1943

Condensed from the original war diary by Earl Faubion

to 2 Jan - Espiritu Santo at anchor.
3 Jan - Underway with Task Force 67 composed of NASHVILLE, ST. LOUIS, HELENA, HONOLULU, HMNZS ACHILLES, COLUMBIA, LOUISVILLE, FLETCHER, LAMSON, O’BANNON, NICHOLAS and DRAYTON, enroute to Munda, New Georgia, for shore bombardment.
4 Jan - At 2000 left Task Force with NASHVILLE, ST. LOUIS, HELENA and O’BANNON, proceeded to Munda.
5 Jan - Bombarded Munda, from 0103 to 0150. At 0900 rejoined Task Force 67. At 0935 Task Force was attacked by 5 enemy dive bombers, direct hit on ACHILLES and near misses on LOUISVILLE and ACHILLES, enroute to Espiritu Santo.
to 7 Jan - Enroute to Espiritu Santo.
8 Jan - Arrive Espiritu Santo.
9 Jan - Underway to relieve SAUFLEY as escort for SABINE to Efate, New Hebrides, then enroute to Noumea.
10 Jan - Arrive Noumea, New Caledonia, moored alongside WHITNEY.
11 to 19 Jan - Noumea moored to WHITNEY for overhaul.
20 Jan - Noumea, drydocked in ARD-2 for repairs to fuel oil tank and routine underwater check.
21 Jan - Left Noumea with load of 24 torpedoes for Guadalcanal PT boats. 
22 Jan - Escorted NECHES to Havannah Harbor, Efate, New Hebrides.
23 Jan - End escort at Havannah Harbor, proceed to Tulagi.
24 Jan - Arrive Tulagi, discharge deck cargo.
25 Jan - Tulagi Harbor at anchor.
26 Jan - Underway at 2140 with RADFORD, NICHOLAS and DE HAVEN in response to reported air attack on Guadalcanal.
27 Jan - At 0245 a Japanese dive bomber dropped 2 bombs about 200 yards off the port bow. Maneuvered in Savo Sound during the night. At 0710 embarked General Patch, Commanding General Guadalcanal and conducted shore bombardment until 0950. At 1025 six enemy bombers and 10 zero fighters attacked the area out of range of AA guns. At At 1827 the Task Group commenced A/S sweep off Cape Esperance.
28 Jan - At 0309 obtained SG surface radar contact, RADFORD reported visual contact of a submarine on the surface and attacked with gunfire and depth charges, results not known. At 1914 with RADFORD, NICHOLAS and DE HAVEN established anti-Tokyo Express patrol off Savo Island.
29 Jan - Proceeded independently to Tulagi Harbor for emergency repairs, then rejoined Task Force 67.5. on patrol off Cape Esperance.
30 Jan - Recovered one Japanese survivor of submarine sunk previous night by RNZ corvette KIWI and delivered him to ComGen, Guadalcanal. Resumed nightly patrol in area southwest of Savo, Santa Isabel line.
31 Jan - At 0706 destroyed numerous beached Japanese landing craft by gunfire near Cape Esperance. Resumed nightly patrol off Cape Esperance.
1 Feb - Patrolling with TF 67.5, RADFORD, NICHOLAS and DE HAVEN south of Cape Esperance, Savo line. Covered Army landing operation at Hugu Point. At 1142 RADFORD and NICHOLAS opened fire and shot down a stray Japanese Betty bomber. At 1530 DE HAVEN was sunk by Japanese dive-bombers southeast of Savo Island. FLETCHER proceeded to the area and received 128 survivors from two LCT’s. Survivors were disembarked at Lunga Point. Joined RADFORD and NICHOLAS for A/S and Tokyo Express patrol. Harassed by enemy aircraft all night. At 2320 spotted large fires near Savo later determined to be Japanese DD’s being torpedoed and bombed.
2 Feb - Harassed by enemy aircraft, entered Tulagi to refuel from ERSKINE PHELPS, formed scouting line with RADFORD and NICHOLAS for A/S sweep off Lunga Point, rendezvoused with TF 67 southeast of San Cristobal Island minus NICHOLAS who left for emergency repairs to a 5 inch gun mount at Tulagi, resumed nightly patrol near Savo.
