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USS Leutze (DD-481)

Please see below for item level images and donated collections containing photographs of USS Leutze (DD-481)

USS Leutze (DD-481) was laid down on 3 June 1941 at Bremerton, Wash., by Puget Sound Navy Yard; launched on 29 October 1942; christened on 20 January 1943; sponsored by Miss Caroline Rowcliff, granddaughter of the ship’s namesake and daughter of Rear Adm. Gilbert J. Rowcliff, member of the General Board, Navy Department, Washington, D.C.; and commissioned on 4 March 1944, Cmdr. Berton A. Robbins, Jr., in command.

During the first week of April 1944, USS Leutze (DD-481) loaded ammunition, torpedoes, and depth charges, degaussed, and completed structural firing tests in the Puget Sound area before moving to Pier 41 at the U.S. Naval Supply Depot in Seattle, Wash., on the 5th. On the afternoon of 10 April 1944, USS Leutze (DD-481) put to sea and headed for San Diego, Calif. After arriving on the evening of the 13th, the destroyer underwent two days of inspections with Commander Fleet Operational Training Command, Pacific Fleet (COTCPAC) representatives. She departed for Bremerton on 14 May and entered Puget Sound Navy Yard for post-shakedown availability on the afternoon of 17 May. USS Leutze (DD-481) moved to Pier 91 (formerly known as Pier 41) on 2 June and prepared for her first mission.

Steaming from Pearl Harbor on the afternoon of 23 June 1944, USS Leutze (DD-481) served as escort with USS Smalley for the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid (CV-11) en route to Eniwetok in the Marshall Islands. After arriving on the 30th, the ships remained there for several days. USS Leutze (DD-481) conducted upkeep while USS Intrepid delivered a load of torpedoes and took aboard hundreds of casualties for transportation back to the United States.

USS Leutze (DD-481) set course for the war’s next major objective, the Philippines, on 12 October 1944 with TG 77.2, led by Adm. Oldendorf in USS Louisville. The transit proceeded smoothly until the ships encountered the heavy rain squalls, strong winds, and high seas of a near-typhoon intensity storm beginning on the 16th. On the morning of the Leyte landings, 20 October 1944, USS Leutze (DD-481) shelled the beach for about an hour as the U.S. Sixth Army made its way to shore. 

On 17 January 1945, USS Leutze (DD-481), USS Ingraham (DD-694), and USS Kimberly (DD-521) escorted the battleships USS New Mexico and USS Pennsylvania into the gulf to the anchorage area, where the destroyer remained for the next few days. Steaming in company with USS California, USS New Mexico and nine other destroyers as TG 77.15, USS Leutze (DD-481) departed Lingayen Gulf on the evening of the 22nd. During her repair period, USS Leutze (DD-481) reported to Fifth Fleet and was assigned to TU 51.1.2 for the impending operations at Iwo Jima. USS Leutze (DD-481) received orders to escort the battleship USS Tennessee (BB-43) to rendezvous with TF 54 south of Ie Shima at 1545 on the afternoon of 6 April 1945.

The war with Japan officially concluded on 2 September 1945 with the ratification of the instrument of surrender on board the battleship USS Missouri (BB-63) in Tokyo Bay. Finally, on the morning of 13 October, word of the Board’s decision arrived—USS Leutze (DD-481) would be decommissioned. USS Leutze (DD-481) decommissioned on 6 December 1945 and was placed in the custody of the U.S. Naval Shipyard Mare Island. 

For a complete history of USS Leutze (DD-481) please see its DANFS page.