Doc Ransom’s Diary

Thursday, July 29, 1943
After numerous preliminary and last minute repairs, we finally shoved off for San Diego at 0910 from Mare Island. We are traveling at 20 knots steadily in a relatively calm sea. No one is sick like on our full power run on July 26th off of the Farrallon Islands.

Friday, July 30, 1943
Arrived in San Diego at 1230 in ship shape. The weather is warm and the ocean was a most beautiful deep clear blue. So far so good.

Saturday, July 31, 1943
Shoved off this morning at 0830 for torpedo practice 30 miles out. We had another destroyer for our target plus a plane to follow & locate the expended torpedo. The practice torpedoes have a dummy head in them and we set them to pass under the target. After they have gone about 6000 yards, the water in the nose of the torpedo is automatically pumped out & replaced with air and the torpedo comes to the surface at this time a smoke bomb within goes off sending up a signal as to the location of the torpedo. We made a direct hit on the first and missed on the second by 450 yards. The second was fixed by radar alone, but the inaccuracy was due to the delayed time of the radar operator phoning up and plotting the course of the target to the torpedo control. This is being taken care of for further operations.

Sunday, August 1, 1943
Shoved off at 0600 for gunnery practice with a flotilla of destroyers. At 0830 our fuel pump broke and we had to return to San Diego. The delay shouldn’t be too long.

Monday, August 2, 1943
Here we sit, still in San Diego. The fuel pump had to be completely torn down and removed. Departure undecided.

Tuesday, August 3, 1943
Still under repairs. Weather is warm. Hope to shove off in A.M.

Wednesday, August 4, 1943
Repairs continue. Off tomorrow for sure. Still hot and sultry.

Thursday, August 5, 1943
Shoved off at 1800 for our rendezvous with the cruiser Nashville and another destroyer of the Fletcher class. Will meet them tomorrow and thence to Pearl Harbor! Traveling at 20 knots but may have to increase speed to get near rendezvous off San Francisco.

Friday, August 6, 1943
Continuing north to meeting place. Sea is very blue and calm. Traveling at 15 knots since meeting time is 0800 tomorrow. Only a few fellows ill—sea sick, luckily I’m holding my own to date. Starting to work on emergency gun bags and organizing my first aid course.

Saturday, August 7, 1943
Met the cruiser Nashville and destroyer Trathen at 0740 and immediately swinging west for Pearl Harbor. We stay off of the port bow of the Nashville and the Trathen stays off her starboard. We are traveling at 17 knots. We plan to shoot at a towed target this afternoon since the Nashville carries two scouting plans on her stern.

Sunday, August 8, 1943
One would never know the day of the week or date if it weren’t for writing this since every day is alike aboard. Have been going through intensive fire, collision, man battle stations, etc. all day. I turn in about 8 P.M. because we are routed out every morning at 0500 for drills. This sea air surely gives one an appetite and at present I am beginning to look like an Indian with my good tan.

Monday, August 9, 1943
Boy, what a ship we have! We had anti-aircraft practice today, shooting at a sleeve pulled by a plane from the Nashville. We shot it down and put 12 holes in it at 3000 yards. The other two ships didn’t even come close. Had my first operation aboard today. One of the boys got his left hand caught while loading a 5 inch gun and he traumatically amputated his 3rd finger, left hand. Did a block anesthesia and procaine and re-amputated at the proximal phalangeal joint. It was too hot for gowns or masks—hope he doesn’t get an infection. We are now halfway to Pearl Harbor and we expect to arrive on Aug 12, about noon. That day is the ship’s first birthday, so the Capt is preparing a ship’s party somewhere in Honolulu that night.

Tuesday, August 10, 1943
Still cruising along at about 18 knots. It is getting much warmer each day and we see more flying fish each day. Had about an hour and a half of anti-aircraft practice again. My patient with the amputation is up and around feeling fine.

Wednesday, August 11, 1943
Had anti-aircraft practice again this morning for an hour. At noon, while we were eating, an emergency alarm rang out to “stand by to pick up plane crash”. The plane which had been pulling our target, crashed right near our ship. Fortunately, neither airman was wounded. Got them aboard and fed them. The sea was too rough for a landing and the plane nosed over. We then shot several rounds at the plane and sank it. At 1400 we pulled alongside of the Nashville and refueled in a heavy sea. Quite an interesting operation. It took one hour. Tomorrow we arrive at Pearl Harbor. At 1800 we passed a 17 ship convoy going back to the States. Have had a series of squalls all day. We have turned back our watches 2½ hours since leaving San Diego.

Thursday, August 12, 1943
Passed by Diamond Head at 0700 this morning. We cruised right on past Pearl Harbor and went on more maneuvers. First we shot at planes and the “Dilly” shot down two!! We’re red hot on the guns. Then we shot at a surface target pulled by a destroyer and we were the only ship to get a direct hit and the sea was a little rough causing us to rock quite a bit. Then we had a simulated air attack by dive bombers and torpedo planes from Pearl Harbor. We didn’t shoot any guns but just trained on them. I was on the bridge watching the dive bombers peel off from out of the sun when I noticed one plane keep diving and not pulling out. It crashed and exploded in the water 300 yards off our starboard quarter! I yelled to the Captain and we immediately turned around searching for any possible survivors, but from the floating organs it was apparent no one survived. Can’t figure out what happened, but the plane never budged out of the dive and he must have been going 500 m.p.h. when he hit. We docked at Pearl Harbor at 1630. It is really a beautiful island. We passed by the U.S.S. Arizona and they’re still trying to float her. I went over to a sister destroyer and met the M.D. and we went for a walk around the sub base. It was a beautiful evening with a full moon—just like you read and hear about.

Friday, August 13, 1943
Didn’t go out today since we’re taking on supplies, etc. A bunch of us went to Honolulu in the afternoon. I bought Donny a little birthday present and then we went to the original Trader Vic’s for supper and I must say we got up hungry and disappointed in the food. Waikiki, the Royal Hawaiian, and the Mauana Hotel were “out of bounds” for us because of a recent outbreak of Dengue Fever. I hope the ban is lifted before we sail so we can see the place.

Saturday, August 14, 1943
Went out today on maneuvers with three other destroyers and a cruiser on radar practice. We laid down a most effective smoke screen—white chemical smoke from the fan tail and black smoke from the stocks. Pulled in to port at 2000 after going 30 knots almost all day long.

Sunday, August 15, 1943
We are moored to a buoy, north of Ford Island near the sunken Oklahoma. Did not go out today. The Captain and five others of us went to the Officer’s Club at the sub base, had a couple of bottles of beer and returned to the ship for supper. Weather is not bad now and still having beautiful nights.

Monday, August 16, 1943
Didn’t go out today again. Donny’s birthday and surely wish I were there with Sallee and the babies. Doesn’t seem like a year. Went over to see the CinCPac Medical Officer this afternoon and then back to the ship.

Tuesday, August 17, 1943
Here all day. Went over to the sub base and got a real short haircut and then went into Honolulu with the Executive Officer and the Gunnery Officer.

Wednesday, August 18, 1943
Went out today on submarine attack practice. A sub would attack at various times and we would go through depth charge practice, etc. The sub would send up a bubble of air after we had passed over where we had picked her up by sound, to show us how far off we were. Came back to Pearl Harbor at 1800.

