Lee Van Cleef

"The Bad" was a pretty good guy.
Van Cleef took his high school diploma early, at 17-years-old, so that he could enlist in the United States Navy in 1942.

After basic training he attended the Naval Fleet Sound School where he trained as a sonarman. Van Cleef was first assigned to submarine chaser USS SC-681 and spent the next 10 months looking for German U-boats around the Caribbean. He then joined USS Incredible, a minesweeper of 530 tons.

One of the most dangerous moments for him happened during the invasion of southern France, in which the USS Incredible was attacked by numerous German Human Torpedoes.

Van Cleef found himself in a life-threatening position though his courage and skill not only saved him but he was also awarded the Bronze Star for his service.

From January 1945, the minesweeper operated out of the Soviet base at Sevastapol, Crimea, to clear mines in the Black Sea. Next stop for the USS Incredible was Palermo, Sicily and then Norfolk — before finally reaching Pearl Harbor.

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