Lieutenant Charles R. Ware :

Charles R. Ware (1911-1942) enlisted in the United States Navy on June 14, 1929, in Athens, Tennessee. The following year, he won appointment to the United States Naval Academy. After graduating from Annapolis in 1934, he served at sea for six years on the battleship USS Texas (BB-35) and the destroyer USS Dahlgren (DD-187) until February 1940, when he entered flight training at NAS Pensacola, FL. Upon winning his wings, he served with Scouting Squadron 5 (VS-5), based on USS Yorktown (CV-5) and then USS Enterprise (CVA-6).  It was from the Enterprise that Lt. Ware and his section of six Dauntless Dive Bombers flew into naval history during the Battle of Midway. On June 4, 1942, Lt. Ware and his men joined other US Navy flyers in devastating attacks against three Japanese carriers. In less than five minutes, the enemy ships were ablaze and would later sink.   Lt. Ware and his section were low on fuel and ammunition when they encountered a new wave of Japanese Zeroes protecting a fourth carrier. Without hesitation, Lt. Ware ordered his men to engage the enemy.   The US Navy aviators had destroyed the heart of the Imperial Japanese Navy, reversing the course of the war in the Pacific. However, the cost was high. Only two of Lt. Ware’s section mates returned to the Enterprise. Lt. Ware and his air gunner, ARM1/c William H. Stambaugh, USN, of Paintsville, Kentucky, were never seen again. For his “extraordinary heroism and courageous devotion to duty” in pressing home his attack on the Japanese fleet in the face of fierce fighter opposition and formidable antiaircraft fire, Lt. Ware was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross, the Navy’s second highest decoration.  In April 1945, Lt. Ware was honored again. At the Bethlehem Steel Shipyard in Staten Island, New York, his mother, Arva Zena Ware, of Athens, Tennessee, launched the Gearing Class destroyer USS Charles R. Ware (DD-865), which was to serve at sea in the US Navy for the next 29 years. In June 2002, with funds raised by former officers and crewmen of the ship, a permanent monument to Lt. Ware and Airman Stambaugh was dedicated in Veterans Memorial Park in Athens. The McMinn County Living Heritage Museum in Athens has become the permanent repository of Ware memorabilia and is home to an impressive collection of artifacts and mementos that belonged to the men who served on the USS Ware.

 