Thursday, August 19, 1943
Remain moored and busy today. Stayed aboard and puttered around sick bay. Reduced a dislocated shoulder by Kocher Method. Don’t know why we are staying here so long, but there is probably a good reason.

Friday, August 20, 1943
Spent most of the day in Sick Bay wrapping instruments etc. for sterilization. As a matter of fact, we sterilized everything we have because today we heard that on Sunday we are leaving with a huge task force for operations against the Japs. Everyone is getting a little jittery already. Went to the movie on the fantail tonight but was called out to sew up a sailor’s lip-lacerated in a fight.

Saturday, August 21, 1943
Still getting prepared for the big days ahead. Almost all is in readiness. It rained all day. Shoving off at 0800 tomorrow for another “Shangri-La”.

Sunday, August 22, 1943
Shoved off at 0800 from P. H. with 3 other destroyers and 2 aircraft carriers—the Yorktown (30,000 tons) and the Independence (13,000) for a destructive (we hope) raid on the Marcus Island which is 900 miles directly East of Tokyo. Tomorrow we will meet and join up with 7 more destroyers, 2 heavy cruisers, 1 battleship (Indiana) and 1 more aircraft carrier. That will make a total of 17 warships, which is a good sized task force, indeed. Since we are going through heavily infested sub and mine waters, and the distance we have to return to Pearl Harbor (3000 miles) we have been told the chances of returning are against us. Planes from Tokyo will be bombarding us within 5 hours after we arrive at the Marcus Island. Speed is at 18 knots, sea calm, and overcast sky.

While we were eating supper at 1630 an emergency alarm sang out “man the crash boat”. We turned over chairs and ran like mad to the forecastle and found out one of the planes from the Yorktown had crashed. Neither airman was injured and they were floating in their life raft. Took them to Sick Bay for a change of clothing and while there another plane crashed trying to land on the Yorktown but it was evident no one survived so we continued our course.

Monday, August 23, 1943
At 0800 met the Indiana, the Essex (30,000 tons aircraft carrier and sister ship of the Yorktown), the Nashville and Mobile (cruisers) and 7 destroyers, and a tanker. We immediately fell into formation thusly: Our attack will either be on August 31 at dawn or September 1.

Tuesday, August 24, 1943
Pulled alongside of the Yorktown today and delivered the 2 airman by Breeches Buoy and collected some official mail to the Admiral. We have 2 Admirals on this excursion. Have been having squalls all day.

Wednesday, August 25, 1943
Continuing at 18 knots. We are just north of Midway Islands and will pass the International Date Line tomorrow. Plan to refuel in the morning from the tanker. Spent the morning instructing the Engineers on first aid and had some practical drills pulling men up hatches on a canvas stretcher we improvised. We will launch the planes at 0315 on the morning of August 31 for the attack. They will drop 500 and 1000 pound bombs which should really level the mile by 1½ mile square island. Our plan is to try to be seen by patrols so that we will engage the Jap Fleet—we are all half hoping we will and half hoping we won’t.

Thursday, August 26, 1943
Passed the International Date Line at 0800 and can now call myself a member of the “Order of the Golden Dragon”. We did not fuel today and will fuel tomorrow. We are now getting in definitely Jap waters. Had a score last night at 1800. We were just going to sit down to eat and the submarine contact alarm went off. We all scrambled up on topside to watch the show. The tanker had contacted an object 1 mile behind in her wake by Radar—which is just the way subs follow the enemy so that the periscope is not seen. We immediately swung around and began searching and our depth charges set ready to go. We never did get a contact so we still don’t know if it was a sub or not. After an hour we rejoined the force and on into the night. Changed time again today setting back our watches ½ hour so now we are 4 hours early to California time.

Friday, August 27, 1943
We refueled at sea today and the water was a little rough. We had to go East all day to go against the sea so lost a lot of miles. Continuing to go through many squalls.

Saturday, August 28, 1943
Continued to refuel the remainder of the ships. Have everything in Sick Bay in readiness for come what may. We are directly over Wake Island now and are keeping a very vigilant lookout for the Japs. So far no contacts.

Sunday, August 29, 1943
Began refueling all over again since today is the day that the tanker and a destroyer return to Midway and await our return from Marcus Island. Since each ship didn’t require much fuel it didn’t take very long. We had 68 planes escorting us today and they would dive on us and fire their machine guns in the water to check mechanisms etc. While they were all up we ran into a severe rainstorm and it got so dark we couldn’t see the other ships. The planes remained in the air until we passed through the storm and then they all landed.

Monday, August 30, 1943
Started going 25 knots during day and up to 30 knots tonight on our last leg back to Marcus. Had a sub contact at 1700 but lost it. So far we have had ideal weather—cloudy and poor visibility so can assume we have not yet been spotted. Hope not, because surprise is our big factor. Fixed up wardroom for an operating room.

Tuesday, August 31, 1943
All awakened at 0400 for G.Q. Watched the planes take off—although it was pitch black they had lights on. We are now 120 miles Northwest of Marcus. The bombing started at 0615 and continued until 1500. Spent most of the day watching the big flights return for more bombs. We sank a Jap tanker and a small patrol vessel off of Marcus by planes plus the bombing. One of our planes was shot down by the patrol vessel but the pilot was to be picked up by one of our subs so all in all our personnel casualty was zero. Another plane had its landing gear damaged by anti air craft fire but made a forced landing near one of our destroyers and was picked up uninjured. Our attack was a complete surprise and poor Marcus Island doesn’t have much left of it now. We dropped over 160 tons of bombs on it.

The ships kept steaming at 25 knots all day back and forth during the attack and not one enemy plane was ever sighted. At 1630 one of our planes sighted a Jap sub 20 miles from us and we were heading right for it. He kept circling and radioed and several of our bombers went over and “took care of it”. We then left for Pearl Harbor. At 2030 we passed over another sub but lost it because of darkness.

We are now going at 29 knots and running like hell zig zagging every which way. We are surrounded with Japs and now they know where we are. Tomorrow we expect Jap bombers and subs and probably for the next 2 days until we can get past Wake and farther away from Tokyo. The Japs are really trying to lay their hands on our carriers. Tomorrow should be a busy day for all. So far, none of our ships have fired one shot! We re now in the middle of another storm—which helped from being spotted by an evening patrol. At 2030 tonight we contacted another sub but again lost it because we were going so fast and we didn’t want to stop and investigate.

Wednesday, September 1, 1943
Since we are in squalls and have poor air visibility, we have slowed to 18 knots to conserve fuel. No enemy contacts all day. We heard on the radio that Tokyo announced our raid and said we had shelled the island from ships too—what a laugh. I guess there were so many bombs falling they didn’t know where they were coming from. Our forces were told today by the Admiral that our mission was a complete surprise and success. Photos taken revealed a loss of 80% of their installations; all aircraft and one tanker sunk. Set ahead our watches ½ hours, 5 hours + P.S.T.

Thursday, September 2, 1943
Still no enemy contacts. We, the destroyers, all refueled today from the Indiana, the carriers and cruisers. Now we’re on our way to Midway and then to Pearl Harbor. Set a fractured navicular bone for the left wrist today without difficulty.

