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USS WILLIS A. LEE (DD-929 / DL-4)


Flag Hoist/Radio Call Sign - NCAA

Tactical Voice Radio Call Sign (circa 1968) - BLACK CATTLE

CLASS - MITSCHER As Built.
Displacement 4855 Tons (Full), Dimensions, 490' (oa) x 47' 6" x 14' 8" (Max)
Armament 2 x 5"/54 RF (2x1), 4 x 3"/70 (2x2), 8 20mm (4x2) 2 Weapon Alfa ASW
Systems, 4 x 21" TT, 1 DC Track.
Machinery, 80,000 SHP; Geared Turbines, 2 screws
Speed, 36.5 Knots, Range 4500 NM@ 20 Knots, Crew 360.
Operational and Building Data
Laid down by Bethlehem Steel Quincy November 1 1949.
Launched January 26 1952.
Commissioned October 5 1954.
Decommissioned December 19 1969.
Stricken May 15 1972.
Fate Sold 5/18/73 to Union Minerals and Alloys, New York, NY and scrapped.

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Size Image Description Contributed
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Lee 67kWillis A. Lee, Jr. was born in Natlee, Kentucky, on 11 May 1888. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1908. Over the next two decades, he served in several ships and on shore duty as an inspector of ordnance, while also representing the Navy in rifle competitions. He was Commanding Officer of three destroyers during the 1920s and attended the Naval War College late in that decade. During the 1930s and early 1940s, Lee was several times assigned to the Fleet Training Division, commanded the light cruiser Concord, and served on the staff of Commander, Cruisers, Battle Force. In early 1942, following his promotion to the rank of Rear Admiral, Lee became Assistant Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet. In August 1942, Rear Admiral Lee was sent to the Pacific to command a Battleship Division. Flying his flag in USS Washington (BB-56), he was active through the Guadalcanal Campaign and led his force to victory over a Japanese surface group in the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal on the night of 14-15 November 1942. He was later promoted and placed in charge of the Pacific Fleet's fast battleships. In May 1945, he was sent to the Atlantic to command a special unit researching defenses against the Kamikaze threat. While serving in that position on 25 August 1945, Vice Admiral Willis A. Lee died suddenly after suffering a heart attack. Photo #: NH 95009. Rear Admiral Willis A. Lee, Jr., USN, portrait photograph, taken circa 1942. From RAdm. Samuel Eliot Morison photographic files. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.Bill Gonyo
Lee 31kUndated, location unknown.-
Lee 94kUndated, location unknown.John Peel
Lee 176kUSS Willis A. Lee (DL-4), at anchor off Istanbul, Turkey on 16 August 1955, during her maiden Sixth Fleet deployment. She was then flagship of Commander, Destroyer Flotilla Six. Note USS Salem (CA-139) anchored further downstream. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval History and Heritage Command. Photo # NH 106843.Robert Hurst
Lee 249kUSS Willis A. Lee aground on 17 March 1956 near Jamestown, Rhode Island.David Buell
Lee 71kAnchored in Newport, Rhode Island, 22 June 1957.Gerd Matthes
Lee 85kAnchored in Newport, Rhode Island, 22 June 1957.Gerd Matthes
Lee 59kCirca 1959, location unknown. Photo from "Our Navy" magazine.Robert Hurst
Lee 49kValetta, Malta circa 1960.Robert Hurst
Lee 120kBoston Naval Shipyard, 1961John Peel
Lee 249kBoston Naval Shipyard, July 4, 1961 Richard Leonhardt
Lee 56kBoston Naval Shipyard, August 1961. DDG-3 John King And DDG-10 Sampson Also In This Image Richard Leonhardt
Lee 124kOriginally classed as (DD-929), the Willis A. Lee was reclassed as (DL-4) during construction in the belief that she and her sisters would be "destroyer leaders". Her original armament was deceptive with ASW Weapon As mounted fore and aft and the inclusion of the large bow-mounted sonar dome but her designed role was that of a "task force air defense ship and she carried all the then latest conventional A.A. weapons, gun directors and radar arrays. The photo, taken at Boston Navy Yard, in April, 1966, shows the ship receiving a new rubber sonar dome, which greatly enhanced the scanning sonar performance. The dry-docking problems with the bow mounted domes is apparent.-
Lee 49kCirca 1967, location unknown.Robert Hurst
Lee 152kPublicity photo of the Lee circa 1967-68.Dave Mader
Lee 119kAt sea during Med to Newport transit - April 1968.Dave Mader
Lee 108kMoored at Destroyer & Submarine Piers in Newport - 1968.Dave Mader
Lee 36kTied at Pier (lower right), Gibraltar, 1968.Dave Mader
Lee 45kHangar Deck Life Ring - Gibraltar, 1968.Dave Mader
Lee 49kPort Visit - Sousse, Tunisia - 1968.Dave Mader
Lee 36kAnchored in Harbor - Syracusa, Sicily - 1968.Dave Mader
Lee 54kHangar Deck Cookout - 1968 Med CruiseDave Mader
Lee 38kBridge - Gibraltar - 1968.Dave Mader
Lee 47kFantail Sea Detail - Greece - 1968.Dave Mader
Lee 34kReturning to Newport in the Fog - 1968.Dave Mader
Lee 119kIn the Philadelphia Navy Yard reserve basin, probably the early 1970's.Ed Zajkowski
Lee 41kShip's patch.Mike Smolinski
Lee 90kShip's plaque Dave received when he left the ship in February of 1969.Dave Mader

USS WILLIS A. LEE DD-929 / DL-4
View This Vessels DANFS History Entry
(Located On The hazegray Web Site, This Is The Main Archive For The DANFS Online Project.)

Commanding Officers
Thanks to Wolfgang Hechler & Ron Reeves

CDR Frederick Henry Schneider Jr.    Oct 5 1954 - Jul 1955 (Later VADM)
CDR William Harrison Mack    Jul 1955 - Aug 1957
CDR Robert Hurff Armstrong    Aug 1957 - Jan 1959
CDR Robert Good Smith    Jan 1959 - Aug 1960
CDR Albert Wesley Cox    Aug 1960 - Jul 1962
CDR Denis-James Joseph Downey    Jul 1962 - Jan 1964 (Later VADM)
CDR Donald Robert Jex    Jan 1964 - Nov 1965
CDR Peter Joseph Goldman    Nov 1965 - Feb 1968
CDR William Joseph Moredock    Feb 1968 - Oct 1969
LCDR David Winston Moore    Oct 1969 - Dec 19 1969

Crew Contact And Reunion Information

Contact Name: Frank Graham
Address: 44 Garland Court, Brooklyn, NY 11229
Phone: (718) 934-6410
E-mail: frankDL4@optonline.net
Next Reunion: Sep 22-25, 2011, Erlanger, Kentucky

Note About Contacts.

The contact listed, Was the contact at the time for this ship when located. If another person now is the contact, E-mail me and I will update this entry. These contacts are compiled from various sources over a long period of time and may or may not be correct. Every effort has been made to list the newest contact if more than one contact was found.


Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
Destroyer Leaders Association Website
Tin Can Sailors Website
Destroyer History Foundation
Destroyers Online Website
Official U.S.Navy Destroyer Website

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