Otis Lee Dennis, born 25 March 1913 in Scottsville, Ky., enlisted in the Navy 25 October 1940. Radioman Third Class Dennis was cited posthumously for his heroic conduct as an aerial gunner in the initial attack on Kwajalein, in which he was killed in action on 1 February 1942.
(DE-405: dp. l,350; l. 306'; b. 36'8"; dr. 9'5"; s. 24 k.; cpl. 186; a. 2 5", 3 21" tt., 8 dcp., 1 dcp. (hh.), 2 dct.; cl. John C.Butler)
Dennis (DE-405) was launched 4 December 1943 by Brown Shipbuilding Co., Houston, Tex.; sponsored by Mrs. J. L. Dennis, mother of the late Radioman Third Class Dennis; and commissioned 20 March 1944, Lieutenant Commander S. Hansen, USNR, in command.
Dennis arrived at Pearl Harbor 19 June 1944 to escort a convoy to Eniwetok and Kwajalein. She returned to Eniwetok 29 July screening Belleau Wood (CVL-24). Joining the 5th Fleet, she escorted Carrier Division 22 to Manus for exercises, then sortied with TF 77 on 10 September to supply air support for the landings on Morotai Island from 15 to 27 September.
From 12 October Dennis screened the escort carriers supplying the air cover for the invasion of Leyte. On 25 October she joined her carriers in making history as they fought a gallant action with the Japanese counter-attacking force in the Battle off Samar phase of the Battle for Leyte Gulf. Dennis rescued 434 survivors from the bombed St. Lu (CVE-63). For this action she shared in the Presidential Unit Citation awarded to TU 77.4.3. Arriving at Kossol Roads, Palaus, 28 October, she sailed 3 days later for the west coast, arriving at San Francisco 26 November for an overhaul.
Returning to the forward area Dennis departed Guam 16 February 1945 for the invasion of Iwo Jima, patrolling off the island until 8 March when she sailed to escort a convoy to Ulithi. On 21 March she proceeded to join a carrier group launching air strikes in preparation for the invasion of Okinawa. She remained with the carriers as they gave close support to the invasion forces ashore. Again she performed rescue services, on 4 May, saving 88 of the crew of Sangamon (CVE-26), a kamikaze victim. She served on radar picket duty at Ulithi from 9 May to 3 June, then returned to Okinawa to join the 3d Fleet for strikes against the Japanese mainland until 26 June.
From 30 June 1945 until the end of the war Dennis escorted convoys among Ulithi, Okinawa, the Philippines, and New Guinea. After the war she escorted landing craft to Okinawa, then departed Leyte Gulf 14 October for the west coast, arriving at San Diego 6 November. She was placed out of commission in reserve there 31 May 1946.
In addition to her Presidential Unit Citation Dennis received four battle stars for World War II service.