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First Name: Laurence

Last Name: DuBose


Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)


Middle Name: Toombs

Date of Birth: 21 May 1893

Date of Death: 11 July 1967

Rank or Rate: Admiral

Years Served: 1913 - 1955
Laurence Toombs DuBose

Graduate, U.S. Naval Academy, Class of 1913

•  World War I (1914 - 1918)
•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Laurence Toombs DuBose
Admiral, U.S. Navy

Laurence Toombs DuBose was born on 21 May 1893, the only son of Dr. George Pierce and Louisa Toombs DuBose; he had three sisters. After completing high school, DuBose attended the U.S. Naval Academy and graduated with the class of 1913. He was then commissioned as an Ensign in the U.S. Navy.

Although few details of DuBose' career are readily available, this bio will furnish information regarding his commands, and exemplary performance, in the Pacific Theatre during World War II.

In May 1942, then-Captain DuBose assumed command of the Heavy Cruiser USS Portland (CA-33); the nickname awarded by her crew was Sweet 'P.' It didn't take long for DuBose and Portland to get in the middle of the action; from May 4-8 she served in Rear Admiral Thomas C. Kinkaid's Attack Group when it turned back a Japanese invasion force from Port Moresby, New Guinea, during the two-day Battle of the Coral Sea. When the aircraft carrier USS Lexington (CV-2) was lost, the Portland took on 722 survivors.

Less than 30 days later, Portland was in Rear Admiral Frank J. Fletcher's Task Force 17 (TF 17) carrier screen during the Battle of Midway (2-6 June) when the Japanese lost four of their carriers. The Portland picked up survivors from the USS Yorktown (CV-5) before it sank. She then transferred the survivors to the USS Fulton (AS-11) on 7 June after the Battle of Midway was over.

The Portland provided cover and support for the Marine landings at Tulagi and Guadalcanal from 7-9 August. She then remained in the area to support the Guadalcanal operations and to protect Allied communications lines. From 23-25 August, Portland participated in the Battle of the Eastern Solomons when Allied forces prevented reinforcement of Japanese units in the Solomons by a large naval armada under Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto.

She then steamed south to take part in the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands on 26-27 October as one of the escorts for the USS Enterprise (CV-6). Two weeks later, she participated in the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal (12-15 November) which resulted in heavy damage to both forces but broke up the determined Japanese effort to (1) disrupt the landing of 6,000 American troops on Guadalcanal; (2) bombard Henderson Field; and, (3) add 7,000 reinforcements of their own.

During the action on 13 November, Portland took a torpedo hit at 01:58 hours on the starboard quarter, which blew off both inboard propellers, jammed the rudder 5 degrees to starboard, and jammed her No. 3 turret in train and elevation. A 4-degree list was quickly corrected by shifting ballast, but the steering casualty could not be overcome and the ship was forced to steam in circles to starboard.

At the end of the first circle, the Japanese battleship Hiei, illuminated by nearby burning ships and flares, was taken under fire by the Portland's forward turrets. The enemy returned fire, but all salvos passed over the cruiser. In the four six-gun salvos returned by Portland, she succeeded in starting fires in the Japanese ship. Then again at 06:30 hours, still circling, Portland opened fire on the abandoned hulk of the Japanese destroyer Yudachi at a range of 6 miles. After the sixth salvo, the Yudachi exploded, rolled over, and sank within five minutes.

With the assistance of Higgins-boats, a Yard Patrol Boat, and a tug, Portland anchored at Tulagi on 14 November. At that time, Captain DuBose relinquished command of Portland as she was towed to Sydney, Australia for preliminary repairs prior to overhaul in the U.S..

During the six and one-half months that Captain DuBose was the Commanding Officer of the Portland, he was awarded the Navy Cross, and a Gold Star in lieu of a second award of the Navy Cross. Here are abridged versions of the citations for those awards:

Navy Cross - Action Date: 26 October 1942

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Captain Laurance Toombs DuBose (SSN: 103-30-5800), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of this profession as Commanding Officer of the Heavy Cruiser U.S.S. PORTLAND (CA-33), during the engagement with enemy Japanese forces north of the Santa Cruz Islands on 26 October 1942. Captain DuBose succeeded in holding his ship to her assigned station, while a task force was being subjected to violent and sustained torpedo dive, and horizontal bombing attacks. Captain DuBose's inspiring leadership and the valiant devotion to duty of his command contributed in large measure to the outstanding success of these vital missions and reflect great credit upon the United States Naval Service.

