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Navsource Online: Destroyer Escort Photo Archive

USS Thomas (DE 102)

Flag Hoist / Radio Call Sign:
N - D - R - G
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row: Combat Action Ribbon (retroactive)
Second Row: American Campaign Medal - European-Africa-Middle East Campaign Medal w/ 4 stars - World War II Victory Medal

Class: Cannon
Type: DET (diesel-electric tandem motor drive, long hull, 3" guns)
Displacement: 1240 tons (light), 1620 tons (full)
Length: 300' (wl), 306' (oa)
Beam: 36' 10" (extreme)
Draft: 10' 6" (draft limit)
Propulsion: 4 GM Mod. 16-278A diesel engines with electric drive, 6000 shp, 2 screws
Speed: 21 kts
Range: 10,800 nm @ 12 knots
Armament: 3 x 3"/50 Mk22 (1x3), 1 twin 40mm Mk1 AA, 8 x 20mm Mk 4 AA, 3 x 21" Mk15 TT (3x1), 1 Hedgehog Projector Mk10 (144 rounds), 8 Mk6 depth charge projectors, 2 Mk9 depth charge tracks
Complement: 15 / 201
Thomas (DE 102) Building and Operational Data:
  • 16 January 1943: Keel laid by the Dravo Corp., Wilmington, Del.
  • 31 July 1943: Launched and christened, sponsored by Mrs. Herndon B. Kelly, wife of Radm. Kelly
  • 21 November 1943: Commissioned at the St. Helena Pier, Norfolk Navy Yard, Lcdr. David M. Kellogg in command
  • 01 March 1944: In company with Bostwick (DE 103) and Bronstein (DE 189) sank German submarine U-709 in the North Atlantic
  • 13 March 1947: Decommissioned at Green Cove Springs, Fla. after 3 years and 3¾ months of service
  • 14 December 1948: To China, renamed ROCS T'ai Ho (F-23), escaped to Taiwan with Nationalist forces in 1949 (struck in 1972, scrapped)
  • 22 December 1948: Struck from the NVR
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    59k Clarence Crase Thomas was born on 26 December 1886 in Grass Valley, California. He was appointed midshipman on 07 July 1904 and graduated from the United States Naval Academy on 05 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 08 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)
    Bill Gonyo
    Downey, Cal.
    Thomas 446k 07 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
    Narvon, Pa.
    Thomas 244k 05 July 1944: the Atlantic Ocean - USS Thomas (DE 102) is shown from the starboard bow wearing modified 32/3D, in a photo taken from escort carrier USS Card (CVE -11). Thomas has ocean gray painted on the superstructure, but may not have any on the hull. Later in the day that this photo was taken, at 1946 hours Thomas rammed and sank U-233.

    (U.S. Navy, National Archives photo, Catalog No. 80-G-366262, courtesy of C. Lee Johnson, at USN Dazzle).
    Mike Green
    Port Angeles, Wash.
    Thomas 99k Painting of USS Thomas, depicting the ramming of U-233 on 05 July 1944. This painting was done for Mr. Buring. Bob Buring

    All Photos this series
    © Robert M. Buring
    Thomas 104k 05 July 1944: Photo taken just an "instant" before ramming U-233. Notice bow of Thomas at bottom of photo.
    Thomas 75k 05 July 1944 : picking up survivors from U-233
    Thomas 97k 08 July 1944: Boston, Mass. - Photo showing damage to the bow of Thomas after ramming of U-233. Taken in a Boston Navy Yard drydock.
    Thomas 56k Trip to Iceland, February 1945.
    Thomas 92k 1944 or 45: in the North Atlantic - Thomas preparing to go along side USS Croatan (CVE 25) for a mail pass.
    Thomas 75k Thomas pulling away from USS Croatan after mail pass.
    Thomas 58k 1945: the North Atlantic - Thomas conducting depth charge attack.
    Thomas 36k 11 June 1945: Capt. Dave Kellogg, Commanding Officer USS Thomas
    Thomas 45k undated
    Thomas 76k 11 November 1945: Port Arthur, Texas - After WWII Thomas escorted the captured German Sub U-530 on Victory Bond Tours.
    Thomas 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.)
    Bob Hurst
    Worksop, Nottinghamshire,
    England, United Kingdom
    Thomas 51k ROCS Tai Ho (F-23) underway, date / location unknown

    Thomas History
    View the USS Thomas (DE 102) DANFS history entry located on the Naval History and Heritage Command web site.
    View the official War History of USS Thomas as submitted by the ship at war's end.

    Thomas's Commanding Officers
    Thanks to Wolfgang Hechler & Ron Reeves
    Dates of Command Commanding Officers
    1.) 21 Nov. 1943 - 12 Jun. 1945Lcdr. David M. Kellogg, USNR (Comm. CO) (Seattle, Wash.)
    2.) 12 Jun. 1945 - 01 Oct. 1945Lcdr. Frank H. Jones, USNR (Malden, Mass.)
    3.) 02 Jan. 1946 - 02 Apr. 1946Lt. Robert Judson Sammons, USN (College Station, Tex.)
    4.) 01 May 1946 - 01 Jul. 1946Lcdr. John Dierks, USNR (Decomm. CO) (Davenport, Ia.)

    Crew Contact And Reunion Information

    Contact Name: Bob Buring
    Address: 1280 G. Tamarack Circle
    City/State: Florence KY 41042
    Phone: (859) 371-7373
    E-mail: Bob Buring
    Note About Contacts

    Contact information is compiled from various sources over a period of time and may, or may not, be correct. Every effort has been
    made to list the newest contact. However, our entry is only as good as the latest information that's been sent to us. We list only
    a contact for the ship if one has been sent to us. We do NOT have crew lists, rosters, or deck logs available. Please see the
    Frequently Asked Questions section on NavSource's Main Page for that information.

    Additional Resources

    DE-102 USS Thomas Crew Photos
    Tin Can Sailors
    The U.S. Navy Memorial
    Destroyer Escort Sailors Association
    The Destroyer Escort Historical Museum
    The Destroyer History Foundation
    To The DE, FF, LCS Photo Index Page
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    by Paul R. Yarnall, All Rights Reserved.
    Page Last Updated: 29 August 2020