3 Feb - Rendezvoused with TF 67 and 16 near San Cristobal Island, composed of ENTERPRISE, SAN DIEGO, MORRIS, ELLET, RUSSELL, MUSTIN, HUGHES, NASHVILLE, HELENA, HONOLULU, ST. LOUIS, O’BANNON, RADFORD, DRAYTON, LAMSON, PERKINS and REID.
4 Feb - Steaming with TF 67 and 16 150 miles southeast of San Cristobal.
5 Feb - Steaming as before, refueled from PLATTE.
6 Feb - Steaming as before, WILSON joined TF.
7 Feb - Steaming as before, conducted radar exercises.
8 Feb - Task Force now composed of TF 11, 16, 64 and 67, at 1706 made doubtful sound contact, dropped one “embarrassing” depth charge, contact classified as “knuckle of wake”.
9 Feb - Steaming as before, FLETCHER guiding on WASHINGTON.
10 Feb - Steaming with Task Forces 11, 16, 64, and 67, all within TBS range, refueled from NASHVILLE.
11 Feb - Steaming as before. 1504 investigated smoke float dropped by plane from HELENA, 1527 made sound contact 2900 yards on bow, 1532 dropped pattern of 9 depth charges, 1539 large oil and air bubble broke surface, 1543 felt violent explosion, 1544 dropped 3 depth charges in center of diesel oil area, 1546 wreckage, cork, wood and other gear surfaced in very large oil slick. Conducted retiring search with LAMSON, 1845 discontinued search, diesel oil and wreckage spread over an area two miles in diameter, one Japanese submarine sunk! Rejoined formation.

Webmaster’s note:  Historians are still in disagreement on the identify of the Japanese submarine sunk by FLETCHER on 11 February. The consensus is that it was either the I-18 or the RO-102.  Some sources claim the I-18 was sunk by the US submarine GRAYBACK on January 3, 1943 and others claim the RO-102 was active for several months after February 1943. Regardless which one it was, there is no disagreement that the submarine was indeed Japanese. The webmaster believes it was probably the RO-102.  The following day Admiral Bull Halsey issued an Endorsement of Fletcher’s “polished attack team”.

Among the debris found floating on the surface after the sinking was wood from the submarine’s deck. Some of it was recovered and a crew member carved it into the shape of a submarine and painted it black. That model is displayed at most FLETCHER reunions. On April 13th a cribbage board made from this same deck planking, was presented by Admiral W.L. Ainsworth to CTF18 in a ceremony held on FLETCHER’s fantail.

12 Feb - Steaming as before with TF 67 and 11, refueled from PLATTE.
13 Feb - Steaming as before with TF 67, rendezvous with TF 18 composed of WICHITA, LOUISVILLE, MONTPELIER, COLUMBIA, CLEVELAND, CONWAY, EDWARDS and FRAZIER.
14 Feb - Steaming as before with TF 18, arrive Havannah Harbor, Efate Island, New Hebrides, anchored alongside MEADE.
15 Feb - Anchored as before, MEADE departed.
16 to 17 Feb - Anchored as before.
18 Feb - Anchored as before, topped off fuel from NECHES.
19 Feb - Departed with TF 68, MONTPELIER, COLUMBIA, CLEVELAND, DENVER, O’BANNON, RADFORD and NICHOLAS, enroute to Guadalcanal area.
20 Feb - Steaming as before, 0820 sighted 2 occupant-filled rubber boats on starboard bow, picked up 11 survivors from a B-17 bomber based at Espiritu Santo. 2350 investigated unidentified ship, found to be HOVEY.
21 Feb - Steaming as before with TF 68 through Indispensable Straits, entered Tulagi, refueled from ERSKINE PHELPS, disembarked B-17 survivors, underway with TF 68 for patrol.
22 Feb - Patrolling with TF 68 between Guadalcanal and Santa Isabel Islands, enemy aircraft reported over Tulagi, patrolled entrance of Purvis Bay while heavy ships entered, refueled from TULLALAH, underway for patrol.
