USS Drayton
DD 366 (Mahan Class)

courtesey of NavSource

courtesey of NavSource

Builder:          Bath Iron Works, Bath Me.
Laid Down:        March 20 1934
Launched:         March 26 1936
Commissioned:     September 1 1936
Decommissioned:   October 9 1945
Fate:             Stricken 10/45; scrap 12/46

We are seeking information on the USS Drayton and her crews. Files and photos may be E-mailed to us and we will incorporate them into these pages.

The E-mail:

11/24/04
Martin Huffman

Hello, I don`t know if you can help me or not. I am looking for information on my uncle, who served and died on board the USS Drayton in I believe 1944. His name was Robert Lee Huffman from Evansport Ohio. My dad (his brother) had told me that he was a gunner on board the ship. I was in hopes that there may be someone out there who may have known him, and could share any stories they may recall about him and his service. I would be very grateful for any help at all with this. My e-mail address is..... marhuf@adelphia.net

Thank you,

Martin Huffman

    11/26/04
    I wrote to you the other day for information about my uncle, Robert Lee Huffman. I did find some info about him. This is for your records. He was a Seaman 2nd Class, Enlisted in the Navy July 17, 1943, went through training at the Great Lakes Training Center, Chicago Ill., Passed his training in September 1943, Was assigned to Shoemaker Training Center San Francisco, Calif.. Went out to sea Nov.1943, was assigned to Navy Reserve, went to the Philippines, was wounded in action March 1944. Then on Dec. 5th, was killed in action near Leyte Island. Buried at Leyte Island Cemetery on Dec. 6th. Was awarded the Purple Heart-Grateful Memory Citation from Franklin D. Roosevelt of U.S.A. .

    I will send a photo of him later on if you would like. I am very proud of the sacrifice he made for our country, I never got to know him, he was only 19 years old when he passed away. I hope that there is someone out there that knew him while he was with the USS Drayton, and could send me any stories they may have about him.

    Thank you,

    Martin Huffman


Subject: USS Drayton
Date: Sun, 20 Oct 2002
From: mary6615w@aol.com
To: Destroyers Online

My father, Robert Foster, was on board the USS Drayton. He started a reunion of the Drayton crew members about 14 years ago. The men and their wives have been getting together every year since then.


Subject: USS Drayton- there is an old book by Cpt. Ambercrombie
Date: Sat, 23 Jun 2001
From: Jennifer Chavez

Hi Mark,

My grandfather, Robert George Ferrell Jr. was a seaman aboard the Drayton from approximately 1940 - 1942. His captain, Abercrombie, wrote a book with the help of Fletcher Pratt called "My Life to the Destroyers". It was published in 1944 and details his experiences on the Drayton in WWII. There are also some photos in the book. My grandfather is mentioned in the book as he was the sound man on duty when the Drayton sunk a Japanesse submarine on December 24, 1941. My grandfather received a commendation and a medal for that encounter.

Regards,

Jennifer Chavez


Subject: USS Drayton (DD 366)
Date: Sun, 15 Oct 2000
From: Ron Brabbin

Mark,

She was called the Blue Beetle due to the paint color. I'm attaching the only navy photo of my father, he died in 1988 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetary.

I send my condolences to the crew of the USS COLE and all of the Navy.

Sincerely,

Ron Brabbin

Ps, my father was on the old USS COLE an old 4 stacker.


Subject: USS Drayton
Date: Tue, 28 Sep 1999
From: Dennis D. Sowers
To: Mark Roberts/Destroyers Online
E-Mail: dksowers@yahoo.com

I was searching your site for the destroyer USS Drayton that my father sailed on during WWII. He is still living and resides at 108 Stella Ave, Circleville, Ohio 43113 (740-474-2497). He may have support information and photos during his tour of duty.

I'm sure he would be excited to hear from you. I have been searching for information about the Drayton history for him.


Subject: USS Drayton (DD 366)
Date: 12/05/04
From: Ron Brabbin

Mark,

This is a transcript of Chief Henry Clyde Daniels US Navy of the Destroyer USS Drayton (DD 366). A hand written diary December 7th 1941 to May 1942:


