From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

James Leonard '59

Date of birth: April 3, 1936

Date of death: February 25, 1963

Age: 26

Lucky Bag

From the 1959 Lucky Bag:


From the May 1963 issue of Shipmate:

A Requiem Mass was said 28 February 1963 for JIM LEONARD whose F8U Crusader crashed in the ocean some 17 miles off Barber's Point, Oahu, Hawaii, on Monday, 25 February. The accident occurred while conducting exercises with the USS WILHOITE. At the completion of a glide bombing run on the ship he leveled off, banked sharply, and stalled. The memorial mass was arranged by the officers of VU-1.

Prior to USNA Jim attended the University of Rhode Island. Following commissioning he reported to the USS WILLIS A. LEE where he qualified as an underway OOD. At that time he was selected for flight training at Pensacola. Following this, he received advanced jet training at Corpus Christi, Texas, and reported to VU-1 on 10 March 1962. His aircraft qualifications included F9E, FlIF, FlC and F8U aircraft. He had flown about sixty hours in the F8U. This information was received from Clint Johnson '60 of VU-1. Clint also wrote, "It was a sad moment for all of us at VU-1 when we heard of the crash. Jim was a fine officer and set the example for the more junior officers of the squadron. His conduct spoke well for the Academy and his class."

He has a memory marker in Arlington National Cemetery.

Related Articles

William Cain '59 and Alvin Wilderman '59 were also in 12th Company.

Class of 1959

James is one of 32 members of the Class of 1959 on Virtual Memorial Hall.