23 Feb - Enroute with TF 68 to Point Sugar.
24 Feb - Steaming with TF 68, conducted training exercises.
25 Feb - Steaming with TF 68, NICHOLAS and PLATTE departed the task force.
26 Feb - With TF 68, conducted training exercises, passed Vanikoro Island, rendezvoused with remaining units of TF 18, WICHITA and LOUISVILLE.
27 Feb - NICHOLAS and PLATTE rejoined the task force plus MAHAN, refueled from WICHITA, PLATTE and MAHAN departed task force.
28 Feb to 3 Mar - Steaming as before with TF 68, WICHITA, MONTPELIER, CLEVELAND, DENVER, LOUISVILLE, FLETCHER, RADFORD, NICHOLAS, O’BANNON, WALLER, CONWAY and CONEY, patrolling in area south and southeast of Guadalcanal as striking and covering force for own forces landing in Russell Islands.
4 Mar - Enter Espiritu Santo for fuel, enroute to Munda with TF 68.
5 Mar - Underway with RADFORD, NICHOLAS and O’BANNON to bombard Munda airfield on New Georgia.
6 Mar - Bombarded Munda airfield from 0142 to 0150, expended 376 rounds, rejoined TF 68 west of Savo, proceeded independently to Tulagi for fuel.
7 Mar - Proceeded to area southeast of San Cristobal.
8 Mar - Left TF 68 to proceed independently to Noumea.
9 Mar - Enroute Noumea.
10 Mar - Arrive Noumea, moor alongside WHITNEY.
11 Mar - Moored at Noumea.
12 Mar - Underway with ADHARA, LYMAN, BEECHER and GAMBLE enroute to Espiritu Santo.
13 to 14 Mar - Enroute Espiritu Santo.
15 Mar - Arrive Espiritu Santo, at anchor.
16 Mar - At anchor, Espiritu Santo.
17 Mar - On listening watch at west entrance of Espiritu Santo.
18 Mar - Underway with GAMBLE, WARD, AARON WARD, ADHARA, LYMAN, J. TURNER, DAY STAR and BEECHER, enroute to Guadalcanal.
19 Mar - Enroute to Guadalcanal.
20 Mar - Enroute to Guadalcanal, made contact with unidentified plane, fired warning shot, plane opened the range then dropped 2 bombs in the middle of the convoy, no damage, plane left area.
21 Mar - Arrived Guadalcanal.
22 to 26 Mar - Guadalcanal, screened transports by day, retired to Purvis Bay by night.
27 Mar to 5 Apr - Based at Purvis Bay engaged in escorting LCT’s, LST’s, barges and APD’s to Russell Islands from Guadalcanal area, subjected to numerous enemy air raids in the vicinity however none at FLETCHER.
6 Apr - Joined TF 68 at Tulagi, HONOLULU, ST. LOUIS, HELENA, RADFORD, NICHOLAS, O’BANNON, JENKINS, TAYLOR and STRONG, began patrol runs between Santa Isabel and New Georgia Islands to intercept enemy forces.
7 Apr - Retired to northeast of Florida Island due to a pending air attack. At 1500 hours 90 enemy planes raided Guadalcanal shipping, AARON WARD and KANAWHA were sunk. At 1524 a Marine SBD dive bomber approached on an attack course, FLETCHER changed course hoping the plane would break off but it didn’t. FLETCHER opened fire and shot the plane down, the pilot was killed and his body recovered. Rejoined TF 18. At 2206 STRONG sighted and sank a Japanese submarine.
8 Apr - Joined by CHENANGO, operated tactically southeast of San Cristobal.
9 Apr - Departed San Cristobal area enroute to Espiritu Santo
10 Apr - Conducted gunnery practice with STRONG and O’BANNON, then arrived Espiritu Santo and moored alongside DIXIE for overhaul.
11 Apr - At 1500 hours Lt.Cmdr F. L. Johnson, USN was relieved of command at his own request re the events of 7 April. Temporary command was assumed by Lt. John Gerard Hughes, USN pending permanent relief. Lt.Cmdr Johnson was detached temporarily to DIXIE.
