Check, Leonard Joseph, LCDR

Fallen
 
 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Lieutenant Commander
Last Primary NEC
131X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Pilot
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1944-1945, 131X, VF-74 Bedevilers
Service Years
1939 - 1945
Lieutenant Commander
Lieutenant Commander

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

2191 kb

Home State
North Dakota
North Dakota
Year of Birth
1911
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Tommy Burgdorf (Birddog), FC2 to remember Check, Leonard Joseph, LCDR.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Williston, ND
Last Address
845 B Ave
Coronado, CA
(Wife Margaret P. Check)

Casualty Date
Jan 04, 1945
 
Cause
Hostile, Died
Reason
Air Loss, Crash - Sea
Location
Pacific
Conflict
World War II
Location of Interment
Honolulu Memorial - Honolulu, Hawaii
Wall/Plot Coordinates
SECTION A SITE 418

 Official Badges 




 Unofficial Badges 




 Military Association Memberships
World War II FallenUnited States Navy Memorial The National Gold Star Family RegistryWW II Memorial National Registry
  2016, World War II Fallen
  2016, United States Navy Memorial - Assoc. Page
  2016, The National Gold Star Family Registry
  2016, WW II Memorial National Registry


 Tributes from Members  
2 Distinguish Flying Crosses Also posted by Burgdorf, Tommy (Birddog, TWS Memorial "A" Team), FC2 432
 Photo Album   (More...


 Ribbon Bar

Naval Aviator Wings

 
 Duty Stations
USS Enterprise (CV-6)VB-6USS Hancock (CV/CVA-19)VF-74 Bedevilers
  1941-1943, 131X, USS Enterprise (CV-6)
  1941-1943, 131X, VB-6
  1944-1945, 131X, USS Hancock (CV/CVA-19)
  1944-1945, 131X, VF-74 Bedevilers
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1942-1942 Pacific Air Offensive (1942-45)/Doolittle B-25 Attack on Tokyo
  1942-1942 Central Pacific Campaign (1941-43)/Battle of Midway
  1942-1942 Guadalcanal Campaign (1942-42)/Battle of the Eastern Solomons
  1942-1942 Guadalcanal Campaign (1942-42)/Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands
  1942-1942 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Guadalcanal Campaign (1942-42)
  1943-1943 Treasury-Bougainville Operation/Battle of Empress Augusta Bay
  1943-1943 Guadalcanal Campaign (1942-42)/Battle of Rennel Island
  1944-1944 Leyte Campaign (1944)/Battle of Ormoc Bay
  1944-1944 Leyte Campaign (1944)/Battle of Surigao Strait
  1944-1944 Mariana and Palau Islands Campaign (1944)/Battle of Philippine Sea
  1944-1944 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Mariana and Palau Islands Campaign (1944)
  1944-1944 Leyte Campaign (1944)/Battle of Samar
 Colleges Attended 
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  1932-1936, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
 Other News, Events and Photographs
 
  Apr 11, 2016, General Photos2
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Leonard Check became a World War II DOUBLE ACE credited with shooting down TWELVE enemy aircraft. He was lost in January 1945, after a mid-air collision with his wingman over Luzon, Philippine Islands. Leonard Check's brother Gilbert earned the Distinguished Service Cross and Silver Star during the Korean War.
   
Comments/Citation

 
Name of Award
Navy Cross
Year Awarded
1944
Details behind Award:
Awarded for actions during World War II

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Lieutenant Commander Leonard Joseph Check (NSN: 0-77727), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Fighter Plane and Commanding Officer of Fighting Squadron SEVEN (VF-7), attached to the U.S.S. HANCOCK (CV-19), in action against enemy Japanese forces in the Philippine Islands Area on 29 October 1944. Intercepting an enemy formation of seven bombers and eight fighters while leading his divisions on combat air patrol over an Allied Task Group, Lieutenant Commander Check, accompanied by his wingman, skillfully maneuvered his plane for a direct overhead run and, selecting one of the dive bombers as a target, poured a deadly stream of fire into the hostile craft, shooting it down in flames. Continuing alone in pursuit of the enemy bombers as his flight engaged the fighters, he spotted two additional bombers approaching the Task Group and, plunging to the attack, trailed one of the planes with blazing guns until it crashed into the sea. Pulling out of this successful run to find himself only 500 feet above the water and working desperately to clear his jammed guns as he proceeded up through a heavy cloud formation, he sighted another bomber threatening the friendly vessels and, immediately closing range and bringing his guns to bear, blasted the hostile craft out of the sky. Again working his guns and gaining altitude as he ordered his division to join-up, he observed still another bomber making a run on the Task Group and delivered a short blast of fire into the hostile bomber's engine, causing the plane to nose over, burst into flames and hit the water. By his superb airmanship, daring combat tactics and indomitable fighting spirit, maintained throughout eight minutes of furious action, Lieutenant Commander Check prevented the enemy formation of fifteen planes from making a run on the Task Group and contributed materially to the success of our sustained drive against the Japanese in the Pacific War Theater. His valiant devotion to duty was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
General Orders: Commander in Chief Pacific Fleet: Serial 0689 (March 30, 1946)
Action Date: 29-Oct-44
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant Commander
Squadron: Fighting Squadron 7 (VF-7)
Ship: U.S.S. Hancock (CV-19)

 
Name of Award
Silver Star
Year Awarded
1944
Details behind Award:
Awarded for actions during the World War II

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to Lieutenant Commander Leonard Joseph Check (NSN: 0-77727), United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as leader of a carrier-based fighter escort formation of Fighting Squadron SEVEN (VF-7), embarked in U.S.S. HANCOCK (CV-19), in action against remnants of the Japanese Fleet in the Philippine Islands Area on 26 October 1944. By leading three determined strafing runs on an enemy cruiser and destroyer he caused a full concentration of intense and accurate anti-aircraft fire to be directed at his fighters thus allowing our torpedo planes to make their torpedo runs, sinking the enemy cruiser, and to retire undamaged. By his repeated strafing the enemy destroyer was left without fire power. His courage and disregard for his own safety were at all times in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
General Orders: Commander in Chief Pacific Fleet: Serial 0689 (March 30, 1946)
Action Date: October 26, 1944
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant Commander
Squadron: Fighting Squadron 7 (VF-7)
Ship: U.S.S. Hancock (CV-19)

 

 
Name of Award
Legion of Merit
Year Awarded
1944
Details behind Award:
Awarded for actions during the World War II

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Legion of Merit to Lieutenant Commander Leonard Joseph Check (NSN: 0-77727), United States Navy, for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States as Commanding Officer of Fighting Squadron SEVEN (VF-7) during the period 3 January 1944 to 4 January 1945. From the first moments of the commissioning of the squadron, his leadership inspired the men of his squadron to the feats which they accomplished. His professional skill in gunnery and his teachings succeeded in establishing outstanding records in training and in obtaining the victories in aerial combat which the squadron obtained. His previous experience as a dive-bomber and his initiative led him to test thoroughly the possibilities of the fighter-bomber as an offensive weapon, and his aggressive leadership led him to apply these lessons in combat. His moral character and constant enthusiasm were a source of encouragement to his pilots, and his leadership was always in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Action Date: January 3, 1944 - January 4, 1945
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant Commander
Squadron: Fighting Squadron 7 (VF-7)
Ship: U.S.S. Hancock (CV-19)
   
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