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Ralph Talbot DD-390 - History

Ralph Talbot DD-390 - History



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Ralph Talbot DD-390

Ralph Talbot(DD-390: dp. 2,325 (f.); l. 341'4"; b. 35'6"; dr. 17'1"; s. 35 k.;cpl. 158; a. 4 5", 12 21" 11.; cl. Gridley)Ralph Talbot (DD-390) was laid down at the Boston Navy Yard 28 October 1935; launched 31 October 1936, sponsored by Mrs. Mary Talbot, mother of 2d. Lt. Ralph Talbot, and commissioned 14 October 1937, Lt. Comdr. H. R. Thurber in command.Prior to the U.S. entry into World War II Ralph Talbot assigned to Destroyers, Battle Foree, operated in the eastern Pacific. In early 1941, she began a major overhaul at Mare Island and in April she rejoined the fleet at San Diego. At midmonth, she steamed to Pearl Harbor whence she operated for the remainder of the year. Moored at Pearl Harbor on the morning of 7 December, she manned her guns and began preparations for getting underway within minutes of the start of the Japanese attuck. By 0900 she was en route out of the harbor having already splashed her first enemy aircraft. After the attack, she searched for enemy submarines and, on the 14th, sortied with TF 14 on the first of a series of carrier force screening assignments. In January 1942, she sailed with T1:'8 during raids against Japanese positions in the Marshalls and Gilberts and in February and March against Wake and Mareus Islands.Returning to Pearl Harbor with TF 16 on 9 March, Ralph Talbot joined TF 15 on the 19th and through May '~seorted convoys between Hawaii and the west euast. In early June she escorted auxiliaries to the northwest of Hawaii; which refueled and replenished the victors of the Battle of Midway, then escorted TF 16 back to Pearl Harbor. On the 14th she got underway for Australia and New Zealand, whence she sailed on 22 July for the Solomons and the first of the island assaults which would eventually lead to victory. Assigned to TG 62.6, she screened the transport group to Guadaleanal arriving on the morning of 7 August, then patrolled off the transport area through the landings. On the 8th she took up patrol station north of Savo Island and at 0145 on the 9th received word of three enemy ships inside Savo Island. Soon afterward heavy gunfire was seen to the southeast, the firet Battle of Savo Island had begun and Ironbottom Sound was on its way to being named.Half an hour later Ralph Talbot was shelled by a friendly destroyer, the error was quickly reetified, but within minutesan enemy cruiser appeared off her port quarter. Both ships opened fire and search light switches were flieked on. Ralph Talbot's cables had been severed in the earlier shelling, but the enemy's worked. The spotlighted 390 took a hit in the chart house which destroyed radar equipment, eut fire control eireuits and ignited fires. Three more shells eame in close sueeession, hitting the wardroom, the starboard quarter, and and the underside of gun No. 4. Among the 12 dead were the doctor and the chief pharmacist's mate.At 0221 Ralph Talbot ceased firing. The enemy had disappeared, but the damage she had caused rcquired a new fight. Fire enveloped the bridge and the ship listed heavily to starboard. Slowing to one-third speed, she turned toward Savo. At 0230 all radio communication to and from the vessel ceased, but 20 minutes later she stood in close to the shore where the crew continued the battle to save her. By 0330 fires and flooding were under control and repair work was begun. Soon after 0700 communieations were reestablished and by 1210 repairs, including mattress patches on the hull, were sufficient to begin the journey back to the United States for repairs.Arriving at Mare Island 11 September, Ralph Talbot headed west again 11 November. Refresher exercises kept her in Hawaii until December and on the 16th she got underway for Australia. She arrived at Brisbane 2 January 1943 and until 10 May conducted training exercises and escorted convoys along the northern and easf ern coasts of that continent. On 13 May she arrived at Noumea to provide similar service as Allied forces pushed up the Solomons. On 30 June she covered the landings on Rendova to commence the New Georgia campaign, rescuing 300 survivors from McCawley within hours of the completion of the landings. On 5 July she landed 148th Infantry units at Riee Anchorage after softening the landing area with her 5" guns. On the 9th and 11th, she participated in the bombardments of Munda and on the night of 12-13 July joined TG 36.1 in a sweep up the Slot. The Allied ships engaged an enemy cruiser and five destroyers escorting destroyer transports in the Battle of Kolombangara. After that battle, salvage operations on Gwzn were frustrated bv enemy aerial attacks. Ralph Tatbot's torpedoes sent the damaged destroyer to the bottom.Through August and September and into October, DD-390 continued to earry out patrol and escort duties in the Solomons. On 27 October she sailed again for Australia, whence she continued on to Milne Bav, arriving 3 November. There antisubmarine and antiaircraft