12 to 16 Apr - Espiritu Santo alongside DIXIE for overhaul.
17 Apr - Underway with NICHOLAS to Noumea, New Caledonia.
18 Apr - Enroute Noumea.
19 Apr - Arrived Noumea. At 1225 hours Lt. John. G. Hughes, USN was relieved of temporary command by Lt.Cmdr Robert. D. McGinnis, USN. At 1445 underway with WHITNEY and NICHOLAS enroute to Sydney, Australia.
20 to 21 Apr - Enroute Sydney, Australia.
22 Apr - Arrived at Woollamolloo docks, Sydney Australia, moored to DOBBIN.
23 Apr to 3 May - Sydney, Australia moored to DOBBIN for overhaul.
4 May - Underway with WHITNEY and NICHOLAS, enroute to Noumea, New Caledonia.
5 May - At 0857 made “embarrassing” attack on a sound contact, dropped 2 depth charges, contact not regained, at 1707 NICHOLAS left the formation, proceeded as single ship A/S screen for WHITNEY.
to 7 May - Enroute Noumea.
8 May - Entered Bulari Passage, detached without entering Noumea to proceed to Espiritu Santo.
9 May - Enroute Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides.
10 May - Arrived Espiritu Santo, anchored.
11 May - Underway with TF 18 HONOLULU, HELENA, ST. LOUIS, NASHVILLE, NICHOLAS, O’BANNON, TAYLOR, JENKINS, CHEVALIER and STRONG to conduct bombardment of Vila-Stanmore Plantation on Kolombangera Island to cover operations in the west side of Kula Gulf by RADFORD, PREBLE and BREESE and to destroy any enemy forces encountered.
12 May - Plan modified to include a simultaneous bombardment of Munda airfield by FLETCHER, JENKINS and ST. LOUIS, detached from TF 18 near Savo and proceeded south of the Russell Islands and New Georgia Island.
13 May - Bombarded Japanese supply, bivouac and troop concentration areas at Munda Point from 0107 to 0123, fired 745 rounds of 5”/38 projectiles, at 0745 rejoined TF 18, proceeded to Espiritu Santo.
14 May - Enroute Espiritu Santo providing A/S screen for cruisers, arrived at 1550, anchored.
15 May - Assumed listening watch at east entrance of Espiritu Santo.
16 May - Secured from listening watch.
17 May - Underway for patrol at entrance to Diamond Passage, Pallikula Bay, Espiritu Santo and take station ahead of KITTY HAWK as A/S screen, then detached and enroute to Efate, New Hebrides.
18 May - At 0533 received orders to assist tanker H. M. STOREY (US) reported torpedoed 265 miles east. At 1645 sighted 3 lifeboats and a raft filled with survivors, made sound search of area and then took 64 survivors on board with only 2 missing believed killed when torpedo struck engine room, 15 injured survivors were treated by FLETCHER medical officer, then proceeded to the position of another friendly ship reported torpedoed 140 miles away.
19 May - Searched for survivors of second ship, no results. Enroute to Vila Harbor, Efate due to low fuel.
20 May - Arrived Efate at 0813, underway at 0842 enroute to Havannah Harbor, Efate for fuel, arrived at 1040, fueled, then departed at 1215 for Espiritu Santo arriving at 1805, anchored.
21 to 22 May - Segond Channel, Espiritu Santo at anchor.
23 May - Underway with DesRon 21 for exercise and calibrations, return to Espiritu Santo.
24 to 30 May - Segond Channel, Espiritu Santo at anchor and alternating on listening watches.
31 May - Underway with NICHOLAS for gunnery exercises, returned to port and assumed listening watch.
1 to 6 Jun - Espiritu Santo at anchor, alternating on listening watches on 30 minute notice.
7 Jun - Underway with NICHOLAS and TAYLOR on AA gunnery practice, returned to port and moored.
8 Jun - Espiritu Santo at anchor.
9 Jun - Underway as screen for SS SANTA ANA. At 1401 the starboard engine suffered a major disabling casualty, continued escort on port engine only.
