USS Charles Lawrence (DE-53)
|Name:||USS Charles Lawrence|
|Awarded:||10 February 1942|
|Builder:||Bethlehem Hingham Shipyard|
|Laid down:||1 August 1942|
|Launched:||16 February 1943|
|Commissioned:||31 May 1943|
|Decommissioned:||21 June 1946|
|Reclassified:||APD-37, 23 October 1944|
|Struck:||1 September 1964|
|1 battle star (World War II)|
|Fate:||Sold for scrap, 17 November 1965|
|Class and type:||Buckley-class destroyer escort|
|Length:||306 ft (93 m)|
|Beam:||37 ft (11 m)|
|Speed:||23 knots (43 km/h; 26 mph)|
|Complement:||15 officers, 198 men|
USS Charles Lawrence (DE-53/APD-37 ), a Buckley-class destroyer escort of the United States Navy, was named in honor of Ordnanceman Charles Lawrence (1916–1941), who was killed in action during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor 7 December 1941.
Charles Lawrence was laid down on 1 August 1942 at the Bethlehem-Hingham Shipyard, Inc., in Hingham, Massachusetts, launched on 16 February 1943, sponsored by Mrs. S. Lawrence, and commissioned on 31 May 1943, with Lieutenant Commander L. S. Kintberger in command.
Assigned first to escort central Atlantic convoys of tankers between Norfolk, Virginia, and Casablanca, Charles Lawrence made one such voyage between 16 August and 24 September 1943. She was then transferred to the high-speed tanker convoys formed at New York City from ships which had sailed independently up the east coast, now swept of the submarine menace, from West Indian oil ports. Between 13 October 1943 and 23 September 1944, Charles Lawrence escorted eight such convoys to Northern Ireland, returning with the tankers in ballast to New York. This flow of the fuel of war was so safely guarded by her group that only one tanker was lost in any of their passages. Along with the constant alertness against submarine attack, Charles Lawrence had to maintain a high standard of seamanship to keep the seas in all kinds of weather. At one time, during what was known as the "Christmas Hurricane" of 1943, the ships of her convoy were virtually hove-to for 20 hours.
Charles Lawrence was reclassified APD-37 on 23 October 1944, and was converted to a high speed transport in New York City, and became the name ship of the class. After a brief shakedown, she cleared Norfolk, Virginia, on 27 January 1945 for Pearl Harbor, where she replenished between 22 February and 5 March. She was routed on to Ulithi, where she arrived on 23 March to join the Northern Attack Force Screen for the assault on Okinawa.
Charles Lawrence arrived off the Hagushi beaches on 1 April 1945, in the screen for a group of 20 transports. She remained close inshore to guard the launching of the initial assault waves, then moved out to sea to take her place on the semi-circular screen established around the transport area. For three months, she continued to patrol watchfully off Okinawa, guarding against attack by suicide boats and aircraft or submarines. The only interruptions to this vigil came when she was ordered to escort shipping away from the embattled island to ports in the Philippines, Marianas, and Carolines. Firing often against the desperate kamikazes, she escaped injury.
After the war, Charles Lawrence covered the landing of occupation forces in the Inland Sea, then acted as transport between the Philippines and Manus. She returned to San Diego on 16 December 1945, and to Norfolk, Virginia, on 30 December. On 21 June 1946 she was decommissioned, in reserve at Green Cove Springs, Florida.