Lee Fox, born 11 January 1920 at Rock Island, III., died defending the U.S. Naval Air Station, Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, Hawaii, during the Japanese sneak attack of 7 December 1941. He began his flight training in the Civilian Pilot Training Program as an undergraduate at Franklin and Marshall College. Appointed an aviation cadet in the Naval Reserve 9 January 1941, he won his pilot’s wings at Pensacola and was commissioned an ensign 5 August. After brief service on the west coast, he arrived Hawaii 17 September and served with Patrol Squadron 12 until his death.
(DE-65: dp. 1,400; l. 306'; b. 36'10"; dr. 13'6"; s. 24 k.; cpl. 186; a. 3 3", 4 4.1", 8 20mm., 8 dcp., 1 dcp. (h.h.), 2 dct.; cl. Buckley)
Lee Fox (DF-65) was laid down I March 1943 by Bethlehem-Hingham Shipyard, Inc., Hingham, Mass.; launched 29 May; sponsored by Mrs. Lee Fox, mother of Ensign Fox; and commissioned 30 August 1943, Lt. Comdr. W. C. Jennings in command.
Built with dispatch, Lee Fox helped to overcome the German submarine menace in the Atlantic. Her greatest enemy, however, turned out to be the buffeting storms of the North Atlantic. Returning from her Bermuda shakedown voyage 17 October 1943, she was overtaken by a hurricane that almost capsized the vessel and caused a fire in the aft engineroom. On 11 December off Cape Cod, during a storm a projectile exploded on her forecastle, causing more fire damage and further yard repairs.
Overcoming her early misfortunes, Lee Fox, completed 18 Atlantic crossings between 6 November 1943 and 7 January 1945. Londonderry, Northern Ireland, became her port away from home as she helped escort the invasion troops and supplies to England for Operation “Overlord,” the invasion of Normandy. The last round-trip voyage required 30 days to convoy heavy equipment, such as floating cranes and powerplants, being towed to Plymouth, England, for use in the captured ports on the continent. Her only sure contact with enemy submarines occured 20 December 1944 when two ships in the return convoy were torpedoed.
Beginning 21 February 1945, this destroyer escort was converted to a high-speed transport and reclassified APD-45 2 days later. On 7 May she sortied from Norfolk with TU 29.6.1 bound for the war in the Pacific. Lee Fox arrived Pearl Harbor 31 May, having transited the Panama Canal on the 13th and spent 3 days at San Diego.
After she had additional training with Naval Combat Demolition Teams, 120 passengers were embarked 18 June for Guam. Continuing westward from Guam with a new list of passengers, Lee Fox next dropped anchor in San Pedro Bay, Philippines, 6 July. Here the end of the war overtook her but on 9 September the first of a series of escort assignments ended at Tokyo Bay. As a member of TU 53.7.1, she sailed for Yokohama 23 October to see that the northern Japanese islands of Oshima and others nearby were complying with the terms of surrender.
Released from this duty 15 November, she sailed for home before the end of the month and disembarked 123 veterans at San Diego 15 December. Departing New Year’s Day 1946, she reached her home port of Boston on the 17th. Following a period in dry dock, she arrived Green Cove Springs, Fla., 14 February 1946 and decommissioned 13 May and entered the Atlantic Reserve Fleet. Struck from the Navy list 1 September 1964, Lee Fox was sold 31 January 1966 for scrapping to the Southern Scrap Material Co., New Orleans, La.