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Adapted from "Captain Benjamin D. Gaw, United States Navy" [biography, dated 25 October 1968] in Modern Biographical Files collection, Navy Department Library.

  • Communications--Visual –Signals, Radio and Voice
Document Type
  • Biography
Wars & Conflicts
  • World War II 1939-1945
File Formats
Location of Archival Materials
  • NHHC-Library

Benjamin Donald Gaw

15 September 1918-29 June 2001

Benjamin Donald Gaw was born in Durham, North Carolina, on September 15, 1918, son of Benjamin D. and Elsie M. (Darcey) Gaw. He graduated from Western High school, Washington, DC, and received the degree of Bachelor of Science from Wilson Teachers College, also in Washington. Prior to reporting for active naval service he was employed, 1940-1941, as Recreational Director of the Boys' Club of Washington, Inc., and as Assistant Director of the summer camp operated by the same organization. He was commissioned. Ensign in the US Naval Reserve on March 26, 1942 and subsequently advanced in rank to that of Captain, to date from April 19 1962, having transferred to the Regular Navy on February 6,1947

After receiving his commission 1942, he attended the US Naval Training school (Radar) at Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at Cambridge, until October of that year, then had further instruction the US Naval Training School (Communications), Noroton, Connecticut. Between January and April 1943 he was attached to Naval Forces, Europe, und had service with the Royal Navy in the North Atlantic and visited schools in the United Kingdom observing operational use of radio direction finders in anti-submarine warfare.

Returning to the United States, he was an Instructor at the US Naval Training School (Director Finders), Casco Bay, Maine, and was also engaged in instruction of personnel and maintenance of direction finders and Loran within the Destroyer Force, Atlantic Fleet. In November 1944 he joined the USS Card and served as Radar and Communications Officer in that escort aircraft carrier until December 1945. Relieved of active naval service, he had a period of inactive duty from January 1946 to January 1947.

Again ordered into active naval service, he was Director of Naval Officer procurement, Washington, DC, from February to June 1947, after which he had instruction at the US Naval School (General Line), Newport, Rhode Island. He attended a course in applied communications at the Naval Postgraduate School, Annapolis, Maryland, from June 1948 to May 1949, and the next month joined the Staff of Commander Carrier Division FOUR. In August 1951 he reported us Executive Officer of the USS Kenneth D. Bailey and in January 1953 was detached for duty in the Office of Naval Communications, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department, Washington, DC.

He served as Communications Officer on the Staff of Commander SEVENTH Fleet from September Officer on board the USS Mansfield and in Officer on the Staff Officer of the Naval 1955 until October 1957, when he reported as Operations USS Los Angeles. In May 1959 he assumed command of the December 1960 was detached for duty as Communications of Commander FIRST Fleet. He served as Commanding Communication Station, Philippine Islands, with headquarters at San Miguel from June 1962 until September 1964, when he was detached to command the USS Klonkdike (AR-22). In November 1965 he reported for duty in the Joint Staff Office, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington, DC, and in October 1967 became Commander Destroyer squadron THIRTEEN Captain Gaw has the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with two stars; Asiatic-pacific Campaign Medal; American Campaign Medal; World war II Victory Medal; Navy Occupation Service Medal, Europe Clasp; and the National Defense Service Medal with bronze star.

Captain Gaw is a member of Phi Sigmi Pi Fraternity (Professional Education Fraternity).


Published: Mon May 24 10:32:58 EDT 2021