By any account, the plucky destroyer whose explosive photo became the dramtic icon of the
THE FIRST SHAW
The first destroyer USS Shaw (DD-68) was named, as was her successor, to
honor Capt. John Shaw, an early American Naval hero. Shaw was born in
The first Shaw was commissioned in 1917 as a Sampson-class destroyer and saw active duty during WWI. She wasn't a true "flush-deck four-piper" destroyer of pre-WWII fame, but rather had the broken-deck arrangement of the "thousand tonners" and other early destroyers.
In October 1918, the Shaw, commanded at the time by Cmdr. W.A. Glassford, had her bow sheared off by the liner
Destroyers of WWI fought about 250 anti-submarine actions, though the
vessels were by no means confined to those operations. When operating with
fleets, they also scouted, screened, and laid smoke. It was American destroyers
which screened the five coal-burning American dreadnoughts that crossed the
The first Shaw was struck from the Navy list on 25 March 1926 and
transferred to the Coast Guard the same day. She was returned to the Navy by
the Coast Guard and reinstated on the Navy list effective 30 June 1933. Her
name was canceled on 1 November 1933, for assignment to a new destroyer, and
the ship was struck again on 5 July 1934. The Shaw was sold for scrapping to
Michael Flynn, Inc.,
Future admiral stars were destined for Shaw crew member Lt. C.H. ("Sock") McMorris and Shaw skipper L/Cmdr. W.F. "Bull" Halsey, Jr.
USS SHAW (DD-373)
The second destroyer Shaw (DD-373) had her keel laid down on 1 October 1934;
almost a year after the previous Shaw (DD-68) had her name canceled from the
Navy records. The keel was laid down at the United States Navy Yard,
The Shaw belonged to the Mahanclass of destroyers (ship numbers 364 to 379). The building program for these destroyers began in 1934 during the Depression (providing needed employment) and included a total of 16 ships. These ships, all but one of which were commissioned in 1936 (the 16th in 1937), were to be built around the most modern machinery available. Their General Electric turbines would turn at a much higher speed than in previous ships. The Shaw's high-pressure turbine speed would be 5850 revolutions per minute (earlier destroyers had 3460 rpm). Double reduction gears and 700-degree boilers with economizers rounded out the engineering plant. These Mahanclass destroyers were said to have "the most rugged and reliable of any main drive installation ever installed in the Navy up to that time."
The Shaw had a displacement of 1450-tons (the weight of the amount of water the ship displaced) and was 341-ft 4-in in length. Her beam was 34-ft 8-in (the width of the ship at its widest possible point). Her propeller shaft horsepower was 48,000 which gave the Shaw a rated "war steaming" speed (in 1940) of 35-kts. The destroyer's sailing radius was 6790 nautical miles at 15.2-kts (or 2880-mi at 25.5-kts). She had a draft of 17-ft (the depth to which the ship sinks into the water). The Shaw's approximate complement was 250 officers and men.
The Shaw's original armament consisted of five 5-in dual-purpose 38-cal
guns; four .50-cal AA (anti-aircraft) machine guns; twelve 21-in torpedo tubes
(three mounts of four tubes each); and two depth charge stem tracks. By
mid-war, the Shaw had been overhauled, refitted, and reconfigured several
times. In 1943, her armament consisted of four 5-in/38-cal guns; one twin 40mm
gun mount; four 20mm single machine guns; twelve 21-in torpedo tubes; two depth
charge stern tracks; and four depth charge projectors (two on either side of
the ship). At one point in 1942, after the Shaw's overhaul and repair at
Following her commissioning, the Shaw remained at
The Shaw remained on the west coast until April 1940 participating in
various exercises and providing services to carriers and submarines operating
in the area. In April, now with new commanding officer L/Cmdr. T.B. Brittain, USN, at the helm, the Shaw sailed for
Lieutenant Commander Wilber Glenn Jones, USN, took command of the Shaw on 30
January 1941. She was back in the Hawaiian area by mid-February 1941, operating
in those waters until November when she entered the Navy Yard at
On the Sunday morning of 7 December 1941, the Shaw still sat in YFD-2. With her in the floating dry dock was the tug Sotoyomo. The crews of both the destroyer and the tug were ashore, as was customary for vessels undergoing overhaul in dry dock, and only a few men were on hand when the Japanese attacked and the bombs started to fall. Some of the Shaw's crew were on watch, some were lounging about, others were in the forward, below-decks mess hall chatting over coffee when the attack began. They heard explosions, looked up, and saw planes with the red rising sun on them.
