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Thomas Jefferson Cowie was born 15 February 1867 at Montezuma, Iowa, and served as engineer's yeoman in Alliance from 8 January 1877 to 19 October 1878, then enlisted in the Navy 21 October 1878 at Constantinople. He was commissioned as assistant paymaster from 16 June 1880, rising to the rank of Rear Admiral and the position of Paymaster General and Chief of the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts 1 July 1910. He was awarded the Navy Cross for his valuable services in connection with the Liberty Loans of World War I. Retired from the Navy 15 February 1921, he was ordered to special duty in charge of the Navy Liberty Loan section of the Navy Allotment Office in March 1921, and in June 1923 was ordered to additional duty as secretary-treasurer of the Navy Mutual Aid Association, a position which he held until his death 16 July 1936 in Washington, D.C.
(DD-632: dp. 1,630; 1. 348'4"; b. 36'1"; dr. 17'6"; s. 36
k.; cpl. 261; a. 4 6", 10 21" tt.; cl. Benson)
Cowie (DD-632) was launched 27 September 1941 by Boston Navy Yard; sponsored by Mrs. C. R. Robinson, daughter of Rear Admiral Cowie and wife of Captain C. R. Robinson, commissioned 1 June 1942, Lieutenant Commander C. J. Whiting in command; and reported to the Atlantic Fleet.
Departing New York 6 October 1942, Cowie escorted Chenaango (CVE-28) to Norfolk, then cruised on antisubmarine patrol off Cape Hatteras until 23 October when she sailed from Norfolk with TF 34 for the invasion of North Africa. She screened transports off Safi, French Morrocco, from 8 to 13 November, and returned to New York 26 November for repairs and upkeep. After training exercises with submarines off New London, Cowie sailed on escort duty, screening two convoys to Casablanca between 12 December 1942 and 28 April 1943.
Sailing from Norfolk for North Africa again 8 June 1943, Cowie sortied from Oran 22 June for the invasion of Sicily. In the van of the invading forces, she contacted the British navigational marker submarine Seraph on 9 July to guide the invasion landings at Scoglitti, Sicily, from 9 to 13 July, then took station to give fire support to the assault troops ashore. Cowie was one of those whose prompt and effective response to calls for fire support broke up the counterattack by German tanks against the 180th Regimental Combat team on 11 July. Returning to Oran 16 July, Cowie sailed on local escort duty out of that port until 20 July when she arrived at Bizerte to patrol. She sortied 28 July for the invasion landings at Palermo, screening Philadelphia to provide fire support to the Army landing forces, and then swept from Palermo to Cape Milazzo hunting Axis shipping between 31 July and 1 August. Cowie returned to Oran 4 August and cleared for New York 8 days later, arriving 22 August.
After escorting a convoy to Belfast, North Ireland between 5 and 30 September 1943, Cowie was overhauled at New York before returning to convoy escort duty. She made 18 transatlantic voyages to United Kingdom and Mediterranean ports until 5 May 1945 when she entered Boston Navy Yard for conversion to a highspeed minesweeper, Cowie was reclassified DMS-39 on 30 May 1945.
Sailing from Boston 24 June 1945, Cowie joined in minesweeping exercises at Norfolk until 18 July when she departed for San Diego, arriving 3 August. Following the cessation of hostilities, she sailed from San Diego 29 August for Okinawa, arriving 27 September. Sweeping mines in the Yellow Sea and off Kobe and Wakayama, Japan, Cowie remained in the Far East until 25 March 1946 when she departed Yokosuka for San Francisco, arriving 11 April 1946. Cowie was placed out of commission in reserve 21 April 1947 berthed at San Diego. She was reclassified DD-632, 15 July 1955.
Cowie received three battle stars for World War II service.