Shipmates After All These Years

The USS Leon APA 48 was a Bayfield class attack transport, commissioned on February 12, 1944 at the Bethlehem Steel Shipyard in Brooklyn NY. She was 492 feet long, the largest class (C3-S-A2) of attack transport built during WWII. Leon was home to a crew of 550 officers and sailors—and countless Marines, Soldiers, POWs and others—during two years of hard duty in the Pacific theater.

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USS Leon APA 48

Two of her young crew members were Boat Group Commander Joe McDevitt, Lt. (jg), and Irwin Goldstein, S1c, a member of McDevitt’s boat group. They participated together through five amphibious assaults in the Central and Southwest Pacific campaigns, plus numerous occupation landings after the war’s end. Theirs was hard duty, out in the open ocean in small boats, often under fire.

When the war ended, Joe McDevitt, now the XO and Commanding officer of the Leon, welcomed a decommissioning party (below) at Chickasaw AL on March 7, 1946. Among the decommissioning party was Irwin Goldstein (front row, 4th from the left).

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Decommissioning of the USS Leon APA 48

Seventy years later, Paul McDevitt (son of Joe) and Justin Goldstein and Susan Goldstein Colon (grandchildren of Irwin) are sharing pictures, stories, and memories of Joe and Irwin. Stay tuned for more!

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