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NavSource Online: Aircraft Carrier Photo Archive

Contributed by Mike Smolinski

(later CVA-32, CVS-32 and AVT-10)

Flag Hoist/Radio Call Sign: November - Hotel - Romeo - Bravo
Tactical Voice Radio Call: "RUGBY"

Unit Awards, Campaign and Service Medals and Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row: Navy Unit Commendation / Navy Occupation Service Medal ("Europe" clasp) / National Defense Service Medal
2nd Row: Korean Service Medal (2 stars) / United Nations Korean Medal / Republic of Korea War Service Medal (retroactive)

Essex Class (*) Aircraft Carrier
Ordered Laid down Launched Commissioned Decommissioned Stricken
23 Mar 1943 21 Feb 1944 23 Aug 1945 11 Apr 1946 15 May 1959 1 June 1969
Builder: Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co., Newport News, VA.
(*) "Long Hull" group, aka Ticonderoga Class

Displacement 27,100 Tons, Dimensions, 888' (oa) x 93' x 28' 7" (Max)
Armament 12 x 5"/38AA, 32 x 40mm, 46 x 20mm, 82 Aircraft.
Armor, 4" Belt, 2 1/2" Hanger deck, 1 1/2" Deck, 1 1/2" Conning Tower.
Machinery, 150,000 SHP; Westinghouse Geared Turbines, 4 screws
Speed, 33 Knots, Crew 3448.

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For Full Size Image
Size Image Description Contributed
By And/Or Copyright
As an Attack Carrier (CV/CVA)
CV-32 Leyte

Leyte (CV-32) slides down the ways into the James River, at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company. She was christened on Thursday, 23 August 1945, by the ship's sponsor, Mrs. James M. Mead, wife of U.S. Senator Mead (D-New York).

Robert M. Cieri
CV-32 Leyte
185k Undated, Official USN image. William R. Strewart
CV-32 Leyte

Photo of Leyte (CV-32), dated 13 March 1946. BuAer photo from Hampton Roads NAS, # 41379, taken at an altitude of 200 feet (approx. 60 meters). Location is Hampton Roads. Other ships in photo are not identified.

David Buell
CV-32 Leyte

Leyte (CV-32) as completed.

Janice Carroll
CV-32 Leyte

Deck edge elevator at flight deck level, looking forward. Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Company, 10 April 1946.

Pieter Bakels
CV-32 Leyte

Deck edge elevator, main deck level, broadside, 10 April 1946.

Pieter Bakels
CV-32 Leyte

Photos taken during USS Leyte (CV-32) shakedown cruise, 1946.

Ronald Lavoie
CV-32 Leyte
CV-32 Leyte

"March 18[, 1947]—CARRIER ASSIGNED—A Navy announcement, said that the 27,000-ton air craft carrier Leyte (above), would depart from Quonset Point, R.I., early in April for a visit to the Mediterranean. (AP Wirephoto from Navy) (m31900usn)"

Tommy Trampp
CV-32 Leyte

A Sikorski HO3S-1 helicopter flies beside the carrier during the Second Task Fleet's Operation Frigid, November 1948.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (# 80-G-K-9496).

CV-32 Leyte

Underway in the North Atlantic, during Operation Frigid, 20 November 1948. Photographed by PH1 B.T. Teigan.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (photo # 80-G-416025).

Scott Dyben
CV-32 Leyte

Caloosahatchee (AO-98), Leyte (CV-32), and Samuel B. Roberts (DD-823) conducting an underway replenishment during Operation Frigid, 20 November 1948. US Navy photo.

Robert M. Cieri
CV-32 Leyte

"Here is a USN photo of Leyte, CV 32. No date nor location information with the photo, but my guess would be that this was taken in 1949 based on markings, aircraft and radar."

David Buell
CV-32 Leyte

Ensign Jesse L. Brown (left, front) and Ensign R.G. Rider play a game of backgammon (or "acey-ducey") in the Fighter Squadron 32 ready room, on board USS Leyte, 12 April 1949. Other squadron pilots are relaxing in the background.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (# 80-G-377908).

