USS Traw (DE-350)

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Career (US)
Namesake: London Lewis Traw
Builder: Consolidated Steel Corporation, Orange, Texas
Laid down: 19 December 1943
Launched: 12 February 1944
Commissioned: 20 June 1944
Decommissioned: 7 June 1946
Struck: 1 August 1967
Fate: sunk as target off California 17 August 1968
General characteristics
Class and type: John C. Butler-class destroyer escort
Displacement: 1,350 tons
Length: 306 ft (93 m)
Beam: 36 ft 8 in (11 m)
Draft: 9 ft 5 in (3 m)
Propulsion: 2 boilers, 2 geared turbine engines, 12,000 shp; 2 propellers
Speed: 24 knots (44 km/h)
Range: 6,000 nmi. (12,000 km) @ 12 kt
Complement: 14 officers, 201 enlisted
Armament: 2 × 5 in (127 mm)/38 guns (2×1)
4 × 40 mm AA guns (2×2)
10 × 20 mm AA guns (10×1)
3 × 21 in. torpedo tubes (1×3)
8 × depth charge projectors
1 × depth charge projector (hedgehog)
2 × depth charge tracks

USS Traw (DE-350) was a John C. Butler-class destroyer escort acquired by the U.S. Navy during World War II. The primary purpose of the destroyer escort was to escort and protect ships in convoy, in addition to other tasks as assigned, such as patrol or radar picket.

Traw was named after London Lewis Traw who was awarded the Silver Star posthumously for his bravery on Guadalcanal. She was laid down on 19 December 1943 at Orange, Texas, 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.

World War II North Atlantic operations[edit]

For a week after her commissioning, Traw conducted preliminary tests and exercises. Then, on 28 June 1944, she departed Orange, Texas, and arrived at Galveston, Texas, for drydocking. On 7 July, the new destroyer escort got underway in company with USS Leland E. Thomas (DE-420) and USS 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, Virginia, arriving on 28 August 1944. On 30 August, the destroyer escort began a period of activity as a training ship. Daylong 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 USS Solomons (CVE-67) and entered the swept channel at New York early the next day.

North Atlantic convoy operations[edit]

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, New Jersey, and reported to the New York Navy Yard for overhaul. Her repairs completed, Traw rendezvoused with USS Cowie (DD-632) and USS 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.

Transfer to the Pacific Fleet[edit]

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 Panama 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, U.S. 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.

Post-war activity[edit]

Late in November she steamed, via Samar and the Marshalls, to Hawaii, arriving there in early before sailing for the U.S. West Coast and arriving at San Pedro, California, on 16 December. She moved to San Diego in April 1946 before shifting to Long Beach, California, 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 USS Bausell (DD-845) off Baja California, Mexico, on 17 August 1968.

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