Previously Held Designator/NEC NC-9585-Navy Recruiter Canvasser
1976 - 2002
What are you doing now:
Retired: playing cowboy..Having fun!! Still married to Mary.
We have 3 children; Ryder is a LT (USN), currently P-3 pilot at Whidbey Is.. Levi is a Fire Fighter (Yakima), & Morgan working as a Shipping supervisor at a Fruit packaging warehouse co (Yakima).
Leftwich was laid down on 12 November 1976; and launched 8 April 1978; and commissioned 25 August 1979 under the command of Commander Al Carney. The Commissioning speaker was the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Thomas B. Hayward, USN, who was a classmate of Bill Leftwich at the United States Naval Academy. Also in attendance at the Commissioning was H. Ross Perot, also a classmate of Lieutenant Colonel Leftwich. Both of Colonel Leftwich's sons, and his widow attended the commissioning as well.
On sailing, Hurricane David was threatening to make its way into the Gulf of Mexico, so shipping traffic on the transit to the Panama Canal was unusually light. Hurricane David did strike the Gulf coast, and was followed shortly after by Hurricane Frederic, which caused many ships at Ingalls Shipbuilding and Drydock to sortie into the hurricane.
The Leftwich made one of the fastest transits on record of the Panama Canal, making the passage without having to anchor. On sailing north in the Pacific Ocean, Leftwich found herself behind Hurricane Guillermo, which tracked along the western coast of Mexico, and then turned westward out into the Pacific, allowing the ship to arrive at her new homeport on schedule. While following the storm, Leftwich experienced 30 ft (10 m) waves.
In the few months after arrival in San Diego, CA, Leftwich conducted "Shakedown" training under the guidance of Fleet Training Group, Pacific, in the San Diego Operations Area (OPAREA). In January, 1980, Leftwich returned to Litton Industries at Pascagoula, MS for Warranty repairs and a Post-Shakedown Availability, which included the installation of the NATO Sea Sparrow and Harpoon missile system.
On 29 November 1982 she collided with the submarine USS Thomas A. Edison (SSBN-610) approximately 40 miles east of Subic Bay, Philippines. Both ships were conducting war games. Thomas A. Edison was at periscope depth when the collision occurred. Both ships suffered damage and returned to Subic Bay. Edison suffered damage to her sail, sail planes, and sonar dome. Leftwich suffered damage to her sonar dome, sonar dome "banjo" strut, and forward fuel storage tanks located in the forward hull. Two months later, Thomas A. Edison made a surface transit to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for decommissioning without the damage having been repaired.
In 1984, Leftwich suffered hull and sonar window damage due to high-speed operations in heavy seas during fleet exercises on her deployment to Indian Ocean/Western Pacific (WESTPAC 1984).
Leftwich, under the command of RADM (then Commander) Daniel Bowler, participated in Operation Nimble Archer on 19 October 1987. This was a response to Iran's 16 October 1987 attack on the MV Sea Isle City, a reflagged Kuwaiti oil tanker at anchor off Kuwait, with a Silkworm missile.
Leftwich with Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 3 Detachment 5 embarked, arrived at Naval Station Pearl Harbor homeport. In 1990–91, under the command of Commander Patrick Garrett in support of Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, the destroyer conducted more than 200 merchant ship interceptions and one boarding. She was one of the first ships to fire BGM-109 Tomahawkcruise missiles during the conflict, and was the first combatant to conduct a wartime reload of Tomahawks for continued operations. With embarked helicopters and SEALs, she captured the first Iraqi territory repatriated in the war (an island off the coast of the al-Faw waterway), multiple enemy prisoners of war, and conducted 16 combat search and rescue cases. For her efforts in the Persian Gulf, The Leftwich and her crew were awarded the Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon and the Combat Action Ribbon.
REUNIONS: There have been 2 reunions for any crew member who has served aboard the Leftwich. The first was in July 2009. The second was in September 2011. Captains Bowler and Garrett have attended a reunion. Plankowners, Decommissioning crew, and everyone in between have attended. See Facebook USS Leftwich Alumni Association to be on the list for information on future reunions.