Rear Admiral Richard E. Hawes
Richard Ellington Hawes was born in Thomson Georgia, on February 12,
1894. He attended the University of Georgia on a baseball scholarship
before transferring to Mercer University. There he won recognition in
both baseball and football. He earned a law degree along the way, but
passed up the bar exam to coach and play professional baseball.
When America entered World War I in 1917, Hawes enlisted in the Navy as
a Fireman Second Class. Fifteen months later he accepted a temporary
appointment as an Ensign, but reverted to Boatswain (Warrant Officer)
In March 1926 Hawes joined USS FALCON (ARS-2) as Executive Officer.
While aboard FALCON he played a key role in the salvage of USS S-51 off
Block Island, RI in September 1925. For his part in that difficult and
dangerous operation Boatswain Hawes received his first Navy Cross. He
also assisted in the salvaging of USS S-4, which sank off Provincetown,
MA in December 1927.
On February 18, 1929, Hawes was commissioned an Ensign by a special act
of Congress in recognition of his services in salvaging the S-51 and
S-4. In January 1940 Lieutenant Hawes assumed command of USS PIGEON
(ARS-6) and was serving in that role when the United States entered
World War II.
On December 10, 1941 the PIGEON was docked at the Cavite Navy Yard on
Manila Bay for repairs to her steering gear when Japanese warplanes
attacked. Since Pearl Harbor three days before, Hawes had main steam
pressure up and the full crew aboard, ready to get underway at an
instant. Lashed to the minesweeper QUAIL (AM-15), which provided
steering for both, PIGEON cleared the docks and headed for the relative
safety of the bay to dodge the enemy bombs. By this time Cavite had
become a hellish inferno. After separating from QUAIL Hawes could see
that the submarine SEADRAGON (SS-194) was about to be engulfed by bombs
and fire in her berth. Through heavy bombing and strafing, Lieutenant
Hawes maneuvered the 187 foot PIGEON back to the flaming dock to haul
the helpless submarine stern first from her berth. Another submarine
and a minesweeper had just been sunk there by direct hits. The heat and
flames were so intense that they blistered the ship's paint, singed off
body hair, and melted the brim of Hawes' cap. But PIGEON's crew managed
to rig a line on the SEADRAGON and tow her to safety. For this heroic
action, Hawes received his second Navy Cross and PIGEON was awarded the
Presidential Unit Citation, the first warship to receive the award in
World War II. SEADRAGON went on to distinguished service, earning
eleven battle stars before the war ended.
Immediately after the attack Hawes found and mounted on his ship two 3
inch guns and twelve .50 caliber machine guns from the wrecked Navy
Yard. By the end of December the new "gunboat" had received her second
Presidential Unit Citation for shooting down several enemy planes and
bombarding enemy troops. She was the only surface warship to win two
Presidential Unit Citations in World War II.
Except for the brief periods when he was in transit or putting USS
CHANTICLEER (ARS-1) and USS ANTHEDON (AS-24) into commission, Hawes
spent virtually all of World War II at sea in the Pacific in command of
his three ships. Like Hawes himself, his ships always had a reputation
for efficiency and readiness. When he put CHANTICLEER into commission,
he had depth charge racks installed so he could prosecute Japanese
submarines. When he put ANTHEDON into commission, 92% of his crew were
inductees and had never been to sea, but he sailed directly from
commissioning to the Pacific war and within two hours of his arrival
was servicing submarines. He received the Bronze Star for "undaunted
courage and professional skill" for his command of that ship. As he
left the Western Pacific theater in January 1945, the Commander,
Submarines, Philippine Sea Frontier sent ANTHEDON a message of thanks
and good wishes, describing Commander Hawes and his men as "ever ready,
Hawes was promoted to Captain on March 25, 1945. On December 1, 1952 he
was transferred to the retired list and promoted to Rear Admiral.
Rear Admiral Hawes died at his home in Thomson, Georgia, on December
The chevron extending into chief
represents the process of submarine rescue, the transition from sea to
air further suggested by the chevron wavy below and straight above. The
shield, divided vertically, alludes to the Atlantic and Pacific oceans
Rear Admiral Hawes distinguished himself, and is colored gold and blue
in the Navy tradition. At the top, two awards of the Navy Cross,
received for distinguished service in submarine salvage operations, are
denoted by the silhouetted crosses. The five-pointed star at the center
signifies an award of the Bronze Star Medal to Admiral Hawes when, as
commander of the submarine tender ANTHEDON, he organized the refitting
of thirty-four submarines.
The Crest: The trident suggests
the sea and the special equipment and vessels used in submarine rescue.
The seahorse is a traditional symbol of the Navy diving service. The
color scarlet is symbolic of courage in the face of danger and gold
signifies excellence and achievement. The complete coat of arms as
emblazoned upon a white oval background enclosed by a dark blue border
edged with gold rope and inscribed "USS HAWES" at top and "FFG 53" in
base all in gold.