USS Drexler
History
United States
Namesake: Henry Clay Drexler
Builder: Bath Iron Works
Laid down: 24 April 1944
Launched: 3 September 1944
Commissioned: 14 November 1944
Honors and
awards:
One Battle star
Fate: Sunk by kamikaze[1] 28 May 1945
General characteristics
Class and type: Allen M. Sumner-class destroyer
Displacement: 2,200 tons
Length: 376 ft 6 in (114.8 m)
Beam: 40 ft (12.2 m)
Draft: 15 ft 8 in (4.8 m)
Propulsion:
  • 60,000 shp (45 MW);
  • 2 propellers
Speed: 34 knots (63 km/h)
Range: 6500 nmi. (12,000 km) @ 15 kt
Complement: 357
Armament:

USS Drexler (DD-741), an Allen M. Sumner-class destroyer, was named for Ensign Henry Clay Drexler, a Medal of Honor recipient.

The Drexler was launched on 3 September 1944 by Bath Iron Works Corp., in Bath, Maine; sponsored by Mrs. L. A. Drexler, the mother of Ensign Drexler; and commissioned on 14 November 1944, with Commander Ronald Lee Wilson in command.

Service history

Sailing from Norfolk on 23 January 1945 to escort Bon Homme Richard to Trinidad, Drexler then sailed on to reach San Diego on 10 February. Three days later she got underway for Pearl Harbor for antiaircraft and shore bombardment exercises until the 23rd, when she sailed on escort duty to Guadalcanal and Ulithi, the staging area for the Okinawa invasion.

Drexler departed Ulithi 27 March 1945 bound for Okinawa and dangerous duty on a radar picket station. On 28 May at 07:00, two kamikazes attacked Drexler and Lowry. The first was downed by the combined fire of the two destroyers and planes from the combat air patrol. The second tried to crash onto Lowry but missed, hitting Drexler instead and cutting off all power and starting large gasoline fires. Despite the heavy damage, she kept firing, aiding in shooting down two planes which attacked immediately after the crash. At 07:03 she was hit by another aircraft, a twin-engined "Frances" P1Y1 bomber, and the "impact rolled her on to her beam ends, causing her to sink in less than 50 seconds"[2] at 27°6′N 127°38′E / 27.100°N 127.633°E / 27.100; 127.633Coordinates: 27°6′N 127°38′E / 27.100°N 127.633°E / 27.100; 127.633. Because of the speed with which she sank, casualties were heavy: 158 dead and 52 wounded. The captain was one of the wounded. Few of the survivors are still alive. They honor their comrades every year at the annual Drexler Survivors reunion.

Awards

Drexler received one battle star for World War II service.

References

  1. ^ Brown p. 152
  2. ^ Brown p. 152
  • Brown, David. Warship Losses of World War Two. Arms and Armour, London, Great Britain, 1990. ISBN 0-85368-802-8.

This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.

External links

  • navsource.org: USS Drexler
  • hazegray.org: USS Drexler
  • [1] Home Port of the U.S.S. Drexler Survivors' Reunion Association (Official website of the Organization)
  • Oral history interview with William Burrows, a seaman on the Drexler, describing the sinking from the Veterans History Project at Central Connecticut State University