Title: Commemorative Medal Battle of Leyte Gulf
Accession #: NHHC 1970-140-F
Size: 1.75" Dia
Location: Headquarters Artifact Collection, Naval History and Heritage Command
One bronze commemorative medal in honor of the 25th anniversary of the Battle of Leyte Gulf. The obverse contains raised bust depictions of Admiral Ernest J. King and Admiral Jesse B. Oldendorf. The artist’s name is in raised letters at the bottom "E.R. Grove Copyright P. A. M./1969." The reverse has a raised image of battleships in line in the water ready to cross the T. Either side of the ships has raised letters "Battle of Leyte Gulf/October 22-27/1944." The rim is stamped "Medallic Art Co NY."
Admiral Ernest J. King was the Chief of Naval Operations during World War II and served as the Commander in Chief of the United States Fleet. He was promoted to the rank of Fleet Admiral on 17 December 1944, becoming the second of only four men to hold the rank.
Admiral Jesse B. Oldendorf commanded the fire support group during the invasion of Peleliu and the Palau islands. On 12 September 1944, the fire support group was scheduled for a three day assault on the islands but ceased fire after two days, striking all of their targets around the island group multiple times. Following the barrage, the US Marines assaulted the still heavily fortified beach on Peleliu, resulting in heavy Marine casualties. The early withdrawal of the attack resulted in criticism and controversy for Oldendorf.
Admiral Oldendorf was able to redeem himself from his alleged mistake at Peleliu during the Battle of Surigao Strait. On 24 October 1944, as commander of Task Group 77.2 aboard the USS Louisville (CA-28), Oldendorf deployed his ships in a battle line formation enabling a successful “crossing the T” maneuver resulting in the sinking of the Japanese battleships Fusō and Yamashiro. The Battle of Surigao Strait marks the last time this maneuver has been performed in battle. The efforts of Task Group 77.2 prevented the Japanese fleet from entering Surigao Strait and secured the beachheads at Leyte. Admiral Oldendorf earned the Navy Cross for his actions during the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
This medal is part of a set referred to as "Presidential Art Medals World War II Series." The series consists of 30 medals highlighting important people and battles from World War II. They were created in silver and bronze by Presidential Art Medals of Vandalia, OH and struck by Medallic Art New York. The sculptor was Edward R. Grove.