Friday, September 3, 1943
Continuing our cruise back to Pearl. No sign of a Jap yet. Continuing to encounter many squalls. Wrote letters and read. Set clocks ahead ½ hour. Passed International Dateline at 0800.

Saturday, September 4, 1943
Met the tanker and destroyer who left us on our way to Marcus, this morning at 0800. All of us refueled and proceeded on to Pearl. We are past Midway now. Set watches ahead ½ hour. Still no Japs. Started removing warts off fingers—lack of anything else to do. I now have four steady customers with numerous warts. Am excising some, using the Cautey on some. We are travelling at 17 knots.

Sunday, September 5, 1943
Continuing on to Pearl. One of the crew came into Sick Bay today and he had a red hot appendix. I talked with the Captain and he called the Admiral on the Yorktown. The Admiral said to transfer him to the Yorktown, so we pulled along side and sent him over on a breeches buoy. I would like to have done it, but these things roll so much, it would have been tough on the kid post-operatively. This after noon we had a simulated air attack by our cruiser planes. The air was surely filled with airplanes and we had a good idea what it was like on Marcus. Set clocks ½ hour ahead.

Monday, September 6, 1943
No changes until this afternoon we received orders to speed up to 23 knots and will arrive at Pearl tomorrow—one day ahead of time. Something is up, least none of us know yet. It looks like another assignment. We changed time again—up ½ hour.

Tuesday, September 7, 1943
The island of Oahu came in sight at noon and we finally docked at 1800. Twenty bags of mail were brought aboard and I got 13 letters, and were they welcomed. I read them until almost midnight.

Wednesday, September 8, 1943
Well, we pulled out at 1100 without any of us getting to go ashore. We had to relieve 3 cans who were out with the new carrier Lexington 150 miles south of Oahu. She is new and on a training cruise. We rendezvoused with them at 1800 and the other cans immediately left for Oahu.

Thursday, September 9, 1943
Turned around last night and headed back to Oahu. We sighted the island today at 0900. All the planes from the carrier always take off and fly on in ahead of us. Got 13 letters today after we docked.

Friday, September 10, 1943
Went into Honolulu today, got a haircut and did some shopping. Came back to the ship and saw a movie on deck.

Saturday, September 11, 1943
Went over to the Commissary to buy stores but it was closed. Went over to the Club with the Captain for a while and returned to the ship and saw another movie.

Sunday, September 12, 1943
Stayed aboard all day. Our medical supplies arrived. Slept most of the afternoon and saw another movie on deck tonight. We are leaving Tuesday so we head for the South Pacific. Wrote a couple of letters and to bed.

Monday, September 13, 1943
The Captain got a station wagon for 7 of us and took us around the Island on a tour. We went up Pali Valley to the Oahu Country Club and up over the pass to Kaneohe Bay on the other side of the Island. Also went out to Nimintz Beach near Barbers Point to see how the crew’s party was coming along. The men really enjoyed their outing. Then we went to the Royal Hawaiian and Mauna Hotels to see them since the Dengue Fever restriction is lifted now. Got back to the ship about 9:00 PM.

Tuesday, September 14, 1943
Went over and paid the Recreation Officer for the crew’s picnic and came back. Had to get things straightened up since we’re shoving off tomorrow for a new base—as yet unknown.

Wednesday, September 15, 1943
Shoved off at 0900 to our new base. We are on our way to Suva, Fiji Islands, which is approximately 3000 miles from Pearl. This will not be our base, but a refueling and place to get more stores. We don’t know yet our ultimate destination but it will be in the Solomon area to be sure.

Thursday, September 16, 1943
Continuing with 2 other cans—the Fletcher and Thatcher at 18 knots. We are going southwest all the time and it gets hotter every minute. The humidity is terrific.

Friday, September 17, 1943
Getting stickier and stickier. We are now at 8 degrees North. We will “cross the line” tomorrow and the “Shellbacks” are getting ready to initiate all of us “Pollywogs”. Took out a sebaceous cyst from the scalp today and it was so hot we were ringing wet in 10 minutes. Inoculated all the other officers for tetanus, typhoid and some small pox. Numerous squalls all day. Going 20 knots now.

Saturday, September 18, 1943
Held our ceremonies today for “crossing the line”. We got our heads clipped, soaked and general hazing. We crossed the equator at 1535 longitude being 168 degrees West. Hot!

Sunday, September 19, 1943
Continuing on course 220 degrees. Running into lots of squalls. No land or vessels have been sighted. Had to sit in on 2 Summary Court Martials since I am on the board.

Monday, September 20, 1943
We are passing by Samoa today but not near enough to see it. Three patrol planes followed us all day (from Samoa) as anti-sub protection. Still awfully humid and hot. Inoculated the whole crew today for tetanus. Tomorrow will give them typhoid shots. Have been really rolling today and one really has to hold on to the table while eating otherwise his chair will go over backwards. We place all our plates and glasses on dampened tablecloths to keep them from sliding off.

(Tuesday) Wednesday, September 22, 1943
Crossed the Date Line again and skipped a day. Arrived at Suva at 1200. It is a very pretty port and is a real natural harbor. We tied up at Kings Wharf and refueled. The town is about 15,000 population, 1000 whites. The native men wear white skirts, have real black bushy hair and every time one meets you on the street they say “Boola”—meaning “hello stranger”. This island is under the New Zealand mandate so we see many New Zealand soldiers. The stores are filled with trinkets-mostly silver, ivory and tortoise shell. Much more native here than at Pearl. Weather cool and comfortable. The Captain took us officers to the Grand Pacific Hotel for dinner and then to the exclusive Fiji club for a couple of drinks afterward. Got back to the ship at 10:00 PM.

Thursday, September 23, 1943
Will stay in Suva today. The Captain and 15 of us went into town and played softball all afternoon at the Albert Field next to the Govt. Building. It was a lot of fun and the exercise did us good. We all then went to the G.P.H and sat on the cool veranda. While there Pete brought us an urgent message from the ship-our new orders. We all got back to the ship at 6:00 PM and were told we were shoving off at sunrise tomorrow. Saw a movie on the deck after supper.

Friday, September 24, 1943
Shoved off at 0600 for Havanah Harbor, Éfaté, in the New Hebrides. We are joining a task force there. Éfaté is just south of Guadalcanal. I expect something big is up and we’re going to be there when it happens.

Saturday, September 25, 1943
Arrived Éfaté at 1300. It is a beautiful island and a perfect harbor. It was thrilling to come around the bend of the channel and see 4 of our big new Battleships lying in the stream, the Washington, Massachusetts, South Dakota, and Alabama, also 4 cans like ours, the Anthony, Hudson, Guest and Fullam. So this is where our Pacific Fleet is that the papers keep asking about! We all went ashore to an officer cocktail party given by the Washington. It was out in the open and very delightful. Got back to the ship at 1800.

Sunday, September 26, 1943
Cool and cloudy all day. Another can just arrived, the Chevalier. Went swimming off of the fantail this morning. Saw a movie tonight. Hear that we are going “up the slot” where the Japs are, probably Tuesday.

