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USS Lea (DD-118)
USS Lea (DD-118)
USS Lea (DD-118) laying a smoke screen, 1921
Career (US)
Namesake: Edward Lea
Builder: William Cramp and Sons
Laid down: 18 September 1917
Launched: 29 April 1918
Commissioned: 2 October 1918
Decommissioned: 20 July 1945
Struck: 13 August 1945
Fate: Sold, 30 November 1946
General characteristics
Class & type: Wickes class destroyer
Displacement: 1,165 tons
Length: 314 ft 4 in (95.81 m)
Beam: 30 ft 11 in (9.42 m)
Draft: 9 ft (2.74 m)
Speed: 35 knots (65 km/h)
Complement: 133 officers and enlisted
Armament: 4 × 4" (102 mm); 2 × 3" (76 mm), 12 × 21" (533 mm) torpedo tubes

USS Lea (DD-118) was a Wickes-class destroyer in the United States Navy during World War I and World War II. She was named in honor of Edward Lea, a US Navy officer killed during the Civil War.

Lea was laid down 18 September 1917 by William Cramp & Sons, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; launched 29 April 1918; sponsored by Mrs. Harry E. Collins; and commissioned 2 October 1918, Lieutenant Commander Willis Augustus Lee in command.

Service history

After service in the $3 with DesRon 19 during 1919, Lea transferred to the Pacific Fleet in 1920 and served primarily along the west coast during the years between the wars. She was out of commission at San Diego 22 June 1922 to 1 May 1930, and 7 April 1937 to 30 September 1939. With Lieutenant Commander F. W. Slaven in command, she sailed for the east coast to join the neutrality patrol, guarding the western Atlantic through the tense months before America’s entry into World War II. She served in the force guarding transports carrying marines for the occupation of Iceland 8 July 1941.

World War II

For the first 2 1⁄2 years of U.S. participation in the war, Lea had convoy escort duty in the North Atlantic, the Caribbean, and along the eastern seaboard, hazarded by peak U-boat activity and dangerous weather conditions. She rescued survivors from stricken merchantmen as well as fighting off submarines and joining in several successful attacks.

The first of her many wartime rescues at sea came in February 1942, when she took on board the crew of Soviet merchantman Dvinoles, abandoned after collision damage. Later that month, 24 February, came a daylong battle with submarines when Lea and sister escorts again and again dashed out from their convoy screen to keep down attacking U-boats which had sunk four of the merchantmen.

USS Lea (DD-118) as a convoy escort.

Between 22 April 1943 and 30 May, Lea joined the hunter-killer group formed around Bogue in the first mission of such a group. On 21 May and 22 May, the Bogue aircraft became the first to engage a wolfpack attempting to rendezvous for a mass attack on a convoy. So successful were their six attacks in protecting the convoy that the group was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation in which Lea shared.

Convoys escorted

Convoy Escort Group Dates Notes
task force 19 1–7 July 1941[1] occupation of Iceland prior to US declaration of war
HX 153 7-13 Oct 1941[2] from Newfoundland to Iceland prior to US declaration of war
ON 28 25-30 Oct 1941[3] from Iceland to Newfoundland prior to US declaration of war
HX 161 23 Nov-3 Dec 1941[2] from Newfoundland to Iceland prior to US declaration of war
HX 173 3-10 Feb 1942[2] from Newfoundland to Iceland
ON 67 19-28 Feb 1942[3] from Iceland to Newfoundland

Auxiliary Service

On 31 December 1943, Lea was 5 days out of New York on convoy escort duty when she was rammed by a merchantman. Towed to Bermuda and later Boston, she completed repairs 28 June 1944, and began sailing from Newport as target ship for torpedo planes and escorting carriers during flight training. Between January 1945 and June, she had similar duty off Florida. Arriving Philadelphia 14 June, she decommissioned there 20 July 1945; was struck from the Navy Register 13 August 1945; and sold for scrapping to Boston Metals Salvage Company, Baltimore, 30 November 1945.


Lea received three battle stars for World War II service.

As of 2013, no other ships in the United States Navy have borne this name.

See also


  1. Morison, Samuel Eliot (1975). The Battle of the Atlantic September 1939-May 1943. Little, Brown and Company. pp. 74–79. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "HX convoys". Andrew Hague Convoy Database. Retrieved 2011-06-19. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "ON convoys". Andrew Hague Convoy Database. Retrieved 2011-06-19. 

External links

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