April 6, 1920
May 28, 1945 aboard Destroyer USS Drexler in Okinawa
USS Drexler (DD 741), 2, 200 tons was named after Henry Clay Drexler.
It was launched on September 3, 1944, by Bath Iron Works Corporation,
Bath, Maine; sponsored by Mrs. L. A. Drexler, mother of Ensign Drexler.
The Drexler was commissioned on November 14, 1944 and was commanded by
CDR R. L. Wilson.
from Norfolk on January 23, 1945 to escort USS BON HOMME RICHARD (CV 31) to
Trinidad. Drexler then sailed on to
reach San Diego on February 10th. Three
days later she got underway for Pearl Harbor for anti-aircraft and shore
bombardment exercises until the 23rd, when she sailed on escort duty to
Guadacanal and Ultihi, the staging area for the Okinawa Invasion.
departed Ultihi on March 27, 1945, bound for Okinawa and dangerous duty on a
radar picket station. On May 28,
1945 at 0700 hours, two suicide planes attacked USS Drexler and Lowry ((DD 770).
The first was downed by the combined fire of the two destroyers and
planes from the Combat Air Patrol. The
second tried to crash onto Lowry and, failing, stumbled into Drexler, cutting
off all power and starting large gasoline fires.
Despite the heavy damage she kept firing, joining in splashing three
planes which attacked immediately after the crash.
At 0730 hours, yet another suicider crashed in flames into Drexler's
superstructure. A tremendous
explosion followed and the Destroyer rolled on her starboard side and sank stern
first at 27 deg. 06'N., 127 deg.38'E, less that a minute after the second hit.
Because of the speed with which she sank, casualties were heavy:
158 dead and 52 wounded, including the Commanding Officer.
Drexler received one battle star for WWII service.
Jerry Monds was among the 158 dead.
by June Cooper