Monday, September 27, 1943
Cloudy and cool all day. Went over to the Officers Club in the afternoon. Alongside they have a typical tropical airfield hidden. We went on and watched the patrol planes take off. Came back to ship and saw a movie. They have the prettiest birds here-a light green body and a brilliant red under the wings.

Tuesday, September 28, 1943
Shoved off at 0500 for Tulagi on the New Florida Islands—north of Guadalcanal. We are escorting a tanker up there alone. The tanker left from Villa on the other side of the island and we met her at sea. Proceeding at 17 knots. Weather gets warmer as we keep going farther north. Read this morning, that where we are going, was bombed by Jap planes yesterday. Late tonight we got a secret dispatch saying that 7 Jap cans were spotted approaching the Central Solomons and 10 of our cans from Tulagi were sent out to intercept them. The Captain thinks we may join that can squadron when we get there.

Wednesday, September 29, 1943
Continuing at 17 knots. We are now just above Espiritu Santo. Sea is rough today and we have swerving as much as 28 degrees each side. Passed 2 landing boats (US) and have seen many planes (all friendly). We are just about where this ship was torpedoed and strange enough it was on January 29th of this year, just eight months ago. We will arrive at Tulagi tomorrow afternoon, passing the Guadalcanal tonight, late.

Thursday, September 30, 1943
Went up on the bridge this morning and saw Guadalcanal. We came within 4 miles of it. It is certainly mountainous and thickly “jungled”. Went past Henderson Field also. Tulagi is in sight of Guadalcanal to the north on Florida Island. We pulled in about 1300 but were told to go [east] along the island to Purvis. There [were] two of our cruisers—the Cleveland and the Columbia. We pulled alongside of a barge and refueled and then stayed for the night. It rained quite a bit. The heat here is the worst so far—no wind and one is wet all through all the time.

Friday, October 1, 1943
We shoved off at 0900 for Tulagi and loaded up to the top with ammunition. We then steamed out at 34 knots to catch up with our task force. We are going to try to prevent the evacuation of the Japs at Kolombangara Island between Vella Lavella and New Georgia Islands. They are evacuating to Bougainville Island to the north east. The Japs are using landing barges for this due to lack of transports. We arrived off Kolombangara just before sunset with 3 other cans wanting the Japs to see us because we have a good plan. When they would see only 4 cans there, we were hoping they would send out some of their fleet to fight, because we had 2 heavy cruiser and 9 more cans coming up behind and would arrive after dark. Either the Japs don’t have a fleet around here or they were nice or what but we never saw hide-nor-hair of them.

At 2300 we started shelling the Island. Our ship was designated to fire “star shells” to illuminate the barges. We saw about 10 large barges filled with Japs about 4000 yards off our port beam and the other ships opened up after we illuminated. We got a direct hit right away and the flames really shot up in the sky. Soon after this we cruised around and passed some more barges and opened up on them with our 40 mm A.A. guns. (I forgot to mention that on our way to the Island and after we got there after sunset we kept maneuvering until the large force arrived. The whole time while we were doing this, Jap planes kept circling us and dropping floating flares on the water just out of gun range to mark our course.) We kept shelling the island and it was about one hour for the Jap bombers to arrive. We followed them by Radar and 2 flew directly over us. The can right behind us was too anxious and opened fire on one plane. The gun fire gave her position away and another bomber came right and bombed it hitting it. We heard later they had 15 causalities including the Doctor who got a shell fragment in the lungs and another man getting a fragment in the abdomen. That same plane bombed at us, but the bomb hit in our wake about 200 yards astern. We kept shelling the island until 0400 and then turned around for home at 32 knots. One of the cans claims to have sunk a sub but it will never be confirmed because of darkness and no one else saw it.

Saturday, October 2, 1943
Got up at 0800, 4 hours later, and we are cruising at 27 knots still bound for Tulagi. No Japs bombers at dawn as we had expected. Arrived at Purvis Bay and moored at 1300. We pulled alongside of the Radford (Can) which is going back South so they gave us 6 cases of beer. Captain and 11 of us took a case over to a clearing on the beach in the afternoon. Came back for supper and saw a movie.

Sunday, October 3, 1943
Remained moored until 1000 when we moved across Purvis Bay to get some fresh water aboard. Finished taking on water at 1330 and came back to moor. Sent out our liberty party and we were ready to go on the beach when an emergency signal came through at 1530 to steam out and again go “up the slot” with some other cans. Here we go again! Arrived off Kolombangara about 2400 and rendezvoused with 3 other cans. We picked up a contact by Radar—and it was a P.C. boat—enemy. In 5 rounds it was sunk! We turned on search lights and tried to pick up survivors but none could be found, although the water was strewn with debris. We went all around but got no other contacts all night. We secured from G.Q. at 0600 and went to bed—tired!

Monday, October 4, 1943
Awoke about 1130 and were just about back to Tulagi. Finally docked and fueled at 1430. At 1445 we received orders to get underway and go back “up the slot” again. So we shoved off for Kolombangara. Here we go again! We searched and searched until 0400 and did not pick up a thing. Turned around and sailed for Tulagi. Got to bed at 0600.

Tuesday, October 5, 1943
Arrived at Tulagi (Purvis Bay) at 1300. All the officers of the other cans and ours went over to the “Des Slot Officer’s Club”—a clearing in the jungle along the beach, drank some beer and went swimming. The mosquitoes were terrific. Came back to ship for supper and a movie.

Wednesday, October 6, 1943
Shoved off at 0600 to take a convoy of Marines and supplies up to Vella Lavella, which was bombed by 100 Jap planes last evening. Taking 4 L.S.T.’s and 5 A.P.D.’s up. There are six of us (Cans) doing the job. Plan to arrive at 0700 in the morning and unload. At 0900 we received urgent orders to leave the convoy and go up off the Bougainville because there were “at least” 9 Jap destroyers sighted. Three of us cans left and sped up at 35 knots. In the meantime, other cans were proceeding “up the slot” on the northern route. We planned to meet them at 1130 and proceed looking for the Japs. As luck would have it, one of our cans developed engine trouble so we all slowed down. In about ½ hour everything was OK so we sped up at 35 knots again. As we approached we could see shell fire for 25 miles dead ahead so we knew the other three cans had arrived and contacted the enemy ahead of us. One ship (which later proved to be a Jap light cruiser) blew to bits and disappeared in about 2 minutes as we approached. We could not tell which ships were which, so we radioed ahead as we approached. Then we found out that all three of those cans were damaged and needed help. The Japs turned and beat it before we arrived. When we arrived one can was designated to pick up survivors and another and ourselves were told to go like hell and try to overtake the fleeing 4 Jap’s cans.

