Woodrow Wilson Lehman was born on June 29, 1914, in Elgin, Texas. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on January 8, 1934, and completed basic training at NTS San Diego, California, in March 1934. His first assignment was as an Electrician's Mate aboard the battleship USS New York (BB-34) from March 1934 to April 1941, and during this time he also qualified for and served as a Diver Second Class from October 1937 to April 1938. EM1c Lehman next served at Naval Base New London, Connecticut, from April to November 1941, serving briefly aboard the submarines USS O-4 (SS-65) and USS Barracuda (SS-163). He then transferred to the submarine USS Grunion (SS-216) during her fitting out in November 1941, remaining aboard at her commissioning on April 11, 1942. EM1c Lehman was killed in action during a confrontation with the armed Japanese freighter Kano Maru on July 30, 1942. On August 22, 2007, a search team organized by the three sons of CDR Mannert Abele (the Captain of the Grunion when she was sunk) used a remotely operated vehicle to find a sunken vessel 3,000 feet down in the Bering Sea north of Kiska Island at the tip of the Aleutian Islands. On October 1, 2008, the U.S. Navy announced that the sunken vessel is the World War II submarine USS Grunion (SS-216).
His Navy Commendation Medal Citation reads:
For meritorious conduct as a member of the crew of the U.S.S. GRUNION which destroyed three enemy destroyers while engaged in a war patrol in enemy controlled waters. Despite severe and persistent anti-submarine measures resulting from these three successful attacks, the GRUNION was brought safely through the counter attacks and continued an aggressive war patrol. As a member of the crew of the GRUNION, your performance of duty was an important and material contribution to the prosecution of this war.