2022 // Silver Star
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the SILVER STAR MEDAL to Lieutenant Junior Grade Leo W. Bedell for service as set forth in the following citation:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity as Engineering Officer of the USS LCI (G) 449, in action against enemy Japanese forces prior to the assault on Iwo Jima on February 17, 1945. In support of Underwater Demolition Team members surveying the shallow water, the ship poured heavy 40mm and 20mm fire into Japanese entrenched positions. The ship was then hit with three mortar rounds in succession. The first starting raging fires on deck, having ignited a 40mm ammo locker. The second mortar landed on a 40mm gun emplacement on the well deck. The third mortar round hit the conning tower, seriously damaging the steering mechanism, destroying the ship’s communications, and killing or wounding most officers on the vessel. 21 men were dead, another 22 were wounded, nearly 2/3 of the 449’s crew. Now, as the only able-bodied officer left, and with his ship seriously damaged by enemy action and enveloped by raging fires, Lieutenant Junior Grade, then Ensign, Bedell organized the surviving personnel and, in the face of continuous enemy fire, directed the fighting of fires and the control of damage, and the defusing and removal of the ship’s highly explosive rockets so the 449 could safely pull alongside the USS Terror to transfer her wounded. By his leadership under the most difficult conditions, he contributed materially to the saving of the ship and his courage and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. The ship received a total of seven battle stars and one Medal of Honor in WWII and was subsequently awarded the Presidential Unit Citation and Navy Unit Citation.
LTJG Bedell entered the service from Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.