Meet Five More Sailors From the USS Leon

Thanks to the family of Irwin Goldstein, we now have pictures of five more sailors who served in the Pacific during WWII. As always, if you recognize names or pictures of one or more of the young men below, please contact us!

S1c Irwin Goldstein was a member of the boat group aboard the attack transport USS Leon. Fortunately for all of us, Irwin took lots of pictures of his buddies when they were on leave from April 1944 through January 1946. (Most of his buddies—though not all—were members of Leon’s boat group.) Then Irwin did the most wonderful thing… he put names on the pictures and saved them for us!!

Irwin’s family has shared those pictures with us, and we have confirmed the identities of a group of those sailors as crewmen of the Leon. Here are five more of those handsome young men who served hard duty in the Pacific.

Al Kraft

This is S1c Albert P. Kraft from Amherst NY. The other three members of Al’s boat crew were Frank F. Usefara, Albert T. Kauffman, and Raymond A. McClary. Their supervising officer was Ensign Leon S. Eckman.

Anthony Visconti

Meet S1c Anthony A. Visconti. Anthony’s boat crew also included Gilbert R. Ward, William H. Vieau, and Henry V. Mayer. Commanding officer: Ensign Alton R. Swift.

Ed Baker

Here is S1c Edward Baker from Chicago IL. Ed served with Dorries J. Byars, Edward O. Cathcart, and Emmitt N. Droll. Ensign Paul S. Kemner was their direct superior.

Ernest Johnson, Coxswain

This is Ernest M. Johnson from North Adams MA. He served with J.C. Biesterveld, Harold O. Hausrath, and Gerald E. Dreaver under Ensign Paul S. Kemner.

Farrell Thomas J (2)

The last shipmate is S1c Thomas J. Farrell, address unknown. Ensign Sam Seidel supervised Thomas and his crewmates: John Frederick, Edwin G. Howell, and Raymond J. Manley.

These men trained together with the rest of Leon’s crew to perform the key mission of the amphibious forces: Putting the boots on the beaches… Any beach, any time!

Shore Leave Pearl Harbor

Thanks to Justin Goldstein for assistance with this story.


Anyone who is interested in WWII history in the Pacific theater has seen countless pictures like the one below from the Irwin Goldstein Collection. After hard duty cruising the Pacific for months on end, there was nothing like leave at Pearl Harbor. Girls, beer, and dry land!

These five young fellas were from the crew of the USS Leon APA 48. All of them were members of the ship’s boat group. They were the boat crews who delivered the Marines and soldiers to the beaches, any beach… any time.

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Five Good Buddies

We don’t know the exact date the picture was taken, but the scrawl on the back says,

“After  the Invasion of Saipan at P.H.”

They were happy to be ashore, but we notice no big smiles here after Saipan. They’d landed 1382 healthy young Marines from the FOURTH Division and shortly thereafter transported 307 of them wounded and dying back to the ship. No one was guaranteed tomorrow.

There was more to come. Their next four amphibious assaults: Angaur (Palau Islands), Leyte and Luzon (Philippines), and Okinawa (Ryukyu Islands).

We’re pretty darned certain of the identities of these five sailors, but please correct us if we’re wrong. Either way, if you see one of your family here, we would love to hear from you!

In the front row is S1c M. C. Weisenburg (Izzy) from Baltimore, MD. The middle row (l) is S1c John T. Duffy from Pittsburgh, PA, and the middle (r) is Cox Ernest M. Johnson from North Adams, MA. The back (l) is S1c Glenn J. Dickinson from Granville, MA, and (r) is S1c Irwin Goldstein from New York, NY.

And here’s the good part. They all came home!


Picture: Irwin Goldstein Collection

Memories of Irwin Goldstein: S1c, Boat Group Division, USS Leon, APA 48

Our Goldstein family has just recently begun to learn the early life story of my Grandpa, Irwin Goldstein, a sailor in the Pacific theater during WWII. Irwin grew up in New York City and enlisted in August 1943. According to family lore, he brought enlistment papers home weekly, but his Mother tore them up until he turned 18.

 Grandpa Irwin completed boot camp and was assigned to the Navy’s amphibious training programs at Little Creek VA (October 1943) and Ft. Pierce FL (January 1944). In February 1944 he reported for duty with Boat Group Commander Joseph B. McDevitt aboard a brand new attack transport, the USS Leon APA 48.

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Irwin Goldstein S1c

 

The events and memories of WWII were a part of Grandpa Goldstein’s life that survived quietly in a sealed box of photographs and documents for nearly seven decades. After his passing in 2013 our family discovered these treasures which chronicle his time at sea and the men with whom he served. As we are able to identify Grandpa’s shipmates, we will post pictures and names at this site soon.

Along with many pictures there was a set of greeting cards that Irwin received on or about June 2, 1945, as the Leon was transporting 300 Navy Waves from San Francisco to Pearl Harbor. His older sister Junie wrote, “I’m hoping your next birthday will be spent on Seabury Place.

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In another card brother Bernard offered birthday greetings… “With loads of love to you.”

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And in a final card his parents wrote, “May good luck follow you throughout all times.”

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Irwin Goldstein rarely spoke about his war experiences. But his grandchildren recently learned from his brother Bernie that Irwin sustained a knee injury while transferring wounded soldiers to another boat in the midst of dangerous hurricane weather. Despite the injury, he didn’t seek help from the corpsmen—he didn’t want to be separated from the guys.

I can confirm this story based on Grandpa’s personality traits: an enduring work ethic; a stubbornness to accept any kind of help; and—the trait that I can personally authenticate—an unyielding loyalty about those he cared about most. This was true in his role as a father, as a grandfather, and… based upon carefully preserve photographs in the box… as a crewman aboard the USS Leon.

Submitted by: Susan Goldstein Colon, Grand daughter of Irwin Goldstein