Kyes, James Elsworth, CDR

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Last Rank
Last Primary NEC
111X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Surface Warfare
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1942-1943, USS Leary (DD-158)
Service Years
1930 - 1943

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Shane Laemmel, MR3 to remember Kyes, James Elsworth, CDR.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Last Address
Everett, WA

Casualty Date
Dec 24, 1943
Hostile-Body Not Recovered
North Atlantic Ocean
World War II
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
MH 684 (memorial marker)

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
World War II FallenUnited States Navy Memorial WWII Memorial National RegistryThe National Gold Star Family Registry
The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor
  2013, World War II Fallen [Verified]
  2013, United States Navy Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  2013, WWII Memorial National Registry
  2013, The National Gold Star Family Registry
  2019, The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor

 Photo Album   (More...

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 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
USS Saratoga (CV-3)US NavyUSS Ranger (CV-4)USS Leary (DD-158)
  1930-1933, USS Saratoga (CV-3)
  1933-1933, USS Omaha (CL-4)
  1934-1935, USS Ranger (CV-4)
  1939-1942, USS Mayrant (DD-402)
  1942-1942, 1st Naval District
  1942-1943, USS Leary (DD-158)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1943-1943 Sicily Campaign (1943)/Opertion Huskey
 Colleges Attended 
United States Naval AcademyUnited States Naval Academy
  1926-1930, United States Naval Academy
  1937-1939, United States Naval Academy
 Other News, Events and Photographs
  Jun 05, 1933, Promoted to Lieutenant Junior Grade
  Dec 01, 1937, Promoted to Lieutenant
  Jun 15, 1942, Promoted to Lieutenant Commander
  Oct 15, 1942, Promoted to Commander
  Sep 05, 2019, General Photos
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

On 24 December 1943, the task group was caught in a storm in the North Atlantic when at 01:58 in the morning, USS Leary (DD-158) made a ping on a U-boat off her starboard bow. After her commander, James E. Kyes, ordered her to battle stations but before the destroyer could react, she was struck by a G7es torpedo fired by the German submarine U-275. The torpedo struck her starboard side and detonated in the after engine room, killing all of the men there and damaging both propeller shafts. She quickly developed a 20 degree list to starboard, and was unable to move in the heavy seas. Unbeknownst to the task group, a second German submarine, U-382 fired at Leary but missed. Soon after, Kyes ordered the crew to abandon ship. Two additional torpedoes from U-275 rocked the ship, and it rapidly sank, stern first. She took 98 men with her, including Kyes.

CDR Kyes was listed as missing in action and later declared dead.

Navy Cross
Awarded for Actions During World War II
Service: Navy
Division: U.S.S. Leary (DD-158)
General Orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 325 (April 1944)
Citation: The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Commander James Elsworth Kyes, United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession as Commanding Officer of the Destroyer U.S.S. LEARY (DD-158), during action against a concentrated force of hostile submarines in the North Atlantic on the night of 23 December 1943. As Commander Kyes boldly maneuvered to close the range on four of the hostile pack, the enemy struck, mortally damaging the Leary with three torpedo hits and causing her to start sinking rapidly. After giving the order to abandon ship, Commander Kyes coolly and courageously made a personal inspection in order to assure himself that none of his men remained aboard. Preparing to abandon the stricken vessel and observing one of his crew whose lifejacket was torn and useless, Commander Kyes gallantly removed his own, gave it to the man and then calmly went over the side. Commander Kyes' inspiring leadership and the valiant devotion to duty of his command contributed in large measure to the outstanding success of these vital missions and reflect great credit upon the United States Naval Service.
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