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Leslie Edward Gehres
Born (1898-09-23)September 23, 1898
Died May 15, 1975(1975-05-15) (aged 76)
Place of birth Newark, New York
Place of death San Diego, California
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1914-1949
Rank US-O8 insignia Rear Admiral
Commands held Naval Air Station San Diego
USS Franklin
Fleet Air Wing 4
Battles/wars

World War I
World War II

Awards Navy Cross
Legion of Merit (2)
Distinguished Flying Cross
Purple Heart
Relations Peter Girard (son-in-law)

Leslie Edward Gehres (September 23, 1898 – May 15, 1975) was a highly decorated Naval aviator with the rank of Rear Admiral in the United States Navy. He is most noted as Commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS Franklin, which was badly damaged by a Japanese air attack in March 1945. Gehres is also an example of "mustang" officer, rising from enlisted man to admiral's rank.

Early military careerEdit

Leslie Gehres was born on September 23, 1898 as a son of Charles Peter and Phoebe Ann Gehres. He attended Western High School in Rochester, New York and Union High School in Newark, New York before he enlisted with the help of his mother in the New York Naval Militia in 1914. He was assigned to the 6th Division, Third Battalion.

With the entry of the United States into the war his unit was mobilized on april 6, 1917 and he subsequently served on the cruiser USS Salem and on battleships USS Massachusetts and USS Indiana, where he received further Naval training.

Gehres was subsequently assigned to the Fourth Reserve Officers Class at United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland. Upon completion of the course, he was commissioned Ensign in the United States Naval Reserve on May 24, 1918.

He was transferred to the Regular Navy in September 1918, where he served aboard the battleship USS North Dakota, which operated on escort duty with Atlantic Fleet. He stayed aboard this ship until June 1919, when he was transferred to the destroyers.

Interwar periodEdit

For the next five years, Gehres served aboard destroyers USS Tingey, USS Gillis, USS Aulick and USS Jacob Jones. In June 1924, Gehres was transferred to the Navy Yard at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii where he served until November 1926, when he assigned to the Naval Air Station at San Diego.

Subsequently, Gehres was transferred to the Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, where he reported for naval flight training. He was designated Naval Aviator on August 30, 1927 and served with Naval aviation since that time.

World War IIEdit

Gehres was appointed a Commander of Patrol Wing 4 on November 1, 1941.

Every flight was a flight that the crew should not have returned from. Every man knew this and yet none wavered.
—Captain Leslie E. Gehres, Commander, Fleet Air Wing 4[1]

DecorationsEdit

Here is the ribbon bar of Rear admiral Leslie E. Gehres:

Naval Aviator Badge.jpg
Navy Cross ribbon.svg
V
Gold star
Legion of Merit ribbon.svg
Distinguished Flying Cross ribbon.svg Navy and Marine Corps Commendation ribbon.svg Purple Heart BAR.svg
Bronze star
World War I Victory Medal ribbon.svg
Bronze star
American Defense Service ribbon.svg
American Campaign Medal ribbon.svg
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign ribbon.svg
World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg Phliber rib.png
Naval Aviator Badge
1st Row Navy Cross Legion of Merit with Gold Star and "V" Device
2nd Row Distinguished Flying Cross Navy Commendation Medal Purple Heart
3rd Row World War I Victory Medal with Escort Clasp American Defense Service Medal with Fleet Clasp American Campaign Medal
4th Row Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal with three service stars World War II Victory Medal Philippine Liberation Medal

ReferencesEdit

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