Leutze dd 481


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Leutze DD- 481

Leutze
(DD-481: dp. 2,050; 1. 376'5"; b. 39'9"; dr. 13'9"; s. 37 k.;cpl. 273; a. 5 5", 10 40mm., 7 20mm., 6 dcp., 2 dct., 10 21' tt.; cl. Fletcher)

Leutze (DD-481) was laid down 3 June 1941 by Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, Wash.; launched 29 October 1942; sponsored by hliss Caroline Rowcliff, granddaughter of Rear Adm. E. H. C. Leutze, daughter of Rear Adm. G. J. Roweliff; and commissioned 4 March 1944 Comdr. B. A. Robbins, Jr., in command.

Leutze completed the necessary performance trials and continued the training of her crew on escort missions to Pearl Harbor and Eniwetok during June and July 1944. On 2 August she departed Seattle for the v, ar zone a sleek new destroyer and returned 1 year and 1 day later a battered veteran about to be scrapped. In this short interval she had played a part in five invasions and a major naval battle before a kaikaze ended her fighting days.

After departing Seattle, Wash., the destroyer rehearsed in the Hawaiian and Solomon Islands for the invasion of the Palaus. Arriving off Peleliu 12 September (D-3 Day), Leutze bombarded enemy positions ashore and suffered her first casualty when shrapnel from an enemy shell sprayed the ship. Withdrawn on the 24th, she joined TG 77.2 at Manus, Admiralties, for the invasion of the strategically important Philippines.

Action off Leyte began 18 October with little serious opposition to the preinvasion bombardment but rose to a ereseendo climax with the Battle of Leyte Gulf 24 and 26 October. Leatze, first flring on an enemy plane 2 days earlier, suffered 11 casulties on the morning of the 24th when hit during an enemy bombing and straflng run. That night in Surigao Straits with Read Adm. J. B. Oldendorf's 7th Fleet support ships, she attacked with torpedoes the ships of Japan's Southern Force under Admiral Nishimura. DurinR.this phase of the last major battle between surface ships, Admiral Nishimura lost two battleships and three destro.vers in a vain attempt to force his way through the Straits and attack the American invasion fleet. Thereafter with its surface fleet decimated, Japan again resorted to airstrikes. Although Leutze emerged nnscratched, on a single day 1 November, four sister ships of her screen were crashed by suicide planes.

After a period of tender overhaul, she stenmed out of liossol Roads 1 January 1945 for the invasion of Lingayen Gulf, Luzon, Philippines. En route the ship received ice cream for all hands for returning a sailor fallen overboard from .UaLin Island (CVI-93). She arrived in Lingayen Gulf 6 January for fire support. While supporting this operation, Leatze 7 January sank a Japanese patrol vessel and 9 January a small suicide boat loaded with explosives.

Careful preparations were made for the next assault. Iwo Jima, desired as an airfleld site, was selected as the target. Praeticing with underwater demolition teams at Ulithi and conducting esereises until beyond Saipan Leutze arrived Iwo Jiina 16 February. Despite intensive previous bombing and shelling, enemy flre was heavy.

While protecting Navy frogmen on the 17th, she took a shell on the after part of the forward steek. Remaining until the completion of her mission, she then transferred her seriously wounded commanding officer and three other injured and resumed station. Ordered baek to Ulithi the next day for repairs, she returned to Iwo Jima early in March but only for 4 days, as mueh of this fleet was now needed for operation "Iceberg," the conquest of Okinawa.

This last big amphibious operation of the war, unlike Iwo Jima, took place within range of Japanese land-based planes. While escorting battleship New York ( BB-34) for the preinvasion shelling of 27 .March, Leutze made two depth charge runs which apparently sank a midget submarine. On a second voyage with Alobile ( CW63) and Oakland (CW93), she arrived Okinawa 3 April. This was 2 days after D-Day but in time for the first of the Japanese operations "Ten Go," the massed Kamikaze attacks.

Of the first wave to fllter through on 8 April, she splashed two afid later knocked down a third. Disregarding the danger, she proceeded along side to assist the thrice hit and burning Neacomb (DD-586). The fourth plane to hit this ship skidded across the deck and exploded its bomb against Leutze's port quarter. The Kamikaze almost severed her funtail and left seven crewmembers missing one dead, and 30 wounded Lt. Leon Grabowski, Leutze' acting commanding offlcer, for his part in aiding Newcomb and in the fighting of his own ship, received the Navy Cross.

Recalling her firefighting parties from Newcomb, she maneuvered clear, brought her flooding under control and was towed to Kerama Retto anchorage for emergency repairs. Departing 10 July via Guam and Pearl Harbor, she reached Hunter's Point Drydocks San Francisco, 3 August. Following the end of the war, her repairs were halted. Leutze decommissioned 6 December 1943, was struck from the navy Register 3 January 1946, and ultimately purchased for scrap by Thomas Harris, Barker, N.J.. 17 June 1047.

Leutze received five battle star for World War II service.
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