Gold Star for Navy Cross - Action Date: 12 - 13 November 1942

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting a Gold Star in lieu of a Second Award of the Navy Cross to Captain Laurance Toombs DuBose (SSN: 103-30-5800), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession as Commanding Officer of the Heavy Cruiser U.S.S. PORTLAND (CA-33), during an engagement with Japanese naval forces near Savo Island on the night of 12 - 13 November, 1942. On this occasion the force to which Captain DuBose was attached engaged at close quarters and defeated a superior enemy force, inflicting heavy damage upon them and preventing the accomplishment of their intended mission. This daring and intrepid attack, brilliantly executed, led to a great victory for his country's forces. By his indomitable fighting spirit, expert seamanship, and gallant devotion to duty, Captain DuBose contributed largely to the success of the battle and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

DuBose was promoted to Rear Admiral and commanded Task Force 30.3.1 at Bougainville, where he was in charge of light cruisers and destroyers providing gunfire cover for the invasion there. Samuel Eliot Morrison, Rear Admiral, USNR, and a prize-winning (including the Presidential Medal of Freedom) American historian noted for works of maritime history, said of DuBose' efforts, "Seldom has there been such effective coverage of an invasion." After Bougainville, DuBose continued with his task force of cruisers and destroyers through the campaigns in the Gilbert and Marshall Islands, and at Leyte Gulf. 

His actions while commanding the task force are best described in the following abridged version of the citation awarding him a second Gold Star in lieu of a third award of the Navy Cross.

Second Gold Star for Navy Cross - Action Date: 14 - 17 October 1944

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting a Second Gold Star in lieu of a Third Award of the Navy Cross to Rear Admiral Laurance Toombs DuBose (SSN: 103-30-5800), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession as Commander, Task Force 30.3.1 during operations near Formosa in the Pacific War area from 14 to 17 October 1944. While in command of a specially constituted task group charged with a difficult mission, Rear Admiral DuBose's task group was attacked repeatedly by large numbers of Japanese aircraft. However, Rear Admiral DuBose fought his group so skillfully that practically all the attacking airplanes were destroyed. His unfaltering determination, courageous and intelligent leadership contributed materially to the accomplishment of this mission. The conduct of Rear Admiral DuBose throughout this action reflects great credit upon himself, and was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Vice Admiral Laurance T. DuBose later served as Commander of First Fleet from August 1948 to 8 January 1949.

Upon his retirement on 1 June 1955, he was advanced in rank to four-star Admiral. *

* The Act of Congress of 4 March 1925, allowed Navy officers to be promoted one grade upon retirement if they had been specially commended for performance of duty in actual combat. These promotions were colloquially known as "tombstone promotions" because they conferred the prestige of the higher rank but not the additional retirement pay, so their only practical benefit was to allow recipients to engrave a loftier title on their business cards and tombstones. An Act of Congress on 23 February 1942, enabled tombstone promotions to three- and four-star grades.


Laurance T. DuBose married Gertrude Thompson on 22 November 1921 at Washington, GA. They had one child, a daughter, Ann Dow DuBose, born 3 February 1923. She married Royal K. Joslin, Jr. on 23 April 1943, and they had one child, Patricia Henley Joslin, born on 13 March 1946.

Death and Burial

Admiral Laurance Toombs DuBose died on 11 July 1967in Charleston, SC.

He was preceded in death by his granddaughter, Patricia Henley Joslin, in 1964. He was survived in death by his wife Gertrude; his daughter Ann; and his son-in-law, Royal K. Joslin, Jr. Gertrude died in 1988 and is buried with her husband at Arlington National Cemetery.


Honoree ID: 500   Created by: MHOH




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