The Shaw's men (those who were available) leaped to battle stations. With
her skipper W. Glenn Jones ashore, they were led by the officer in charge Lt.
James H. Brown. They fought valiantly to save the ship, firing back with the
Shaw's machine guns. The crew couldn't, however, use the ship's 5-in guns
against the low-flying Japanese planes. The repercussions would have knocked
the destroyer off her blocks. A bo'sun's mate
(identified only as "Dutch" in a post-attack
Between 7:55 and 9:15 am, during the second wave of the attack, the Shaw was hit by three bombs which were released by steep-diving planes from an altitude of about 1000-ft. Apparently all three hits were made simultaneously. The ship may have been struck by two 250-kilo general purpose bombs and a 16-in armor-piercing variety. The first two bombs went through the forward machine gun platform and exploded in the crew's mess. The third smashed through the port wing of the bridge. Fire spurted from ruptured oil tanks and spread through the ship. About 20-minutes later, shortly after 9:30, the forward magazines blew up, evidently exploded by the heat of burning oil and the wooden blocking in the dock.
The force of this explosion was so great that Seaman Ed Waszkiewicz,
watching from what he thought was a safe distance away on a seaplane ramp on
By 9:25, all the fire fighting facilities were exhausted, the explosions having cut off the water supply, and the order to abandon ship was given. Lieutenant Brown had personally gone down to the dry dock headquarters demanding that the dock be flooded so that the ship could float off its perch and fight. Brown, however, couldn't make it back to the Shaw. Burning fuel oil flowed under the dry dock blocks setting them on fire.
Efforts to flood the dry dock and extinguish the conflagration were only partially successful. As YFD-2 sank, the Shaw's bow fell off to starboard and went under with the dock. The Shaw then toppled off her blocks into the water. The yard tug Sotoyomo also sank. As the dock submerged, flaming oil swirled around the stricken vessel. Her survivors swam through a gauntlet of patches of smoking oil to safety. Twenty-five Shawmen were killed in the attack.
Lieutenant Commander Jones decided the Shaw could be saved. His crew and
others agreed. Eventually the Shaw's stern section was docked on the marine
railway. Temporary repairs were made at
The Shaw limped out of
She was a tough little destroyer to thus survive such a brutal attack which sent a number of battleships to the bottom. The Japanese had reported her sunk. The Shaw earned the first of her eleven Battle Stars that Sunday morning in December.
A NEW LIFE
By the end of June, the Shaw's repairs were completed. On 6 July 1942, the
Shaw, adorned in her new battle dress, steamed out of
Following training in the
Resting on keel blocks as before. 0450 received
aboard for use in General Mess: 30-lbs butterhorn
bread from City Bakery,
While the Shaw was in dry dock No. 2 at
The Shaw also had her share of seamen AWOL (Absent With Out Leave) while she was in port. The Captain held a mast in such cases; the punishments handed out ranged from recommendations for a general court martial to loss of liberty.
The Shaw occasionally lit one of her boilers while in port for auxiliary
purposes and to test her safety valves. She was moored to different piers
On 2 October 1942, at 9:57 in the morning, the Shaw was underway in
By mid-October the Shaw was back in
Despite the impending battle with the Japanese and in an effort to ease the
frayed nerves of the Shaw's crew, skipper Jones issued a humorous citation to
one of the ship's officers. The "Medal of the Scrambled Account Book with
Two Strikes" was awarded to Ens.
Robert C. Sweatt, USNR, on 23 October 1942. As
Service Officer of the Shaw, Sweatt was responsible
for all the Ship's Stores activities both in port and at sea. His efforts with
purveyors, both at
USS SHAW (373) At Sea, 23 October 1942.
To All Those Present: Greetings.
By the power vested in me as Commanding Officer of this vessel, the United
States Ship Shaw, by the President of these
That you, Robert Caleb Sweatt, Ensign, United States Naval Reserve, did, while serving on board the USS Shaw
1. Give your whole-tiearted devotion and unswerving loyalty at great risk to yourself personally, to tlie underhanded, unscrupulous business, and heretofore unsung position of Ship's Service Officer.
