Leonard Thomas Woods was born October 25, 1918 in Wrightsville, Georgia to parents Meddie E. and Olivia H Woods. H. had 2 sisters, Janice and Olive. His father, Meddie, died at an early age on March 6, 1925, shy of his 30th birthday. Apparently his mother never re-married. Leonard enlisted in the Navy May 25, 1936 at Macon, Georgia. During his Navy career, he served on the USS Robin AM-3, USS Casablanca ACV-55, USS West Virginia BB-48, and then the Indianapolis.
Leonard married Adah Melba who died Feb 27, 1997. She apparently did not re-marry. No record of their wedding date has been located. Until the Archives open again, his file will not be available.
After the ship was hit, it is recorded by survivors that Woods gathered a group in Radio Room 2 and attempted to send distress signals. None was acknowledged as the ship sunk in about 18 minutes. It appears Woods stayed at his station and went down with the ship. This is documented in the book by Richard Newcomb "Abandon Ship" on page 82.
Late in the 20th century investigations showed that the distress signals sent by Woods were received by aty least 3 stations but were ignored. No one was ever punished for this since by that time they were all deceased. This is detailed in Newcomb's book in the last chapter.
The group includes his officially engraved type 2 posthumous purple heart and short titled case, Victory medal, American Defense medal, Asiatic Pacific Campaign medal, and his enlistment photo. Also included is internet research.