Jump to content


Medal Bar

Started by RAL , Jan 12 2007 07:33 PM

  • Please log in to reply
8 replies to this topic

#1 RAL

RAL
  • Members
    • Member ID: 385
  • 131 posts

Posted 12 January 2007 - 07:33 PM

On those occasions in the 26 years of my father's commissioned service after WWII (out of a total of 33 such years) when required to wear full dress uniform, these are the medals that he wore. Navy Cross w/second award; Legion of Merit w/combat V (star is for post war award, there's another star behind the Navy Cross and he was awarded a 4th upon retirement in 1971, but that star never made it to the medal); Distinguished Flying Cross; Bronze Star w/combat V; and Air Medal w/star for 5 additional awards. Wings are WWII vintage.

WNL_Medal_Bar.jpg

Rich

Edited by RAL, 12 January 2007 - 08:26 PM.


#2 Rattle

Rattle
  • Members
    • Member ID: 131
  • 1,780 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 13 January 2007 - 08:31 AM

Great service !!!
Who is your father if you don't mind asking.

Regards,
Stephan

#3 Brian D

Brian D
  • Members
    • Member ID: 291
  • 3,194 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Indiana, USA

Posted 13 January 2007 - 11:17 AM

2 Navy Crosses! Wow. Yea, please share more with us. Your dad was a very highly decorated veteran. What did he win the NC's and LoM medals for? Please, don't tease us here.

#4 KASTAUFFER

KASTAUFFER

    MODERATOR

  • Moderators
    • Member ID: 105
  • 8,308 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 13 January 2007 - 02:30 PM

Not many Naval Aviators in WWII received that combo of awards!!! He must have been a squadron commander. Based on the early WWII NC on the bar I am guessing he may have been at Midway or the Battle of the Coral Sea ???


Kurt

#5 RAL

RAL
  • Members
    • Member ID: 385
  • 131 posts

Posted 13 January 2007 - 07:38 PM

William N. Leonard.

He was a 1938 graduate of the USNA and was designated a naval aviator (#6953) in December 1940. He was a fighter pilot aboard USS Yorktown from June 1941 through the Battle of Midway (VF-42 and VF-3). He then flew in VF-11 based out of Guadalcanal in the north Solomons campaign. He was credited with a total of 6 victories (he never counted partial credits or probables), 2 F1M2, 2 B5N2, and 2 A6M2, all while flying F4Fs. After returning form the Solomons in August 1943, he was assigned to Fleet Air West as fighter training officer until October 1944. He then served as an assistant operations officer on the staff of the 2d Fast Carrier Task Force (Task Force 38) until November 1945

After the war he was assigned to NATC at the Patuxent Naval Air Station as Projects Director. In January 1946, in a P-59B, he became the 73rd naval aviator to qualify in jets.

In 1948, he was in command of VF-17A (soon thereafter designated VF-171) when it became the first Navy all jet squadron and the first jet squadron to qualify for carrier operations. During his tour as CO of VF-171 he presented testimony to Congress in the B-36 hearings regarding the Navy’s ability to perform intercepts at altitudes greater than 50,000 feet using F2H Banshees.

Other operational assignments included Commander, Air Group 17; Executive Officer, VX-3 (all-weather operations); Commander, VX-5 (special weapons delivery); Executive Officer, USS Bonhomme Richard (CV-31); Captain, USS Salamonie (AO-26); Captain, USS Ranger (CVA-61); Commander, Carrier Division 14 (USS Wasp, CVS-18); and Commander, Naval Safety Center.

Even with the loss of information on flights recorded in his first logbook (it went down with the Yorktown), in all, he logged some 4087 flight hours, including 2761 hours in propeller driven aircraft and 1326 hours in jets,, approximately 2600 hours in VF/VA types and 150 hours in VT types, and 330 carrier landings. He flew some 82 different aircraft or major model variants.

He spent 33 years in commissioned service and retired as a Rear Admiral in July 1971. He passed away on 22 August 2005.

His Navy Crosses were for action at Coral Sea (VF-42) and Midway (VF-3). The Legion of Merit and Bronze Star awards came while on the staff of TF-38. The Distinguished Flying Cross and four Air Medals were for service in the Solomons with VF-11. Other two Air Medals were for early carrier operations and the Lae-Salamaua raid, also in VF-42.

Other World War II Awards:
- Presidential Unit Citation (USS Enterprise).
- Navy Unit Commendation with star for second award (USS Hancock, USS Wasp).
- American Defense Medal with an Atlantic “A” device for Neutrality Patrol service.
- American Campaign Service Medal.
- Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with stars for ten campaigns/actions.
- Philippine Liberation Medal with stars for two additional awards.
- World War II Victory Medal.
- Navy Occupation Service Medal with Asia Clasp.

WNL_F8F_crop.jpg
1946 at NATC

Regards,

Rich

#6 Allan H.

