Logo by: Pat Stephens, Webmaster, DESA
CDR James R. Grey USN Ret.
First Commanding Officer of USS Whitehurst
|James R. Grey was born in Ft. Oglethorpe,
Georgia, 31 December 1914 and died 15 August 2002. He was appointed to the
Naval Academy by President Hoover and graduated in 1937.
He served as Damage Control Officer on USS New Orleans, CA32 for much of
WWII, earning the Silver Star during the assignment. In 1943 he took
command of Whitehurst, DE 634, while the ship was being built at the
Bethlehem Ship Yard in San Francisco. Through all of 1944 and part of 1945,
he led the ship and her crew through the hazards of the Pacific War. On 4
November 1944, In St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York, he married Irma Marie
Fortin. Marie was Canadian, independent, tough, resourceful and extremely
well organized. They were married a little over 42 years when she was taken
by lung cancer in 1988.
In 1945, 1946, and 1947, James Grey successively commanded L.C. Taylor DE 415, French DE 367, and Wakefield AP 21, participating in 12 campaigns in WWII and 3 more in the Korean War while serving as Executive Officer of Sandoval APA 194.
The following account was taken from "United States Destroyer Operations in WWII" by Roscoe.
"L.C.Taylor and Aircraft from Anzio Kill (Japanese submarine) I-13
Sortieing from San Pedro Bay in the Philippines on July 16, 1945, the escort carrier, Anzio and five DEs headed seaward for a rendezvous with a fueling group. By July 16 the task group was cruising in an assigned area off Honshu.
At 07:47 in the morning of the 16th an Anzio plane sighted and bombed a Jap sub which had dared daylight exposure on the surface. Trailing oil the sub submerged. The wounded I-boat was tracked and attacked by a relief plane. At 11:40 the Lawrence C. Taylor (Lieutenant Commander James Grey), was guided into position by the plane. The DE let fly with a hedgehog barrage. A spatter of small explosions indicated hits. Two deep bellied blasts echoed the rataplan.
Fifteen minutes later Destroyer-Escort Keller made a similar attack on a doubtful sonar contact with no results. Evidently Taylor's hedge-hogging was sufficient. To the oil streaked surface bobbed a miscellany of rubbish which included shattered deck planks, cork, sponge, rubber, candles, Jap magazines, paper money, a snapshot (candid camera), and some soggy mail. The contents of this correspondence was not recorded. Evidently it was not as interesting as some.
The submarine which fell afoul of the Anzio aircraft and Lawrence C. Taylor off Honshu had a short life and an impecunious one. But it did have the distinction of being the last big Jap sub downed by destroyer men in the Pacific War."
James Grey was decorated three times. His most unusual shore duty was as Commanding Officer of the Civil Administration Unit on Saipan immediately after WWII. He served his country on shore duty assignments in Korea, Japan, and Africa- working with the National Security Council-and in Hong Kong as an Economics Officer. He has worked with the Department of Commerce and served on the faculty of the National War College in Washington. He retired to San Francisco in 1960. After returning to civilian life, he worked for Lockheed, moving to Cupertino to be near the work. Since age 70, he has treated every day as a Saturday, enjoying his several children and grand children and keeping mentally active.
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