Navy Memorabilia

Gray, James E.

Rank: Chief Water Tender
Serial Number: 4145492
Military Branch: USS Drexler DD 741
Origin: District of Columbia
Date of Death: 1945-5-28
Honolulu Memorial
Featured: No

Not a lot of information is available about CWT James E. Gray, except that he left a widow, Winifred, in the District of Columbia. He was KIA/MIA May 28, 1945 when the USS Drexler was sunk after 2 hits by kamikazis.

CWT Gray's medal group includes his posthumous officially engraved Type 1 Purple Heart as made by the US Mint, his posthmous named, undated Good Conduct medal, Victory medal, Asiatic/Pacific medal, American Defense medal with Fleet bar, and American Campaign medal, and a small USN pin.

Drexler departed Ulithi 27 March 1945 bound for Okinawa and dangerous duty on a radar picket station. On 28 May at 0700, two kamikazis attacked Drexler and Lowry. 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 but missed, hitting Drexler instead and cutting off all power and starting large gasoline fires. Despite the heavy damage, she kept firing, aiding in shooting down three planes which attacked immediately after the crash. At 0703, yet another aircraft crashed in flames into Drexler's superstructure. A tremendous explosion followed and the destroyer rolled on her starboard side and sank stern first in , less than 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.

SOLD to a collector 04-2021 

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