Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with David Monroe Leet, October 14, 2008

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:07 - Travel and harrowing experiences after joining the Navy

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Partial Transcript: Today is October 14, 2008 and we are at the Oldham County History Center in La Grange, Kentucky.

Segment Synopsis: In this section, Leet begins by naming the places he traveled in the United States Navy. He recalls some heavy moments such as having to bury bodies after battles and memories of Japanese soldiers committing suicide by jumping off cliffs while he was watching some of the fighting.

Keywords: Bodies; Burials; Fighting; Ieshima (Japan); Japanese; Okinawa (Japan); Panama; Patrolling; Pearl Harbor (Hawaii); Submarines

Subjects: Pearl Harbor (Hawaii), Attack on, 1941; Travel.; United States. Navy--Anecdotes; United States. Navy.; Veterans.; War casualties.; War stories.; Warships.; World War, 1939-1945

00:04:21 - Mine sweeping and responsibilities on the naval ship

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Partial Transcript: Tell us what a sweep is.

Segment Synopsis: In this section, Leet explains the process of mine sweeping and the dangers that he and his crew faced doing this job. He also describes the details of the ship he was on, and provides some examples of the jobs they did such as steering, rowing, and standing watch. Leet also mentions that they encountered typhoons which were difficult to navigate through.

Keywords: Artillery; Combat; Destroyers; Fear; Invasions; Mines; Sweeping; Sweeps; Typhoons

Subjects: Anti-submarine warfare.; Explosives.; Kamikaze airplanes.; Military supplies; Responsibility.; Tactics.; United States. Navy--Boats.; United States. Navy.; War stories.; Warships; Weather.; World War, 1939-1945

00:08:30 - Training and jobs on the ship

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Partial Transcript: Well, Mr. Leet you went in and you were seventeen when you went in?

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Leet explains that he and his crew were trained to do multiple jobs in order to keep the ship running. Leet also talks about casualties in his unit and explains that they were usually protected by destroyer escorts. Leet then recalls a story about an experience with kamikaze military planes.

Keywords: Artillery; Destroyers; Fear; Firepower; Japan; Okinawa (Japan); Ping line; Training

Subjects: Anti-submarine warfare.; Helmsman guides; Kamikaze; Military jobs; Responsibility.; United States. Navy--Boats.; War stories.; Warships.; World War, 1939-1945

00:11:17 - End of his military career

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Partial Transcript: What else do you--

Segment Synopsis: This segment covers the later parts of Leet's time in the Navy and some various questions about his service experience. He tells an anecdote about making contact with a Japanese destroyer the day before the war ended. He also goes into more detail about the difficulties the crew faced trying to steer the ship during typhoons. Leet then describes an eye-opening moment in which he saw the aftermath of a battle that happened on a small island. Leet is then asked various questions such as if he has any lasting friendships from the service, how he kept in touch with his family, what food they ate on the ship, and lastly, how he ended up on a mine sweeping crew.

Keywords: Aftermath; Camp Bradford; Destroyer escorts; Devastation; Enlistment; Escorts; Fear; Food; Friends; Invasion; Japan; Liberty; Map; Mines; Sweeping; Typhoons; Volunteering; Waves

Subjects: Anti-submarine warfare; Civilians in war.; Explosives.; Letters.; Postal service.; Responsibility.; Strategy.; United States. Navy--Boats.; War stories.; Warships.; Weather.; World War, 1939-1945

00:19:38 - Life and family after military service

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Partial Transcript: Uh, do you recall where you were when your service ended?

Segment Synopsis: In this section, Leet talks about being discharged from the military and where his life went after the service. Leet says that he ended up working in sales for a few years and getting married. He talks about whether he would recommend joining the service to younger people today, what recreational activities he and his crew did on the ship, and about his brothers and their military experiences. The section ends with Leet talking about his children and what he did leading up to his retirement.

Keywords: Careers; Family; Family background; Hardware; Japan; Jobs; Lineage; Marriage; Recreation; Retirement; Salesman; Souvenirs

Subjects: Children; Coastal surveillance; Families.; Family life.; Leisure.; Marital status; Military discharge; Naval discipline.; Relaxation.; Travel.; Typhoons.; United States. Army.; War casualties.; World War, 1939-1945--Veterans

00:27:44 - Life growing up / Final thoughts on military service

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Partial Transcript: Mr. Leet, uh, where did you grow up in Oldham County?

Segment Synopsis: In this final segment of the interview, Leet is asked about where he grew up, how he received military commands on the naval ship, and if there were any nights when he was particularly busy on the ship.

Keywords: Commands; Farming; Flagship; High schools; Jobs

Subjects: Agriculture.; Childhood; Military orders; Oldham County (Ky.); Radio.; Relaxation.; Strive (Ship); World War, 1939-1945--Veterans

GPS: Oldham County (Ky.) where David Leet grew up.
Map Coordinates: 38.356, 85.478