2. Did in such position as Ship's Service Officer, risking the entire, while, your personal reputation and respect of your shipmates, raise the profit of said Ship's Service Activity from practically nothing to the magnificent figure of 48-1/3% pure profit, not discounting the overhead, operating expenses and the etceteras.
3. Did so browbeat the salesmen, cajole the customers and increase trade by various tricks and ruses, that the place now handles 76-7/8% more stock in any one month than for the previous period in other fiscal years.
4. Did all the above dangerous, detestible, darksome, dastardly, devious deeds, denying definitely dubious designs directed detrimentally against you.
5. For the above, you are hereby awarded, with due publicity, if not even notoriety, the Medal of the Scrambled Acccunt Book with Two Strikes.
W. Glenn Jones
Commander, US Navy
By the middle of October the fierce
On 26 October 1942, the Porter and Shaw, both part of Task Force 16 (and the
larger Task Force 61), were screening with the carrier Enterprise when enemy
aircraft attacked TF 61. The Shaw sounded General Quarters at 8:35 am. Enemy
planes were sighted attacking Task Force 17. By mid-morning, the carrier from
that force, the Hornet, had been hit. The Shaw formed an anti-aircraft screen
Meanwhile, at 11:05, the Shaw cranked all her engines ahead full. Just then, an enemy torpedo passed 150-ft in front of the Shaw's bow from port to starboard. The Shaw began circling to screen the Porter, which was still floating on an even keel. The Shaw reported the Porter's condition to the Task Force Commander and proceeded to rejoin the formation. But at 11:30, the Shaw received orders by TBS (Talk Between Ships) from the Task Force Commander to rescue the Porter's crew and then sink her. Lieutenant Commander Jones altered the Shaw's course, passed astern of the Porter, and approached the stricken destroyer on her port side.
But before any rescue attempt could be made, the Shaw spotted a periscope off her port bow at a distance of 500-yds. She made sonar contact with the enemy submarine and attacked, releasing four 600-lb depth charges and firing two 300-lb charges. The Shaw again circled the Porter, this time making sound contact off her starboard bow. The Shaw changed course to the right and attacked again, this time dropping two 600-lb charges and firing two 300-lb cans. The underwater killer, however, escaped. The Japanese sub responsible for the attack was the I-21 (some revenge was to be exacted, though, as American destroyers later sunk one of the I-21's sisters).
At 11:58, the Shaw came alongside the Porter's starboard side and stopped all engines. Her log records: Received all Porter and DesRon 5 personnel aboard. [signed] Ed Lamiman
While in this position, lookouts sighted six torpedo planes heading in on the port beam at a distance of 16,000-yds. The order was given for all engines ahead flank. She steadied to a standard of 15-kts and made an approach on the Porter's starboard quarter. At 12:25 pm, the Shaw fired one torpedo at the Porter from the after tube of the port wing mount. The torpedo passed under the Porter and did not explode. This was at a range of 900-yds. The Shaw circled the disabled destroyer and approached her at 1500-yds, firing her four 5-in guns into the Porter four times. Heavy fires were started forward and in the Porter's mast structure. The Shaw circled and again approached the Porter, this time at a distance of 7000-yds. The Shaw then fired seven four-gun salvos at the destroyer. Still circling, the Shaw fired one torpedo from the #3 tube on the port wing mount at a range of 1500-yds. This torpedo passed 20-ft ahead of the Porter and also did not explode. Finally, at 12:55, the Shaw circled and fired six four gun salvos into the Porter. This would be her death knell. She began listing heavily to starboard. At 1:08 pm, the Porter sank. The sturdy destroyer, even after being hit by a Japanese torpedo, wouldn't sink. It took 68 5-in shells to send her to the bottom. The Shaw's deadly business here was done. She set course at flank speed and commenced zigzagging while rejoining the formation. By 2:30 pm, she sighted the Task Force dead ahead, rejoining it at 6:35 in the evening. Her log reports: Steaming as before on base course 1 02(t), speed 20-kts. 2053 Secured boilers No. 3 and No. 4. [signed] H.E. Hollingsworth
One more sad task remained, though. On Tuesday, 27 October 1942, two Porter survivors died on board the Shaw and were buried at sea.
