Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Unbeatable Ship Nobody Ever Heard Of-- Part 3

The USS San Diego took part in action in the Solomon Islands, the first major U.S. offensive action in the Pacific and won its first Battle Star.  In October, it was at the Battle of Santa Cruz where its 5-inch guns shot down three Japanese planes, but Doolittle's aircraft carrier, the USS Hornet was sunk.  The San Diego rescued 200 sailors from it.

The ship's task for the next two years was to protect large aircraft carriers and provided great cover.  One officer remarked, "With eight turrets with 16 5-inch guns were all firing at the enemy, it looked like the ship itself was on fire."

During the course of the war, the San Diego steamed more than 300,000 nautical miles and participated at Tarawa, Saipan, Philippine Sea, Guam, Tinian and Okinawa without major damage.  No sailor was ever killed.

The Japanese surrendered after the second atomic blast at Nagasaki and Admiral William "Bull" Halsey designated the San Diego as the flagship of Task Force 31, and as such, was the first major U.S. ship to enter Tokyo Bay on August 27, 1945.  The surrender was signed September 2nd.

On return to the states, the San Diego received "the noisiest welcome ever given a warship by its namesake city."

The vessel finished its career as the second-most decorated U.S. ship, ever.  It was decommissioned in 1946 and mothballed at Bremerton, Washington.  In 1960, it was sold for scrap.

The History of a Ship.  --GreGen

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