USS Lieutenant Charles R. Ware DD-865

Namesake: Lieutenant Charles R. Ware (1911-1942) Laid down: November 1, 1944 Launched: April 12, 1945 Commissioned: July 21, 1945 Decommissioned: unknown Struck: November 30, 1974 Fate: Sunk as a target on November 13, 1981 General Characteristics Displacement: 2,425 tons Length: 390 ft., 6 in. (119.02 m) Beam:  41 ft., 1 in. (12.52 m) Draught: 18 ft., 6 in. (5.64 m) Speed: 35 kt (65 km/h) Complement:367 officers/enlisted Armament: 6 5″, 521″ tt., 6 dcp., 2 dct   The USS Charles R. Ware (DD-865) was a Gearing Class destroyer of the United States Navy, named for Lieutenant Charles R. Ware USN (1911–1942), who was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for heroism in the Battle of Midway. The ship was laid down by the Bethlehem Steel Corporation at Staten Island in New York on November 11, 1944, launched on April 12, 1945, by Mrs. Z. Ware, and commissioned on July 21, 1945. From her home ports at Norfolk, Virginia, and–after December 1950–Newport, Rhode Island, the 2,250-ton Gearing Class destroyer Charles R. Ware operated through 1960 with the Atlantic Fleet. Along with many deployments to the Mediterranean Sea and northern Europe, she carried out training and overhaul necessary. Her first major cruise, from March 1 to April 9, 1946, was to northern waters, where she aided in developing techniques for cold weather operations and crossed the Arctic Circle. Shortly thereafter, she served as target ship for submarines training off New London, Connecticut. The tenth of November 1947 found her underway for the Mediterranean and her first tour of duty with the 6th Fleet. After exercising with this force and calling at ports of northern Europe, she returned to Norfolk on March 11, 1948. Her next tour of duty in the Mediterranean came in 1949, during which for two weeks she patrolled off the Levant Coast under the direction of the United Nations’ Palestine Truce Commission. Through two cruises to the Caribbean in the summer of 1949, Charles R. Ware aided in the training of members of the Naval Reserve and then took part in a large-scale Arctic operation before preparing for a 1950 tour with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean. Her 1951 tour was highlighted by operations with ships of the Royal Hellenic Navy. Following her 1953 tour, she conducted antisubmarine warfare exercises with British ships off Northern Ireland, calling then at ports in Ireland, Germany, Norway, Denmark, and Belgium. Later that year she took part in exercises with the aircraft carrier HMCS Magnificent off Narragansett Bay. Early in 1954, she returned to the Mediterranean once more for a tour of duty which included participation in a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) operation. Her 1955 deployment began with antisubmarine warfare exercises with the Royal Navy off Northern Ireland and was followed by her 6th Fleet duty. In the summer of 1956, she carried midshipmen on a summer training cruise to Northern Europe. The year 1957 was marked by assignment to escort the ship carrying King Saud of Saudi Arabia into New York harbor for his state visit and a European cruise during which she exercised with Spanish destroyers. That fall, she put to sea for NATO exercises and on January 20, 1958, she rescued a downed pilot from Essex (CVA-9) while conducting air operations off the east coast. Shortly thereafter she cleared for the Mediterranean once more. During the summer of 1959, Charles R. Ware took part in the historic Operation Inland Seas, the first passage of a naval force through the Saint Lawrence Seaway into the Great Lakes. She took part in the Naval Review in Lake Saint Louis on June 26, which was taken by Queen Elizabeth II and President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and sailed on to call at a number of United States and Canadian ports. During her 1960 Mediterranean tour, she carried German naval observers during an exercise in the Ionian Sea. CharlesR. Ware took part in the US naval blockade of Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 and, during the mid 1960s, engaged in intelligence-gathering activities. After two decades of preparation, Ware went to war for the first time in 1967 in the US 7th Fleet off Vietnam. Her primary duty was as a rescue destroyer for the Attack Carrier Strike Force conducting air operation against North Vietnam. From February to September 1967, Ware cruised from NS Mayport to Tonkin Gulf and back, and in combat operations during Operation Sea Dragon. She was deployed within a mile of the coast of North Vietnam. On July 9, 1967, Ware was detached from plane-guard duties to attack military targets along the North Vietnamese coastline. Ware fired on an enemy for the first time in her then 22-year history. Shore batteries returned fire numerous times, but Ware sustained no casualties. Returning to Mayport, Florida, in 1968, Ware was quickly ordered to the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean. After returning again to Mayport, the ship performed routine operations until 1972 when she re-deployed to the Middle East. Detached from this duty in 1973, Ware steamed east across the Indian Ocean and through the Straits of Malacca; survived a vicious typhoon in the South China sea; crossed the Pacific; and returned to Mayport having completed a round-the-world voyage. In 1974, Ware decommissioned after 29 years in the fleet and was sent to the shipyard at Galveston, Texas. On November 15, 1981, she was towed into the Atlantic 400 miles northeast of Puerto Rico and sunk by gunfire as a target ship. FRAM: Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization By the late 1950s, the Destroyer Force had become outdated in its ability to defend against both aircraft and submarines. Following studies of the problem, it was recommended to modernize the current force through a series of upgrades and rebuilds to the existing ships. The FRAM program was divided initially into three groups referred to as Mark I, Mark II, and Mark III (although the Mark III program was never brought to fruition). Mark I, usually referred to as FRAM I, was intended to extend the useful life of the ships by eight years with a complete rehabilitation of all shipboard components in hull, machinery, ASW sensors, and weapons systems. This group was restricted to Gearing Class units and included the addition of such systems as DASH, ASROC, SQS-23 SONAR, VDS, and Mark 32 torpedo tubes. The 5″/38 Mount 52 was removed during the rebuild.

 

Reunion News

The City of Athens  and the McMinn County Living Heritage Museum host the crew and families every 3 years, with the most recent one being June 2017.

 

The Ware Collection

In June 2002, with funds raised by former officers and crewmen of the ship, a permanent monument to Lt. Ware and Airman Stambaugh was dedicated in Veterans Memorial Park in Athens, Tennessee. The McMinn County Living Heritage Museum in Athens has become the permanent repository of Ware memorabilia and is home to an impressive collection of artifacts and mementos that belonged to the men who proudly served on the USS Ware. Providing educational opportunities has always been the cornerstone of the Museum’s mission. With that in mind, we are pleased to announce the complete digitization of the U.S.S. Ware Collection, allowing exposure of the collection and the amazing story of the Ware to everyone across the country–and around the world!

 

Artifacts

Documents

 

Photographs