patrol and escort missions continued. At midmonth she returned briefly to Tulagi, then resumed operations off New Guinea. On 29 30 November she participated in a TF 74 bombardment of Japanese positions on New Britain. In mid-December she covered the landings at Kiriwina as the Allies secured the Trobriands, then, toward the end of the month returned to New Britain to cover the assault on Cape Gloucester. Through the end of the year, she divided her patrol time between Buna and Cape Gloucester.On 1 January 1944 she got underway with TF 76 for the preinvasion bombardment of, and landings at, Saidor. She next escorted reinforcements to both Saidor and Cape Gloueester. In early February she returned to Milne Bay, thence steamed east to the United States for overhaul. In mid-May she departed San Francisco for Pearl Harbor and a month later sailed for Eniwetok and Saipan as convoy escort. Arriving at Garapan Harbor 5 July, she provided gunfire support to troops ashore, evacuated stranded casualties and on the 7th returned to escort duty in the Marshalls and Marianas Back at Saipan on the 25th, she provided fire support and harassing shore bombardment fire at Tinian on the 27th, then resumed escort duties. Continuing that duty into August, she joined TF 38.4 at Eniwetok and on the 28th sailed for strikes against the Voleano and Bonin Islands (31 August-2 September) Yap (7-8 September), and the Palaus (10-19 September).Following the Palau offensive, the force retired to Manus; then returned to the Palaus, whence, in October, they sailed to strike against Japanese shipping and positions on Okinawa Luzon, and Formosa. On the 14th the force returned to smash targets on Luzon, continuing the raids through the 19th. On the 20th it supported the Leyte landings, then returned to operations off Luzon. On the 24th it steamed north to intercept the Japanese northern force, a carrier force. On the 25th, as Ralph Talbot screened the heavier vessels, the Battle off Cape Engaho was fought and, on the 31st, the force retired to Ulithi.Ralph Talbot, detached from the fast carriers on 16 November, rejoined the 7th Fleet on the 17th and, with the CVE's of TG 77.4, patrolled the convoy routes in the Leyte Gulf area until the 27th when she steamed to Kossol Roads. On 12 December she returned to Leyte Gulf, thence escorted the escort carriers into the Sulu Sea for operations in supDort of the Mindoro landings. A brief respite at Manus followed preceding her next screening assignment, the Luzon invasion.Departing the Admiralties 27 December, the destroyer steamed north to Kossol Roads and on I January 1945 sortied with the escort carrier group. On the 4th, Ommarey Bay was hit by a kamikaze and on the 6th the group arrived off Lingayen Gulf. Through the 17th, the destroyer screened the carriers as they provided air cover for the assault troops and on the 23d she returned to Ulithi to replenish. Reassigned to the 5th Fleet in February, she steamed to Saipan, whence she screened transports to Iwo Jima. Between the 16th and the 27th, she patrolled off that island, then returned to Saipan.Back at Ulithi 5 March, she remained at that base until 20 April when she got underway for Okinawa. Arriving at Hagushi on the 26th, she immediately reported for duty in TG 51.5 and commenced antiaircraft patrols. Soon after 2200, on the 27th, while patrolling off the anchorage, she was closed by two enemy fighters flown by pilots of the "Divine Wind" school. The first crashed the starboard side aft. The second, a near miss, splashed into the sea off the port quarter. Damage control parties brought flooding under control by 2213 and within minutes PCE-852 pulled alongside with a medical officer and seven corpsmen. The destroyer then turned back to Kerama Retto for repairs. On 20 May she got underway to return to the Hagushi anchorage where she again joined the antiaircraft screen. On the 26th she shifted to Nakagushuku Wan, thence back to Kerama Retto where she rejoined the escort carriers. A month later she steamed to Leyte, thence to Saipan. There she resumed escort of convoy duty and for the remainder of World War II plied between the Marianas and the Ryukyus.On I September Ralph Talbot escorted Portland from Guam to Truk and on the 2d stood by as the Japanese formally surrendered that island fortress during ceremonies aboard the cruiser. Returning to Guam on the 3d the destroyer sailed for Saipan, Okinawa, and Japan on the 5th and, into October operated off southern Japan and Okinawa, getting underway for the United States 29 OctoberReporting for duty with the Western Sea Frontier on her return 1!] November, Ralph Talbot was assigned to Joint Task ForceI the following May 1946, and designated for use as a target in Operation "Crossroads," the atomic tests conducted at Bikini in July and August 1946. Contaminated during the tests, the destroyer was towed to Kwajalein where she was decommissioned 29 August 1946 and sunk, in deep water off the atol1, 8 March 1948. Her name was struck from the Navy list 5 April 1948.Ralph Talbot earned 12 battle stars during World War II.