10 Jun - Departed screening duties at 1300 as scheduled, enroute to Espiritu Santo.
11 Jun - Arrived Espiritu Santo, moored to DIXIE for examination of starboard engine casualty.
12 Jun - Espiritu Santo moored to DIXIE, decision was made that repairs at a Navy Yard would be required.
13 to 15 Jun - Espiritu Santo moored to DIXIE.
16 Jun - Espiritu Santo, drydocked in ARD-5 for removal of starboard propeller.
17 Jun - Espiritu Santo, undocked and anchored in Segond Channel.
18 Jun - Espiritu Santo at anchor.
19 Jun - Underway, proceeded independently to Pago Pago, Samoa on port engine only.
20 Jun - Enroute Pago Pago.
21 Jun - Arrived Pago Pago at 0915, refueled, underway at 1207 enroute to Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii.
22 to 26 Jun - Enroute Pearl Harbor.
27 Jun - Arrived Pearl Harbor, moored.
28 Jun - Underway with Convoy No. 4515 for San Francisco, SS PHILIPPA, SS MANOERAN, USAT IRVIN L. HUNT, USAT W. R. GIBSON, SS MANUKAS, SS THOMAS EWING, SS JAMES W. WHISTLER and TKR NEW ZEALAND.
29 Jun - Enroute San Francisco, joined by SS MALIKO and SS DEROCHE.
30 Jun to 7 Jul - Enroute to San Francisco with Convoy No. 4515.
8 Jul - At 0940 passed under the Golden Gate bridge, San Francisco, convoy disbanded, moored at Mare Island at 1215.
9 Jul to 13 Aug - Moored at Mare Island Navy Yard, San Francisco undergoing extensive repairs and alterations.
14 Aug - Underway at 0815, proceeded to Pier 31 San Francisco for deperming.
15 Aug - Underway at 0830 to make degaussing and compass calibration runs in San Francisco Bay, then anchored in the Bay for the night.
16 Aug - Underway at 0816 to conduct engineering post repair trials and gunnery test firing, completed and moored at Mare Island Navy Yard at 1737.
17 Aug - Underway at 1240, moored at Pier 54, San Francisco at 1642.
18 to 19 Aug - Moored at Pier 54, San Francisco, prepared for sea. 
20 Aug - Underway at 1000 with WILEMAN and Convoy No. 2291, SS MUNARGO, SS MAUNALEI and SS MAUNAWILI, enroute Pearl Harbor.
21 to 26 Aug - Enroute Pearl Harbor.
27 Aug - Arrived Pearl Harbor, under operational control of ComDesPac for training period.
28 to 29 Aug - Moored at Pearl Harbor.
30 Aug - Underway at 0716 for A/S practice on LAPON, at 1010 observed 2 SBD type planes to crash in mid-air off Barber’s Point, Oahu, proceeded to scene and rescued both occupants of one plane, conducted search for occupants of second plane, believed killed after ship’s doctor identified floating objects as human remains. Resumed A/S practice, returned to Pearl Harbor and moored at 1815, disembarked the 2 surviving aviators.
31 Aug - Underway for radar calibration and 5”/38 local control practice, returned to Pearl Harbor and moored at 1654.
to 14 Sep - Pearl Harbor operating under ComDesPac for refresher training period including A/S exercises, fighter director, CIC training, main battery and automatic weapon AA practices, torpedo firing practice, day battle practice, night spotting practice and night battle practice.15 Sep - Underway at 0850 with THATCHER and LA VALLETTE to proceed to Suva, Fiji Islands, fired full radar control surface practice.
16 to 21 Sep - Enroute to Fiji, each day fired burst practices and conducted other AA practices.
22 Sep - At 0515 THATCHER left formation to proceed to Nandi. Arrived Suva, Viti Levu, Fiji Islands, moored at 1508 to Kings Wharf.23 Sep - Moored at Suva, Viti Levu, Fiji Islands.
