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|52k||Thomas Jones Gary, the son of Thomas and Willie May Gary, was born on 16 September 1922 in Texas City, Tex. He enlisted in the Navy at Houston, Tex. on 30 September 1940.
After recruit training, he reported aboard USS California (BB 44). On Sunday, 07 December 1941, Japanese carrier-based aircraft launched a surprise attack on the U.S. Navy
base and ships at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. In the early minutes of the attack, the Tennessee-class battleship California was hit by two torpedoes, which pierced the ship's port
side, and a bomb, which struck the ship's upper deck. The ship sustained significant damage during the initial attack and roughly 100 sailors and Marines were lost immediately. During
the raid, the battleship suffered torpedo and bomb hits which caused extensive fires and flooding. After he had rescued three or four wounded men from closed and burning compartments in the
ship, Seaman Gary continued his efforts to save others until he lost his own life. His remains were not recovered. California sank slowly in the days following the attack,
but was eventually re-floated, repaired, and returned to duty. S2c Gary was posthumously commended by the Secretary of the Navy for his courageous action and disregard for personal safety
in assisting his endangered crewmates. Seaman Second Class Gary is memorialized on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.
USS Thomas J. Gary (DE 326) (1943-1947, 1957-1973) was the first ship to be named in his honor.
(Photo from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency web site)
Navsource DE / FF / LCS
|52k||undated wartime image||David Buell|
|47k||undated postwar image||Gene Spinelli|
ETR 2, USNR
|50k||02 August 1957: Philadelphia, Pa. - Starboard bow view of the newly recommissioned USS Thomas J. Gary (DER 326) moored at Pier 6 at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. The
decommissioned battleship USS South Dakota (BB 57) is in the background.
(U.S. Navy Photo; from the Philadelphia News Bulletin, "George D. McDowell Collection")
Port Angeles, Wash.
|133k||undated: A photo of the radar picket escort ship USS Thomas J. Gary (DER 326) underway, location unknown. Note the Hedgehog in the superfiring position
forward. She also has an enclosed bridge and long amidships deckhouse.
(U.S. Navy Photo; from "The World Encyclopedia of Destroyers and Frigates" by Bernard Ireland)
England, United Kingdom
|165k||Thomas J. Gary underway during the Cuban Blockade.||T. Mark Graham|
in honor of his Dad,
Lt.(jg) Thomas Kent Graham
|112k||1960: Ponta Delgada, Azores - Thomas J. Gary approaching the pier while visiting the Azores.||Carlos Manuel Estrela|
|115k||1960: Ponta Delgada, Azores - A closeup view of Thomas J. Gary's bridge superstructure.|
|39k||Sep. - Dec. 1966: Thomas J. Gary in Perseverance Harbor, Campbell Island, south of New Zealand.
(Photo © Gene Spinelli)
ETR 2, USNR
|101k||Thomas J. Gary underway in Otago Harbor, Dunedin, New Zealand. Photo taken sometime between Oct. 1965 and Feb. 1966.|
(From collection of Archie Cunningham RD2, USN)
|245k||27 July 1973: Key West, Fla. - USS Thomas J. Gary at sea off the Naval Station at Key West.
(Photo #MM00005809 from the Ida Woodward Barron Collection, courtesy of the Florida Keys Public Libraries)
England, United Kingdom
|66k||1983: Valletta, Malta - President Bourguiba departing Grand Harbour.|
|382k||undated: An overhead view of the Tunisian Naval Station at Bizerte and the letter that accompanied it regarding the final disposition of Thomas J. Gary.||Frederick Smallwood|
Captain, USN (ret.)
former Engineering Officer
USS Thomas J. Gary
|Thomas J. Gary Memorabilia
|Thomas J. Gary History|
|View the USS Thomas J. Gary (DE 326) DANFS history entry located on the Naval History and Heritage Command web site.|
|Thomas J. Gary's Commanding Officers
Thanks to Wolfgang Hechler
|Dates of Command||Commanding Officers|
|1.) 27 Nov. 1943 10 Jul. 1944||Lcdr. William Henry Harrison, USNR|
|2.) 10 Jul. 1944 04 Jul. 1945||Lcdr. Robert Ayer, USNR|
|3.) 04 Jul. 1945 Nov. 1945||Lcdr. Richard H. Smith, USNR|
|4.) Nov. 1945 Jun 1946||Lcdr. Russell Sydnor Crenshaw Jr., USN (USNA 41) (Richmond, Va.)|
|5.) Jun. 1946 07 Mar. 1947||Lcdr. George Peter Sotos, USNR (Chicago, Ill.)|
|6.) 02 Aug. 1957 11 Sep. 1959||Lcdr. William Howard Childress|
|7.) 11 Sep. 1959 04 Aug. 1960||Lcdr. Toria Joel Bratten Jr. (USNA 45) (Woodbury, Tenn.)|
|8.) 04 Aug. 1960 23 Jun. 1961||Lcdr. James Whitney Martin|
|9.) 23 Jun. 1961 15 Feb. 1963||Lcdr. / Cmdr. John Stephen Turner|
|10.) 15 Feb. 1963 09 Jul. 1964||Lcdr. / Cmdr. James William Strobel|
|11.) 09 Jul. 1964 08 Aug. 1966||Lcdr. Richard (Snuffy) Carl Smith (USNA '52) (Allentown, Pa.)|
|12.) 08 Aug. 1966 23 May 1968||Lcdr. John James Kingston Jr. (prior enl. / OCS '55) (Brookline, Mass.)|
|13.) 23 May 1968 07 May 1969||Lcdr. Robert Burns Cress|
|14.) 07 May 1969 .. .... 1971||Lcdr. Bobbie Lee Sample|
|15.) .. .... 1971 01 Sep. 1972||Cmdr. David Walter Somers Jr.|
|16.) 01 Sep. 1972 22 Oct. 1973||Cmdr. Charles Edward Ryan (USNA '66)|
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 or rosters available. Please see the Frequently Asked
Questions section on Navsource's Main Page for that information.
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Page Last Updated: 21 November 2022