers to provide a show of force before occupation forces arrived.

Straus was detached before the amphibious forces arrived to join two aircraft carriers that were steaming off Kyushu with ready air support in case the Japanese offered resistance. She returned to Sasebo on the 25th and remained there until 15 October when she weighed anchor for the United States. After port calls at Saipan and Pearl Harbor, the destroyer escort arrived at San Diego on 5 November 1945 to begin inactivation.

Straus remained inactive at the Naval Repair Base until 15 January 1947 when she was decommissioned and attached to the San Diego Group of the Pacific Reserve Fleet. Straus was struck from the Navy list on 1 May 1966 and used as a target in August 1973.

Straus received three battle stars for World War II service.

Published: Mon Apr 18 23:20:24 EDT 2016