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Career (US)
Namesake: Clarence F. Leary
Builder: New York Shipbuilding, Camden, New Jersey
Laid down: 6 March 1918
Launched: 18 December 1918
Commissioned: 5 December 1919
Recommissioned: 1 May 1930
Decommissioned: 29 June 1922
Fate: Sunk in battle, 24 December 1943
General characteristics
Class and type: Wickes class destroyer
Displacement: 1,090 long tons (1,107 t)
Length: 314 ft (96 m)
Beam: 30.5 ft (9.3 m)
Draft: 12 ft (3.7 m)
Speed: 35 knots (65 km/h; 40 mph)
Complement: 176 officers and enlisted
Armament: • 6 x 3" (76 mm) guns,

• 6 × 21" (533 mm) torpedo tubes, • 2 × depth chargetracks, • 1 × Y-gun

USS Leary (DD-158) was a Wickes-class destroyer in the United States Navy during World War II. She was named for Lieutenant Clarence F. Leary USNRF (1894–1918), posthumously awarded the Navy Cross in World War I.

Leary was laid down by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation at Camden in New Jersey on 6 March 1918, launched on 18 December 1918 by Mrs. Anne Leary, mother of Lieutenant Leary and commissioned on 5 December 1919, Commander F. C. Martin in command.


[hide] *1 Service history

Service historyEdit

Leary departed Boston 28 January 1920 for Guantanamo Bay on shakedown and training, then continued her training in northern waters before transiting the Panama Canal 22 January 1921 to join the Battle Fleet in the Pacific. Upon completion of large-scale maneuvers off the coast of Peru in February, she returned to the Caribbean where in June she observed the effects of seaplane bombardment upon ex-German ships. In the wake of the Washington Naval Disarmament Conference, Leary was placed out of commission in reserve at Philadelphia Navy Yard 29 June 1922.

Reactivating 8 years later, on 1 May 1930 she joined the Atlantic Fleet with Newport, Rhode Island, as her home port. In addition to annual exercises in the Caribbean, every other year she operated off the West Coast in joint maneuvers with the Pacific Fleet. After 1935, training cruises for reserves and midshipmen occupied most of her time.

In April 1937, Leary became the first United States naval vessel to be equipped with search radar, which was installed by the Naval Research Laboratory. The radar set included separate antennae to send and receive in the VHF band (1.5 m).[1]

World War IIEdit

In September 1939, Leary and Hamilton established a continuous antisubmarine patrol off the lower New England coast. The following year her patrol functions enlarged and 9 September 1941 she began a series of hazardous escort missions to Iceland. On 19 November, Leary became the first American ship to make radar contact with a U-boat. After 26 February 1942, she spent a year escorting convoys from the midocean meeting point to various Icelandic ports.

Leary departed this duty 7 February 1943 for Boston and a new area of service. Emerging from drydock the old four-stacker departed Boston 1 March for Guantanamo Bay Naval Base where she engaged in antisubmarine exercises with R-5 before resuming escort duty, guarding four convoys to Trinidad, British West Indies, between mid-March and mid-June 1943. She returned to New York 25 June.

Leary now began transatlantic escort voyages to guard ever-increasing amounts of supplies from the United States to the Mediterranean. She picked up a convoy off New York harbor 7 July, sailed first to Aruba, Dutch West Indies, and then across to Algiers, arriving the 31st. A return convoy using the same route entered New York 27 August. A second voyage concluded 30 October.

Late in November she departed the East Coast with Card on a hunter-killer operation. Early in the mid-watch 24 December, Leary suddenly found herself in the midst of a German "wolfpack". Leary took two torpedoes from U-275 within minutes of her discovery of the enemy and a third torpedo finally sank her. Ninety-seven members of the ship’s company were lost, including her commanding officer, Commander James E. Kyes. There is a memorial to James Kyes erected by his classmates at Annapolis. It is located at the site of the abandoned mining town of Monte Cristo in the Cascade Mountains in eastern Snohomish County Washington, where his family ran a hotel. It sits under a large tree he planted as a young boy. There are no buildings left at the town site only the memorial and the tree. It is a 4-mile hike to reach Monte Cristo, as the road is not open to automobiles. The destroyer James E. Kyes was named for Commander James E. Kyes.


Leary received one battle star for her World War II service.

Convoys escortedEdit

Convoy Escort Group Dates Notes
HX 152 30 Sept-9 Oct 1941[2] from Newfoundland to Iceland prior to US declaration of war
ON 26 20-29 Oct 1941[3] from Iceland to Newfoundland prior to US declaration of war
ON 28 31 Oct-3 Nov 1941[3] from Iceland to Newfoundland prior to US declaration of war
HX 160 17-25 Nov 1941[2] from Newfoundland to Iceland prior to US declaration of war; 1st US RADAR detection of submarine
ON 41 4-10 Dec 1941[3] from Iceland to Newfoundland: war declared during convoy
HX 167 29 Dec 1941-7 Jan 1942[2] from Newfoundland to Iceland
ON 55 15-18 Jan 1942[3] from Iceland to Newfoundland
HX 175 MOEF group A4 15-23 Feb 1942[2] from Newfoundland to Iceland
SC 77 11-14 April 1942[4] Iceland shuttle
SC 79 21 April 1942[4] Iceland shuttle
SC 81 5 May 1942[4] Iceland shuttle
SC 84 17 May 1942[4] Iceland shuttle
ON 102 14-21 June 1942[3] from Iceland to United States
SC 99 12 Sept 1942[4] Iceland shuttle
SC 101 28-30 Sept 1942[4] Iceland shuttle
ON 140 19-24 Oct 1942[3] Iceland shuttle
SC 105 25-26 Oct 1942[4] Iceland shuttle
Convoy SC 107 5-7 Nov 1942[4] Iceland shuttle
SC 109 20-25 Nov 1942[4] Iceland shuttle
SC 110 2 Dec 1942[4] Iceland shuttle
ON 152 11-15 Dec 1942[3] Iceland shuttle
SC 112 16-19 Dec 1942[4] Iceland shuttle
ON 160 14-21 Jan 1943[3] Iceland shuttle
HX 223 22 Jan 1943[2] Iceland shuttle


  1. ^ Macintyre, September 1967, pp.72-73
  2. ^ a b c d e "HX convoys". Andrew Hague Convoy Database. Retrieved 2011-06-19.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "ON convoys". Andrew Hague Convoy Database. Retrieved 2011-06-19.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "SC convoys". Andrew Hague Convoy Database. Retrieved 2011-06-21.


External linksEdit

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