SWANSON, Leroy, RADM

Deceased
 
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 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Rear Admiral Upper Half
Last Primary NEC
111X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Surface Warfare
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1972-1976, 9420, Defense Nuclear Agency (DNA)
Service Years
1937 - 1976
Official/Unofficial US Navy Certificates
Cold War
Gulf of Tonkin Yacht Club
Iwo Jima
Order of the Antarctic Circle
Order of the Penguin
Order of the Magellan
Order of the Shellback
Order of the Golden Dragon
Panama Canal
Plank Owner
Realm of the South Wind
Tailhook
Rear Admiral Upper Half
Rear Admiral Upper Half

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

533 kb

Home State
Illinois
Illinois
Year of Birth
1915
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Steven Loomis (SaigonShipyard), IC3 to remember SWANSON, Leroy (Roy), RADM.

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Contact Info
Home Town
Oneida, IL
Last Address
He retired to Coronado, Calif., in 1976.

Date of Passing
Oct 01, 2008
 
Location of Interment
Buried at Sea, Pacific Ocean
Wall/Plot Coordinates
buried at sea from a U.S. aircraft carrier

 Official Badges 

Joint Chiefs of Staff Office of the Secretary of Defense US Navy Retired 30


 Unofficial Badges 

Order of the Shellback US Navy Honorable Discharge Cold War Medal Gulf of Tonkin Yacht Club

Engineering/Survivability Excellence Award Efficiency Excellence Award


 Military Association Memberships
The Golden EaglesNaval Order of the United States
  1972, The Golden Eagles1
  2016, Naval Order of the United States


 Additional Information
Last Known Activity


Rear Admiral Leroy Vincent Swanson, USN retired
Naval Aviator No. 5921, Dec. 1938. Grey Eagle 1975/76


CORONADO, Calif. - Rear Admiral Leroy Swanson, USN (retired), 92, Coronado, Calif., passed away Sunday, Oct. 12, 2008, at the Coronado Hospital. Leroy was a farmboy born Nov. 11, 1915, in Oneida, Ill., the son of George and Anna Peterson Swanson. On Sept. 28, 1940, he married Margaret Fentress in Norfolk, Va. 

The first in his family to attend college, he graduated from Bradley University in 1937 after finishing at Oneida High School, class of '32. He was commissioned as a naval aviator June 24, 1939. The ensign would go from biplanes to jets to admiral and serve in three wars. His combat missions in World War II were bombing and torpedo runs - notably in the Bonin Islands of Japan as CO of Attack Squadron 45. During the Korean War, he commanded an air group of Banshees off the carrier Wasp, and during the Vietnam conflict, commanded Carrier Division Two that rode on the USS America. 

As a commander, he was XO of the USS Shangrila; his fourth stripe came as CO of the Naval Combat Information School; then his first command, an ammunition ship, USS Haleakala. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, he skippered the aircraft carrier USS Independence. He was Chief of Staff Carrier Division One, then minted Admiral, his flag hoisted aboard the America as ComCarDiv Two in 1968, catapulting bombing, fighter, rescue and support missions from Yankee Station in the Gulf of Tonkin. 

In 1969, he became Deputy Commander-in-Chief U.S. Naval Forces, Europe. In 1972, he assumed Commander Field Command, Defense Nuclear Agency, Kirtland AFB. His 37 years of Naval service were served with distinction:
Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit (2 gold stars), Air Medal (3 gold stars), Navy Commendation Medal (with "V"), Navy Commendation Medal with star, Navy Unit Commendation (w/stars), American Defense, European and Asia/Pacific Campaigns, World War II Victory, National Defense Medal (w/stars), Korea and Vietnam Campaigns, National Order of Vietnam Fifth Class, Vietnam Gallantry Cross w/Bronze Star, the Gray and Golden Eagle Awards. 

Highlights of his career include recovering a lost H bomb off the Spanish coast; becoming a 'mach buster' pioneer - early on, breaking the speed of sound; landing a DC-3 on the South Pole; and perhaps one of his proudest achievements, the only aviator ever catapulted off an aircraft carrier while steaming down the Mississippi River. Asked recently how he got away with that, he laughed, 'You couldn't get away with it these days!' 

He retired to Coronado, Calif., in 1976. He was an avid golfer, jogger, handyman, gardener and a populist who lit up a room with his smile. 