Thursday, October, 7, 1943
Fortunately, or unfortunately, the cans who had been in the scrap gave us the wrong direction of the Jap flight and we never got a contact. So we returned to the scene of the battle and were told to search around for survivors. We couldn’t use any lights because Jap bombers were overhead. One bomb hit alongside of us and it felt just like we had rammed something—a sudden jar. We put our boats in the water and searched but found nothing but debris. Oil was all over the water. The damaged sustained by the three cans in action were; one with the bow blown off back to the bridge, the Chevalier, was dead in the water sinking slowly. They abandoned ship. Her bow was floating separately [in the] water. Another can rammed the floating bow during battle and her bow was caved in back to #2 gun plus shell hits. She started to sink but repairs saved her—she was the Selfridge. The other, the O’Bannon, was hit by a torpedo in the bow* and was managing to

*In fact, O’Bannon damaged her bow by ramming Chevalier; then stood by to rescue survivors.
stay afloat. After survivors were picked up—this was at 0400, they told us to torpedo the Chevalier and sink it then stay in the vicinity until dawn to pick up any other survivors. This was dangerous because we were just 20 miles off Bougainville where the big Jap airfield is. We torpedoed the Chevalier and hit it in the magazine—what an explosion! She immediately sank and it was a pathetic sight. Then we depth charged the floating bow and sunk it. We stuck around until light and seeing no survivors we steamed away at full speed to rejoin the cripples to help against air attack which we knew was coming. We soon caught up with them as they could only do 9 knots. At about 0800 our radar picked up approximately 25 Jap bombers headed for us. We notified our airfields and they immediately sent up protection. It was an exciting event because on the plotting board we could see the Jap bomber coming at us at 200 knots at right angles our fighter approaching trying to intercept them before they got to us. They intercepted them 10 miles from us and real dogfight took place—25 Jap bombers and 10 of our fighters. In about 15 minutes the Japs were driven away and everyone really drew a sigh of relief. We continued on our course at 9 knots. At 1000 we were told things were quiet and that we could get some sleep. We hadn’t slept for 28 hours, plus the nervous strain, we were all about to drop. At 1600 we met up with the convoy still headed for Vella Lavella and we left the battered cans and rejoined the convoy. So here we go right back to the Jap area we left. We just realized that if that can which was with us when we were trying to join the others before the scrap had not had temporary engine trouble, we would have been there in time and possibly those other cans wouldn’t’ have received so much damage. As it was, 3 of our destroyers engaged 8 Jap destroyers (one believed to be a light cruiser) and our losses were 1 sunk (by us) and 2 damaged—the Japs definitely lost 4 ships sunk and 2 damaged which got away.

Friday, October 8, 1943
Arrived at the south end of Vella Lavella with the convoy and unloaded at 0700. The Japs still hold the northern end of the Island. We left with the A.P.D.’s and took them as far as Munda then 3 of us returned to Vella Lavella for the L.S.T.’s. We finally left with the L.S.T.’s at 1430. As we passed Munda airfield, you could see the burned area where we had used flame throwers to knock the Japs out. Rendova Island just south of there, makes a very narrow strait to pass through. We can only make 9 knots because of the L.S.T.’s and it is very boring and dangerous with subs in these waters, but so far none has been seen.

Saturday, October 9, 1943
Arrived off Cape Esperance on Guadalcanal at 1000 and finally docked at 1630 at Purvis Bay. Just as we were docking “Condition Red” was sent out for Tulagi and we all scampered to G.Q. but no Jap planes arrived. Stayed on board and saw a movie. Rain and heat! Cut off my 2-month mustache, to the day!

Sunday, October 10, 1943
Sailed over to Tulagi for a replacement of the torpedo we expended. Went ashore and got some wardroom mess gear. Boy it was hot. Came back to Purvis in the afternoon. Gene Groshart came aboard from the Nicholas #449 and we chatted a while. It was sure good seeing someone you knew down here. His ship and mine are in the same squadron so we should see one another often. While in Tulagi, I saw one of the officers whom I had met at Éfaté who was on the Chevalier when she was hit. He said after he was taken aboard the O’Bannon, they continued to search for survivors in the water. They hauled up two men over the side and they were both Japs so they clipped them on the chin and threw them back in the water! Went to another movie tonight. I typed and mimeographed the songs I had written and passed them out to the boys. They get a kick out of singing them on the forecastle before the movie starts.

Monday, October 11, 1943
Stayed in Purvis Bay today. Went over to the Nicholas and visited with Gene Groshart. Came back to the ship and saw a movie. Have had another “Condition Red” which means Jap bombers came nearby but they attacked Guadalcanal instead.

Tuesday, October 12, 1943
Got underway at 0830 and 3 other cans and we went out in “Iron Bottom Bay” and went through maneuvers until 1430. Came back to Purvis Bay. A bunch of us went ashore to the Des Slot Club and went swimming. Came back to the ship to find the Nicholas tied up to us so went over and saw Gene again. He came over and we shot craps for a while.

Wednesday, October 13, 1943
All the cans but us and the Fletcher were gone from Purvis upon arriving today. They had to go “up the slot” & some L.S.T.’s Here we remain. The Capt brought the Bishop of the Solomon Islands aboard for supper & then he gave a talk on the history & customs of natives of the Solomon Islands which was very interesting. Had another “Condition Red” during the speech. Saw a movie afterward.

Thursday, October 14, 1943
Still in Purvis and all is quiet. Went over to Des Slot Club. Took my 45 pistol & shot about 200 rounds on the target range. Then went swimming at the Recreation spot. Returned to ship and saw another movie. Started receiving our first mail in over a month.

Friday, October 15, 1943
Stayed aboard today. We still remain in Purvis. Guess the Japs have cooled off. Another sentence but cannot read.

Saturday, October 16, 1943
The rest of the cans returned from their convoy duty up to Vella Lavella and it seems good to see so many around again. Believe we are pulling out tomorrow for Havanah Harbor, Éfaté to join the big battleships. Went over to Des Slot Club and returned for supper and a movie.

Sunday, October 17, 1943
Went along side a tanker in Purvis Bay this morning and fueled and then shoved at 11:00 for Guadalcanal. We were to take some transports south but our transport got beached and so we remained behind going back and forth patrolling while trying to free her. This evening at 2030 while we were still patrolling our sound picked up a sub contact which later proved false or was a big fish. Lot of lightning tonight, and Guadalcanal is certainly lit up with lights. Looks like Santa Cruz Boardwalk at night.

Monday, October 18, 1943
Remain patrolling off Guadalcanal. At dawn today saw approximately 50 bombers & fighters take off from Henderson. They had gone up to bomb Bougainville, “up the slot”. Almost had a collision at 2030 tonight, with an L.S.T. Came within 10 feet of hitting her. They cut unexpectedly in front of us and we threw the engine full speed stern and came to a stop just 10 feet as he passed in front of us. The transports—six of them—are unloaded now and are reloading stuff to take back. All of us cans will unload most of our ammunition and leave it here. No can leaves the area with more than is absolutely necessary due to supply problems.

Tuesday, October 19, 1943
Still patrolling and awaiting the transports to complete loading. More bombers took off today for another mission. Left this afternoon with 3 other cans and 4 transports in a convoy for Havanah Harbor, Éfaté after going to Tulagi and leaving ½ of our ammunition.

Wednesday, October 20, 1943
Going south at 15 knots. Had G.Q. this afternoon because of unidentified airplanes approaching which later proved friendly. Several squalls—sea smooth.

Thursday, October 21, 1943
Continuing in convoy. Had surprise burst firing for target practice in AM and PM. Trip dull & uninteresting so far. Are now just opposite Espiritu Santo. Will reach destination tomorrow.

Friday, October 22, 1943
Arrived off of Éfaté at dawn. We left the convoy outside of Fila and three other cans took our place. We docked at Havanah Harbor about 1000. Went over to the stores landing to get some supplies, and then back to the ship. Six of us went over to the Officer’s Club in the afternoon, and also did some swimming. Back to the ship for supper and a movie.

