The History of the USS Crowley (DE-303)

By Bernie Korth, Crowley Clan Newsletter, July 2009
Over the years, my mother Mary Crowley Korth told me that her cousin was killed on the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor, HI on December 7, 1941.  Years later I discovered that a Destroyer Escort was commissioned and named after her cousin.

Thomas Ewing Crowley, born 18 April 1902 in Madison, IL, enlisted in the Navy 6 March 1919 and was discharged 31 January 1923. A member of the Naval Reserve, he was commissioned assistant dental surgeon in 1929 and served at naval stations in Illinois, California, Cuba, New Jersey and at sea. He reported to Arizona (BB-39) 23 May 1941. Lieutenant Commander Crowley was killed during the Japanese air attach on Pearl Harbor.

Crowley (DE-303), an Evarts class Destroyer Escort, was launched on 22 September 1943 sponsored by Mrs. T. E. Crowley, widow of Lieutenant Commander T. E. Crowley, commissioned on 25 March 1944, and reported to the Pacific Fleet.

USS CRowley Decommission.jpg

Crowley arrived at Pearl Harbor 31 May and joined in antisubmarine training exercises. Escorting a convoy she arrived at Gaudalcanal 25 August and reached Manus 14 September.

Between September and November 1944 Crowley sailed out of Manus escorting shipping during the invasion and consolidation with occasional voyages to Humboldt Bay, New Guinea, and the Solomons. On 26 September she joined Donaldson (DE-44) in assisting the SS Don Marquis, rescuing survivors and controlling fires to save her war cargo.

Crowley based at Ulithi from 21 November 1944 joining a group supporting the fast carrier task forces. In December 1944 the Crowley was at sea and in the vicinity of three destroyers that capsized during one of the most severe typhoons encountered in American naval history.  Until February 1945 she escorted oilers to the ocean rendezvous at which they replenished carriers striking Luzon, Formosa, and the China coast, then operated with the oilers in the assault on Iwo Jima.

Crowley arrived at Guam 9 April and continued escorting oilers. From 3 July to the end of hostilities Crowley supported raids on the Japanese home islands and arrived at Sagami Wan, Honshu 9 September.

The Crowley was in Tokyo Bay when the peace documents were signed aboard the USS Missouri.  Crowley departed Tokyo Bay 16 September 1945 and arrived at San Francisco 8 October. Crowley was decommissioned in December. She received five battle stars for World War II service.

The Crowley crew has had annual reunions since 1976. Several members of the Crowley family have attended and have been introduced to surviving crew members. The next reunion will be in Nashville, TN in October 2009.

Peter CrowleyComment