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Home > Family History > USS Neosho > Photo Gallery



U.S.S. Neosho Photo Gallery



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Above left:  The U.S.S. Neosho (AO-23) in Norfolk, Virginia on August 7, 1939, about three months after it was launched.  This is just after it was commissioned by the U.S. Navy.  Click on the photo to see a larger version (600 x 400).  For a supersized photo (1200 x 900), click here.

Above center:  The Neosho in Philadelphia in 1939.  This is looking forward from the stack deck on the stern.  The catwalk is on the right.

Above right:  The Neosho in New York harbor, shortly after the ship was launched in 1939.



Above left and right:  The U.S.S. Neosho underway.



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Left:  Captain John S. Phillips, commander of the U.S.S. Neosho

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Left:  My Uncle, Bill Leu, Fireman 3rd Class, in 1941.  Bill served on the Neosho during its entire active service, from July 1941 until May 1942.




U.S.S. Neosho at Pearl Harbor

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Above left:  Ford Island,  just before 8:00 a.m. on December 7, 1941, at the start of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  A Japanese plane flies just above the U.S.S. Neosho (center of photo), which is docked at Ford Island.  A plume from a near-miss rises between the U.S.S. Oklahoma and U.S.S. West Virginia, moored astern of the Neosho.  For a supersized photo, click here.

Above center:  Battleship Row at about 8:00 a.m.  The U.S.S. Neosho (right) sits at the Ford Island dock.  The U.S.S. California (far right) is oozing oil.  Several torpedo wakes and shock waves are visible in the water.  The U.S.S. West Virginia has just been hit and the U.S.S. Oklahoma is starting to list.  The U.S.S. Arizona (far left) would explode moments later, instantly killing 1,177 men.  For a supersized photo, click here.

Above right:  The  U.S.S. Neosho (right) at about 8:30 a.m.  An awning, erected for Sunday morning services, covers the bow of the U.S.S. California (left), which is listing and straining at its lines.  The U.S.S. Oklahoma lies capsized behind the Neosho.  This was just before Captain John Phillips ordered the Neosho's lines cut.  For a supersized photo, click here.



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Above left:  By 8:50 a.m., the U.S.S. Neosho (circled) was backing away from its berth and heading for Merry Point.  It had narrowly missed the overturned U.S.S. Oklahoma, which is clearly visible.  Smoke is rising from several battleships.  This photo was taken from the air control tower on Ford Island.  For a supersized photo, click here.

Above center:  By about 9:00 a.m., the Neosho (circled) was still backing but was beginning to swing its bow around.  Counter-flooding kept the U.S.S. California (left) from overturning and it settles in the mud.  The overturned U.S.S. Oklahoma and smoking U.S.S. Maryland lie behind the California.  For a supersized photo, click here.

Above right:  This photo, taken in October 1941, six weeks before the attack, shows where the U.S.S. Neosho tied up at Merry Point (circled) during the Pearl Harbor attack.  It docked here behind the U.S.S. Castor (not shown) and waited out the attack.  The U.S.S. Neosho was the only ship moored on Battleship Row that morning which was not damaged.  Because of his quick action, Captain Phillips received the Navy Cross, but the U.S.S. Neosho was now the only operational tanker in the mid-Pacific.  For a supersized photo, click here.



U.S.S. Neosho at the Battle of the Coral Sea

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Above left:  The U.S.S. Neosho (right) refueling the aircraft carrier Yorktown in the Coral Sea, about May 2, 1942.  This was five days before the Neosho was attacked by Japanese dive bombers.

Above center:  The Neosho crew refueling the Yorktown in the Coral Sea.

Above right:  The Neosho crew during the Yorktown refueling.

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Above left:  The Yorktown (right) and Neosho (center) from the rear of a U.S. torpedo bomber (TBD) that's just taken off.  This was just before the Battle of the Coral Sea.  The small ship on the horizon to the right of the plane's tail fin is the destroyer U.S.S. Sims.  This is the only photo that I've ever seen of the Neosho and Sims together.

Above center:  This is the last known picture taken of the U.S.S. Neosho.  It was taken from a Japanese plane about 1 p.m. on May 7, 1942, after Japanese torpedo planes and dive bombers attacked the Neosho and its escort, the destroyer U.S.S. Sims.  Despite a 30-degree list, the ship would continue to float for four days until the surviving 123 crewmen, including my uncle, Bill Leu, were rescued by the destroyer U.S.S. Henley on May 11.

Above right:  The Neosho's Chief Water Tender, Oscar Verner Peterson, was working below decks during the attack and was badly injured.  Despite his wounds, and working alone, Peterson closed several important valves but was severely burned in the process.  He died six days later on May 13, 1942, aboard the U.S.S. Henley, two days after the Neosho crew was rescued by the Henley.  For his valor, Peterson was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.


Left:  Five days after the 123 men were rescued from the listing Neosho, the destroyer U.S.S. Helm discovered four men in a raft.  These were the only survivors from a group of 68 men who had drifted away from the Neosho shortly after the attack on May 7 (the Helm's whaleboat is on the left and the Neosho's raft is on the right, partly submerged). 

The four men had floated in the Coral Sea for nine days without food or water and were all in critical condition.  Sadly, shortly after being rescued, two of the four men died.



Table of Contents:

U.S.S. Neosho  (AO-23)

U.S.S. Neosho (AO-23) Home Page


Specifications of the U.S.S. Neosho

The Four U.S.S. Neoshos


Photo Gallery of the U.S.S. Neosho


The Pearl Harbor Attack  (December 7, 1941)

Prelude to War:  Conflict in the Far East

Bill Leu's Early Years

The U.S.S. Neosho at Pearl Harbor

Bill Leu Interview:  Pearl Harbor Attack

U.S. Navy Action Report:  U.S.S. Neosho


The Battle of the Coral Sea  (May 1942)

The Battle of the Coral Sea:  Summary

Battle Action:  April 30 - May 4, 1942 

Battle Action:  May 5 - May 7, 1942

Battle Action:  May 8, 1942

The U.S.S. Neosho at Coral Sea

May 7, 1942:  The Attack

May 8, 1942:  Waiting For Rescue

May 9, 1942:  Fading Hope

May 10, 1942:  Neosho Sighted

May 11, 1942:  Rescue

List of Survivors & Casualties

The Battle of the Coral Sea  (May 1942 - cont.)

Bill Leu Interview:  Battle of the Coral Sea

U.S. Navy Action Reports:  Coral Sea

Action Report of the U.S.S. Neosho

Action Report of the U.S.S. Sims

U.S.S. Helm Report

Other Ships at Coral Sea

The U.S.S. Sims (Neosho's Escort)

The U.S.S. Henley (Neosho's Rescuer)

The U.S.S. Helm (Rescued Life Raft)

Coral Sea Scrapbook

S.F. Examiner Article, July 10, 1942



President Bush's Speech at Pearl Harbor

Seattle Times:  Bill Leu at Pearl Harbor

Obituary of Captain John S. Phillips


U.S.S. Neosho Veteran's Forum


Sources & Further Information

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