Naval History and Heritage Command

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Traw (DE-350)

(DE-350: displacement 1,350 tons; length 306 feet; beam 36 feet 7 inches; draft 9 feet 5 inches (mean); speed 24.3 knots; complement 222; armament 2 5-inch guns, 2 twin 40mm., 10 20mm., 2 depth charge tracks, 8 depth charge projectors, 1 depth charge projector (hedge hog), 3 21-inch torpedo tubes; class John C. Butler)

London Lewis Traw — born on 1 April 1903 at Pocahontas, Ark. — enlisted in the United States Marine Corps on 15 December 1924 and, in the course of a career which spanned 18 years, achieved the rank of platoon sergeant. He served with the Marine detachment on board Oklahoma (BB-37) for his first term of service before going into the Reserves in 1928. Returning to active duty in late 1931, Private First Class Traw served in China from August 1936 until February 1938, during which time he was promoted to Corporal and then Platoon sergeant. Following a posting to Guantanamo Bay between december 1940 and April 1941, Platoon sergeant Traw deployed with the First Marine Division for service in the Pacific in early 1942.

Following the 7 August 1942 landing on Guadalcanal, Sgt. Traw participated in the bitter fighting around Lunga point in the months following. On 24-25 October, a Japanese detachment attacked "Bloody Ridge" on the southern perimeter of Henderson airfield. In the course of that bitter battle, Sgt. Traw displayed intrepidity and courage as he directed the fire of the machine guns in his section despite tremendous enemy fire and repeated assaults by Japanese infantry far outnumbering his own. Under his leadership, the platoon made a major contribution to the rout and virtual destruction of a Japanese brigade. Sergeant Traw was killed in action near Lunga on Guadalcanal on 27 October 1942.

He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for his role in the defeat of the Maruyama detachment.

Traw (DE-350) was laid down on 19 December 1943 at Orange, Tex., by the Consolidated Steel Corp.; launched on 12 February 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Jennie Traw, mother of Sgt. Traw; and commissioned on 20 June 1944, Lt. Comdr. James T. Kilbreth, Jr., USNR, in command.

For a week after her commissioning, Traw conducted preliminary tests and exercises. Then, on 28 June 1944, she departed Orange, Tex., and arrived at Galveston for drydocking. On 7 July, the new destroyer escort got underway in company with Leland E. Thomas (DE-420) and Jesse Rutherford (DE-347) for her shakedown cruise to Bermuda. Exercises out of Great Sound occupied the remainder of the month as Traw's crew drilled and brought the new ship to battle-readiness.

Following repairs and trials at the Boston Navy Yard, she steamed independently to Norfolk, arriving on 28 August 1944. On 30 August, the destroyer escort began a period of activity as a training ship. Day-long cruises to the Chesapeake Bay, with a balance crew on board for training, occupied Traw until late in September. On the 24th, she departed Norfolk escorting Solomons (CVE-67) and entered the swept channel at New York early the next day.

Operating as a unit of Escort Division 78, Traw got underway on 6 October 1944 in Convoy UGF-15 bound for the Mediterranean. The destroyer escort entered the swept channel at Gibraltar on 17 October and, on the 20th, anchored in the harbor at Marseilles. After escorting a small convoy to North Africa, Traw departed Oran on the 26th with a convoy steaming westward for the United States. Late in the day on 16 November, she left the convoy protecting Solomons. As the severe weather of the crossing moderated, Traw delivered her charge safely to Narragansett Bay. She then continued southward, discharged ammunition at the Ammunition Depot, Earle, N.J., and reported to the New York Navy Yard for overhaul. Her repairs completed, Traw rendezvoused with Cowie (DD-632) and Barracuda (SF-4) on 19 November in Block Island Sound for antisubmarine exercises. In company with other destroyer escorts, she continued exercises until halted by severe weather on the 21st.

She returned to New York and, on 25 November, was again underway escorting Convoy UGF-17 B. On 5 December, Traw left her picket station to pick up official mail at Rosia Bay. Three days later, she acted as navigational guide when the convoy entered the channel at Marseilles. After escorting a seven-ship convoy to Oran, she departed Mers el-Kebir on 13 December as a convoy escort. The voyage was uneventful, and she arrived at New York on 23 December.

Traw completed overhaul at New York; then set her course for Norfolk, arriving on 10 January to prepare for the long voyage to the Pacific. On 19 January, she got underway for the Canal Zone. She entered the Pacific on the 25th; and, three days later, she moored at Seymour Island in the Galapagos for fueling. Assigned to Escort Division 78, Pacific Fleet, she steamed independently on 1 February, via Bora Bora, for the Admiralties. On 22 February, she passed through the antisubmarine nets and anchored in Seeadler Harbor.

After fueling and upkeep, she joined other DE's in exercises. Then, on the 27th, she began the escort duties which she would continue until the end of the war. Throughout March and April, Traw protected convoys moving between New Guinea and the Philippines. In May, she made a single voyage to the Palaus; then returned to Leyte where she conducted patrols. She remained in Philippine waters into June, varying convoy and patrol duties with antisubmarine warfare exercises. In July and August, she escorted convoys to Ulithi and Okinawa and returned to the Philippines where she continued her escort duties into September.

Late in November she steamed, via Samar and the Marshalls, to Hawaii, arriving there in early before sailing for the west coast and arriving at San Pedro on 16 December. She moved to San Diego in April 1946 before shifting to Long Beach until her decommissioning at San Diego on 7 June 1946.

The warship remained in reserve for the next twenty years before her name was struck from the Navy list on 1 August 1967. Prepared for use in operation StrikEx 3-68, her hulk was sunk as a target by gunfire from Bausell (DD-845) off Baja California, Mexico, on 17 August 1968.

30 November 2004

Published: Mon Apr 18 21:01:36 EDT 2016