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LeHardy (DE-20)

(DE-20: dp. 1,140; l. 289'5"; b. 35'1"; dr. 8'3"; s. 21 k.; cpl. 156; a. 3 3", 4 1.1", 9 20 mm., 8 dcp., 1 dcp. (h.h.), 2 dct. ; cl. Evarts)

Marcel LeHardy was born 18 Feburary 1905 in Savannah, Ga., and was commissioned ensign 3 June 1926. A lieutenant commander from 1 April 1943, he was killed in enemy action while serving as communications officer in San Francisco during the Solomons Islands campaign.

He received the Navy Cross for his valor in the Battle of Guadalcanal. The citation reads: "For extraordinary heroism in the line of his profession during action with enemy forces on the night of 12-13 November 1942 on which occasion the force to which he was attached engaged at close quarters and defeated a superior enemy force. His daring and determination contributed materially to the victory which prevented the enemy from accomplishing their purpose."

LeHardy (DE-20) was laid down as Duff (BDE-20) for British Navy 15 April 1942 by Mare Island Navy Yard; launched 21 November 1942; sponsored by Mrs. Bert A. Barr; retained for use in the U.S. Navy and renamed LeHardy 19 February 1943; and commissioned 15 May 1943, Lt. Comdr. J. H. Prause in command.

After shakedown, LeHardy was assigned to the "pineapple run," escorting convoys from the west coast to Pearl Harbor. She sailed on her first cruise to Hawaii 21 July and made two additional runs with convoys before being ordered to remain at Hawaii in late October. Following training exercises, LeHardy departed Pearl Harbor 15 November as ASW screen with a convoy en route to Tarawa. Upon arrival there 10 days later, the destroyer escort continued patrol and screening operations with the 5th Fleet in the vicinity of the Gilbert Islands. LeHardy remained off the Gilberts as the marines ashore secured the islands, from which the Marshalls operation would be launched.

Departing Makin 25 December, she steamed back to Hawaii for preinvasion training in preparation for her next assignment. Sailing from Pearl Harbor again 28 January 1944, LeHardy formed part of the escort and ASW screen for a convoy to the Marshall Islands landings. She arrived off Kwajalein 5 February, the day the atoll was secured, then escorted the cargo ships to Funafuti, Ellice Islands. She returned to the Marshalls in mid-February for patrols and screening duties during the capture of Eniwetok, before sailing for Pearl Harbor 4 March.

Upon her arrival on the l1th, the destroyer escort was assigned to training exercises with fleet submarines. LeHardy continued these operations until she departed Pearl Harbor late in May for ASW operations in the Marshalls. Throughout the summer, she alternated between ASW duties in the western Pacific and training exercises out of Hawaii.

From 22 October 1944 until 22 January 1945, LeHardy escorted tanker convoys from Eniwetok to Ulithi, then sailed for a Seattle overhaul. The destroyer escort returned Eniwetok 28 May to resume her Eniwetok-Ulithi convoy runs, her task for the rest of the war. On 2 September, LeHardy departed Kwajalein to take part in the surrender ceremonies on Wake Island. Arriving there 4 September, LeHardy stood by as the Japanese admiral surrendered the island. A detail from the ship went ashore and raised the pole which once again flew the American flag over Wake.

After touching Kwajalein and Pearl Harbor, she proceeded to San Pedro, Calif., arriving 27 September. LeHardy decommissioned there 25 October 1945 and was sold 26 December 1946 to National Metal & Steel Corp., Terminal Island, Calif.

LeHardy received two battle stars for World War II service.

Published: Tue Apr 05 11:13:34 EDT 2016