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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
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
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
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
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
Page 14 text:
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
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
On August 7 to 9, the Swayback helped cover the landings
on Guadalcanal and Tulagi, the first American land counter-
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
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