Saturday, October 23, 1943
Underway at 0600 with two other cans the Radford and Fletcher and the new big battleship Alabama for two days of maneuvers. Fired many rounds of 5-inch, 40 mm and 20’s at sleeves towed by planes. Saw an interesting sight while out. Ran across two small native sailboats quite away from land. Maneuvers continue into the night.

Sunday, October 24, 1943
Up at 0430 for more maneuvers. Fired more shells. Sea is a little rough but the sky is clear. Did more firing and had the Alabama fire at us—called “offset practice” in which we stay at 17,000 yards and they aim at us and then shift the gun 1000 yards behind and fire. I stayed on the fan tail and watched it. It took 40 seconds from the flash of the guns until you could hear it and then 10 seconds later the shells would hit in our wake. Returned to port about 1600. While we were refueling alongside a tanker, we received a blinker message to get underway immediately, so we cut fueling short and beat it up for Espiritu Santo alone for ammunition.

Monday, October 25, 1943
Arrived at Espiritu at dawn. It is very pretty and secluded harbor. Lot of ships here including the carrier Saratoga, cruisers and cans. We loaded 2500 rounds of five inch, and 20,000 rounds of 20mm. Left at 1100 for Éfaté. Traveled at 34 knots. Arrived at Éfaté at 1600. Saw a movie on the forecastle. Ran into “Tex” Lee while at Espiritu.

Tuesday, October 26, 1943
We are tied alongside Gene Groshart’s ship, the Nicholas, so I spent most of the day visiting with him. We are having some repairs done—minor and were alongside the Tender, Medusa. Cool & cloudy.

Wednesday, October 27, 1943
Still alongside of Tender. Got an emergency message to leave immediately at 1600 because the battleship, Washington, which is out on maneuvers, like the Alabama was with us, had a torpedo fired at her by a submarine. So two of us left to search for the sub. We came back in to port shortly after dark. No sub could be found.

Thursday, October 28, 1943
Still alongside tender. Got a lot of mail aboard from Sal and home. Visited with Gene again today. Back to ship for a movie. Capt announced we were going out with a sub tomorrow for anti-sub tactics. I asked to go along on the sub and the Capt OK’d it.

Friday, October 29, 1943
Got up at 0530 and boarded the sub. We pulled out a 0600. It is the S-38 and has four Jap ships to her credit. We submerged outside of the harbor and before I realized it, we were at 100 feet. We stayed down for 10 hours and traveled at 9 knots. Air got a little heavy prior to surfacing. As soon as we surfaced our ship was nearby and the Capt blinked a message to me saying “Dr. Ransom—did it blow back in our face?” Speaking of the heads, which shoot water up if you flush it with the wrong valve, I got permission from the sub Capt to send back a message “No mess treasurers on subs. Request transfer.” The Capt sent one back “Request granted. Stand by for depth charges.” The officers on the sub got a kick out of it. We got back to port in a real rain about 1600. Went over to the club with the sub skipper and we met my skipper then and talked over the runs made today. Back to ship for supper and a movie.

Saturday, October 30, 1943
We were told today by the Captain that we were shoving off tomorrow with a big task force of battleships and meet up with more plus carriers, etc. Were told to get all supplies, etc, aboard today. I spend the afternoon buying in stores and got 55 cases of Pepsi Cola for the officers. We are not returning here but going to base at the Fiji Islands after our engagement. We all think it is going to be invasion of the Marshall and Gilbert Islands but aren’t sure. Had a song fest on the forecastle with the crew.

Sunday, October 31, 1943
Shoved off with five other cans and the four big battleships. Ran into a real tropical storm all day and night, and water was shooting clear over the bridge. Almost everyone is seasick. Rolling in a 72 degree arc. Had to place Stauchino in wardroom. Storm continues into the night.

Monday, November 1, 1943
Still rough and stormy. Continuing to maneuver off of the Fiji Islands. Everyone feeling better. Battleships still with us. No one knows what’s up yet.

Tuesday, November 2, 1943
A big fleet joined us this morning. What a sight! Four more battleships, three carriers, four cruisers, and seven cans. Now our force comprises of eight big new battleships; Washington, Indiana, Tennessee, Colorado, South Dakota, Alabama, Maryland and Massachusetts three carriers; Yorktown, Essex and Independence, four cruisers; Portland, Birmingham, and Mobile, and thirteen destroyers. Looks like trouble ahead for the Japs. We still don’t know our plans—not even our skipper. We continue to go through maneuvers off Fiji Island preparing for battle with the Jap fleet.

Wednesday, November 3, 1943
Had a chance to see the whole force deploy and form battle line. When you see eight of those 80 million dollar battleships in a line with their guns pointing, it makes you feel damn good to be an American and gives you a lump in you throat. I really wanted a camera to take a picture of it, a sight very few get to see. The carriers launched their planes and we had a mock air attack on the formation this afternoon. Spent most of the day on the bridge—wouldn’t miss the show for anything. Cool today but sea still rough. Still maneuvering off South Western Fiji Islands. Learned today that the cans who relieved us of the Slot Duty got banged up on the invasion at Bougainville. Every one of them got hit. Guess we’ve been pretty lucky so far.

Thursday, November 4, 1943
Continuing to maneuver with our task force. Three cruisers and four cans were sent back up the slot to relieve those that got so banged up. The rest of us are carrying on with maneuvers. Sea is a little rough. Passed a lonely life raft from a merchantman this afternoon. No sighs of life or identification on it. Still between Éfaté and the Fijis.

Friday, November 5, 1943
Still undergoing maneuvers. Sea still rough. Should be going into port on Sunday. Fired some 5-inch bursts today. Still hot.

Saturday, November 6, 1943
Had more firing today. Sea calm. Continuing on maneuvers.

Sunday, November 7, 1943
Fiji Islands came in sight at dawn. All of us went into Nandi, anchored, and refueled. Hot as blazes and no wind. The Commander, Skipper, and six of us went ashore for a few hours. The rudder on the gig broke and we had to hitch a ride back getting aboard at nine o’clock. Got lots of mail today and all of our old mail.

Monday, November 8, 1943
Puttered around on board until 1650 then all officers and the Captain went ashore until sundown. Still hot. Remained anchored.

Tuesday, November 9, 1943
Went over to the Nicholas in the AM to visit with Groshart, then he, the Paymaster and I went into Latouka and over to the Army Hospital. The native village is about 12 miles from Nandi, and has quite a bit of activity. No #17 stamps needed here.

Wednesday, November 10, 1943
Our ship had the “ready duty” today so all hands remained on board. All of us (cans) in the afternoon to the lower end of the bay and refueled. We tied up to the Nicholas so visited with Groshart again. Saw a movie on board. Shoved off in A.M..

Thursday, November 11, 1943
Shoved off at 0830 and after cans were out of passage, we patrolled while the battlewagons came out. The Captain told us today we are part of a force going up to “assault & occupy” the Gilbert Islands. It’s going to be a huge force going there and then we will remain there for about a month

Friday, November 12, 1943
Continuing North. Sea very calm and weather becoming hotter mile by mile. Had practice firing—the five inch and 40’s and conducting various exercises to prepare.

