Joseph Crawford Sauls
June 3, 1930 - June 3, 2014
Surfside / Cades, SC
Retired Navy Master Chief Machinist's Mate, Joseph Crawford Sauls, 84, of Surfside passed away June 3, 2014.
Mr. Sauls was born in Cades, SC the sixth and last child of E.S. and Leona Crawford Sauls on June 3, 1930. (His father died four months before he was born.) He attended Cades and Lake City schools. The school years 1941-42 he attended Macedonia school while staying in Jamestown with his Aunt and Uncle McNair at Ballsdam Plantation. During this time his mother attended school and earned a teaching certificate. (There was a shortage of teachers due to the war.) In 1944 his mother accepted a job in Bethera and the family moved to Witherbee. He attended Macedonia School. There was a German prisoner of war camp located nearby being completed. With the help of his uncle and DMV he was hired to transport prisoners to the Santee River at Jamestown. He was furnished with an old Ford dump truck converted to carry passengers. He picked up the prisoners and guard at five AM and drove them to the Santee River. They used rowboats to cross the river and walk a half mile to a saw mill to work. The new concrete bridge was only half completed due to supplies being curtailed during the war. He would leave the truck at his Aunt and Uncle McNair's in Ballsdam Plantation and catch the school bus to Macedonia. He would pick the prisoners up at five PM. This job lasted several months.
Shortly after that he was hired to transport prisoners to Camp Manufacturing Company in Russellville. This time he drove an old school bus. He picked them up at 5 AM and carried them to work and caught the bus for St. Stephen High School. Shortly after the war ended in April of 1945 they quit sending a guard which made him uneasy. However, the German interpreter assured him that he was safe. The next year, his mother accepted a teaching job and moved the family to Huger which was about seven miles from the POW camp. He continued driving the prisoners and several months later they began repatriating them back to Germany. When that job ended, he finished out the year at Berkeley High School. The following school year, in 1946-47 his mother accepted a teaching position in Bonneau and moved the family. He started begging his mother to sign papers allowing him to join the Navy. With help from his two brothers, E.S (a Merchant Marine) and John (Navy) both WWII Veterans, she consented.
Joseph Crawford contacted the Navy Chief Recruiter in Charleston and they met at Dutch Mill Restaurant in St. Stephen. On July 2, 1947 he was sworn into the Navy in Columbia, SC. That afternoon he and several more enlistees boarded the train to San Diego, CA. After 10 weeks of boot camp, his first assignment was a Destroyer Escort, Key West, FL. In 1949, his next assignment was the Destroyer USS Lind (DD703) in Norfolk, VA getting ready to go to Europe. Several months later the ship returned to Norfolk. In 1950 the Korean War broke out and the ship headed for the war Zone. Their mission was gun fire support (5 inch). In March 1951 the ship went to Sasebo, Japan for routine repairs. The ship received a directive from President Truman saying that all enlistments have been extended for one year. Joseph Crawford only had three months left at that time. He decided to re-enlist for 6 additional years and was transferred to Charleston to put World War II destroyers back into commission for Korean duty. Throughout the duration of his naval service he served on two destroyer escorts and five destroyers. In 1961-62 he participated in the Cuban Crisis (Bay of Pigs) and missile crisis while aboard the USS Greene (DD711). His last ship, USS Leary (DD879) was ordered to Vietnam in 1967. During his service in Vietnam, his ship performed gun fire support up and down the coast. During his time in Vietnam, his retirement was approaching. The Navy released him and the Assistant Engineering officer to return to the US. They flew to San Francisco via Okinawa. The two parted and Joseph Crawford caught a flight to Norfolk to await his release date, on December 28, 1967 after 20 plus years of service.
Joseph Crawford Sauls earned many awards and accolades as follows: The Navy Good Conduct Medal with one Silver Star, Korean Service Medal with three Bronze Stars, Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, Vietnam Service Medal with one Bronze Star, Republic of Vietnam MUC Gallantry Cross, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (Cuba), Navy Occupation Service medal with Europe Clasp, National Defense Service Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, United Nations Ribbon. He was a member of the following organizations: Member of the Lake City Lodge AFM 193, Life Member of the VFW in Murrells Inlet, Fleet Reserve Branch 254 in Myrtle Beach, Tin Can Sailors Org.
After his military service, he moved to Charleston and was employed by Avco Lycoming Air Craft Plant. He resigned and moved back to home to Cades. He was employed by Baxter Labs until he was laid off. He was hired by the Kingstree Post Office in 1973. He married Catherine Baker in 1974. In 1980 he resigned from the Post Office and they moved to Surfside Beach. They had part time jobs at the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base. In 1985 he and his neighbor, Jim Godbee opened an auto service business. In 1989 they sold the business and completely retired and he and Catherine traveled parts of the US, Canada and Nova Scotia. They enjoyed fishing and attending all of his ship's reunions.
In 2009 his beloved wife, Catherine passed away. She suffered for five years with Alzheimer's disease. In 2005, Joseph Crawford suffered with cancers, the last being lung cancer but he continued on as if nothing was wrong. He is predeceased by his mother, father, brother E.S. II, brother John and two older sisters Lucille S. Thames and Jeanette S. Denney.
He is survived by his sister, JoAnn Sauls Mauriello (Gilbert), several nieces and nephews (Stephen Mauriello, John Mauriello, Mary Ann DeCicco, Robert Mauriello, Sydney Thames, Mary Gooden, Patricia Martin, Sheila Sauls, John Sauls, Kimberly Sierra, Joe Denney) and 18 great nieces and nephews. He also survived by his step son, John Baker (Pansy) and step daughter Ann Young (Donnie), grand- children Rhonda (Barry) Stone of Hemingway, Lisa (Donnie) Welch of Lake City, Tony (Natalie) Young of Georgia, Mark (Crystal) Young of Saluda, 8 great-grand children and 6 great-great grandchildren.
The family will receive friends 6:00-8:00 PM Thursday, June 5, 2014 at Brockington Funeral Home. A graveside service will be held 11:00 AM Friday, June 6, 2014 at Bethesda United Methodist Church Cemetery.
An online condolence page is available at www.brockingtonfh.com
Published in The Sun News on June 6, 2014