USS John R. Craig (DD-885)
USS John R. Craig (DD-885) in 1978
|Name:||John R. Craig|
|Namesake:||John R. Craig|
|Builder:||Consolidated Steel Corporation|
|Laid down:||17 November 1944|
|Launched:||14 April 1945|
|Sponsored by:||Mrs. Lilian Hyde Craig|
|Commissioned:||20 August 1945|
|Refit:||FRAM upgrade February 1963|
|Struck:||27 July 1979|
|Fate:||Sunk as target June 1980|
|Class and type:||Gearing-class destroyer|
|Displacement:||3,460 tons (full)|
|Length:||390 ft 6 in (119.02 m)|
|Beam:||40 ft 10 in (12.45 m)|
|Draft:||14 ft 4 in (4.37 m)|
|Propulsion:||General Electric geared turbines, 2 screws, 60,000 shp (45,000 kW)|
|Speed:||36.8 knots (68.2 km/h; 42.3 mph)|
|Range:||4,500 nmi (8,300 km; 5,200 mi) at 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph)|
The destroyer was named for Lieutenant Commander John R. Craig, USN (1906–1943), commanding officer of USS Grampus killed in action when the submarine was sunk by enemy Japanese destroyers in the Blackett Strait on 5 March 1943 and posthumously awarded the Navy Cross.
John R. Craig was laid down by the Consolidated Steel Corporation at Orange, Texas, on 17 November 1944. She was launched on 14 April 1945 by Mrs. Lilian Hyde Craig, widow of Lt Cdr Craig, and commissioned on 20 August 1945.
After shakedown in Caribbean John R. Craig, departed Charleston, South Carolina on 19 January 1946 for Naval Station San Diego, arriving 1 February. She departed 7 February to join the United States Seventh Fleet and assist in repatriating Japanese soldiers from North China. The destroyer returned San Diego on 31 January 1947. In the years prior to the Korean conflict John P. Craig alternated Far Eastern deployments with periods of training off the California coast.
After the Korean War broke out, John R. Craig arrived in the combat zone on 19 February 1951. She immediately commenced operations with Task Force 77, screening aircraft carrier strikes on enemy shore positions. During the Chinese spring offensive the destroyer performed shore bombardment in the Wonsan area, knocking out enemy installations and disrupting transportation. But for two brief periods in San Diego, she continued operations off Korea during the remainder of the conflict.
Following the cessation of hostilities in July 1953, John R. Craig continued patrol operations south of the 38th parallel. From 1954 to 1962 the destroyer engaged in exercises off the West Coast with annual deployments to the Far East. During her 1955 cruise she took an active part in the evacuation of Chinese nationalists from the Dachen Islands druing the First Taiwan Strait Crisis. Subsequent cruises consisted of exercises with the Japanese Self Defense Force in 1957, anti-submarine warfare exercises, Taiwan Strait patrol and maneuvers with the Republic of China Navy during the 1961 cruise.
She arrived San Diego 6 March 1962 and underwent an extensive Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization (FRAM) overhaul at the Hunter's Point Naval Shipyard at San Francisco, California, between 6 March 1962 and 15 March 1963.
During the Vietnam War, John R. Craig served as plane guard for aircraft carriers on Yankee Station in the Tonkin Gulf, participated in Operation Sea Dragon, patrolled on search and rescue duties, and carried out naval gunfire support missions. While responding to a mayday from a Marine unit above Da Nang, John R. Craig supported Hotel Company, 3rd platoon, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines, on 28–29 July 1965 with naval gunfire support. At night with danger close, she fired 348 rounds of 5-inch guns, saving Marines on and near the beach as well as a battalion of the 2nd Regional Force Vietnamese who were badly outnumbered and threatened with being overrun. In doing so she effectively destroyed the 7th VC Battalion engaging Marines on the Ca De River Bridge and the northern sector of Da Nang..
With newer destroyers coming on the scene during the Vietnam War, John R. Craig was assigned to United States Naval Reserve training at San Diego, California, in 1973. During this time the ship provided naval gunfire support for Naval Gunfire Liaison Officer training, performed plane guard duties for carrier training, and conducted goodwill cruises to ports on the United States West Coast. She made cruises to Portland, Oregon; Seattle, Washington; Everett, Washington; San Francisco, California; Long Beach, California; Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia; and to Ensenada, Mexico.
- FSCC Permanent War Journal 1-31 July 1965, pages 51-52 NGF 101-113 (USS Craig and USS Stoddard DD-566)
- Command Diary 2nd Bn 3rd Marines July 1965 pages 55-56 report Crowd (3rd Regiment) from Shove (Division G-2) 28th at 2050H and 2215H and 29 July 1235H "NGF and heavy firefight."
- This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
- This article includes information collected from the Naval Vessel Register, which, as a U.S. government publication, is in the public domain. The entry can be found here.
- Photo gallery of John R. Craig at NavSource Naval History
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