The "dud" torpedoes fired by the Shaw did not go unnoticed nor unreported by her Torpedo Officer. Ensign Robert Sweatt reported to Capt. Jones the results of his investigation into their failure. The exploders were removed from the remaining ten torpedoes aboard the ship. Sweatt found that seven of the "fish" had defective firing springs of cadmium-plated carbon steel. None of these springs were strong enough to throw the firing pin up with enough force to trip the firing ring. These springs had only nine turns to them. The remaining three torpedoes had springs made from nickel steel and had twelve turns to them. When tripped, these springs had considerable striking force "and from all indications were in good working order." The report on the defective firing springs explained that one of the torpedoes fired at the Porter came within 20-ft of the target and failed to explode. The other torpedo "made a run of about 1200-yds and actually hit the target but failed to explode. Both torpedoes were hot, straight and normal in their run."
The twelve Mk V1-1 Exploder Mechanisms in question were all received from
the destroyer tender USS Dixie (AD-14), on 3 August 1942, as replacements. This
would mean that the Shaw was supplied with these "fish" in one of
three places: At Mare Island in
The entire report is reproduced here:
TO: COMMANDING OFFICER
FROM: TORPEDO OFFICER
SUBJECT: Defective firing springs in the Mk V1-1 Exploders oftorpedoes aboard the USS Shaw.
1. On 26 October 1942, the USS. Shaw fired two torpedoes as War Shots at a designated target. One torpedo was fired at a distance of 3000-yds from the target and came within 20-ft of same yet failed to explode. The other shot made a run of about 1200-yds and actually hit the target but failed to explode. Both torpedoes were hot, straight and normal in their run.
2. Believing that the fault was within the exploder, such were removed from the remaining ten torpedoes aboard and examined with the following results: Seven exploder mechanisms contained short coil (firing) springs. Such appeared to be cadmium-plated carbon steel springs. Each had nine turns and an inside diameter of 5/8-in. These springs had an unloaded length of 1.687-in. All seven of these springs were defective due to the fact that none were strong enough to throw the firing pin up smartly on tripping the firing ring. The three remaining exploders, however, contained coil (firing) springs made apparently from nickel steel. These springs, 5/8-in in diameter, had twelve turns and an unloaded length of 2.375-in. Each of these springs, on being tripped, were capable of a considerable striking force and from all indications were in good working order.
3. A close check-up shows that the USS Shaw received these twelve Mk V1-1 Exploder Mechanisms from the USS Dixie on 3 August 1942 as replacements. All twelve were marked "tested and approved".
4. There were no messages or instructions received aboard this vessel informing us of this defective spring and there is no information in our records that might suggest a need for such replacements.
Two days after the Battle of Santa Cruz Islands, the Shaw headed for New
Hebrides where she commenced escorting ships and moving men and supplies to
On 30 October 1942, the cruiser USS Atlanta and four destroyers arrived at Lunga Roads,
The 6th of November found the Shaw moored starboard side to the USS
Guadalupe (AO-32), an oiler, in berth X-6 in the Segond
Another convoy of some 6000 Army troops and Marines, assembled and
dispatched from Espiritu Santo and
Turner's transports came under attack after they had unloaded at Lunga Point. He lead his force
into Savo Sound for easier maneuvering. American
fighter planes and seagoing AA batteries knocked out all of the 25 attacking
Japanese planes. More enemy ships were coming down from the north, however, so
in the twilight of 12 November, Turner sent his convoy steaming eastward back
The success of Adm. Turner's convoy mission to reinforce the troops on
PUBLISH TO ALL HANDS TASK FORCE SIXTY SEVEN IS HEREBY DISSOLVED
IN DISSOLVING THIS TEMPORARY FORCE I EXPRESS THE WISH THAT THE NUMBER SIXTY SEVEN BE IN THE FUTURE RESERVED FOR GROUPS OF SHIPS AS READY FOR HIGH PATRIOTIC ENDEAVOR AS YOU HAVE BEEN. I THANK YOU FOR YOUR MAGNIFICENT SUPPORT OF THE PROJECT OF REINFORCING OUR BRAVE TROOPS IN GUADALCANAL AND FOR YOUR EAGERNESS TO BE THE KEEN EDGE OF THE SWORD THAT IS CUTTING THE THROATS OF THE ENEMY.
