USS Leonard Wood (APA-12)
USS Leonard Wood (APA-12) off California, 28 April 1944
|Name:||USS Leonard Wood (APA-12)|
|Namesake:||Leonard Wood, US Army Chief of Staff, 1910-1914|
|Acquired:||(by the Navy) 3 June 1941|
|Commissioned:||(As AP-25) 10 June 1941|
|Decommissioned:||22 March 1946|
|Renamed:||Western World, USS Leonard Wood|
|Reclassified:||AP-25 to APA-12, 1 February 1943|
|Struck:||12 April 1946|
|Eight battle stars for World War II service|
|Fate:||Sold for scrap, 20 January 1948|
|Class and type:||Harris-class attack transport|
|Displacement:||13,529 tons (lt), 21,900 t.(fl)|
|Length:||535 ft 2 in|
|Beam:||72 ft 4 in|
|Draft:||31 ft 3 in|
2 x Curtis type turbines, 8 x Yarrow header-type boilers,2 propellers, designed shaft horsepower 12,000.
Troops: 117 Officers, 1,809 Enlisted|
Cargo: 150,000 cu ft, 1,700 tons
|Complement:||Officers 67, Enlisted 657|
|Armament:||4 x 3"/50 caliber dual-purpose gun mounts, 2 x twin 40mm gun mounts, 16 x single 20mm gun mounts.|
Leonard Wood, ex-Nutmeg State and Western World, was built in 1922 by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation at Sparrows Point, Maryland; purchased by the War Department in 1939 and renamed Leonard Wood after the former Army Chief of Staff; served as an Army transport until acquired by the Navy 3 June 1941; and commissioned 10 June (with Hull ID AP-25), manned by the United States Coast Guard, Comdr. H. G. Bradbury, USCG, in command.
World War II
After training off North Carolina, Leonard Wood departed Halifax, Nova Scotia, 10 November 1941 carrying reinforcements around the Cape of Good Hope to British outposts in the Far East. After debarking troops at Bombay and Singapore, she returned, entering Philadelphia Navy Yard in March 1942 for conversion to an attack transport. She was re-designated APA-12 on 1 February 1943.
Invasion of North Africa
Alterations completed late in April, the attack transport trained in Chesapeake Bay for the invasion of North Africa. She departed Hampton Roads 24 October carrying almost 1,900 fighting men from the 3rd Infantry Division and slipped in close to beaches at Fedhala, French Morocco, on the night of 7 to 8 November. The next morning, she sent her boats ashore and provided gunfire support while also rescuing survivors from torpedoed sister ships.
Leonard Wood remained in the first line of transports, carrying out her mission until 12 November when enemy submarines, which had already sunk or damaged six Allied ships, forced the remaining transports to finish unloading at Casablanca. Departing 17 November, she arrived Norfolk on the 30th for repairs and more amphibious warfare training.
Invasion of Sicily
The transport sailed 3 June 1943 and arrived Mers el Kebir, Algeria, 22 June where she prepared for the assault on Sicily. She sortied with TF 65 on 5 July and 4 days later, began unloading waves of troops in the Wood's Hole sector, some 5.5 miles west of Socglitti, Sicily. At dawn of the 10th, her gunners fired at an enemy bomber which dropped bombs 200 to 300 yards astern, and kept up an antiaircraft barrage throughout the day, helping to splash three planes. With unloading completed and damaged landing craft salvaged, the ship got underway for Norfolk, Virginia on the 12th, arriving 4 August.
Three weeks later, she departed Norfolk for San Francisco, embarked troops, then steamed for Honolulu, arriving 27 September. Leonard Wood spent the remainder of World War II in the Pacific, distinguishing herself in seven amphibious landings.
Invasions of Gilbert and Marshall Islands
In the Gilbert Islands and Marshall Islands operations, the ship gained experience, especially in cargo handling, which proved invaluable when Leonard Wood later took part in the final push toward victory with the landings at Saipan, Leyte, and Lingayen Gulf.
Invasion of Saipan
Leonard Wood departed Pearl harbor 29 May 1944, bound for the capture and occupation of Saipan, Marianas Islands. Arriving Eniwetok, Marshall Islands, an atoll Leonard Wood had helped to secure just 3 months before, the ship fueled, watered, and provisioned before departing 11 June for her assigned anchorage off Saipan.
Arriving 15 June, Leonard Wood unloaded and cleared all boats in 49 minutes. For the next 9 days, the transport stood off Saipan, unloading cargo and receiving on board casualties for transfer to hospital ships. The transport sailed 24 June for Eniwetok, and then returned to Pearl Harbor 20 July.
Invasion of Palaus
After Saipan, the ship made transport and training runs between Pearl Harbor, Eniwetok and Guadalcanal until she sailed from Guadalcanal 8 September for the capture and occupation of Angaur Island, Palau Island Group. Arriving 7 September, the ship landed troops, and then began unloading cargo and receiving casualties. Leonard Wood completed unloading 21 September, and departed for Manus Island 27 September.
Invasion of the Philippines
Remaining at Manus just long enough to fuel, provision and reembark troops, the transport sailed 12 October to begin the long-awaited liberation of the Philippines. Arriving off the Leyte beachheads 20 October, Leonard Wood debarked troops and cargo in record time and steamed for Palau only 10 hours later.
For the next week, Leonard Wood prepared for further operations in the Philippine Islands, departing Sansapor, New Guinea, 30 December 1944 for the assault on Lingayen Gulf. Many Japanese suicide planes attacked the formation and Leonard Wood helped down one of them.
Arriving Lingayen 9 January 1945, she again unloaded troops and cargo while firing at enemy planes before departing the same day for Leyte. Leonard Wood took part in her last amphibious landing with the Mindoro Island assault 9 February 1945. Debarking her troops and cargo in less than 5 hours, she steamed for San Francisco via Leyte, Ulithi, and Pearl Harbor, arriving 27 March.
The ship's Coast Guard crew debarked 22 March 1946 when Leonard Wood decommissioned and was redelivered to the Army at Seattle, Washington, pending transfer to the War Shipping Administration. The ship was sold to Consolidated Builders, Inc., for scrap 20 January 1948.
Leonard Wood earned eight battle stars for World War II service.