|Naval Academy graduate Ensign Craig Spowers was on the first US Navy ship sunk by the Germans.|
Craig Spowers never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.
He was born on May 25, 1917 in New Jersey. His parents were both born in New York. His father worked in an ad agency and later was a consulting engineer. Craig had one older brother. By 1940 Craig was a midshipman at the US Naval Academy. He graduated in the class of 1941.
Ensign Spowers was assigned to serve on the USS Reuben James, a WWI era destroyer which was engaged as a convoy escort from America to Iceland, for ships taking supplies to England.
On October 23, 1941, the Reuben James and four other destroyers departed Newfoundland with a convoy to escort to Iceland. Eight days later, the convoy came under U-boat attack. A torpedo fired by U-552 was meant for an ammunition ship, but the Reuben James was in its path. The torpedo blew off the destroyer's bow and five minutes later the ship was gone. Other ships were able to rescue 44 men from the sea, but 100 men did not make it, including Ensign Spowers. The Reuben James was the first US Navy ship lost to the Germans in the Battle of the Atlantic.
|The USS Reuben James sinks after torpedoed by U-552.|
Although Ensign Spowers remains lost at sea, his death is memorialized at the East Coast Memorial in Manhattan.
Thanks to Darillyn Lamb Starr for recommending that Craig be profiled.
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