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First Name: Albert

Last Name: David

Birthplace: Maryville, MO, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)


Home of Record: Kansas City, MO
Middle Name: Leroy

Date of Birth: 18 July 1902

Date of Death: 17 September 1945

Rank or Rate: Lieutenant

Years Served: 1919-1945
Albert Leroy David

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Albert Leroy David
Lieutenant, U.S. Navy
Medal of Honor Recipient
World War II

Lieutenant Albert Leroy David (18 July 1902 - 17 September 1945) was an officer in the U.S. Navy during World War II and a recipient of the Medal of Honor. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his role in helping to capture a German submarine, the U-505, off the coast of French West Africa in June 1944.

Albert Leroy David was born on 18 July 1902 in Maryville, MO. David enlisted in the Navy at Kansas City, MO, on 30 September 1919. After undergoing his training at the Naval Training Station, San Francisco, he served on the battleship USS Arkansas (BB-33) for the rest of his first enlistment.

Re-enlisting at Omaha, NE, on 19 July 1921, David served his second enlistment in a succession of ships: USS New York (ACR-2); USS Preston (DD-327); USS Delaware (BB-28); USS Utah (BB-31); and USS Texas (BB-35), re-enlisting on board Texas on 12 May 1925. He then served in USS Trenton (CL-11); USS Cincinnati (CL-6); and USS Salt Lake City (CA-25), re-enlisting at Philadelphia, PA, on 15 June 1931.

He reported on board USS Dobbin (AD-3) on 3 July 1931 and served in that destroyer tender until his transfer to the Fleet Reserve on 10 August 1939.

World War II

David was recalled to active duty on 27 September 1939, less than a month after World War II broke out in Europe with the German invasion of Poland.

Appointed machinist on 13 May 1942, David was assigned to the Submarine Repair Unit, San Diego, on 28 May and served in that unit for five months. While there, he received his commission as an Ensign on 15 June. David then reported to the Naval Training School for Diesel Engineers at the Madison campus of the University of Wisconsin, for instruction. He ultimately reported for duty at the Naval Training Station, Naval Operating Base, Norfolk, before traveling to Orange, TX, to assist in fitting out the destroyer escort USS Pillsbury (DE-133). That ship was commissioned at the Consolidated Steel Corporation yard on 7 June 1943.

Promoted to Lieutenant (J.G.) while Pillsbury was fitting out, David served in that ship as she operated in the Atlantic, escorting convoys into Casablanca and Gibraltar, and serving with a "hunter-killer" unit formed around USS Guadalcanal (CVE-60). He was serving as Pillsbury's assistant engineering and electrical officer when Guadalcanal's task group located a German submarine off Cape Blanco, French West Africa, on 4 June 1944 and forced it to the surface.

Pillsbury lowered a boat and sent a party of nine men, led by Lt.(JG) David, to board the U-boat, soon identified as U-505, which was still underway and running in a circle on the surface. Although he "had every reason to believe" that Germans were still below decks setting demolition charges and scuttling the ship, David led Pillsbury's men on board and down the conning tower hatch, and took possession of the ship. Although he found the sea flooding into the U-boat, David remained below directing the initial salvage operations-aware that at any moment the submersible could blow up or sink. Men from Guadalcanal arrived soon thereafter to aid in the battle to keep U-505 afloat, and David remained on board directing the salvage operations. As a result of his vigorous and heroic efforts, the valuable prize was eventually taken to Bermuda.

Promoted to Lieutenant soon thereafter, David was awarded the Medal of Honor for his part in the "first successful boarding and capture of an enemy man-of-war on the high seas by the United States Navy since 1815."

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Lieutenant, Junior Grade, U.S. Navy.

Place and date: Off French West Africa, 4 June 1944.

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while attached to the U.S.S. Pillsbury during the capture of an enemy German submarine off French West Africa, 4 June 1944. Taking a vigorous part in the skillfully coordinated attack on the German U-505 which climaxed a prolonged search by the Task Group, Lt. (then Lt. j.g.) David boldly led a party from the Pillsbury in boarding the hostile submarine as it circled erratically at 5 or 6 knots on the surface. Fully aware that the U-boat might momentarily sink or be blown up by exploding demolition and scuttling charges, he braved the added danger of enemy gunfire to plunge through the conning tower hatch and, with his small party, exerted every effort to keep the ship afloat and to ass1st the succeeding and more fully equipped salvage parties in making the U-505 seaworthy for the long tow across the Atlantic to a U.S. port. By his valiant service during the first successful boarding and capture of an enemy man-o-war on the high seas by the U.S. Navy since 1815, Lt. David contributed materially to the effectiveness of our Battle of the Atlantic and upheld the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

Lieutenant Albert Leroy David died of a heart attack at Norfolk, VA, before the Medal of Honor could be presented to him. The Medal was presented by President Harry S. Truman to David's widow, Lynda Mae David, on 5 October 1945 in a ceremony at the White House.

Medals and Awards

Medal of Honor
Navy Cross with Gold Star


The USS Albert David (DE-1050) was named after him.

Death and Burial

Lieutenant Albert Leroy David died of a heart attack at Norfolk, VA, on 17 September 1945. He is buried at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego, San Diego County, CA, in Section O, Grave 125A.

Honoree ID: 1357   Created by: MHOH




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