Captain Leon S.
battleship New York, cruiser Minneapolis, and destroyers Evans, Gridley, Argonne
and Bernadou. During World War II he had command of destroyers Charles
Lawrence and Coolbaugh before taking command of destroyer Hoel.
Awarded the Navy Cross as Commanding Officer of destroyer Hoel in action in
the Battle off Samar in World War II against vastly superior Japanese surface ships
on 25 October 1944. He engaged Japanese battleship Kongo, opening gunfire
attacks at 14,000 yards, launching torpedoes at 9,000 yards. With three fifths of
her guns knocked out, he engaged the enemy heavy cruiser column with his remaining
guns and torpedoes at 6,000 yards. Caught between the cruiser column and the
battleship column, she continued to fight for over one hour and five minutes,
expending over 500 rounds of five-inch ammunition. She was hit over 40 times by
enemy 5,8 and 16 inch shells, armor piercing that went right through, punching holes
below the waterline that eventually sunk Hoel. He subsequently was given
command of destroyer Zellars and participated in the Okinawa campaign where
his ship destroyed seven Japanese suicide plans and he earned the Silver Star. He
subsequently had command of Destroyer Division 22, transport Hoble and
destroyer leader Norfolk. His final assignment was on the staff of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff.