Wife: Susan Gallier (1917-1989)
Leroy Ernest Friebel was born February 8, 1916 in Orange Grove, TX to Frank Friebel and Anna Bossler. Orange Grove, at that time, was a primarily German community and he grew up speaking the language (and later forgot it LOL).
He was the youngest of eight children and the only boy! There was a 24-year age difference between him and his oldest sister, Annie. Even the closest sister was 10 years older. According to a speech he gave for his 50th High School reunion, his family moved around a lot when he was young. He said "Even though I was born in Orange Grove, my family moved northwest near Sweetwater, then to Mathis, and finally to Orange Grove again in 1922." He would also tell the story that he didn't meet his sister Hilda until he was about 18 years old because she lived about 300 miles away. He did meet her when he and his father took the wagon up to bring her and her children home because her husband was abusive. As a teenager he was confirmed in the Lutheran Church and took on an additional middle name of Albert. He occasionally used this as his full name Leroy Ernest Albert Friebel. His confirmation class was small with four boys and four girls.. I'm sure his father expected him, as the only son, to take over the farm, but Leroy had no interest in farming. His father was somewhat upset when Leroy told him that he had enlisted in the U.S. Navy on January 7, 1938 in Houston, TX.  I just now realized that was his father's birthday. Gee, great timing Dad. LOL
Two days after enlisting he was sent to the Naval Training Station in San Diego. He remained there until May 6, 1938 when he was transferred to the destroyer USS Broome. During his year on the Broome, he worked his way up from Apprentice Seaman to Fireman, 2nd class.
He served on the USS Mahan, another destroyer from May 16, 1939 until January 26, 1941. By this time he reached the rank of Electrician's Mate, 2nd class and he had met his future wife, Susan Gallier.
Leroy would come to Beaumont, TX on occasion to visit his sister, Alma Friebel Herm. Leroy was quite close with his nephew Victor Herm, because they were only a year apart in age. As it turned out Victor was engaged to Susan Gallier's best friend, (Mary)Catherine Herm. Whenever Leroy would come to town, Vic would want Catherine to fix him up. He never seemed to have a good time. Catherine told Vic she wouldn't fix him up anymore. So Christmas Eve 1939 came around and Vic, Catherine, and Susan were going to midnight mass. Vic asked his uncle if he wanted to come along and he said okay.
Catherine wrote the following:
They were married on February 17, 1941 in the rectory of St. Anthony's Church in Beaumont, TX.  Because Leroy wasn't Catholic, he was to take instruction from the priest for several days or a week, but because the priest wanted to marry them before they left for Leroy's next post in Washington, DC, he agreed to do the instructions in one day. He had to promise to raise all of their children Catholic, which he did. Even when his youngest boy began going to a Baptist Church when he was in high school, Leroy insisted that he also go the Catholic Church until he was 18 years of age. .
After the wedding they headed to the US Naval Research Lab in Washington, D.C. so that Leroy could undergo Internal Communications training. They were there about six months. In November 1941 he spent some time aboard the USS Lexington on temporary duty until November 25, 1941 when he began one of his long-term assignments on the USS Mahan. 
The USS Mahan was stationed out of Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked beginning the US involvement in World War II. Fortunately, the Mahan was out on patrol with the Lexington, 7 Dec 1941. The USS MAHAN, with TaskForce 12, took part in the initial post-attack "intercept & destroy" mission. Unable to locate the enemy, the MAHAN returned to Pearl Harbor.
In the diary he kept for his wife, he wrote the following:
On January 7, 1942 he re-enlisted for another two years.  By the time he left the USS Mahan in September 1942 he had been promoted to Electrician's Mate first class. After times at the Naval Receiving Stations at Pearl Harbor, San Francisco, and Bremerton, WA, and a hospitalization for measles he ended up on the USS Doyle on February 10, 1943. The USS Doyle was a brand-spanking new Destroyer commissioned on that same day. On July 1, 1943 he was promoted to the rank of Chief Electrician's Mate. He re-enlisted once again on December 9, 1943  Leroy remained on the Doyle at least through the quarter ending June 30, 1944.
June 6, 1944 was D-Day, when the Western Allies began their liberation of Western Europe. The USS Doyle's participation in D-Day included escorting minesweepers as they cleared the way for the landing craft. Once minesweeping was done, the Doyle, along with other destroyers, formed a line abreast and moved towards shore in order to attack. The Doyle helped neutralize German 155mm rifles more than once as well as other guard posts, machine gun nests, and concrete shelters housing 88mm guns that were situated on the hillsides around the beaches.
Throughout the battle, the Doyle continued to successfully take out targets impeding the advance of the US ground troops, while narrowly being missed by enemy fire including evading torpedoes directed at her. After sixty-four hours of battle she headed back to England for more ammunition.
Leroy was transferred to the USS Hawkins on February 10, 1945. The USS Hawkins was a new destroyer commissioned earlier in 1945. In late January of 1946, he was transferred aboard the USS Chickasaw and remained there until August 18, 1947 when he transferred to the PCE-847. On October 31, 1946, while still on the Chickasaw, Leroy and many of his crewmates, crossed the equator for the first time, earning their designation as "Trusted Shellbacks." This has been a long naval tradition initiating "pollywogs", sailors who have never crossed the Equator, into the Kingdom of Neptune upon their first crossing of the Equator.  He took the PCE-847 to the US Naval Receiving Station in Virginia for discharge. Leroy Friebel received an Honorable Discharge from the US Navy on October 11, 1947. 
By now Sue and Leroy had two young boys and would have their first daughter by the time they had moved into the home they would raise their family in and live the rest of their lives in. They added an additional two boys and a girl for a total of four boys and two girls spanning over 20 years in age. The home is in a suburb of San Francisco. Family still lives in the home to this day.After discharge, Leroy began working for the local telephone company and retired from Pacific Telephone and Telegraph in about 1977. Before retirement he had triple bypass surgery on his heart, but recovered well. After retirement Sue and Leroy enjoyed traveling... cruises, trips to Texas, trips to Hawaii. When Sue became ill in 1988, Leroy had a very difficult time with it... and when she died in October 1989, he remained depressed but I think he at least didn't feel helpless like he did when she was ill. .
In April the following year, his youngest daughter (me :)) came over for a bit and he decided to take a nap. I didn't even know he was awake until I heard a loud thump and a yell. He had been feeling "good" and decided to move an old TV down the stairs to put out for pick-up. He was backing his way down on his knees, moving the TV from step to step and lost his balance and fell backwards. He was alert and talking, but did have a bit of a scrape on his head. I called 911 and they were there in a flash. Apparently his condition changed on the way to the hospital and he was in serious condition by the time they arrived. .
He had been on blood thinners because of his heart surgery, but they were able to manage the bleeding. He was confused for several days and then he coded and was on a respirator. We were taxed with deciding what to do since his doctor told us that our father had said he didn't want to be on life support. With six children... reaching consensus does not come easy. Fortunately for us, he passed away late that night. .
Because he had died as a result of a fall, the State of California required that he have an autopsy. It turns out that he had broken his pelvis in the fall and had died when a fat emboli from that went to his lung. 
He is buried at Skylawn Memorial Park in San Mateo, CA in a grave next to his wife, Susan.
|Shellback Certificate for Leroy E.A. Friebel, CEM|
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Categories: Examples | Battle of Normandy, D-Day | USS Chickasaw (AT-83, ATF-83), United States Navy | USS Doyle (DD-494), United States Navy, World War II | USS Mahan (DD-364), United States Navy | USS Mahan (DD-364), United States Navy, World War II | USS Broome (DD-210), United States Navy | USS Hawkins (DD-873), United States Navy | World War II Victory Medal | American Defense Service Medal with Fleet Clasp | Jim Wells County, Texas | Nolan County, Texas | Mathis, Texas | Gonzales County, Texas | Burlingame, California | Skylawn Memorial Park, San Mateo, California