Leroy was preceded in death by his parents and a brother, Vernon Swanson, of Oneida, Ill. He is survived by his wife, Margaret; daughters Carolyn, Mary Margaret and Ginny; a son, Michael; eight grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; a brother, Hubert Swanson, Galesburg; and a sister, Beth Olson, Moline, Ill. Admiral Swanson asked for no memorial service except to be buried at sea from a U.S. aircraft carrier. Memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society.

   
Other Comments:
Highlights of his career include recovering a lost H bomb off the Spanish coast; becoming a 'mach buster' pioneer - early on, breaking the speed of sound; landing a DC-3 on the South Pole; and perhaps one of his proudest achievements, the only aviator ever catapulted off an aircraft carrier while steaming down the Mississippi River. Asked recently how he got away with that, he laughed, 'You couldn't get away with it these days!' 

   
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 Duty Stations
Commander Navy Reserve Forces Command (COMNAVRESFORCOM)School Assignments - StaffNAS St LouisVS-2
USS Lexington (CV-2)School Assignments - StaffVS-71 Fighting 71'sUSS Wasp (CV-7)
US NavyUSS Bataan (CVL-29)NAS Miami, FLNaval Postgraduate School (Faculty Staff)
USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVB-42)VA-45 BlackbirdsUSS Midway (CVB-41)USS Wasp (CVA-18)
USS Shangri-La (CVA-38)Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS)USS Haleakala (AE-25)National War College
USS Independence (CVA-62)Commander Naval Forces Europe/Commander Sixth Fleet (CNE-C6F)Defense Nuclear Agency (DNA)
  1937-1937, OC, NMCRC Peoria, IL
  1937-1938, OC, Naval Aviation Cadet (NAVCAD)
  1937-1938, OC, NAS St Louis
  1938-1939, 139X, VS-2
  1938-1939, 139X, USS Lexington (CV-2)
  1939-1939, 131X, Naval Flight Training
  1939-1940, 131X, VS-71 Fighting 71's
  1939-1940, 131X, USS Wasp (CV-7)
  1940-1942, 131X, Instrument Flight Instructors School
  1942-1943, 131X, USS Core (CVE-13)
  1943-1945, 131X, USS Bataan (CVL-29)
  1945-1946, 131X, NAS Miami, FL
  1946-1947, 131X, Officer Training Command Pensacola (OTCP) - staff only
  1947-1948, 131X, Naval Postgraduate School (Faculty Staff)
  1948-1949, 132X, USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVB-42)
  1948-1951, 132X, VA-45 Blackbirds
  1949-1951, 132X, USS Midway (CVB-41)
  1952-1954, 111X, USS Wasp (CVA-18)
  1955-1957, 132X, USS Shangri-La (CVA-38)
  1958-1960, 9420, Naval Air Advanced Training Command (NAVANTRACOM)
  1960-1960, 131X, Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS)
  1960-1961, 111X, USS Haleakala (AE-25)
  1962-1962, 111X, National War College
  1962-1963, 131X, USS Independence (CVA-62)
  1965-1967, 111X, Carrier Division 1 (COMCARDIV 1)
  1967-1969, 132X, Carrier Division 2 (COMCARDIV 2)
  1969-1972, 111X, Commander Naval Forces Europe/Commander Sixth Fleet (CNE-C6F)
  1972-1976, 9420, Defense Nuclear Agency (DNA)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1941-1943 Central Pacific Campaign (1941-43)/Naval attack of Truk (Operation Hailstone)
  1942-1943 World War II/European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Antisubmarine Operations 15 June 1942 to 2 September 1945
  1944-1944 Mariana and Palau Islands Campaign (1944)/Battle of Philippine Sea
  1945-1945 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Iwo Jima Operation
  1953-1953 Korean War/Korean Summer (1953)
  1962-1962 Cold War Event - Cuban Blockade
  1965-1972 Operation Game Warden
  1965-1973 Operation Market Time
  1966-1968 Vietnam War
 Colleges Attended 
Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CANational War CollegeBradley University
  1947-1948, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA
  1962-1962, National War College
  2016-1937, Bradley University
 Other News, Events and Photographs
 
  Oct 12, 2008, Rear Admiral Leroy Swanson, USN retired3
  Mar 24, 2016, General Photos1
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