The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION to the
“For extraordinary heroism in action against enemy Japanese forces in the Java Campaign in the Southwest Pacific War Area, from January 23 to March 1, 1942. Gallantly operating with the meager surface forces of the combined United States, British and Dutch Royal Navies tested in combat by predominantly superior Japanese Fleets, the U.S.S. POPE audaciously joined three destroyers in a first counter-invasion action off Balikpapan, confusing and disorganizing her enemy to aid in the sinking or damaging of a part of the hostile concentration by accurate torpedo and gunfire. Illuminated, and a highly vulnerable target for hostile cruiser and destroyer gunfire while fighting as a unit of a joint United States – Dutch Striking Force in the Badoeng Strait action, she responded nobly to the heroic efforts of her officers and men and scored several damaging torpedo and gun hits before effecting a masterly withdrawal from the perilous area. Subsequently escorting H.M.S. EXETER and H.M.S. ENCOUNTER in the Java Sea and engaging four Japanese cruisers and four destroyers, the POPE fought with all the armament at command to inflict damage on the Japanese forces and, when the friendly warships were put out of action, skillfully broke off the one-sided engagement. Relentlessly trailed by cruiser-borne planes and repeatedly bombed by enemy aircraft, she battled with unconquerable spirit and undiminished fury before succumbing to the lethal blows. The POPE’s illustrious achievements added new luster to the annals of American Naval warfare and upheld the finest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”
Source: NARA Modern Military Records (NECTM). Textual Archives Services Division.