Pearl Harbor, December 7th Sunday 1941

Left Honolulu about 7 o’clock to come back to the ship for a clean uniform.  On the way 
back, had a feeling something was wrong or rather that something was going to happen.    
Was waiting for a ships boat at the boat landing in the navy yard when a big explosion 
was heard in the vicinity of Hickam airfield.  Everyone was saying what the hell was 
that?   Noticed a lot of airplanes coming over, but was used to seeing them.  Then 4 
planes flying about 150 ft in the air came directly over us at the landing.  Each plane 
had a torpedo in the rack underneath.  As they passed, someone yelled, “ Hey look at the 
big red ball painted on the tail of the planes”.  Just about then they let go at the 
Battleships, point blank, about 2 min. later we could see the torpedoes exploding in 
the ships.  Everyone yelled about the same time “Japs”.  Right after that 10 more planes 
came in and each let go a torpedo at the battleships, the Oklahoma, California, West 
Virginia, Nevada and Arizona, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Tennessee.  By this time the 
guns were opening all around the fleet.  Jap planes were everywhere.  Two planes dove 
at us on the landing and machine-gunned us, there was about 150 men waiting for boats.  
Everyone started running and ducking for cover, about 10 were hit.  Bombs were being 
dropped all around the harbor and you could see planes dropping and crashing, some of 
the bastards diving right down on the ships, making sure they hit them and blowing them 
selves up.  Machine guns were being put up all around by Marines and everyone was 
grabbing rifles that were being handed out and firing at the planes.  There were some 
motorboats at the landing and we grabbed off some crews and started toward the battleships 
that were on fire to pick up men that were swimming in the harbor.  Just as we got near to 
them, the Oklahoma started turning over and laid over on her side.  Men were scrambling 
all over her side that was out of the water.  We picked up a boatload and rushed them to 
the nearest dock at the air station.

Oil was 2 inches thick on the harbor by then and the men could hardly swim in it at all.  
Metal and debris was flying everywhere.  We picked up more men when the Arizona’s magazine 
blew up everyone in the boat was stunned as we were about 150 yards from her.  You could 
see flames shooting up from her 250 feet in the air and when she blew up, bodies were 
hurled in the air like bits of paper, some of them landed near us or rather pieces of 
them.  We continued picking up men, moving bodies that were floating we left for later.  
Planes were all around the bay for every ship was firing by now.  What a nightmare.  
We continued picking up men until 9 o’clock Sunday night.  Five battleships still burning, 
everyone was fighting fire and the oil in the harbor had caught afire.  My ship and the 
division had fought there way out of the harbor, so went aboard the USS Whitney to stay.  
Got something to eat then went with the fire and rescue party’s, stay up all night as did 
everyone else who was alive.

Monday December 8th 1941

Fires still burning on the ships that were bombed and torpedoed   USS Utah and Oklahoma 
lying over on their sides Cutting torches are being used to cut holes in the sides to get 
men still alive out, after they turned over.  Everyone still stunned over the attack.  
Went to the Navy yard.  Hundreds of men with no ships wandering Dazed Clothes were being 
issued out everywhere.   Navy hospital filled up.   Trucks, carts anything used to haul 
men to the hospitals in town.   Hundreds of dead laying out on the grass around the navy 
yard   two destroyers in dry dock burned up and turned over on their sides from bombs.  
USS Shaw in the floating dry dock blown in half Boats still picking up bodies from the 
harbor.  About 3 o’clock in the afternoon went back to the Whitney and fell asleep.  
Woke up about 2 o’clock in the morning and went with a gang to help fight fires on the 
battleships and relieve some men.

Tuesday December 9th

Fought fires until about 3 o’clock in the afternoon.  We were relieved to eat and went 
over to the navy yard where they were feeding us.  About 150 women coming thru the yard 

headed for the hospital to act as nurses and help out.  Found out they were women from 
the sporting houses over in Honolulu.  Went back to USS Whitney and cleaned up and bummed 
some clean clothes.  Slept a couple hours then went on S.P. duty over in the yard.

Wednesday December 10th

My ship came back in port and pulled up to the oil docks to fuel.  Went aboard, was glad 
to get aboard, we fueled in about 2 hours then shoved out with rest of the division.  
Headed to join the Lexington and a task force.  As we went out of the harbor, everyone 
had a lump in their throat as we gazed at the wrecks that was once the pride of our 
fleet, now just their turrets and mast sticking up out of the water.  We lost Nevada, 
Oklahoma, West Virginia, Arizona, California and Utah and Ogalala, Cassin, Shaw, Downes 
(3 Destroyers).  Headed for task for that is searching for the Japs that are left.

Dec. 11th

Headed for task force, everyone hoping we run across some Jap ships.

Dec. 12th

Headed for task force.

Dec. 13th

Planes swooped down on us this morning, but we had spotted them and sent out our 
recognition signal, they were planes from the Lexington.

About 4 o’clock joined up with task force.

Dec. 14th

Cruising with task force

Dec. 15th 

Force getting low on oil and it is too rough for oiling at sea, so we get orders to return 
to Pearl Harbor.

Dec. 16th 

Heading for Pearl Harbor.

Dec. 17th 

Heading for Pearl Harbor.

Dec. 18th 

Arrived at Pearl Harbor this morning, fueling ship, and then we went alongside repair ship 
Dobbin.

Dec. 19th  

Loading up with more ammunition and getting ship ready for war

Dec. 20th  

Doing misc. jobs about the ship and loading.

