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Leon Grabowsky
Captain, United States Navy
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From a contemporary press report:

Leon Grabowsky, 82, a retired Navy captain who won the Navy Cross while commanding a destroyer during the battle of Okinawa during World War II, died July 28, 2000 at a hospital in Danville, California. He had Parkinson's disease.

He brought his ship alongside another destroyer to assist in fighting fires caused by a Japanese kamikaze aircraft attack. While his own ship was lashed to the other vessel, it was hit by another kamikaze. Despite extensive damage, both ships made it back to port.

Captain Grabowsky was a member of the Class of 1941 at the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. He retired from the Navy in 1971 and settled in California. The Navy Cross is the highest decoration for valor in the naval service except for the Medal of Honor.


Leon Grabowsky, the youngest commanding officer of a U.S. Navy destroyer during World War II and a former commanding officer of Concord Naval Weapons Station, died July 28, 2000, in his Danville home of complications from Parkinson's Disease.

Captain Grabowsky, 82, was a native of Paris and a 1941 graduate of the Naval Academy. He was an ensign on the ill-fated battleship Arizona, on which 1,175 sailors were killed during the Pearl Harbor attack, but at the time Capain Grabowsky was ashore.

He served as executive officer aboard the destroyer Leutze during the battle of Iwo Jima. After the commanding officer was seriously wounded, Captain Grabowsky took command and was promoted to captain.

The ship also took part in the battle of Okinawa, during which it was nearly sunk in a kamikaze attack.

Captain Grabowsky was a veteran of the Vietnam War and the recipient of the Bronze Star and the Navy Cross. In later years, he was an executive officer at the test station at China Lake, where he helped develop the Sidewinder missile, and he was commanding officer of the Concord Naval Weapons Station. He retired from the Navy in 1971 and taught business classes at Diablo Valley College. He was an accomplished skier, fisherman and handball player.

He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Joanne, and by children Paul Grabowsky of Danville, Lori Grabowsky of Concord, Steven Grabowsky of Los Angeles, Kari Grabowsky of San Diego and Jeanne Taylor of Stuttgart, Germany.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday at the Concord Naval Weapons Station chapel. Burial at Arlington National Cemetery will take place on August 23.


Leon Grabowsky, a decorated U.S. Navy officer who was the youngest man to command a destroyer during World War II, served in Vietnam and helped develop the Sidewinder missile, has died.

Grabowsky died July 28 at his home of complications from Parkinson's disease. He was 82. A memorial service is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday at the Concord Naval Weapons Station chapel.

A native of Paris and a 1941 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Grabowsky was an ensign on the USS Arizona. He was ashore during a Pearl Harbor attack that killed 1,175 sailors on board.

Grabowsky also served as executive officer aboard the destroyer Leutze during the battle of Iwo Jima and took over the vessel when the commanding officer was seriously wounded.

Under his command, the Leutze took part in the battle of Okinawa and was almost sunk in a kamikaze attack.

Grabowsky also served in the Vietnam War and won a Navy Cross and Bronze Star.

Later, he was later an executive officer at the China Lake base, where he helped develop the Sidewinder air-to-air missile.

His final assignment was commander of the Concord Naval Weapons Station, about 40 miles east of San Francisco. He retired in 1971.

Grabowsky is survived by his wife, Joanne, two sons and three daughters.


GRABOWSKY, LEON, Capt., USN (Ret.)

On July 28, 2000, at home in Danville, CA. He is survived by his wife, Joanne; his children, Kari, Lori, Paul, Jeanne, and Steven; and brother, Lt. Col. Fred Grabowsky, USMC, (Ret). There will be a memorial service at Ft. Myer at 11 a.m., August 23, followed by burial with full military  honors at Arlington National Cemetery.


Posted: 5 August 2000 Updated: 23 November 2001 Updated: 26 November 2005
US Naval Academy SEAL
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Navy Cross
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Bronze Star Medal