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Navsource Online: Destroyer Escort Photo Archive

Ship's patches courtesy of Mike Smolinski

USS Thomas J. Gary (DE 326)

Flag Hoist / Radio Call Sign:
N - T - J - G
Tactical Voice Radio Call: "Trout Fishing"

Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row: Navy Unit Commendation w/ 1 star - Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation - Navy Expeditionary Medal
Second Row: American Campaign Medal - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal - World War II Victory Medal
Third Row: National Defense Service Medal - Antarctic Service Medal w/ 1 star - Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal

Class: Edsall
Type: FMR (geared diesel, Fairbanks-Morse reverse gear drive, 3" guns)
Displacement: 1200 tons (light), 1590 tons (full)
Length: 300' (wl), 306' (oa)
Beam: 36' 10" (extreme)
Draft: 20' 6" (draft limit)
Propulsion: 4 Fairbanks-Morse Mod. 38d81/8 geared diesel engines, 4 diesel-generators, 6000 shp, 2 screws
Speed: 21 kts
Range: 9,100 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: 8 / 201
Thomas J. Gary (DE 326) Building and Operational Data:
  • 15 June 1943: Keel laid by the Consolidated Steel Corporation, Orange, Tex.
  • 21 August 1943: Launched and christened, sponsored by Mrs. Willie Mae Gary, mother of Seaman 2d Class Gary
  • 27 November 1943: Commissioned as USS Gary, Lcdr. William H. Harrison, USNR, in command
  • 01 January 1945: Name changed to Thomas J. Gary
  • 07 March 1947: Decommissioned at Green Cove Springs, Fla. after 3 years and 3⅓ months of service
  • 24 July 1956: Delivered to the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard for conversion to DER
  • 01 November 1956: Reclassified DER 326
  • 02 August 1957: Recommissioned at the Philaadelphia Naval Shipyard, Lcdr. W. H. Childress in command, assigned to Escort Squadron 16 at Newport, R.I. as a unit of the Atlantic Barrier, North American Air Defense Command
  • 13 Sep. 1965 - 21 May 1966: Participated in Operation "Deepfreeze" as a support unit, during which she traveled "Around The World"
  • 24 Aug. 1966 - 24 May 1967: Participated in Operation "Deepfreeze" as logistics headquarters operating from Dunedin, New Zealand; again traveling "Around The World"
  • 01 July 1967: Homeport assignment changed to Key West, Fla. as a unit of Destroyer Division 601
  • 22 October 1973: Decommissioned at the Quai d'Honneur, Bizerte, Tunisia; struck from the NVR with a total of 19 years and 6 months of service; commissioned by the Tunisian Navy as President Bourgiba
  • 16 April 1992: Suffered a major engineroom fire, no longer operational. Now serves as Fleet headquarters and accommodation ship, berthed at Bizerte
  • 1992-1993: Scrapped in Tunisia, her mast is preserved at the Bizerte Naval Station
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    Size Image Description Contributed
    By And/Or Copyright
    Thomas J. Gary
    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 Marineswere 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. Californiasank 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)
    Mike Smolinski
    Clifton, N.J.

    Navsource DE / FF / LCS
    Archive Manager
    Thomas J. Gary
    52k undated wartime image David Buell
    Thomas J. Gary
    47k undated postwar image Gene Spinelli
    ETR 2, USNR
    Thomas J. Gary
    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")
    Mike Green
    Port Angeles, Wash.
    Thomas J. Gary
    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)
    Bob Hurst
    Worksop, Nottinghamshire,
    England, United Kingdom
    Thomas J. Gary
    165k Thomas J. Gary underway during the Cuban Blockade. T. Mark Graham
    in honor of his Dad,
    Lt.(jg) Thomas Kent Graham
    Thomas J. Gary
    112k 1960: Ponta Delgada, Azores - Thomas J. Gary approaching the pier while visiting the Azores. Carlos Manuel Estrela
    Thomas J. Gary
    115k 1960: Ponta Delgada, Azores - A closeup view of Thomas J. Gary's bridge superstructure.
    Thomas J. Gary
    39k Sep. - Dec. 1966: Thomas J. Gary in Perseverance Harbor, Campbell Island, south of New Zealand.

    (Photo © Gene Spinelli)
    Gene Spinelli
    ETR 2, USNR
    Thomas J. Gary
    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)
    Thomas J. Gary
    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)
    Bob Hurst
    Worksop, Nottinghamshire,
    England, United Kingdom
    Thomas J. Gary
    66k 1983: Valletta, Malta - President Bourguiba departing Grand Harbour.
    Thomas J. Gary
    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
    Ship's Plaque
    Thomas J. Gary
    Courtesy of
    Gene Spinelli
    Ship's Plaque
    Thomas J. Gary
    Courtesy of
    Mike Smolinski
    Dep't Patch
    Thomas J. Gary
    Courtesy of
    Mike Smolinski

    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. 1944Lcdr. William Henry Harrison, USNR
    2.)  10 Jul. 1944 04 Jul. 1945Lcdr. Robert Ayer, USNR
    3.)  04 Jul. 1945 Nov. 1945Lcdr. Richard H. Smith, USNR
    4.)  Nov. 1945 Jun 1946Lcdr. Russell Sydnor Crenshaw Jr., USN (USNA 41) (Richmond, Va.)
    5.)  Jun. 1946 07 Mar. 1947Lcdr. George Peter Sotos, USNR (Chicago, Ill.)
    6.)  02 Aug. 1957 11 Sep. 1959Lcdr. William Howard Childress
    7.)  11 Sep. 1959 04 Aug. 1960Lcdr. Toria Joel Bratten Jr. (USNA 45) (Woodbury, Tenn.)
    8.)  04 Aug. 1960 23 Jun. 1961Lcdr. James Whitney Martin
    9.)  23 Jun. 1961 15 Feb. 1963Lcdr. / Cmdr. John Stephen Turner
    10.) 15 Feb. 1963 09 Jul. 1964Lcdr. / Cmdr. James William Strobel
    11.) 09 Jul. 1964 08 Aug. 1966Lcdr. Richard (Snuffy) Carl Smith (USNA '52) (Allentown, Pa.)
    12.) 08 Aug. 1966 23 May 1968Lcdr. John James Kingston Jr. (prior enl. / OCS '55) (Brookline, Mass.)
    13.) 23 May 1968 07 May 1969Lcdr. Robert Burns Cress
    14.) 07 May 1969 .. .... 1971Lcdr. Bobbie Lee Sample
    15.) .. .... 1971 01 Sep. 1972Cmdr. David Walter Somers Jr.
    16.) 01 Sep. 1972 22 Oct. 1973Cmdr. Charles Edward Ryan (USNA '66)

    Crew Contact And Reunion Information

    Last Known Reunion
    35th Reunion, 2019
    Savannah, Ga.
    Contact Name: Ron Day
    Address: 5608 County Rt. 10
    City/State: Heuvelton NY 13654
    Phone: (315) 344-8823
    E-mail: Ron Day
    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 or rosters available. Please see the Frequently Asked
    Questions section on Navsource's Main Page for that information.

    Additional Resources

    USS Thomas J. Gary Web Site
    Tin Can Sailors
    The U.S. Navy Memorial
    Destroyer Escort Sailors Association
    The Destroyer Escort Historical Museum
    The Destroyer History Foundation
    Tin Can Sailors Shipmate Registry - USS Thomas J. Gary
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    This Page Created And Maintained By Mike Smolinski
    All pages copyright Navsource Naval History
    by Paul R. Yarnall, All Rights Reserved.
    Page Last Updated: 18 January 2023