Leyte, an island in the southeastern Philippine Islands, was the site of the Battle for Leyte Gulf 23 to 26 October 1944. The series of major air and surface engagements fought there culminated in four almost simultaneous naval actions; the Battle of Surigao Strait, the Battle off Samar, the Battle of Cape Engano, and the Battle of the Sibuyan Sea. Combined, they defeated the Japanese challenge to drive American forces from the Philippines. The first Leyte retained her Spanish name; the second was named for the island; and the third was named after the battle.
(ARG-8: dp. 4,611; l. 441'6" ; b. 56'11"; dr. 23'’; s. 12.5 k.; cpl. 647; a. 1 5", 3 3", 4 40mm., 12 20mm.; T. EC2-S-C1; cl. Luzon)
The second Leyte (ARG-8) was laid down by Bethlehem-Fairchild Shipyard, Inc., Baltimore, Md., 20 January 1944; launched 18 February 1944; sponsored by Miss Rhoda J. Braun; and commissioned 17 August 1944, Comdr. Elder P. Johnson in command.
After training in Chesapeake Bay, Leyte sailed from Norfolk 3 October 1944 for Pacific duty. She reported to Commander Service Force 7th Fleet 26 November at Hollandia, New Guinea. Here she became a repair ship for LSMs, and continued this service until she departed for the Philippine Islands 25 February 1945. For the remainder of the war Leyte served in Subic Bay. Her name was changed to Maui 31 May so that the name Leyte could be assigned to a new aircraft carrier under construction.
The ship departed Subic Bay in early December and arrived on the west coast with 1,108 returning war veterans before Christmas. She became inactive March 1946, and decommissioned at San Diego 30 August where she was assigned to the San Diego Group of the Pacific Reserve Fleet. Maui was transferred to the National Defense Reserve Fleet, Suisun Bay, San Francisco, where she remains into 1969.