Dec. 21st  

Just heard today that we are going to convoy some ships to Palmyra Island and Christmas 
Island.

Dec. 22nd

Carried out routine ships work and finished about everything there was for stripping ship 
for action.

Xmas is near, but there is no Xmas spirit in the fleet.  Everyone just wants a crack at 
the yellow bastards that attacked us.  We will get it.

Dec. 23rd

Left Pearl Harbor with 4 ships in convoy for Christmas Island and Palmyra Island.

Dec. 24th 

Contacted Submarine on sound gear and convoy scattered.  We attacked with 600 lb. Depth 
charges, dropped 5 of them.  Submarine surfaced bow up at a angle of about 45 degrees 
and poised this way for about a minute, no 1 gun and no 3 put about 4 shots apiece in it.  
She sank with a big hissing noise.  So long you yellow bastards.  Repaying debt for Pearl 
Harbor.  Picked up convoy and proceeded on our course.

Dec. 25th 

Xmas and had a nice dinner with all the fixings, nothing happened today, just routine 
ship work

Dec. 26th  

Everything peaceful, proceeding on our course

Dec. 27th  

Proceeding on our course.

Dec. 28th  

Proceeding on our course.

Dec. 29th

Proceeding on our course.

Dec. 30th

Proceeding on our course.

Dec. 31st  

Proceeding on our course.

 

January 1st

1942 New years, but we don’t realize it, just another day.

January 2nd

Arrived at Christmas Island about 4 0clock, started patrolling outside the harbor while 
ships were being unloaded.

January 3rd

Soldiers brought us out a boatload of coconuts and all hands were drinking the milk.  
Report came in that a Jap aircraft carrier was attacking Jarvis Island.  All hands put 
on alert.

January 4th

Convoy ships finished unloading and we left Christmas Island for Palmyra.

January 5th

Picked up other ships off Palmyra and proceeded to Honolulu.

January 6th

Proceeding to Honolulu.

January 7th

Proceeding to Honolulu, everything peaceful.

January 8th
Just before daylight, lookout reported torpedo wake across our bow.  We were using 
listening device, sound operator switched to sound and picked up submarine about 2,000 
yards off port bow another torpedo missed our stern about 40 yards.  Director picked up 
periscope about 1500 yards to port, Guns 4 and 1 opened up on it.  Captain swung the 
ship and headed full speed for it.  Convoy got signal and had scattered.  As we were 
heading for the sub she submerged her scope and as we passed over her let go 3 600 lb. 
Depth charges and 2 from the Y gun.  Circled back and there was lots of oil and wreckage 
on the spot where we let go.  Captain congratulated all hands on good work.  Some more 
yellow bastards for Pearl Harbor.  Assembled convoy and proceeded toward Honolulu.  
Convoy signaled congratulations.

January 9th

Sighted two patrol bombers from Pearl Harbor gave them recognition signal.  About 11 am 
dropped convoy at Honolulu and proceeded to entrance of Pearl Harbor.  Received a well 
done from C in C...

January 10th

In the navy yard Pearl Harbor.

January 11th

Taking on stores and doing minor repairs to ship.

January 12th

Left Pearl Harbor with task force, consisting of 2 aircraft carriers, 5 heavy cruisers, 
11 destroyers and 2 fast fleet oil tankers.  Captain told us this afternoon we are going 
to attack the Marshal Islands.

January 13th

Proceeding with task force.

January 14th

Proceeding with task force.  Planes from carriers are patrolling away ahead of us, and 
practicing dive-bombing on us.

January 15th

Crossed equator, no celebration

January 16th

All destroyers in task force fueling at sea, we finished about sun set.

January 17th

Proceeding with task force.

January 18th

Proceeding with task force

January 19th

Proceeding with task force.



January 20th

Captain called all chiefs into his cabin and explained to us what we were going to do 
in the attack, and that the task was receiving information from our submarines operating 
around the Marshal Islands every 3 hours as to the situation.

January 21st

Received orders from task force commander for Drayton, Clark and Lamson to proceed to 
Samoa and guard outside harbor for convoy that was heading for there with marines and 
supplies we are making 32 knots.

January 22nd

Arrived at Pago Pago Samoa, went inside to fuel ship.  Had 2 hrs. Liberty got some cold 
beer at the naval station.  Left the harbor about 6 pm. And patrolled outside during the 
night, sounding for subs.

January 23rd

Patrolling outside Pago Pago

January 24th

Patrolling outside Pago Pago

January 25th

About 10 am, sighted convoy, three large Matson liners, the Lurline, Matsonia and the 
Monterey and 3 large navy supply ships, they were loaded with 4,000 marines, tanks and 
guns and ammunition and planes.

January 26th

Left Pago Pago Samoa to join up with task force.