Friday, November 13, 1943 (crosses International Date Line)
Was told by Captain today that just because it is Friday for two days in a row, we do not need to have fish again today! Continuing North to rendezvous. Sea calm. Latitude now 9 degrees South, and is much warmer now.

Saturday, November 13, 1943
Continuing North. Had practice firing at sleeves drawn by planes. It’s pretty hot and sea is calm. Getting all medical supplies in readiness. Uneventful voyage so far.

Sunday, November 14, 1943
Continuing North. Ran to our battle stations when we pick up six large vessels on our Radar. They were four cruisers and two cans of ours heading south. Fired some more sleeves. Held first aid instructions today.

Monday, November 15, 1943
Rendezvoused with six carriers, one battlewagon, and several cans today. Our force is getting bigger and bigger. Another can pulled alongside us and gave us ten bags of Christmas packages from the States. I got two from Sal—cheese!! Will refuel tomorrow from a tanker and start on our offensive.

Tuesday, November 16, 1943
Continuing to refuel all ships. Sea is a little choppy, making it difficult. We are now heading for our objective. Set up clocks on hour. Still hot. Shouldn’t be many more days now.

Wednesday, November 17, 1943
All destroyers again refueled—“topped off” it is called and the tankers left us. We are continuing west toward the Gilberts. Two took groups of three carriers, three battleships and six cans each. Sea choppy and very warm since out latitude is 5 degrees North.

Thursday, November 18, 1943
Although we crossed the International Date Line again, we are not changing days for these operations. Still going West. At 1700 tonight we are 150 miles off of Milli—a Jap island we are going to bomb tomorrow at dawn. We will remain circling off it all night. We will get up at 0400 tomorrow and planes will be launched at 0430. Heard that Tarawa and Makin Islands have been attacked by our Southern force today successfully. Guess we should see some Jap planes tomorrow. Here we go again.

Friday, November 19, 1943
Our planes took off at 0430 and left for Milli and Jaluit atolls. Several large flights came and went all day. Results were severe damage to both places and we lost only one plane. No Japs appeared near at all. Continuing back and forth south of Milli—90 miles.

Saturday, November 20, 1943
Our planes took off at dawn and went down to Makin—90 miles south to help cover the landing of our troops. Today is invasion day. Cans refueled from battleships today with good fighter protection all day. No Japs near us yet. Saw three men parachute out of a plane which was in trouble. All three picked up injured. We hear that our forces are doing all right on the invasion.

Sunday, November 21, 1943
Awakened at 0300 for G.Q. Four groups of bombers, Japs, were heading our way. They passed over us 4.5 miles away, headed south—maybe to hit our invasion forces. Don’t know whether they spotted us or not. At any rate, they did not return and we continued to maneuver all day. One of the carriers spotted or claimed to have spotted a periscope but one can searched the area without success.

Monday, November 22, 1943
Awaked at 0500 to “Stand by Crash Boat”. One of the planes off of the Lexington had crashed taking off and we were going after the survivors. We picked them up—three men off of a torpedo bomber. The pilot was Ens. Landon from Baltimore, Maryland—a kid of 19 who has 400 hours already of flying. They crashed into a gun mount on the carrier, and fell over the side into the water. The radioman had two scalp lacerations needing sutures, and bumps and bruises. We fueled again from the Alabama and got more food from them. We hear that the Japs are putting up strong resistance at Tarawa, but Makin is now ours. Also, that more Marines have landed at Apamama. There are three known subs in our vicinity—Jap, but as yet we have not contacted them.

Tuesday, November 23, 1943
Continuing to patrol north of Makin. Went to our battle stations at 1030 when our radar picked up Jap planes coming at us. Our carriers immediately launched fighters and they intercepted them at 45 miles away. Twelve of our fighters tangled with 20 zero’s and every one of the Japs were knocked down before reaching us. One of our boys got five zeros. One of our fighters had his tail assembly shot away, but managed to fly back to our force. En route back he sighted two subs on the surface which submerged when they sighted him. After he got back to our force, he had to parachute because he couldn’t maneuver enough to land on the carrier. We went after him and he was fouled up in the parachute lines and was just going under when we got a line to him. Took him to sick bay and checked him over. Except for a lot of salt water taken in and a couple of cracked ribs, he was OK. His name is Lt. Blome from Nebraska.

Our evening patrol ran into a heavy squall and made landing on the carrier a difficult job. One plane, from another carrier, was lost and said he was coming in—he crashed into the island and there was a terrific explosion on the flight deck and fire. One plane kept trying to land and couldn’t make it—it was pitch black by now and he kept giving his gas supply 25 gallons, 20 gallons, 15 gallons, etc. Finally on his last possible run, he landed safely with practically only gas fumes in his tanks.

Tonight the pilot we picked up began to feel worse and has a temperature of 102.5 and a lot of pain in his right chest. Checked him over thoroughly and could find no more than I did this morning. No evidence of a punctured lung and only thing possible is very early pneumonia. Abdomen is OK. Yet there are no localizing signs in his chest. Gave him sad. asmytal, codeine, & asp. And put him to bed. At midnight he was resting comfortably and felt much cooler. Believe this to be a transient affair. I hope so. Had Jap snoopers following us tonight—getting used to them.

Wednesday, November 24, 1943
Continuing on patrol North of Makin. One of our planes on patrol sighted a Jap sub 25 miles ahead of our task force and so dropped some depth charges and it submerged—damage undetermined. At 1230 we manned our battle stations since two flights of Japs were coming at us. Our fighters intercepted them at 5 miles and out of 20 fighters and torpedo planes our boys shot down nine. We lost one fighter but it took two zeros at once to get him. No Japs got closer than 45 miles. One other of our fighters was shot up badly, but managed to get back only to catch on fire just as he was landing on the carrier. He wasn’t hurt, fortunately. We are going south to a rendezvous with a tanker off of Tawara and the whole force is to refuel in the AM. The pilot, pt, is feeling much better and temperature is OK. Believe the sedation and rest did the trick.

Played hearts with the Capt after supper and to bed early. Tomorrow is Turkey Day but that means little to the Japs out here.

Thursday, November 25, 1943 (Thanksgiving)
Rendezvoused with five large tankers and started fueling shortly after dawn. Two cruisers joined us—Minneapolis and San Francisco and fueled. We transferred the pilots back to the Lexington and got four bags of mail from the tanker. I got six letters, and they surely were a nice Thanksgiving Day present. We had a Turkey and all the trimmings. Played hearts after supper and to bed.

Friday, November 26, 1943
The three battleships—Washington, South Dakota, and Alabama and three cans left us and four cruisers joined us. We are heading north again, looking for Japs. The Capt found out he made Commander so we had a cake for supper with “Congratulations Commander” on it. We painted some “scrambled eggs” on the peak of a cap and gave him some Commanders insignia for his shirt. I made up a poem and all in all, the skipper was pleased. At 1930 shortly after supper we picked up some Jap planes on radar and we manned our battle stations. They came in to two mile distance, dropped some flares and left. A lookout on the carrier Lexington spotted a torpedo wake but it ran parallel to our wake and did no damage. Guess the planes were “Jap snoopers”. Played hearts afterward and then to bed.

