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|59k||Clarence Crase Thomas was born on 26 December 1886 in Grass Valley, California. He was appointed midshipman on 7 July 1904 and graduated from the United States Naval Academy on 5 June 1908. After service in armored cruiser Maryland and gunboat Yorktown, he was commissioned ensign on 29 June 1910. In the next few years, Thomas served in Denver, Cleveland, and West Virginia. Appointed lieutenant (jg.) on 26 June 1913, he was detached from West Virginia in the summer of 1914 to attend a post-graduate course in steam engineering at the Naval Academy. He attended Columbia University in late 1915 and, on 24 June 1916, reported on board Florida as her electrical officer. Thomas was promoted to lieutenant on 8 January 1917 and, about a fortnight after the United States entered World War I, was placed in charge of the naval armed guard on the merchant steamship SS Vacuum in April. On the 28th, when a lookout reported sighting a German submarine, some 120 miles west of the Hebrides Islands, Lt. Thomas went to the ship's after gun. A few moments later, a torpedo from U-21 struck Vacuum, and exploded, throwing Thomas and the gun's crew into the water. The ship sank within two minutes. Picked up by a boat, Thomas soon died of cold and exposure. He was the first United States naval officer to lose his life in the war with Germany and was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross "for distinguished service in the line of his profession as commander of the armed guard crew of Vacuum.
USS Thomas (DE 102) (1943-1947) was the first ship to be named in his honor.
(Photo courtesy of the U.S. Naval Academy)
|446k||7 December 1943: Portsmouth, Va. - A starboard quarter view of Thomas taken near the Norfolk Navy Yard. (U.S. Navy photo #CP-DE-102-19-N-60229 from the National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Md.; courtesy of Chris Wright)||Ed Zajkowski|
|99k||Painting of USS Thomas, depicting the ramming of U-233 on 5 July 1944. This painting was done for Mr. Buring.||Bob Buring
All Photos this series
© Robert M. Buring
|104k||5 July 1944: Photo taken just an "instant" before ramming U-233. Notice bow of Thomas at bottom of photo.|
|75k||5 July 1944 : picking up survivors from U-233|
|97k||8 July 1944: Boston, Mass. - Photo showing damage to the bow of Thomas after ramming of U-233. Taken in a Boston Navy Yard drydock.|
|56k||Trip to Iceland, February 1945.|
|92k||1944 or 45: in the North Atlantic - Thomas preparing to go along side USS Croatan (CVE 25) for a mail pass.|
|75k||Thomas pulling away from USS Croatan after mail pass|
|58k||1945: the North Atlantic - Thomas conducting depth charge attack.|
|36k||11 June 1945: Capt. Dave Kellogg, Commanding Officer USS Thomas|
|76k||11 November 1945: Port Arthur, Texas - After WWII Thomas escorted the captured German Sub U-530 on Victory Bond Tours.|
|51k||circa 1946: A photo of USS Thomas (DE 102) tied up pierside. The photograph was likely taken at Green Cove Springs, Florida. (Photograph by Ensign Carl Gene Coin, USN, Chief Petty Officer aboard Thomas during its' last year of service and decommissioning.)||Robert Hurst|
|51k||ROCS Tai Ho (F-23) underway, date / location unknown|
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