Red Toon Pt. 16: Introducing Officers of USS Leon

As Leon and her accompanying destroyer escort, USS Blackwood DE 219, made their way to Pearl Harbor, Capt. Adell worked the crew hard to make a company of them. From All Came Home (p. 160):

“In the open sea between Norfolk and Panama and then on the 12-day run from Panama to Pearl Harbor, the little escort and the big transport practiced the maneuvers invasion convoys would use, frivolously, with only the horizon to bound them in.

For many officers and men it was the first time out. They got the feel of the ship and the feel of the sea. They also got the feel of foreign liberty in Panama and never forgot it – because for 14 months there was never another liberty like it.”

Red  Toon soon met all of Leon’s officers, most of them newly trained reservists like himself. Throughout their next two years of service together, he took pictures of many of them, and—fortunately for us—wrote the names on the back.

We begin introducing some of these young men below along with any information that we have for each. Most of this information is drawn from copies of the ship’s log found at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland.

As always, we ask our readers out there: If you see someone below who you recognize, perhaps your dad or your uncle or a grandpa—please contact us! Let’s share some stories and pictures.

Firstly, meet Lt. Commander Leo T. Atkinson, Engineering Officer. He was the third ranking officer aboard ship, responsible for maintaining the ship’s propulsion system as well as her life support systems, including, e.g., fresh water, heating & cooling, electrical power, and others. He hailed from Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Atkinson Exec Officer jpg

Lt. Commander Leo T. Atkinson

Three officers pictured below include two junior engineering officers who reported to Atkinson. We hope that we have identified them correctly as (l – r):

  • Robert T. L. Jones, Lieut.(jg), Engineering Watch & M Div. officer, from Sanatorium, North Carolina
  • Bob P. Roberts, Lieut. (jg), Asst. 2nd Div. officer, from Fort Madison, Iowa.
  • Michael Hubona, Lieut., Asst. Engineering officer, from Charlottesville. Virginia. (Readers of earlier posts will recall that Mike Hubona was a bridge partner of Red’s.)
Jones Roberts Hubona jpg

Officers Jones, Roberts and Hubona


Finally, we believe the two officers below are a pair of Lieut. (jg)s: Roger L. Johnson and Gordon R. Williams. Johnson was a radar officer from Maywood, Illinois, and Gordon was a communications officer from Los Angeles, California.

Johnson Williams enhanced

 Officers Johnson and Williams


Our last picture is of three boat group officers who had trained under Joe McDevitt at Ft. Pierce. They are:

Jesse Schwartz, Lieut. (jg), Asst Boat Grp. Commander, from Baltimore, Maryland

Charles R. Reeve, Ensign, Wave Guide,  from Winton Merced County, California

Orville W. Terry, Lieut. (jg), N Div. Officer and Asst Navigator, from Orient, New York

Readers will recall from earlier posts here that Orville Terry was originally appointed Joe McDevitt’s assistant boat group commander along with Red Toon. But Terry was such a proficient navigator while in training that he was transferred out of the boat group into the navigation unit. Then we suspect that Jesse Schwartz was  appointed assistant boat group commander in Terry’s place.

Schwartz Reeve Terry jpg

Officers Schwartz (front), Reeve and Terry


More pictures from the Toon Collection to come.