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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
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Leonard Wood

 

Leonard Wood was born 9 October 1860 at Winchester, N.H. After graduating from Harvard Medical School in 1884, he was commissioned assistant surgeon in the Army Medical Corps 5 January 1886. That summer he distinguished himself in the Apache campaign and was later awarded the Medal of Honor for voluntarily carrying “dispatches through a region infested with hostile Indians, making a journey of 70 miles in 1 night and walking 30 miles the next day. Also for several weeks while in close pursuit of Geronimo’s band and constantly expecting an encounter, he commanded a detachment of infantry....”

 

Promoted to captain in 1891, he was assigned to Washington, D.C., where he met Theodore Roosevelt and became President McKinley’s personal physician. With the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, Wood joined Roosevelt in organizing the “Rough Riders” and commanded the regiment. Immediately after the war, Wood became military governor of Santiago Province, then, from December 1899 to March 1902. Governor-General of Cuba. He restored order to that troubled island and established educational, political, and sanitary systems. Wood next used his skill as an administrator pacifying the Maro Province of the Philippines which he governed from 1903 to 1906. Promoted to major general in August 1903. Wood commanded the Philippine Division from 1906 to 1908. As Army Chief of Staff from 1910 to 1914, he reorganized the War Department and prepared the Army for the challenge of World War II. He was a leading candidate for the Republican nomination for president in 1920. In 1921 President Harding appointed Wood Governor-General of the Philippine Islands. He remained at that post until hisdeath 7 August 1927.

 

(AP-25: dp. 21,900; l. 535'; b.. 72'6"; dr. 31.3"; s. 17.5 k.; cpl. 667; tr. 1,926; a. 4 3"; 4 40mm; cl. Harris)

 

Leonard Wood (AP-25), ex-Nutmeg State and Western World, was built in 1922 by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Co., Sparrow Point, Md.; purchased by the War Department in 1939 and renamed Leonard Wood; served as a Army transport until acquired by the Navy 3 June 1911; and commissioned 10 June, manned by the Coast Guard, Comdr. H. G. Bradbury, USCG, in command.

 

After training off North Carolina, Leonard Wood departed Halifax, Nova Scotia, 10 November 1941 carrying reinforcements around the Cape of Good Hope to British outposts in the Far East. After debarking troops at Bombay and Singapore, she returned, entering Philadelphia Navy Yard in March 1942 for conversion to an attack transport. She was redesignated APA-12 on 1 February 1943.

 

Alterations completed late in April, the attack transport trained in Chesapeake Bay for the invasion of north Africa. She departed Hampton Roads 24 October carrying almost 1,900 fighting men from the 3d Division and slipped in close to beaches at Fedhala, French Morroco, on the night of 7 to 8 November. The next morning she sent her boats ashore and provided gunfire support while also rescuing survivors from torpedoed sister ships. Leonard Wood remained in the first line of transports, carrying out her mission until 12 November when enemy submarines, which had already sunk or damaged six Allied ships, forced the remaining transports to finish unloading at Casablanca. Departing 17 November, she arrived Norfolk on the 30th for repairs and more amphibious warfare training.

 

The transport sailed 3 June 1943 and arrived Mers el Kebir, Algeria, 22 June where she prepared for the assault on Sicily. She sortied with TF 65 on 5 July and 4days later began unloading waves of troops in the Wood’s Hole sector, some 512 miles west of Socglitti, Sicily. At dawn of the 10th, her gunners fired at an enemy bomber which dropped bombs 200 to 300 yards astern and kept up an antiaircraft barrage throughout the day, helping to splash three planes. With unloading completed and damaged landing craft salvaged, the ship got underway for Norfolk, on the 12th, arriving 4 August. Three weeks later she departed Norfolk for San Francisco, embarked troops, then steamed for Honolulu, arriving 27 September.

 

Leonard Wood spent the remainder of World War II in the Pacific, distinguishing herself in seven amphibious landings. In the Gilbert Islands and Marshall Islands operations the ship gained experience, especially in cargo handling, which proved invaluable when Leonard Wood later took part in the final push toward victory with the landings at Saipan. Leyte, and Lingayen Gulf.

 

Leonard Wood departed Pearl Harbor 29 May 1944 bound for the capture and occupation of Saipan, Marianas Islands. Arriving Eniwetok, Marshall Islands, an atoll Leonard Wood had helped to secure just 3 months before, the ship fueled, watered, and provisioned before departing 11 June for her assigned anchorage off Saipan. Arriving 15 June, Leonard Wood unloaded and cleared all boats in 49 minutes. For the next 9days, the transport stood off Saipan, unloading cargo and receiving on board casualties for transfer to hospital ships. The transport sailed 24 June for Eniwetok and then returned to Pearl Harbor 20 July.

 

After Saipan, the ship made transport and training runs between Pearl Harbor, Eniwetok, and Guadalcanal until she sailed from Guadalcanal 8 September for the capture and occupation of Angaur Island, Palau Island Group. Arriving 7 September, the ship landed troops, and then began unloading cargo and receiving casualties. Leonard Wood completed unloading 21 September, and departed for Manus Island 27 September.

 

Remaining at Manus just long enough to fuel, provision and reembark troops, the transport sailed 12 October to begin the long-awaited liberation of the Philippines. Arriving off the Leyte beachheads 20 October, Leonard Wood debarked troops and cargo in record time and steamed for Palau only 10 hours later.

 

For the next week Leonard Wood prepared for further operations in the Philippine Islands, departing Sansapor, New Guinea, 30 December 1944 for the assault on Lingayen Gulf. Many Japanese suicide planes attacked the formation and Leonard Wood helped down one of them. Arriving Lingayen 9 January 1945,she again unloaded troops and cargo while firing at enemy planes before departing the same day for Leyte.

 

Leonard Wood took part in her last amphibious landing with the Mindoro Island assault 9 February 1945.Debarking her troops and cargo in less than 5 hours, she steamed for San Francisco via Leyte, Ulithi, and Pearl Harbor, arriving 27 March.

 

After repairs at San Francisco Leonard Wood began transport duties between the United States and the western Pacific, making two runs to Manila and one to Tokyo. The ship’s Coast Guard crew debarked 22 March 1946 when Leonard Wood decommissioned and was redelivered to the Army at Seattle, Wash., pending transfer to the War Shipping Administration. The ship was sold to Consolidated Builders, Inc., for scrap 20 January 1948.

 

Leonard Wood earned eight battle stars World War II service.