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|42k||Leland Evan Thomas was born 20 September 1918 in Ontario, Oregon. While living in Fruitland, Idaho, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve on 10 September 1941, was
appointed an air cadet 15 October 1941 and commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant on 17 April 1942. While serving in the southwest Pacific at Guadalcanal with Marine Scout Bomber Squadron 232,
Lieutenant Thomas contributed to the sinking of a Japanese cruiser and a destroyer and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross "for heroism and extraordinary achievement as a pilot....
His indomitable fighting spirit was in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service."
On 18 September 1942, 2nd Lt. Thomas was assigned to fly the regular morning anti-sub patrol out of Guadalcanal’s Henderson Field. The flight was uneventful, and at around 1100 hours Thomas began to head back to base. His route took him over a small convoy of American transports unloading reinforcements near Lunga. In the low overcast conditions, Thomas’ bomber (SBD-3 #03347) was mistaken for an enemy marauder. Gunners on the transports opened fire, smoking Thomas’ engine. He attempted a water landing, but became trapped in his cockpit when the plane hit the water. His gunner, Pfc. Edward Lee Eades, managed to escape, but was unable to free Lieutenant Thomas before the plane sank.
USS Leland E. Thomas (DE 420) (1944-1947) was the first ship to be named in his honor.
(Photo from the VFW 9036, New Plymouth, Idaho)
DE / FF / LCS Archive
|62k||undated wartime image||Michael Layson|
|48k||08 November 1944: New York Harbor - Port side view of the USS Leland E. Thomas (DE 420) off New York wearing Measure 32/3d camouflage scheme. Also visible is a
DF antenna mounted on the funnel. She was in the Navy Yard from 24 October to 07 November 1944 for drydocking and post-voyage repairs. On 08 November she got underway to compensate her compass
and reload ammunition at Leonardo, N.J. She then returned to Pier 36 of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Annex to reprovision. Part of Escort Division 76, the ship left New York on 10 November, escorting
store ship USS Polaris (AF 11) to the Panama Canal Zone, then proceeding to the Southwest Pacific and based out of Manus Island's Seeadler Harbor.
(U.S. Navy Bureau of Ships photo #BS 77807 from the National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Md., courtesy of C. Lee Johnson, Ships of the U.S. Navy in WWII “Dazzle” Camouflage)
Port Angeles, Wash.
|250k||08 November 1944: USS Leland E. Thomas (DE 420), as above.
(U.S. Navy photo #L45-163.03.01 from the Naval History and Heritage Command)
|Leland E. Thomas History|
|View the USS Leland E. Thomas (DE 420) DANFS history entry located on the Naval History and Heritage Command web site.|
|View the official War History of USS Leland E. Thomas as submitted by the ship at war's end.|
|Leland E. Thomas' Commanding Officers
Thanks to Wolfgang Hechler & Ron Reeves
|Dates of Command||Commanding Officers|
|1.) 19 Jun. 1944 - 01 Aug. 1944||Lcdr. Leslie Edward Rosenberg, USNR (Comm. CO) (Seattle, Wash.)|
|2.) 01 Aug. 1944 – 04 Nov. 1945||Lcdr. Bernard J. Dunn, USNR (Jamaica Plain, Mass.)|
|3.) 04 Nov. 1945 – 02 Jan. 1946||Lcdr. William J. Croul, USNR (Detroit, Mich.)|
|4.) 02 Jan. 1946 – 13 Apr. 1946||Lt.(jg) George J. Kroupa Jr., USNR (Philadelphia, Pa.)|
|5.) 13 Apr. 1946 - 20 May 1946||Ens. James A. Hammes, USNR|
|6.) 20 May 1946 - 15 Jun. 1946||Lcdr. John Foster Collingwood, USN (North Bend, Wash.)|
|7.) 15 Jun. 1946 - 03 Sep. 1946||Lcdr. Claude Bufford Shaw, USN (USNA '42) (Holcomb, Miss.)|
|8.) 03 Sep. 1946 - 12 Nov. 1946||Lt. Elvin James Loofbourrow, USN (Plano, Iowa)|
|9.) 12 Nov. 1946 - 15 Jan. 1947||Lt. Virgil Matthew Meaden, USN (Decomm. CO) (Elbow Lake, Minn.)|
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, rosters, or deck logs available. Please see the
Frequently Asked Questions section on NavSource's Main Page for that information.
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Page Last Updated: 02 April 2022