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USS Leland E. Thomas (DE 420)

Flag Hoist / Radio Call Sign:
N - H - H - O
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row: American Campaign Medal
Second Row: Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal w/ 1 star - WWII Victory Medal - Philippine Liberation Ribbon

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
Leland E. Thomas (DE 420) Building and Operational Data:
  • 21 January 1944: Keel laid by the Brown Shipbuilding Co., Houston, Tex.
  • 28 February 1944: Launched and christened, sponsored by Mrs. Benjamin E. Thomas, mother of Lieutenant Thomas
  • 19 June 1944: Commissioned, Lcdr. Leslie E. Rosenberg in command
  • 15 January 1947: Decommissioned at San Pedro, Cal. after 2 years and 7 months of service having steamed 90,986 miles
  • 28 March 1947: Inactivation completed at San Pedro, Cal., assigned to Submarine Group Two, San Diego Group, Pacific Reserve Fleet
  • 03 May 1947: Towed from San Pedro to San Diego, Cal., transferred to the 19th Fleet (inactive storage)
  • 01 December 1972: Struck from the NVR
  • 11 September 1973: Sold for scrapping
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    Leland E. Thomas

    Leland E. Thomas

    Leland E. Thomas

    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)
    Mike Smolinski
    Clifton, N.J.

    Archive Manager
    DE / FF / LCS Archive
    Leland E. Thomas 57k 1944 David Buell
    Leland E. Thomas 62k undated wartime image Michael Layson
    Leland E. Thomas 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)
    Mike Green
    Port Angeles, Wash.
    Leland Thomas 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)
    Mike Smolinski
    Clifton, N.J.

    Navsource DE/FF/LCS
    Archive Manager

    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. 1944Lcdr. Leslie Edward Rosenberg, USNR (Comm. CO) (Seattle, Wash.)
    2.) 01 Aug. 1944 – 04 Nov. 1945Lcdr. Bernard J. Dunn, USNR (Jamaica Plain, Mass.)
    3.) 04 Nov. 1945 – 02 Jan. 1946Lcdr. William J. Croul, USNR (Detroit, Mich.)
    4.) 02 Jan. 1946 – 13 Apr. 1946Lt.(jg) George J. Kroupa Jr., USNR (Philadelphia, Pa.)
    5.) 13 Apr. 1946 - 20 May 1946Ens. James A. Hammes, USNR
    6.) 20 May 1946 - 15 Jun. 1946Lcdr. John Foster Collingwood, USN (North Bend, Wash.)
    7.) 15 Jun. 1946 - 03 Sep. 1946Lcdr. Claude Bufford Shaw, USN (USNA '42) (Holcomb, Miss.)
    8.) 03 Sep. 1946 - 12 Nov. 1946Lt. Elvin James Loofbourrow, USN (Plano, Iowa)
    9.) 12 Nov. 1946 - 15 Jan. 1947Lt. Virgil Matthew Meaden, USN (Decomm. CO) (Elbow Lake, Minn.)

    Crew Contact And Reunion Information

    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, rosters, or deck logs available. Please see the
    Frequently Asked Questions section on NavSource's Main Page for that information.

    Additional Resources

    Tin Can Sailors
    The U.S. Navy Memorial
    Destroyer Escort Sailors Association
    The Destroyer Escort Historical Museum
    The Destroyer History Foundation
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    This Page Created And Maintained By Mike Smolinski
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    by Paul R. Yarnall, All Rights Reserved.
    Page Last Updated: 02 April 2022