January 27th

Proceeding at 25 knots.

January 28th

About 9 o’clock sighted 3 planes, got ready for action, sent recognition signal with the 
signal light and planes answered.  They were from our carriers.  About 2 o’clock sighted 
our task force.  Fell in position with them.

January 29th

All destroyers fueling at sea from tankers.

January 30th

Proceeding toward Marshall Islands.

January 31st

Nearing Marshal Island, Captain called all hands to quarters and told us we will go into 
action tomorrow morning.  All kind of remarks from crew was heard during the day about 
what we were going to do with the Japs.

February 1st

General quarters sounded about 3 o’clock all hands taking showers and putting on clean 
clothes.  4 o’clock all hands at their battle stations.  Day is just breaking, planes 
taking off from carriers.  Can make out Juluit Island, the Japs main base in the Marshals. 
We can hear loud explosions; our planes are bombing all ready.  The heavy cruisers are 
firing also.  Our guns will not range that far, we are standing by for a torpedo attack 
and protecting the carriers.  Can see all kinds blazes from fires on the beach.  The 
carriers are making about 27 knots now on their courses.  Planes are landing and loading 
up more bombs and taking off again.  We leave the carrier and proceed at 35 knots; a Jap 
carrier is leaving the entrance to the harbor.  There are 5 of us destroyers making the 
attack.  We can see our planes engaged in fights with the Jap planes.  We get in range 
and all make a fast turn and let go one torpedo apiece.  About 6 Jap planes are diving 
at us, but our guns are throwing them off.  Some of our fighter planes came in and 
battling them.  When the bombs they drop go off you can feel the concussion believe me.  
Our torpedo’s hit, boy you can see the explosions and the Jap carrier is laying over on 
her side.  We fall back to the carriers and keep up our aircraft barrage.  We can pick 
out the Jap planes easy enough.  We can see planes falling in the water.  Can’t see what 
damage the planes are doing at the base in the harbor but by the smoke and explosions 
they are doing plenty.  One big Jap 4 motor job badly hit tried to crash on the carriers’ 
deck, but just hit the edge and burst into flames.  Can see them fighting the fire.  
About 11 a.m. Cease firing went and all the ships proceeding away at full speed.  Our 
planes were landing as we are going away. 

February 4th

Proceeding to Samoa, flags were flown at half-mast for the dead.

February 5th

Arrived at Samoa.

February 6th

At Samoa.

February 7th

Carriers and cruisers left here for Pearl Harbor.

February 8th

At Samoa.

February 9th

Left Samoa to join another task force.

February 10th

Proceeding to meet task force.

February 11th

Met up with task force consisting of aircraft carrier Lexington, 4 cruisers an oil tanker 
and 8 destroyers.

February 12th

Crossed International Date Line, gained a day, so today is Friday the 13th.

February 13th

Near the Solomon Islands.

February 14th

Fueling at sea.  Received word we will escort the oil tanker Neasho.

Back to Pearl Harbor when she is through fueling the force.

February 15th

Crossed International Date Line about 2 o’clock this morning so we had two Sundays.

Cruising toward Honolulu with Neasho.

February 16th

Proceeding to Pearl Harbor with Neasho.

February 17th

Proceeding to Pearl Harbor with Neasho.

February 18th

Proceeding to Pearl Harbor with Neasho, about 10 o’clock this sighted a raft with a white 
flag flying, investigated it and no one aboard.

February 19th

Proceeding to Pearl Harbor with Neasho.

February 20th

Crossed the equator this morning about 11 am.  No celebration.  Still on course for 
Pearl Harbor.

February 21st

Still on course for Pearl Harbor

February 22nd

Still on course for Pearl Harbor

February 23rd

Still on course for Pearl Harbor

February 24th

Still on course for Pearl Harbor

February 25th

Still on course for Pearl Harbor About 10 a.m. sighted a patrol plane from Pearl Harbor.

February 26th

Still on course for Pearl Harbor.

February 27th

Arrived at Pearl Harbor.  Went along side Whitney.

February 28th

Notified that I am being transferred tomorrow to USS Whitney for further assignment 
somewhere.

March 1st

Left the old Drayton and reported aboard Whitney, kind of hated to leave her after being 
aboard for over 5 years.

March 2nd

Aboard the USS Whitney just hanging around.

March 3rd

Went ashore as beer was allowed to be sold again and lifted a few, had a good liberty.

March 4th

Aboard the USS Whitney waiting, might be here for over a month.

March 5th

Aboard the Whitney Went ashore again and lifted a few and see who I could see.

March 6th

Transferred to US Rec. ship Pearl Harbor for further assignment, don’t know where.

March 7th-Thru 15th

Still at receiving ship, life of Riley.  (Last entry)


Many Thanks to NavSource



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