USS Ralph Talbot (DD 390)

Damaged during the atomic bomb test at Bikini Atoll in July 1946.
Decommissioned 28 August 1946.
Scuttled off Kwajalein 8 March 1948.
Stricken 5 April 1948.

Commands listed for USS Ralph Talbot (DD 390)

Please note that we're still working on this section.

CommanderFromTo
1Harry Raymond Thurber, USN14 Oct 193710 Jun 1940
2Cdr. Roy William Montrose Graham, USN10 Jun 1940Feb 1941
3Ralph Earle, Jr., USNFeb 19419 Jul 1942
4Lt.Cdr. Joseph William Callahan, USN9 Jul 194228 Aug 1943
5T/Lt.Cdr. Richard Daniels Shepard, USN28 Aug 19432 Mar 1944
6Lt.Cdr. Winston Seaborn Brown, USNR2 Mar 19449 Oct 1945 ( 1 )
7Lt.Cdr. Burns Walling Spore, USN9 Oct 194528 Aug 1946 ( 1 )

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Notable events involving Ralph Talbot include:

7 Dec 1941
USS Ralph Talbot was present during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Ralph Talbot was part of the 2nd destroyer flotilla.

For Ralph Talbot's action report see this website (offsite link).

9 Aug 1942
Damaged during the Battle of Savo Island though seriously damaged managed to withdraw 14 of the crew died and 16 were wounded.

27 Apr 1945
Damaged by Kamikaze, 5 crew died and 9 were wounded

Media links


USS Ralph Talbot (DD-390)


Figure 1: USS Ralph Talbot (DD-390) off the Boston Navy Yard, Massachusetts, 23 March 1938. Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the US National Archives. Click on photograph for larger image.


Figure 2: USS Ralph Talbot (DD-390) off the Boston Navy Yard, Massachusetts, 23 March 1938. Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the US National Archives. Click on photograph for larger image.


Figure 3: USS Ralph Talbot (DD-390) silhouetted against the sun while off Manhattan Island, New York City, circa 1938. US Naval Historical Center Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.


Figure 4: USS Ralph Talbot (DD-390) off the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 11 April 1942. Note that her port side anchor and boat davits have been removed as weight-saving measures. Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the US National Archives. Click on photograph for larger image.


Figure 5: USS Ralph Talbot (DD-390) off the Mare Island Navy Yard, 11 April 1942. Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the US National Archives. Click on photograph for larger image.


Figure 6: USS Ralph Talbot (DD-390) escorting the Guadalcanal-Tulagi invasion convoy, circa 7-8 August 1942. HMAS Australia is dimly visible in the far right distance, beyond the three destroyers maneuvering there. Photographed by Corp. L.M. Ashman, USMC. US Marine Corps Photograph. Click on photograph for larger image.


Figure 7: USS Ralph Talbot (DD-390) underway off Honolulu, Hawaii, circa January 1943. This photograph was received by the Bureau of Ships from Pearl Harbor, with a letter of 17 January 1943. Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the US National Archives. Click on photograph for larger image.


Figure 8: USS Ralph Talbot (DD-390) underway off Honolulu, Hawaii, circa January 1943. This photograph was received by the Bureau of Ships from Pearl Harbor, with a letter of 17 January 1943. Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the US National Archives. Click on photograph for larger image.


Figure 9: USS Ralph Talbot (DD-390) underway in Hawaiian waters, circa January 1943. This photograph was received by the Bureau of Ships from Pearl Harbor, with a letter of 17 January 1943. Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the US National Archives. Click on photograph for larger image.


Figure 10: USS Ralph Talbot (DD-390) photograph received by the Bureau of Ships from the Hunter's Point Navy Yard, San Francisco, California, with a letter of 19 May 1944. It was probably taken in San Francisco Bay just prior to that date. Her camouflage scheme is Measure 33, Design 1d. Note US Coast Guard ensign flying from the vessel carrying the photographer. Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the US National Archives. Click on photograph for larger image.


Figure 11: USS Ralph Talbot (DD-390) at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, 20 March 1946, with harbor tugs alongside and nearby. Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the US National Archives. Click on photograph for larger image.


Figure 12: USS Ralph Talbot (DD-390) at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, 20 March 1946, with harbor tugs alongside and a crane barge by her bow. Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the US National Archives. Click on photograph for larger image.

Named after Second Lieutenant Ralph Talbot (1897-1918), a US Marine Corps pilot who won the Medal of Honor and was killed during World War I, USS Ralph Talbot was a 2,325-ton Bagley class destroyer that was built in the Boston Navy Yard at Boston, Massachusetts, and was commissioned on 14 October 1937. The ship was approximately 341 feet long and 35 feet wide, had a top speed of 35 knots, and had a crew of 158 officers and men. Ralph Talbot was armed with four 5-inch guns, 4 0.5-inch machine guns, 12 21-inch torpedo tubes, and depth charges.

