Leon Dobro
Seaman First Class
U. S. Navy
WWII US Military
Dates of Service: 08/20/1943 - 4/6/1946
Higgins Boat driver, USS Pavo

"I never did think about not going," Leon states of serving in World War II. Born in Shreveport, Leon entered the service before he finished high school. "All the real guys who influenced me in life were over there. I said `I got to go myself,'" he recalls. He joined the U.S. Navy at age sixteen, after his father signed the enlistment papers stating he was seventeen. Trained to drive Higgins boats (although, he says, he had never driven a car) he was assigned to a Liberty ship, USS Pavo (AK-139). The Pavo sailed to Pearl Harbor, and then to the Marshall Islands to deliver troops and supplies to Kwajalein, Roi, and Namur Islands. They loaded artillery and other equipment of the Fourth Marine Regiment for the invasion of Eniwetok, and shipped goods into Saipan, Tinian, and Guam. Leon never saw action. "We never fired a shot, nor had a shot fired at us," he says. After hostilities ended in the Pacific, Leon sailed to San Pedro, California. He came home on thirty-day leave to find his neighborhood "kind of shabby" with so many men away in service and few to do repairs. Leon was discharged in New Orleans. He returned to Fair Park High School for a year, passed his GED, and studied at Northwestern in Natchitoches and at Centenary College in Shreveport. Leon worked for large aircraft engineering firms in California and in Macon, Georgia, and Birmingham, Alabama.