24 Sep - Underway independently at 1621 to rendezvous with HEYWOOD and escort her to Noumea.
25 Sep - At 0857 sighted and took station ahead of HEYWOOD as A/S screen.
26 Sep - Enroute Noumea.
27 Sep - Arrived Noumea, New Caledonia at 1145, underway at 1550 with HEYWOOD.
28 Sep - At 0400 escort completed, HEYWOOD enroute to Wellington, N.Z., 1642 returned to Noumea.
29 Sep - At anchor, Noumea.
30 Sep - Underway at 1322 as single ship escort for SS MORMACPORT which was enroute to Wellington, N.Z.
1 Oct - At 0600 escort completed, rendezvous at 1340 with HUNTER LIGGETT, LIBRA and STANLEY, took station as A/S escort, enroute to Guadalcanal.
2 Oct - Enroute Guadalcanal.
3 Oct - Enroute Guadalcanal, at 1230 SAMPSON, SS YOUNG AMERICA and SS CAPE GEORGIA joined the formation.
4 Oct - Enroute Guadalcanal.
5 Oct - Arrived Purvis Bay, Florida Island at 1822, anchored, reported to Commander Task Force 31 for duty.
6 Oct - Underway at 0150 with NICHOLAS and SAUFLEY enroute to rendezvous with LST’s off Tassafaronga, Guadalcanal and escort them to Vella Lavella. At 1455 RALPH TALBOT, LA VALLETTE and 5 APD’s joined the formation, at 2250 Munda reported many enemy aircraft in vicinity of convoy, went to General Quarters.
7 Oct - Enroute Vella Lavella.
8 Oct - At 0547 secured from GQ, no contacts within gun range.
9 Oct - Moored at 1358 at Tulagi, at 1420 Commander H. O. Larson reported on board as ComDesDiv 42, at 1606 anchored in Purvis Bay, Florida Island.
10 to 11 Oct - Anchored in Purvis Bay on 30 minutes notice.
12 Oct - Underway at 0828 with RADFORD, JENKINS and LA VALLETTE for division tactical exercise in Savo Sound. At 1347 anchored in Purvis Bay.
13 to 16 Oct - Anchored in Purvis Bay, numerous air raids reported in the Guadalcanal - Tulagi area during this period.
17 Oct - Underway at 1255 for A/S escort for AMERICAN LEGION and FULLER, at 1840 joined by HUNTER LIGGETT, CRESCENT CITY, FOMALHAUT, NICHOLAS, LA VALLETTE and TAYLOR after unloading beaches at Guadalcanal, retired to Indispensable Straits during darkness.
18 Oct - At 0510 commenced screening transports off Lunga Point, retired to Indispensable Straits for the night.
19 Oct - Ot 0520 returned to A/S screen around the unloading beaches, at 1945 the unloading was completed, enroute to Evila Harbor, Efate, New Hebrides.
20 to 21 Oct - Enroute Efate, conducted AA burst practices daily.
22 Oct - At 0600 task unit disbanded off Vila Harbor, NICHOLAS proceeded to Espiritu Santo, FLETCHER, TAYLOR and LA VALLETTE proceeded to Havannah Harbor, Efate, arrived at 0700, reported to Commander Task Force 37 for duty.
23 Oct - Underway at 0555 with TAYLOR as A/S screen for ALABAMA, conducted tactical exercises, AA sleeve practices and simulated night torpedo attacks.
24 Oct - At 0605 parted company with other ships and rendezvoused with S-38 for A/S training, at 1600 returned to Havannah Harbor, Efate. At 1738 underway with LA VALLETTE enroute to Espiritu Santo.
25 Oct - At 0603 arrived Espiritu Santo, moored to LANDSDOWNE, loaded 5”/38 ammunition for TF 37, at 1726 underway for Havannah Harbor, Efate.
26 Oct - At 0540 arrived Havannah Harbor, underway at 1712 to conduct search for reported submarine northwest of Efate, joined by RADFORD and JENKINS, made hunter-killer sweep.
27 Oct - At 1500 discontinued search, returned to Havannah Harbor, Efate at 1733.
28 Oct - Moored, Havannah Harbor, Efate, New Hebrides.
29 Oct - Moored Havannah Harbor, designation of TF 37 was changed to TG 53.2 and FLETCHER reported with other ships to ComCenPac for duty.