I WAS WELL AWARE OF THE ODDS WHICH MIGHT BE AGAINST YOU IN YOUR NIGHT ATTACKS ON NOVEMBER TWELVTH BUT FELT THAT THIS WAS THE TME WHEN FINE SHIPS AND BRAVE MEN SHOULD BE CALLED UPON FOR THEIR UTMOST. YOU HAVE MORE THAN JUSTIFIED MY EXPECTATIONS IN TAKING FROM THE ENEMYA TOLL OF STRENGTH FAR GREATER THAN THE STRENGTH YOU HAVE EXPENDED.
WITH YOU I GRIEVE FOR LONG CHERISHED COMRADES WHO WILL BE WITH US NO MORE, AND FOR OUR LOST SHIPS WHOSE NAMES WILL BE ENSHRINED IN HISTORY.
NO MEDALS HOWEVER HIGH CAN POSSIBLY GIVE YOU THE REWARD YOU DESERVE! WITH ALL MY HEART I SAY GOD BLESS THE COURAGEOUS MEN, DEAD AND ALIVE OF TASK FORCE SIXTY SEVEN.
REAR ADMIRAL TURNER
In the early morning hours of 17 November 1942, still in the
Inspections of the ship's magazines and smokeless powder were made. Conditions listed as normal. Later that same day, the Shaw received 40 rounds of 5-in/38-cal SPDN powder on board.
On 18 November, the Shaw raised anchor from the Segond
The predawn of 10 December 1942 saw the Shaw steaming in company with Task
Unit 62.4.9. She was acting as an anti-submarine screen for the cargo ship USS Fomalhaut (AK-22) and making 14-kts at 136-rpm. Upon
completion of her patrol duties, she again entered and anchored in
On 10 January 1943, the Shaw was returning from patrol along with the
transport USS McCawley (AP-IO). She was heading for
Material was off-loaded from the Shaw onto barges in order to lighten the
ship. She was eventually freed on 15 January, but had received extensive damage
to her hull, propellers, and sound gear. Damage to the crew's pride must have
been in order also, for some said there was nothing more deflating than proudly
Temporary repairs were made at
Another casualty of the Shaw's grounding was probably the captain himself. A General Court Martial was held for L/Cmdr. Wilber Glenn Jones to determine the cause and culpability of the incident. The result was that Jones' duty as the Shaw's skipper ended on 30 January 1943, two years to the day from when he took command. Ensign Sweatt's statement at the Jones court martial is reprinted here:
USS SHAW (373)
STATEMENT OF ENSIGN R. C.
On 10 January 1943 at 0400,1 relieved the watch as Junior Officer of the Deck on the USS Shaw. When I took over the watch, the Shaw was steaming on course 015-degrees making 150-rpm. At approximately 0400, the Shaw and McCawley started zigzagging according to plan #8 of the General Tactical Instructions. I had the Con from approximately 0400 until approximately 0540. At approximately 0540,1 was ordered by the Officer of the Deck to go below and make a reveille checkup. I immediately turned the Con over to the Officer of the Deck and went below. At this time, we were steaming on base course 050 making 150-rpm. We were heading on this course just about straight forAmedee light and the McCawley was approximately astern of us at a distance of about 3700-yds as determined by a radar bearing taken a few minutes earlier. I returned to the bridge at approximately 0600.1 went straight to the port wing of the bridge and noticed that the McCawley was just abaft of our port beam and that we were apparently making a turn towards the McCawley. / then suddenly saw bottom and said, "This looks like very shallow water," or some expression to that effect. I immediately turned to see the Officer of the Deck behind me. I then heard the Officer of the Deck order the Chief Quartermaster to start the Fathometer. Within a few seconds we ran aground.
