William C. Lawe
|William Clare Lawe|
January 26, 1910|
Carson City, Michigan
|Died||June 4, 1942
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Navy|
|Years of service||1928–1942|
|Rank||Aviation Metalsmith Third cClass (AM3c)|
|Unit||Torpedo Squadron 8|
|Battles/wars||World War II
*Battle of Midway
|Awards||Distinguished Flying Cross|
William Clare Lawe (January 26, 1910–June 4, 1942) was a United States Navy sailor who was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his role in the Battle of Midway during World War II. Subsequently, a U.S. Navy destroyer was named in his honor.
Law was born on January 26, 1910 in Carson City, Michigan. He enlisted in the United States Navy on April 27, 1928 in Detroit, and attained the rate of aviation metalsmith third class (AM3c). Lawe was assigned to a part of Torpedo Squadron 8 (VT-8) which received the new Grumman TBF-1 (Avenger) torpedo plane. This detachment from VT-8 temporarily left carrier Hornet (CV-8) to train in the TBFs. They eventually arrived at Luke Field, Hawaii, for final training prior to rejoining their squadron mates in Hornet.
As American cryptoanalysts found that the Japanese planned an assault on strategic Midway Atoll, preparations proceeded rapidly to prepare the island to repel the expected attack. Accordingly, AM3c Lawe volunteered to participate in a detachment flight to Midway as aircrew in one of the six planes commanded by Lieutenant Langdon K. Fieberling. Lawe rode as gunner in the Avenger flown by Ensign Charles E. Brannon, USNR.
After arriving at Midway on June 1, 1942, the six-plane detachment spent the next few days in readiness. On June 4 at 06:00, Lt. Fieberling's six planes took off, bound for the Japanese fleet. Attacked by Japanese "Zero" fighters within six minutes of their departure, the TBFs evaded their pursuers and climbed to 4,000 feet (1,200 m). At 07:00, the airmen sighted the Japanese fleet and applied full throttle as they dove to 150 feet (45 m).
The six TBFs roared in astern of the Japanese carriers, but suddenly found themselves beset by swarms of "Zeroes". One pilot, his plane shot up badly in the early approach, dropped his torpedo at the nearest target of opportunity — a light cruiser — and then nursed his crippled plane back to Midway. But five other aircraft — including Ens. Brannon's with AM3c Lawe on board — were shot down miles from their objective.
The destroyer escort USS William C. Lawe (DE-313) was named for him, but her construction was cancelled in 1944. The name was transferred to the destroyer escort USS William C. Lawe (DE-373), but her construction also was cancelled in 1944. In 1945, the destroyer USS William C. Lawe (DD-763), in commission from 1946 to 1983, was named in his honor.
- "Wiliam C. Lawe". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Naval Historical Center, Department of the Navy. Retrieved 2007-05-05.