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Navsource Online: Destroyer Escort Photo Archive


Ship's name tab courtesy of Al Grazevich

USS LeRay Wilson (DE 414)


Flag Hoist / Radio Call Sign:
N - J - L - L
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons



Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row: Combat Action Ribbon (retroactive)
Second Row: China Service Medal - American Campaign Medal - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal w/ 2 stars
Third Row: WWII Victory Medal - National Defense Service Medal - Philippine Liberation Medal


Specifications:
Class: John C. Butler
Type: WGT (geared-turbine drive, 5" guns)
Displacement: 1350 tons (light), 1745 tons (full)
Length: 300' (wl), 306' (oa)
Beam: 36' 10" (extreme)
Draft: 11' 0" (draft limit)
Propulsion: 2 "D" Express boilers, 2 geared turbine engines, 12,000 shp, 2 screws
Speed: 24 kts
Range: 6,000 nm @ 12 knots
Armament: 2 - 5"/38 cal. DP guns (2x1), 4 - 40mm AA (2x2), 10 - 20mm AA, 3 - 21" TT, 1 Mk10 Hedgehog, 8 Mk6 Depth Charge Projectors, 2 Mk9 Depth Charge Stern Racks
Complement: 14 / 201
LeRay Wilson (DE 414) Building and Operational Data:
  • 20 December 1943: Keel laid by the Brown Shipbuilding Co., Houston, Tex.
  • 28 January 1944: Launched and christened, sponsored by Mrs. Julia Wilson, mother of LeRay Wilson
  • 10 May 1944: Commissioned, Lcdr M. V. Carson in command
  • 15 January 1947: Decommissioned at San Francisco, Cal.
  • 1947: Received major ASW upgrade
  • 28 March 1951: Recommissioned
  • 30 January 1959: Decommissioned at San Diego, Cal.
  • 15 May 1972: Struck from the NVR
  • 14 September 1973: Sold for scrapping
    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Contributed
    By And/Or Copyright
    LeRay Wilson 56k LeRay Wilson was born at Cove, Oregon on 4 February 1920, and enlisted in the Navy 8 February 1939. Assigned to USS William B. Preston (AVD 7) on 14 June 1940, Wilson was on the seaplane tender in Malolog Bay in the Philippines when the Japanese attacked American ships there on the morning of 8 December 1941. He remained on her throughout the succeeding months of valiant struggle in which plucky American ships defied overwhelming odds fighting to hold back the enemy advance toward Australia. Japanese bombers finally caught up with William B. Preston at Darwin, Australia, 19 February 1942. Despite the rapidity with which the attack developed and the very obvious danger of being trapped by an explosion, Wilson went immediately below decks and had just completed closing all doors and hatches when a bomb hitting within a few feet of him caused his death. Because of his courage and efficiency, the flooding of the ship was confined to two compartments. Metalsmith 2d Class Wilson was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for his bravery.

    USS LeRay Wilson (DE 414) (1944-1959) was the first ship to be named in his honor.

    (Photo from the USS LeRay Wilson Website.)
    Bill Gonyo
    LeRay Wilson 77k undated wartime image George J. Chairsson
    LeRay Wilson 62k undated wartime image Dan Culliton RM 44-46
    LeRay Wilson 67k in dry dock, undated wartime image
    LeRay Wilson 65k undated wartime image
    LeRay Wilson 72k 10 January 1945: Just prior to being struck by a kamikaze. Aircraft (Japanese Betty) and AA tracer fire are visible.
    (Slightly blurred but excellent image, whoever took this image is a very brave man.)
    LeRay Wilson 103k 1951: After recommissioning Frank D. Heckart GM 2/C
    October 1954 - May 1956.
    LeRay Wilson 120k undated postwar image David Buell
    LeRay Wilson 59k mid-1950's: location unknown - Young ladies aboard a yacht wave as LeRay Wilson steams past. Tommy Trampp
    LeRay Wilson 105k

    View the USS LeRay Wilson (DE 414) DANFS history entry
    located on the Naval History and Heritage Command web site.
    Crew Contact And Reunion Information

    Contact Name: Francis (Frank) D. Heckart GM 2/C
    Address: 635 C. R. 785 / Natalia TX 78059
    Phone: (830) 665-9789
    E-mail: fdhmjh@aol.com

    Note About Contacts

    Contact information is compiled from various sources over a period of time and may, or may not, be correct. Every effort has been
    made to list the newest contact. However, our entry is only as good as the latest information that's been sent to us. We list only
    a contact for the ship if one has been sent to us. We do NOT have crew lists or rosters available. Please see the Frequently Asked
    Questions section on Navsource's Main Page for that information.


    Additional Resources
    USS LeRay Wilson Website
    Destroyer Escort Sailors Association
    The Destroyer History Foundation
    Tin Can Sailors Shipmate Registry - USS LeRay Wilson

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    Page Last Updated 1 February 2014