Robert Caleb Sweatt, Ensign D-V(G)
Nearly destroyed in the attack on
A she ran aground on Sournois Reef,
the Shaw received her fourth commanding officer, L/Cmdr. G.P. Biggs, USN. It
was Biggs who skippered the Shaw back to
The Shaw arrived at
During this time in
One humorous incident which occurred not long after the Shaw's arrival in
In March 1943, the Shaw entered Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard for damage repairs. Shortly after return of the first leave party from the mainland, I was censoring the outgoing mail of my division when I came across an envelope addressed to Adm. Chester W. Nimitz.
Upon reading the enclosed letter, I learned that one of my radarmen, an outstanding young man named McCaleb, was requesting an appointment to call on Adm. Nimitz. Naturally, my curiosity was aroused and I sent for McCaleb to ask the reason for such an unusual request.
It seems that McCaleb had gone on leave to his
"Mr. McCaleb, have you seen
"No, ma'am," was all McCaleb could answer. A bit shocked at hearing the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific, referred to by his first name, he could scarcely picture a petty officer meeting a four-star admiral.
"Dear me, you've been out there for more than a year and haven't even
"So, you see," said McCaleb to me, "she's got me over a barrel. I've got to write this note. I'm really embarrassed, but I don't know what else to do."
Having received that explanation, I duly initialed the envelope in the censor stamp circle and sent it off. A few days later, McCaleb showed up with the reply that Adm. Nimitz would be delighted to have him call at 1000, three days hence.
Naturally, the crew went all-out to have McCaleb, radarman second-class, make his call in style. The ship's vehicle, a battered, old station wagon wasn't considered good enough for the mission, so the executive officer talked someone in the shipyard into loaning us a sedan with driver.
As McCaleb went over the brow, the ship's sides were manned spontaneously by his shipmates. His parting comment was, "Well, at least maybe I can find out where the Shaw is going when she completes her overhaul."
An hour later, McCaleb returned and reported that he had had a most pleasant visit with the admiral. But Mc Caleb's shipmates were chiefly interested in learning where the Shaw was going next.
"Men," said McCaleb proudly, "I was escorted into the Admiral's office and he shook my hand most graciously. " Then, pausing for effect, he continued, "His first words were 'McCaleb, where are they going to send the Shaw after she completes overhaul?'"
BACK TO BATTLE
On 6 October 1943, the Shaw headed west again, reaching
On 24 November, the Shaw received a new skipper. Commander R.H. Phillips, USN, took command of the ship from Biggs. Phillips would serve in that capacity for almost a year.
In December 1943, the Allies came "up" from
By four in the morning of 15 December, the invaders were off Arawe. Japanese resistance was tough, but spotty. At Umtingalu, about 3-mi to the east, the
Shaw and transport Sands ran into a hornet's nest. The troops going
ashore here at "
With Arawe in American hands, Gen. Douglas
MacArthur decided to land on
Admiral Barbey's 7th Amphibious Force was called
upon, once again, to spearhead the transport and landing operations. The force
was en route to
The target area was to be
After bouys were dropped at night by the destroyers Flusser and Mahan to mark passage through some treacherous coral reefs, the invasion force Marines hit the beach without opposition. The Shaw provided gunfire support and served as fighter director ship during the "softening up" of the beachhead.
But, on 26 December, the Japs hit back with a vengeance. They had launched planes in an effort to break through the Allied air screen and strike at the invasion shipping. American P-38s fought with Japanese Vais in a fierce dogfight. Nine or ten of the enemy broke through the screen and headed for the ships. Captain Carter, Senior Destroyer Commander, ordered the destroyers to meet the attack. The DDs were maneuvering to do so when two Val dive bombers swooped down and dropped their load. The USS Brownson (DD-518), though firing back fast and furious, was hit by two bombs which effectively sank her. The Shaw was also blasted in this same attack. She was badly maimed by the explosion of a 500-lb bomb which fell close aboard. Thirty-six Shaw crewmen were injured by the blast, three of whom later died from their wounds. Although the Brownson was lost, the Shaw severely damaged, and the destroyers Mugford and Lamson ripped by shrapnel, the Japanese air armada of some 80 planes was decimated. At least half of them were downed by American fighters and AA guns. The Shaw earned another Battle Star that day.