30 Oct - Moored Havannah Harbor, Efate, New Hebrides.
31 Oct - Departed Havannah Harbor with TG 53.2, encountered very stormy weather and heavy seas.

The War Diary for November 1943 isn’t available, entries for this month were derived from action reports and other sources.

1 Nov - Steaming in stormy weather.
2 Nov - Huge fleet assembled in preparation for operations against the Gilbert Islands.
3 to 19 Nov - Information on this period is sketchy. At some point Fletcher was attached to TG 50.2 as part of the screen for ENTERPRISE as well as CVL’s, BB’s, and other warships.

20
 to 25 Nov - In support of the invasion of Tarawa and Makin in the Gilbert Islands.
26 Nov
 - Steaming with INDIANA 50 miles west of Tarawa, at 1900 about 30 to 40 Japanese torpedo bombers attacked the formation in darkness. Fired 5 inch guns by radar plus 40mm, two aircraft observed to crash, two crew members injured by shrapnel from 5 inch shells from unknown American ships.  Detached from TG 50.2 and proceeded to join TG 50.3 with ESSEX.
27
 to 30 Nov - Continued support for the invasion forces in the Gilbert Islands as part of TG 50.3.
1 Dec
 - Steaming with ESSEX, ENTERPRISE, BELLEAU WOOD, PORTLAND, MOBILE, SANTA FE, SAN JUAN, SAN DIEGO, ERBEN, HALE, RUSSELL, RADFORD and JENKINS. Refueled from CACAPON, enroute to Kwajalein Atoll to support air strikes.
2
 to 3 Dec - Enroute Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands.
4 Dec
 - Arrived Kwajalein area, carriers flew off air strikes from 0600 to 1100 on Roi Island, retired eastward zigzagging, numerous enemy plane contacts throughout the day, no direct attacks until 2040 when the task groups were attacked by Japanese Betty torpedo bombers, fired on one aircraft within range at 2112, no results observed, at 2330 LEXINGTON was torpedoed.
5 Dec
 - Steaming as before with TG 50.3 under enemy air attack, secured from GQ at 0200, At 1235 joined with ENTERPRISE, SAN DIEGO, OAKLAND, NEW ORLEANS and CHAUNCEY, proceeding to Pearl Harbor, at 1655 MINNEAPOLIS joined the formation.
6 DEC
 - Enroute Pearl Harbor, at 1200 rendezvous with CACAPON, KASKASKIA, ELDER and CANFIELD and commenced fueling, upon completion resumed course for Pearl Harbor guiding on LEXINGTON.
7
 to 8 Dec - Enroute Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii.
9 Dec
 - Arrive Pearl Harbor, moored at berth X-2.
10 Dec
 - Underway at 1621 with DesRon 21 less O’BANNON, formed TG 12.9 enroute San Francisco.
11
 to 13 Dec - Enroute San Francisco.
14 Dec
 - Enroute San Francisco, at 0909 conducted structural and electronic tests by dropping a full depth charge pattern at 10 knots, no structural derangement was found and only one minor electrical derangement which was corrected.
15 Dec
 - At 0548 sighted Farallon Island Light, formed column astern of NICHOLAS, entered San Francisco Bay, at 1145 moored to Pier 4 at Moore Drydock Co., Oakland, California, CDD 42 transferred flag to JENKINS.
16
 to 26 Dec - Oakland, California, moored at Moore Drydock Co. for repairs and alterations.
27 Dec
 - At 0705 reported to Commander Third Group, Fifth Amphibious Force for duty.
28 Dec
 - Oakland, California, moored at Moore Drydock Co. availability completed at 2400.
29 Dec
 - Underway at 1324, anchored in San Francisco Bay at 1412, underway at 1440 with LA VALLETTE enroute to San Diego, California.
30 Dec
 - Arrived San Diego at 1506, moored alongside HOPEWELL at berth 21.
31 Dec
 - San Diego, moored as before.

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