Note: Midshipman Jesse L. Brown was designated a Naval Aviator in October 1948, the first African-American to achive this status, and received his commission as Ensign in April 1949. He was killed in action on 4 December 1950, while on a close air support mission near the Chosin Reservoir. Ensign Jesse LeRoy Brown was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the escort ship USS Jesse L. Brown (DE-1089, later FF-1089) was named in his honor.

CV-32 Leyte

Ensign Jesse L. Brown, USN, takes the oath of office on board USS Leyte (CV-32), 26 April 1949. Administering the oath is the ship's Commanding Officer, Captain William L. Erdmann. Lieutenant Commander E.D. Williams (center) is witnessing the ceremony.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (#80-G-707201).

CV-32 Leyte

Ensign Jesse L. Brown, USN, in the cockpit of an F4U-4 Corsair fighter, circa 1950. He was the first African-American Naval Aviator, and flew with Fighter Squadron 32 (VF-32) from USS Leyte (CV-32).

Official U.S. Navy Photographs, now in the collections of the National Archives (#80-G-708014 and 030318-N-0000X-002).

(See also NS023211, NS023224 and USS Jesse L. Brown.)

Bill Gonyo
CV-32 Leyte

Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Thomas J. Hudner, Jr., USN, photographed wearing the Medal of Honor, which he received for heroism during the Korean War. Photograph is dated 29 November 1951.

On 4 December 1950, while serving with Fighter Squadron (VF) 32, aboard USS Leyte (CV-32), during the Korean War, LT(JG) Hudner crash-landed his own plane near the Chosin reservoir in a brave effort to rescue Ensign Jesse L. Brown (see NS023211), another VF-32 pilot whose plane had been shot down.

On 7 May 2012 Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced that an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, DDG-116, would be named Thomas Hudner after the Korean-war hero, who retired from the Navy as a Captain in February 1973. (In May 2012 Hudner was the last living Navy recipient of the Medal of Honor from the Korean War.)

Official U.S. Navy photograph, from the collections of the Naval History & Heritage Command (# NH 97091).

Naval History & Heritage Command
CV-32 Leyte

Carriers USS Wright (CVL-49) and USS Leyte (CV-32)—with Carrier Air Group (CVG) 3—moored at Naval Air Station (NAS) Quonset Point, Rhode Island, circa 1950.

US Navy and Marine Corps Museum/Naval Aviation Museum, Photo No.1996.488.195.006. Robert L. Lawson Photograph Collection.

Mike Green
CV-32 Leyte

Date and location unknown (maybe a base in Japan, during the Korean War?).

Philip D. Eakins, FISC Yokosuka Det Sasebo, comments: "[P]hoto numbered NS023201 was indeed taken while Leyte was anchored in Sasebo harbor. [...] The small building on the hillside located behind the ship is located at the Akasaki Fuel Terminal, although it canít be seen from the harbor now because of trees that have grown over the past 50+ years."

Collection of Robert Carey
CV-32 Leyte

"The crew of the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Leyte (CV-32) spells out the name of the ship on the forward part of the flight deck while she lays at anchor at Sasebo, Japan, during her Korean War cruise in 1950–51. The planes of Carrier Air Group Three (CVG-3) are visible on deck."

U.S. Navy National Museum of Naval Aviation photo No. 1999.272.028.

(Taken at the same time as photo above.)

Robert Hurst
CV-32 Leyte

USS Leyte underway and about to launch two Grumman F9F Panthers, circa the early 1950s. Location unknown.

Robert Hurst
CV-32 Leyte

Group of Marine fighter pilots of VMF-223 aboard USS Leyte on a Mediterranean cruise, September 6, 1949-January 26, 1950. Captain Rex Wilson is 4th from left, seated.

VMF-223 was part of Marine Aircraft Group 11 (MAG-11), 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW).

Karen Ledesma, daughter of Captain Rex Wilson
CV-32 Leyte

Crewmembers swimming over the carrier's side, using her deck edge elevator as a diving platform, at Augusta, Sicily, 27 May 1950.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (photo # 80-G-415936).

