By World War II, it had become the West Coast’s premier navy yard devoted to repair and modernization and the only one that could handle capital ships—it was here that five of the six surviving battleship survivors of Pearl Harbor were repaired and modernized.
Puget Sound’s destroyer construction spanned fourteen years. It laid the keel of its first destroyer, Worden, 28 December 1932, following with one Benham-class ship (Wilson) one Benson (Charles F. Hughes) and one Gleaves (Monssen).
In 1941, the yard laid keels for the first of eight Fletchers, four high-bridge and four low-bridge. It was intended to complete the first two, Halford and Leutze, with float plane catapults. Halford received a catapult and joined the fleet promptly, but landed her catapult in favor of a normal configuration when it was determined to be ineffective. In consequence, Leutze did not receive one, though her commissioning was delayed.
She and the yard’s remaining Fletchers were among the last 25 ships of the 175-ship class commissioned; the four low-bridge ships were the last four Fletchers commissioned; the last two in 1945, the only Fletchers that did not earn engagement stars during World War II.
Today the yard continues in operation as a nuclear-capable repair facility. It is the second largest industrial facility in the State of Washington. Tours are available and Turner Joy, the last Forrest Sherman-class destroyer completed, is a museum with a POW exhibit.