Leonard Wood (AP-25), ex-Nutmeg State and Western World, was built in 1922 and purchased by the War Department in 1939 and re-named Leonard Wood. She served as a Army transport until acquired by the Navy on 3 June 1941 and was commissioned 10 June.
1941 - 1942
After training off North Carolina, Leonard Wood departed Halifax, Nova Scotia, 10 November carrying reinforcements around the Cape of Good Hope to British outposts in the Far East. After debarking troops at Bombay and Singapore, she returned and entered the Philadelphia Navy Yard in March 1942 for conversion to an attack transport.
She was redesignated APA-12 on 1 February. Alterations completed late in April, the attack transport trained in Chesapeake Bay for the invasion of north Africa. She departed Hampton Roads on 24 October carrying almost 1,900 fighting men from the 3rd Division and slipped in close to the beaches at Fedhala, French Morroco, on the night of 7 to 8 November. The next morning she sent her boats ashore and provided gunfire support while also rescuing survivors from torpedoed sister ships. Leonard Wood remained in the first line of transports, carrying out her mission until 12 November when enemy submarines, which had already sunk or damaged six Allied ships, forced the remaining transports to finish unloading at Casablanca. Departing 17 November, she arrived Norfolk on the 30th for repairs and more amphibious warfare training. The transport sailed on 3 June and arrived Mers el Kebir, Algeria, 22 June where she prepared for the assault on Sicily. She sortied with TF 65 on 5 July and four days later began unloading waves of troops in the Wood’s Hole sector, some 5 1/2 miles west of Socglitti, Sicily. At dawn of the 10th, her gunners fired at an enemy bomber which dropped bombs 200 to 300 yards astern and kept up an antiaircraft barrage throughout the day, helping to splash three planes. With unloading completed and damaged landing craft salvaged, the ship got underway for Norfolk, on the 12th, arriving 4 August. Three weeks later she departed Norfolk for San Francisco, embarked troops, then steamed for Honolulu, arriving 27 September. Leonard Wood spent the remainder of World War II in the Pacific, distinguishing herself in seven amphibious landings. In the Gilbert Islands and Marshall Islands operations the ship gained experience, especially in cargo handling, which proved invaluable when Leonard Wood later took part in the final push toward victory with the landings at Saipan. Leyte, and Lingayen Gulf.
Leonard Wood departed Pearl Harbor 29 May bound for the capture and occupation of Saipan, Marianas Islands. Arriving Eniwetok, Marshall Islands, the ship fueled, watered, and provisioned before departing 11 June for her assigned anchorage off Saipan. Arriving 15 June, Leonard Wood unloaded and cleared all boats in 49 minutes. For the next nine days, the transport stood off Saipan, unloading cargo and receiving on board casualties for transfer to hospital ships. The transport sailed 24 June for Eniwetok and then returned to Pearl Harbor 20 July. After Saipan, the ship made transport and training runs between Pearl Harbor, Eniwetok, and Guadalcanal until she sailed from Guadalcanal 8 September for the capture and occupation of Angaur Island, Palau Island Group. Arriving 7 September, the ship landed troops, and then began unloading cargo and receiving casualties. Leonard Wood completed unloading 21 September, and departed for Manus Island 27 September. Remaining at Manus just long enough to fuel, provision and re-embark troops, the transport sailed 12 October to begin the long-awaited liberation of the Philippines. Arriving off the Leyte beachheads 20 October, Leonard Wood debarked troops and cargo in record time and steamed for Palau only ten hours later. For the next week Leonard Wood prepared for further operations in the Philippine Islands, departing Sansapor, New Guinea, 30 December for the assault on Lingayen Gulf. Many Japanese suicide planes attacked the formation and Leonard Wood helped down one of them.
Arriving Lingayen 9 January, she again unloaded troops and cargo while firing at enemy planes before departing the same day for Leyte. Leonard Wood took part in her last amphibious landing with the Mindoro Island assault on 9 February. Debarking her troops and cargo in less than five hours, she steamed for San Francisco via Leyte, Ulithi, and Pearl Harbor, arriving 27 March. After repairs at San Francisco, Leonard Wood began transport duties between the United States and the western Pacific, making two runs to Manila and one to Tokyo.
The ship’s Coast Guard crew debarked 22 March when Leonard Wood was decommissioned and redelivered to the Army at Seattle, WA, pending transfer to the War Shipping Administration. The ship was sold to Consolidated Builders, Inc., for scrap on 20 January 1948.
USAT Leonard Wood (US ARMY)
These specifications and ship histories are adapted from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (US Naval Historical Center) and from various other sources. These summaries may not reflect the most recent information concerning the ships' status or operations. If you find an error or discrepancy, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out our online crossing submission form.