Allan H.
  • Members
    • Member ID: 151
  • 3,179 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Topeka, Kansas

Posted 14 January 2007 - 06:20 AM

Rich,
WOW! What can I say other than WOW!!!! I cannot imagine what it would be like to grow up in the household of a heavily decorated war hero, fight pilot and ace, AND an Admiral?
Your father was a true hero in every sense of the word and I for one appreciate your sharing these images with the group.
I truly hope that you display these awards as they are stunning.
Thanks again!
Allan

William N. Leonard.

He was a 1938 graduate of the USNA and was designated a naval aviator (#6953) in December 1940. He was a fighter pilot aboard USS Yorktown from June 1941 through the Battle of Midway (VF-42 and VF-3). He then flew in VF-11 based out of Guadalcanal in the north Solomons campaign. He was credited with a total of 6 victories (he never counted partial credits or probables), 2 F1M2, 2 B5N2, and 2 A6M2, all while flying F4Fs. After returning form the Solomons in August 1943, he was assigned to Fleet Air West as fighter training officer until October 1944. He then served as an assistant operations officer on the staff of the 2d Fast Carrier Task Force (Task Force 38) until November 1945

After the war he was assigned to NATC at the Patuxent Naval Air Station as Projects Director. In January 1946, in a P-59B, he became the 73rd naval aviator to qualify in jets.

In 1948, he was in command of VF-17A (soon thereafter designated VF-171) when it became the first Navy all jet squadron and the first jet squadron to qualify for carrier operations. During his tour as CO of VF-171 he presented testimony to Congress in the B-36 hearings regarding the Navy’s ability to perform intercepts at altitudes greater than 50,000 feet using F2H Banshees.

Other operational assignments included Commander, Air Group 17; Executive Officer, VX-3 (all-weather operations); Commander, VX-5 (special weapons delivery); Executive Officer, USS Bonhomme Richard (CV-31); Captain, USS Salamonie (AO-26); Captain, USS Ranger (CVA-61); Commander, Carrier Division 14 (USS Wasp, CVS-18); and Commander, Naval Safety Center.

Even with the loss of information on flights recorded in his first logbook (it went down with the Yorktown), in all, he logged some 4087 flight hours, including 2761 hours in propeller driven aircraft and 1326 hours in jets,, approximately 2600 hours in VF/VA types and 150 hours in VT types, and 330 carrier landings. He flew some 82 different aircraft or major model variants.

He spent 33 years in commissioned service and retired as a Rear Admiral in July 1971. He passed away on 22 August 2005.

His Navy Crosses were for action at Coral Sea (VF-42) and Midway (VF-3). The Legion of Merit and Bronze Star awards came while on the staff of TF-38. The Distinguished Flying Cross and four Air Medals were for service in the Solomons with VF-11. Other two Air Medals were for early carrier operations and the Lae-Salamaua raid, also in VF-42.

Other World War II Awards:
- Presidential Unit Citation (USS Enterprise).
- Navy Unit Commendation with star for second award (USS Hancock, USS Wasp).
- American Defense Medal with an Atlantic “A” device for Neutrality Patrol service.
- American Campaign Service Medal.
- Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with stars for ten campaigns/actions.
- Philippine Liberation Medal with stars for two additional awards.
- World War II Victory Medal.
- Navy Occupation Service Medal with Asia Clasp.

WNL_F8F_crop.jpg
1946 at NATC

Regards,

Rich



#7 4STARCHRIS

4STARCHRIS
  • Members
    • Member ID: 387
  • 2,370 posts

Posted 15 January 2007 - 08:42 PM

Rich,
Thank you and your father for a great story. His is truly an American Hero in every sense of the word. One that was willling to pt his life on the line time and time again in some very horrific battles. I am honored to have read this story and glad you shared it.
4starchris

#8 Jeeper704

Jeeper704
  • Members
    • Member ID: 157
  • 5,670 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Belgium

Posted 15 January 2007 - 09:50 PM

Very impressive career indeed.
Respectfully,

Erwin

#9 Mark M

Mark M
  • Members
    • Member ID: 569
  • 2,471 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Margaritaville USA

Posted 05 September 2009 - 05:11 AM

Forum members:

You are in the MEDALS & DECORATIONS "Reference Section". This area is where posts from the general Medals & Decorations "discussion section" (http://www.usmilitar.....?showforum=83) are moved for permanent retention and education about the history of the various U.S. medals and military decorations.

As time moves forward, some of these posts may have additional information added to them by the moderators of this section. We ask for your input as well, especially in the correction of any erroneous information that may have inadvertently be posted..

We encourage further comments about this post and its content. In order to do so, you will need to start a new post in the general Medals & Decorations "discussion section" (here: http://www.usmilitar.....?showforum=83). And, as needed, we will be pleased to move any new and / or valued information that is derived from your post (and subsequent comments) into this reference area as its own standing post.

Please be advised: posting and / or editing is restricted on this post to moderator's and forum staff.

Sincerely,
Chris / ADMIN


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


In Memory of Co-Founder GREG MILLS ROBINSON, a.k.a. "Marine-KaBar"
(February 17, 1949 - March 5, 2011)