Saturday, November 27, 1943
Just before dawn we had to “stand by the crash boat” since another pilot had crashed in the water. We picked him up in five minutes from the time he hit the water, which is really fast. His name is Ens. Updegraff from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. He was off of the Cowpens. Except for a bruise on his forehead he was OK. Continued steaming North. We are out of range from the Japs air patrols now, and everything is quiet. We decoded a Jap radio message and found out they had spotted us while we were refueling the other day. So far they (the Japs) have done nothing about it. Played hearts after supper and to bed. Getting slightly cooler.

Sunday, November 28, 1943
Continuing North at 15 knots. Clear weather and smooth sailing. No Japs in sight. Have a bad case of cellulites of left elbow which I am observing closely. Don’t know if it is osteomyolitis or not. Getting a little cooler.

Monday, November 29, 1943
Sea rough today and a lot of rain. Continuing North—we are about 500 miles east of the Marshalls now. The boy’s elbow is spreading—wish I had an x-ray to see if it’s osteo or not. Started sulfathiozal. Plan to fuel tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 30, 1943
We all refueled today from two tankers, which came from Pearl Harbor. They didn’t bring any mail and we were disappointed. I gave the Capt. his physical for his promotion, and spend the afternoon visiting with him. My boy with the inflamed elbow is doing much better, and it looks like an abscess instead of an osteo. Sea is still pretty rough. Tonight we changed course and start heading for the Marshall Islands. Today is Ida Mae and Cliff’s wedding anniversary—time flies—8 years. Played a short game of hearts with the Capt. and Ens. after supper and then to bed.

Wednesday, December 1, 1943
Continuing on to the Marshalls. Joined another task force the same size as ours. Weather cool now. Refueled once more from the Yorktown, and then transferred our pilot we picked up to the Cowpens.

Thursday, December 2, 1943
Continuing West. Not going too fast to conserve fuel. Don’t think we have been spotted as yet. Sea calm and things quiet.

Friday, December 3, 1943
At sundown tonight we are almost 200 miles off Jap Hill Wotje. Still no Japs. Tomorrow is attack day. We hear there are a lot of planes where we are going, plus a surface force of eight cruisers and nine destroyers.

Saturday, December 4, 1943
Planes took off one hour before dawn for Kwajalein and Wotje, our force being about 135 and 90 miles away from each respectively. Our first flight returned about 1030 with amazing results. We had taken the Japs by complete surprise! Our score was 15 ships hit, three others sunk (over 10,000 tons each), three cruisers sunk, 26 Jap fighters, 10 two motor torpedo bombers, three four engine patrol planes, plus many planes caught on the ground. Our losses—two fighters. At 1200 three Jap torpedo planes attacked us and they approached from the opposite side of the formation from us—their target was the Lexington. The Lex shot down everyone in flames before they could drop their torpedoes. At 1247 four more Jap torpedo bombers attacked, this time from our side of the formation. They were going for the Yorktown and were coming in our port beam. The San Francisco got the first one, we got the second one, and the Yorktown got the last two before they could drop their torpedo. That was a beautiful sight seeing those planes burst into flames and crash. Our second flight of raids took off and we kept patrolling. All of our planes landed just before sunset and we started on our way back to Pearl Harbor. One hour after sunset (we knew they were coming back). Jap torpedo planes came back. The moon was half full and bright. By masterful emergency turns, we dodged torpedoes until one o’clock in the morning. But at 1130 one plane got in torpedoed the Lexington. By a miracle, only one man was killed, and she was able to stay in formation and maneuver with us. So we kept on dodging the “fish” until 1 AM when the moon set, and the Japs left. We secured from G.Q. at 2 AM and to bed—dead tired. We had a really full day. We had fired at night but missed.

Sunday, December 5, 1943
Arose at 0500 for G.Q. and the Japs were coming back just before dawn. We sent up our planes and they beat it. We are really running—at 25 knots—and we’re going against the sea—consequently we are pitching and rolling like hell with water going clear over our stacks! Slept most of the day. Three of our boys got pieces of shrapnel hits from the San Francisco last night but minor. A shell hit the bridge and shot away one of our lines and dented a bulkhead. A Jap bullet went through the Capt.’s door and hit his wife’s picture! Those were our only casualties.

Monday, December 6, 1943
Continuing on to Pearl Harbor. Joined a tanker and all the cans refueled. The sea was very rough and we snapped two fueling hoses during fueling. Hard to sleep because of roughness. Going 20 knots.

Tuesday, December 7, 1943
Sea much calmer. Weather cool. On to Pearl. Will arrive Thursday. Land will look good. Operated on an ingrown toenail and took a sebaceous cyst off a fellow’s face.

Wednesday, December 8, 1943
Continuing on to Pearl. Sea calm and weather cold. Tomorrow we’ll be there.

Thursday, December 9, 1943
Land at 1330 and we docked at 1512. Just as soon as we pulled alongside the Fletcher we heard news we could not believe—that Squadron 21—six of us were leaving tomorrow for Mare Island! Shipmates were dancing around, patting each other on the back and yelling their lungs out. Davis, the Capt., and I went ashore to the club and then downtown.

Friday, December 10, 1943
Went over and got a Bill of Health for the ship. So we could enter the States. Still can’t believe we are heading home. Got a lot of mail aboard, 11 from Sal and total of 25. Got tied up with the Bill of Health, just missed not getting to go home—the ship was pulling out as I got aboard: Shoved off at 1615 for San Francisco.

Saturday, December 11, 1943
On to SF Course 035 speed 20 knots. Almost immediately after leaving the harbor it began to get cool. Everyone was shivering and wearing sweaters this afternoon and the temperature was 72 degrees! Had some firing practice today.

Sunday, December 12, 1943
Course 060 speed 20 knots. Getting much colder—68 degrees! Have turned off fans in staterooms for first time since leaving in July. Busy getting requisitions made out for supplies and hospitalizations. Those going to SF:

DD445 USS Fletcher
DD446 USS Radford
DD447 USS Jenkins
DD448 USS La Vallette
DD449 USS Nicholas
DD468 USS Taylor

Monday, December 13, 1943
Two More Days!! Continuing on with a clear sky and calm sea. Getting colder—66 degrees and we’re all about freezing to death! Not use to it. Everyone is in good spirits and sick call is at a minimum now! Should pass under the Golden Gate at 0700 on the 15th.

Tuesday, December 28, 1943
Shoved off from Alameda at 1300 for San Diego. Passed under the Golden Gate about 1400 and really hated to see it disappear off of the fantail. The Fletcher is with us. Sea a little choppy. Very cold.

Wednesday, December 29, 1943
Somewhat warm today. Arrived at San Diego about noon and tied up alongside the Hopewell (681) about 1400. Several of us went to Jack Fitch’s house in Coronado that night.

Thursday, December 30, 1943
Remained tied up alongside the Hopewell. Went over to Coronado to Nita & Ed’s in the afternoon. Don’t know what is brewing for us yet.

Friday, December 31, 1943
Remained in San Diego Bay. Started to go ashore about 8 o’clock when three of the engineers were severely burned by steam when a line broke. Fixed them up and went to Coronado Hotel with many of our officers.