WILLIAM N. LEONARD

Rear Admiral William N. Leonard, United States Navy (retired) passed away on

This Photo taken when Captain William N. Leonard Commanded 
USS Ranger CVA-61 5May 1961 - 7 May 1962

Rear Admiral William N. Leonard, United States Navy (retired) 
passed away on Sunday, August 21, 2005, after a brief illness. 

Admiral Leonard was born on January 12, 1916, in 
Douglas, Arizona, and was a 1938 graduate of the 
U.S. Naval Academy. He was the son of the late 
Colonel Charles F. and Mrs. Hannah L. Leonard. 
He was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 
55 years, the former Mary Louise Butt, of Norfolk, 
Virginia. He is survived by his children, 
William N. Leonard Jr. and his wife, Victoria, 
of Midland, Virginia, John W. Leonard of Herndon, 
Virginia, Elizabeth L. Sufit and her husband, 
Dr. Carl R. Sufit, of Escalon, California, 
Richard A. Leonard and his wife, Desiree of Chester, 
Virginia, and Miss Mary Louise Leonard also of 
Chester; his brother, Major General Charles F. 
Leonard Jr., United States Army (retired) of Fairfax, 
Virginia; his sister-in-law, Miss Virginia Butt of 
Chester; eight grandchildren, Kathryn Leonard, 
Colleen Leonard, Elise Dawson, Kaitlin Sufit, 
Carolyn Sufit, Megan Leonard, Sarah Leonard, 
and John W. Leonard Jr.; one great-grandchild, 
Alison Dawson; and numerous nieces and nephews. 

Admiral Leonard was designated Naval Aviator # 6953 
in December 1940. A World War II fighter pilot, 
he was an early leader and an ace in the Pacific 
battles of the Coral Sea, Midway and in the Solomons. 
He played a key role in the wartime development of 
Navy fighter tactics and was a pioneer in using 
captured enemy aircraft for training purposes. 
At war's end, he was an operations officer with 
Commander Task Force 38 in the drive to victory 
in the Pacific. After the war, he continued as a 
leader in Naval Aviation, commanding VF-171, the first 
Navy jet squadron to operate from an aircraft carrier. 

A founding test pilot at the Naval Air Test Center, 
Patuxent River, he later directed the team that 
developed the requirements for the A-6 Intruder. 
Other commands included Commander, Air Group 17; 
Commander, VX-5; Captain, USS Salamonie; Captain, 
USS Ranger; Commander, Carrier Division 14, bringing 
his flag aboard USS Wasp; and Commander, Naval Safety 
Center. His promotion to Rear Admiral came in 1965. 

By the end of his career, he had operated from 18 
different aircraft carriers. Admiral Leonard was 
awarded two Navy Crosses for Valor at the battles 
of the Coral Sea and Midway. His other awards included 
four Legions of Merit, one with Combat 'V', the Distinguished 
Flying Cross, the Bronze Star with Combat 'V'; six Air Medals, 
and other commendation and service ribbons. 

Retiring to Virginia Beach, Virginia, in 1971, 
Admiral Leonard and his wife, Mary Lou, enjoyed 25 
years of quiet happiness together and in the company 
of their loving family, until her untimely death in 1996. 
In retirement, he avidly pursued a wide range of 
interests, including timepieces, woodworking, and gardening. 
He frequently was sought out by historians of Naval 
Aviation and World War II carrier operations, and 
responded generously to their needs, tirelessly reviewing 
and commenting on manuscripts and providing source material, 
insights, and contacts for further research. He moved to his 
son's home in Chester in 2001. 

Interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery, 
with full honors, on November 16, 2005. In lieu of flowers, 
it is requested that memorial donations be made to the 
Naval Aviation Museum Foundation, 
1750 Radford Blvd, Suite B, 
Naval Air Station, 
Pensacola, Florida 32501. 


LEONARD, WILLIAM N. 
RADM US NAVY 
WORLD WAR II, KOREA, VIETNAM 
DATE OF BIRTH: 01/12/1916 
DATE OF DEATH: 08/21/2005 
BURIED AT: SECTION 1 SITE 304-C-1 
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY 

LEONARD, MARY LOUISE 
DATE OF BIRTH: 03/04/1920 
DATE OF DEATH: 12/03/1996 
BURIED AT: SECTION 1 SITE 304-C-1 
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY 
WIFE OF LEONARD, WILLIAM N, RADM US NAVY 
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