Scott Dyben
CV-32 Leyte

"The painting is somewhat amateurish, but I thought it might be a good contribution to because of the historical accuracy and significance. It was painted in September 1950 by a naval aviator (Richard D. McKenzie) while he was with VF-31 Squadron on board the USS Leyte. He flew several aircraft from the USS Leyte, including the Panther F9F shown landing on the USS Leyte in the painting. I do not know his rank at the time of the painting, but he finished his service with the Navy as a Commander."

"Richard's funeral was April 24, 2012 in Wichita, KS with full military honors."

Todd Hershberger,
son-in-law of Richard D. McKenzie
CV-32 Leyte

USS Leyte (CV-32) shown well lighted, at the carrier pier at NAS North Island, San Diego, CA on 19 September 1950. Working through the night combat loading, she will get underway for the Korean Peninsula at day break.

Robert M. Cieri
CV-32 Leyte

At anchor in Sasebo harbor, Japan, in November 1950, during a break in her Korean War combat operations. Photographed by AFC O.H. Wilson.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (photo # 80-G-434496).

Scott Dyben
CV-32 Leyte

USS Leyte (CV-32) underway in Korean waters. The photo was taken on 15 November 1950, three days before Ensign F. C. Weber, flying an F9F-2 Panther from VF-31 assigned to Leyte, shot down a North Korean MiG-15 (photo # USN-421908).

CV-32 Leyte

Moored off Naval Operating Base, Yokosuka, Japan, during a break from Korean War operations, 1 December 1950. Note old fortification in the left background.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (photo # 80-G-424599).

Scott Dyben
CV-32 Leyte

USS Leyte (CV-32) steams around the end of Naval Air Station, North Island, as she arrives at San Diego, California, after the end of her Korean War combat tour. The scene is partially framed by the tail of a PBM-5 patrol bomber (Bureau # 84771). Photograph is dated 3 February 1951.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center. (# NH 97296).

CV-32 Leyte

This AD-4N Skyraider, attached to VC-33 "Avengers," had some problems to recover aboard (1950–51).

Mike Wiles
CV-32 Leyte

"Leaving Hampton Roads (in background) en route to Med," 3 September 1951.

Mike Wiles
CV-32 Leyte

Aerial port beam view of USS Leyte (CV-32) anchored in Gulf Juan (Occitan: Gòuf Joan), France, near Cannes and the Lérins Islands (French: Îles Lérins), during the ship's 5th Mediterranean Cruise, 3 September–21 December 1951. The embarked Air Group was CVG-3, tailcode "K". Official U.S. Navy photograph.

Robert M. Cieri
CV-32 Leyte

"AD-3 (122805[, NE41]) of VC-12, gets chewed up by a landing AD-4Q (124042[, SS45]) of VC-33 on board USS Leyte. Both aircraft suffered strike damage, and one of the pilots was killed. 14 January 1952." Jim Sullivan, Skyraider in action (Carrollton, TX: Squadron/Signal Publications, 1983), 21.

(See also the collection of Robert Carey.)

(If you have any information concerning this accident, please let us know.)

Courtesy of Scott Koen &
CV-32 Leyte

May 1952, Quonset Point Rhode Island. Official USN image.

Original photo submitted by William R. Strewart.

Larger copy from the collection of Robert Carey.
As an ASW Carrier (CVS)
CVS-32 Leyte

The ASW aircraft carrier USS Leyte (CVS-32) underway, date and location unknown, with ZPG-2 aloft and unidentified destroyer in attendance (USN photo.)

Robert Hurst
CVS-32 Leyte

Photo of USS Leyte (CVS-32) signed for LT J.F. Ambrose by the ship's commanding officer, CAPT Elliott W. Parish, Jr., 22 April 1955.

Donald Steele
CVS-32 Leyte

USS Leyte (CVS-32) refueling from USS Nantahala (AO-60), 30 July 1955, during a Bermuda cruise.

