Robert Lawrence Leopold, born 11 November 1916 in Louisville, Ky., enlisted in the Naval Reserve 10 July 1940. Following training in Wyoming, he was appointed midshipman 16 September 1940 and commissioned ensign 12 December. Reporting for duty on board Arizona 2 weeks later, Ensign Leopold served in that battleship until killed in action 7 December 1941 during the attack on Pearl Harbor.
(DE-319: dp. 1,200; l. 306'; b. 36'7"; dr. 8'7"; s. 21 k.; cpl. 186; a. 3 3", 8 40mm., 10 20mm., 8 dcp., 1 dcp. (hh.), 2 dct.; cl. Edsall)
Leopold (DF-319) was laid down 24 March 1943 by Consolidated Steel Corp., Orange, Tex.; launched 12 June 1943; sponsored by Miss Helen S. Leopold, sister of Ensign Leopold; and commissioned 18 October 1943, Lt. Comdr. Kenneth C. Phillips, USCG, in command.
After shakedown off Bermuda, Coast Guard manned Leopold departed Norfolk 24 December 1943 to escort convoy USG-68 to Casablanca. Arriving 11 January 1944, the destroyer escort made an antisubmarine patrol off the Straits of Gibraltar until sailing 5 days later on an escort passage to the United States.
Departing New York 1 March on her second voyage, Leopold screened convoy CU-16 for the British Isles. While investigating a submarine contact on the eve of 9 March at 57°37' N., 26°30' W., Leopold was struck by an acoustic torpedo fired from U-255. Badly damaged, she was abandoned. Joyce (DE-317) rescued 28 survivors at the close of the action; 171 others were lost through explosion on board or drowning after abandoning. Leopold remained afloat until early the next morning, then sank.