The Shaw returned to
BACK TO BATTLE AGAIN
The Shaw returned to
American destroyers fought hard in the Marianas Campaign. Sea-to-air combat
was typical. The capture and occupation on
In mid-July, the Shaw was back in the
The Shaw was involved in some year-end action in this area, though. On 16
December, she and the highspeed transport USS Gilmer
(APD-11, a converted flush-deck, fourstack destroyer)
shot up some Japanese shipping off the southwest end of
The Shaw received her sixth commanding officer on 1 September 1944: L/Cmdr.
V.B. Graff, USN. Less than a month later, on 23 September, she departed from
While the Navy was called upon to undertake an amphibious landing at
Convoy escort duties between the
As the Allies forged their way towards
BEGINNING OF THE END
The last major surface engagement of the Pacific War was fought off the
That January evening, the four destroyers were steaming in column about 5-mi on the right flank of a transport group. All was quiet on a black seascape under a star-filled sky. Then, at 10:14 pm, the DDs were warned by radar contact of a ship or ships maneuvering at a range of 15,000-yds. They could only be Japanese. The destroyers were ordered to change course, put on speed, and investigate. With the range close to 10,000-yds, the Ausburne fired star shells to illuminate the target. The light silhouetted a single ship, a Jap destroyer. All four destroyers let loose with their batteries, and the bellow sent the enemy ship fleeing eastward.
The Ausburne hit and slowed the ship before she
could get back into
From 9 to 15 January 1945, the Shaw performed screening, call fire support,
night illumination, and shore bombardment missions. Following this operation
she was involved in the recapture of
After the Luzon operations, the Shaw supported the assault and occupation of
Palawan, southwest of
In early April, the Shaw was operating in the
The Shaw arrived in
USS SHAW HERE FOR OVERHAUL
The USS Shaw, veteran destroyer which won fame when she sailed the Pacific
This time the ship checked in for a major overhaul before returning to the Pacific on her first post-war assignment. Behind her, she has a battle record including a Jap destroyer, a gunboat, a freighter, nine enemy planes destroyed, and ten shore bombardments.
At the Ormoc landing, the Shaw and 14 other ships were the target for a squad of twelve suicide bombers. The first made straight for the Shaw, but she maneuvered quickly, and the plane crashed 30-ft off her stern. The Shaw shot down three craft. Another destroyer and air cover accounted for four more before remaining Jap pilots decided they'd had enough.
It was while the Shaw was in
The Shaw departed for the east coast after her overhaul. While en route, on
2 September 1945, the Japanese surrendered to the Allies aboard the battleship
USS Missouri in
On arrival at
The USS Shaw, the ship too tough to die, which couldn't be sunk by Japanese
bombs or planes (not to mention underwater reefs), fell to the scrapper's torch
tenyears after her commissioning. The little destroyer had earned eleven
A discrepancy concerning the torpedoing of the USS Porter during the Battle
of Santa Cruz Islands has surfaced due to information contained in two books
In Guadalcanal: The Definitive Account of the Landmark
Having been waved off by the Enterprises's flight deck crew, Batten ditched his damaged plane in the sea after he was unable to jettison his T-Il Mark XIII torpedo. His torpedo had not been released and remained in the bomb bay. The Shaw and Porter went to the airmen's rescue. By now, the plane's crew had broken out their life raft and climbed aboard.
According to the authors, the crash landing of Batten's Avenger jarred loose the torpedo, which in turn circled counterclockwise and eventually hit the Porter amidships. Two VF-10 Wildcat fighter planes braved "friendly fire" while trying to explode the torpedo with their guns before it could do any damage.
Frank and Lundstrom's books claim that research done by James Sawruk into written Japanese sources (which were not available during the occupation of Japan: Senshi Sosho 83:292 from the War History Office of the Japanese Self Defense Force) shows that no Japanese I-boats were in the area at the time of the Porter's explosion. Also, former ordnance men who loaded TBFs with torpedoes have said that the torpedo could have rested on the bomb bay doors and then jarred loose upon impact with the water.
Batten, however, believed his torpedo did not break out of the plane, and, at any rate, was trapped by the closed bay doors. Keep in mind also that lookouts on the Shaw reported sightings of a periscope and the destroyer had made sonar contact with the enemy.
This author considers eyewitness accounts from persons present at the time of the Porter incident and written accounts (as reported in the Shaw log book) substantially more credible than either memories tinged with age or suspect written accounts by a post-war defeated foe.
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