Tommy Trampp
CVS-32 Leyte

Grumman S2F-1 Anti-submarine Aircraft "... gets a 'go' signal from USS Leyte flight deck 0fficer as she is launched for anti-submarine patrol during LANTPHIBEX. The specially-designed aircraft were kept flying around the clock during the overseas transit of the amphibious force, and combined with sonar-equipped helicopters and Navy blimps, provided effective protection against four marauding 'Enemy' subs." Quoted from the original caption, which was released by USS Leyte (CVS-32) under date of 1 November 1955.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center. (# NH 97297).

CVS-32 Leyte

A Grumman S2F-1 Tracker of U.S. Navy anti-submarine squadron VS-31 "Topcats" about to take off from the aircraft carrier USS Leyte (CVS-32) in May–June 1957. VS-31 was engaged in an anti-submarine exercise against the submarine USS Halfbeak (SS-352), which resulted in the submarine being "sunk" five times. The first plane visible (modex SP-20) was flown by CDR J.R. Rutledge, commanding officer of VS-31. Note that this plane is still painted in overall glossy sea blue, whereas the other planes are already painted in the then new gray-white paint scheme. VS-31's tail code was changed to "MC" later that year. U.S. Navy "Naval Aviation News," July 1957.

Robert Hurst
CVS-32 Leyte

USS Leyte (CVS-32) off Vieques Island, Puerto Rico, while embarking Marines prior to the "invasion" of the Panama Canal Zone, during amphibious exercises in 1957. She has thirteen HRS and two HUS helicopters of Marine Air Group 26 on her flight deck. Photo was released by the Department of Defense on 2 July 1957.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center. (# NH 97298).

CVS-32 Leyte

"NORFOLK, Va., July 12[, 1957]—HELICOPTER LOWERS DOME TO DECK OF CARRIER—A helicopter lowers a fabric and aluminum dome to the deck of the aircraft carrier Leyte here yesterday. The geodesic dome is designed for use by the United States Marine Corps as a field hospital or repair hut. (APWirephoto)"

Ron Reeves
CV-32 Leyte
22k In Portugal during the 1957 Med cruise,and 6th Fleet NATO operations. © Al Seguin
CVS-32 Leyte

Personnel of Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron (HS) 9 "Sea Griffins" in front of one of their Sikorsky HSS-1 Seabat helicopters on board the ASW aircraft carrier USS Leyte (CVS-32) in 1958. U.S. Navy Naval Aviation News, September 1958 issue.

Robert Hurst
CVS-32 Leyte

Grumman S2F-2 Tracker Anti-submarine Aircraft landing aboard USS Leyte (CVS-32) during an anti-submarine exercise. The photograph was received by the Naval Photographic Center in February 1958.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph (# USN 1034039).

CVS-32 Leyte

USS Leyte (CVS-32) operating with a ZPG-2 blimp and an unidentified destroyer of Destroyer Squadron Twenty, during anti-submarine exercises in February 1958.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph (# USN 1034040).

CVS-32 Leyte

USS Seawolf (SSN-575) with USS Leyte (CVS-32) and a ZPG-2 blimp, in the background, during an ASW exercise off the coast of Key West, FL, in February 1958.

USN photo # 1034051-2-58 TH.

Courtesy of the Vallejo Naval & Historical Museum via Darryl L. Baker.
CV-32 Leyte
64k "Mothballed," Bayonne, NJ, August 1961. © Richard Leonhardt

For more photos and information about this ship, see:

Read the USS LEYTE (CV-32 /CVA-32 / CVS-32 / AVT-10) DANFS History entry

Crew Contact and Reunion Information
Contact: Le Grande W. Van Wagenen
Address: 43 Frederick Place
Parlin, NJ 08859
Phone: 732-727-5993
Web site:  

Additional Resources
Hazegray & Underway World Aircraft Carrier Pages By Andrew Toppan.
USS Leyte (CV-32) Web Page
Official U.S. Navy Carrier Website
Korean Combat Action Reports located on the Naval Historical Center Web Site

Photo Index
Aircraft Carrier
Photo Index Page
Auxiliary Aircraft Landing Training Ship (AVT)
Index Page

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This page was created by Paul Yarnall and is maintained by Fabio Peña
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Last update: 12 October 2015