Salt Lake City (CA 25) - Naval Cruise Book

 - Class of 1946

Page 13 of 80

 

Salt Lake City (CA 25) - Naval Cruise Book online yearbook collection, 1946 Edition, Page 13 of 80
Page 13 of 80



Salt Lake City (CA 25) - Naval Cruise Book online yearbook collection, 1946 Edition, Page 12
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Page 13 text:

Oahu, steaming back to the Hawaiians with a task group that had just delivered a dozen planes to a remote, sandy American outpost, Historic Wake Island. By that quirk, the cruiser escaped the fiery hell of Pearl Harbor and was with the group that made the first independent American reprisal. The Enterprise, carrier with that task group, launched planes which cut down some of the straggling lap sneak attackers. The task group refueled at smoldering Pearl Harbor, then patrolled the area near Oahu against a reappearance of the Iapanese fleet. The next patrol duty, ten days later, was scheduled originally to provide relief for besieged Wake, but with the fall of that atoll, it was switched to cover reinforcement of Midway and then of far-off Samoa. Then the Salt Lake City participated in the first American offensive action of the war. On February l, l942, a task group commanded by Rear Admiral Halsey, USN., conducted an air and surface bombardment of Wotje atoll, one of the principal lap bases in the mandated Marshall Islands. The Salt Lake City opened fire a few seconds before her fellow ships. The fact has never been officially established, but it is probable TASK FORCE UNDER AIR ATTACK AT WOTIE 9

Page 12 text:

The size of the fleet reviewed, contrasted with the hundreds of vessels engaged in the late war, indicates wartime growth of the Navy. The fleet reviewed by President Hoover consisted of ten slow, cage-masted battleships, nine cruisers, thirty de- stroyers, two aircraft carriers, two submarines and the dirigible Los Angeles. During the maneuvers, the Salt Lake City had her first "air attack", a playful zooming by planes from the Saratoga, a far cry from the startling Kamikaze attacks she was to undergo later. ln subsequent years, the Salt Lake City proved her leader- ship in the peacetime fleet competitions. She was first in engineering performance among Pacific Fleet heavy cruisers. She made the highest torpedo score ever made by a cruiser of the United States Navy and in l933 her aviation unit won the highest merit for aircraft gunnery in the heavy cruiser class. ln sports, she was outstanding. Her crew contained the all-Navy wrestling champion and the wrestling and boxing champs of the scouting force. She won the general excellence athletic trophy for the year l933-34, and her whaleboat crews were the best in the fleet. From l93l to l933, her whaleboaters scored the highest number of points in the scouting force. Her first enlistment crew was especially good. lt lost only one race, and that by only two-fifths of a second. 'ir ir if THE ONE SHIP FLEET 7 December 1941-12 October 1942 "She is the oldest heavy cruiser in the U. S. Navy. So bare of streamlined beauty is her ungainly silhouette that corre- spondent Bob Casey CTorpedo lunctionl fondly fastened the nickname 'Swayback Maru' on her when the censors would not let him reveal her real name. Because she never got hit hard enough to be sent home for repairs, she never got much pub- licity. But many a high-ranking Navy man willingly conceded by last week that on performance the Salt Lake City was the No. l U. S. cruiser of the war."-From, Time, March 3, l943. When war came, the Salt Lake City was 200 miles west of 8



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that her missiles were the tirst American naval shells ol the war to fall on lap-held land. Military installations on Wotje were ruined and seven to nine cargo ships were sunk. One twin-engined bomber was shot down and another damaged by the Salt Lake City. TWO, lap planes made bombing runs on the ship, but skillful maneu- vering caused them to miss by lOO yards. On February 24, the task group bombarded Wake Island and on March 4, its planes struck Marcus Island. There was no surface bombardment ot Marcus. A month later, the Salt Lake City set out as an escort for one of the war's most adventurous strokes, the Doolittle raid on Tokyo. It was a Salt Lake City lookout who, on April l8, discovered the -Iapanese picket boat which caused the early launching of the B-25 raiders from the carrier Hornet. The lap was sunk by the U.S.S. Nashville and the task force was not molested. Then the tide ot war took the cruiser south, where Australia was in peril. Until late Iuly, she operated in that area, part of the time with a joint allied force under command of a British admiral. On August 7 to 9, the Swayback helped cover the landings on Guadalcanal and Tulagi, the first American land counter- oftensive. ' She then went back to patrol. lt was a perilous task in a disputed ocean. Cn September l5, the carrier Wasp was sunk by Iapanese submarines only l,UOU yards from the Salt Lake City. The Swayback helped rescue survivors. The time was one ot doubt. The battle tor Guadalcanal had developed into a grim struggle ot men, planes and ships. The Salt Lake City was attached to a task group assigned to stop the Iapanese "Tokyo Express", which was claiming the sea lanes for its own. lt ran into the enemy on the night of October ll, in the action known interchangeably as the Second Battle of Savo Island or the Battle ol Cape Esperance. "The story of the tide-turning battle," wrote Ioseph Driscoll, a staff correspondent of the New York Herald-Tribune tive 10

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