John Leon Williamson

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John Leon Williamson
Born (1921-11-05)November 5, 1921
Ash, North Carolina
Died November 12, 1942(1942-11-12) (aged 21)
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1940–1942
Rank Seaman First Class
Unit USS San Francisco (CA-38)
Battles/wars World War II
*Naval Battle of Guadalcanal
Battle of Cape Esperance
Awards Navy Cross (posthumous)

John Leon Williamson was born 5 November 1921 in Ash, North Carolina.

Navy career[edit]

Williamson enlisted in the Navy at Raleigh, North Carolina, 11 July 1940. After recruit training, he was assigned to cruiser USS San Francisco (CA-38).

Williamson was on board the fighting cruiser during the attack on Pearl Harbor 7 December 1941 and the initial American amphibious assault of the war on Guadalcanal. He also took part in the American victory at the night Battle of Cape Esperance in October.

On 12 November 1942 one of the many Japanese attempts to bombard American positions in the Solomons and to reinforce their own garrisons there resulted another great battle, the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. Before the main engagement, the USS San Francisco (CA-38) and other ships were attacked by torpedo bombers off Guadalcanal.

Awarded the Navy Cross[edit]

Williamson, an antiaircraft gunner fired at an approaching torpedo plane, remaining at his station with cool determination as the enemy aircraft crashed directly at his gun mount. For his great courage in the face of this attack, Seaman First Class Williamson was awarded the Navy Cross posthumously.


The USS John L. Williamson (DE-370) was named in his honor. She was laid down 22 May 1944 by Consolidated Steel Corp., Orange, Texas; launched 29 August 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Sherman Register, sister of Seaman First Class Williamson; and commissioned 31 October 1944, Lt. Comdr. J. E. Allen in command.

See also[edit]


This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.