After being commissioned, Ralph Talbot spent the next four years of her career with the US Navy’s Battle Force, which operated mainly in the eastern Pacific. Ralph Talbot was anchored at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, during the Japanese attack on 7 December 1941. As soon as the attack began, crewmembers on board the ship manned her guns and made preparations for getting underway. By 0900, Ralph Talbot raised enough steam to leave the shattered port after shooting down one enemy aircraft. After the attack was over, the ship searched the waters off Hawaii for Japanese submarines. On 14 December, Ralph Talbot was assigned to Task Force 14 on the first of many aircraft carrier escort and screening assignments. In January 1942, Ralph Talbot joined Task Force 8, which participated in raids against Japanese positions on the Marshall and Gilbert Islands. Then in February and March 1942, they attacked Wake and the Marcus Islands.

After returning to Pearl Harbor on 9 March 1942, Ralph Talbot was assigned to Task Force 15. From 19 March to the end of May, the task force escorted convoys between Hawaii and America’s west coast. On 14 June, Ralph Talbot began a journey to Australia and New Zealand and on 22 July the ship joined a major task force bound for Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. The task force arrived at Guadalcanal on 7 August and Ralph Talbot began patrolling the area that same day. On 8 August, the ship maintained a patrol station just north of Savo Island and at 0145 in the early morning of 9 August, Ralph Talbot received a radio message that three Japanese warships were heading right for them. Shortly after that, gunfire was seen to the southeast and the first Battle of Savo Island had begun.

Roughly 30 minutes later, Ralph Talbot was mistaken for an enemy warship in the dark and was shelled by an American destroyer. The other American destroyer quickly discovered its mistake and stopped shelling Ralph Talbot, but the accident still caused some damage to the ship. Suddenly, a Japanese cruiser appeared off Ralph Talbot’s port quarter. Both ships opened fire at almost point-blank range. The Japanese cruiser’s searchlights found Ralph Talbot and the larger enemy warship unleashed a torrent of shells against the American destroyer. Ralph Talbot tried to use her own searchlights, but the cables attached to the searchlights had been severed during the accidental skirmish. Soon the Japanese cruiser began scoring hits on Ralph Talbot. One shell hit the chart house and destroyed the ship’s radar equipment. Another hit cut Ralph Talbot’s fire control circuits and ignited several fires on board the ship. Then three more Japanese shells slammed into the destroyer in quick succession, destroying the wardroom and damaging the starboard quarter as well as one of the ship’s 5-inch guns. Twelve of Ralph Talbot’s crewmembers were killed, along with the ship’s doctor and the chief pharmacist’s mate. However, the damage could have been much, much worse.

At 0221 on the morning of 9 August 1942, Ralph Talbot ceased firing. The Japanese cruiser left the area, but the destroyer was in serious trouble. Fire engulfed the bridge and the ship was flooding and listing heavily to starboard. At 0230, all radio communications to and from the ship had ceased and 20 minutes later Ralph Talbot had drifted close to the shore of Savo Island. The crew worked frantically to save its ship, battling the fires that were threatening to sink her. Fortunately by 0330, the crew managed to get both the fires and the flooding under control. The crew then directed all of its efforts to repairing the damage. By 0700, communications were restored and by 1210 most of the repairs (including using mattresses to plug the holes in her hull) were completed to the point where Ralph Talbot was seaworthy enough to limp all the way back to the United States for a major overhaul.

Ralph Talbot arrived at the Mare Island Navy Yard in California on 11 September 1942. After undergoing repairs and a substantial overhaul, Ralph Talbot left Mare Island on 11 November and headed for Hawaii. From there, Ralph Talbot sailed to Australia on 16 December. The ship arrived at Brisbane, Australia, on 2 January 1943. Ralph Talbot conducted training exercises and escorted convoys along the northern and eastern coasts of Australia until 10 May. On 13 May, the ship arrived at Noumea, New Caledonia, to escort more ships heading back to the Solomon Islands. On 30 June, Ralph Talbot participated in the amphibious landings at Rendova, part of the New Georgia offensive in the Solomon Islands. On 30 June, Ralph Talbot rescued 300 survivors from the sinking troop transport USS McCawley (APA-4). On 5 July she bombarded Rendova with her 5-inch guns and on 9 and 11 July participated in the bombardment of the island of Munda. On the evening of 12 to 13 July 1943, Ralph Talbot was part of a task group that intercepted one Japanese cruiser and five destroyers, including several enemy transports, off the coast of Kolombangara. The subsequent Battle of Kolombangara was roughly a draw. Three American cruisers were damaged and one destroyer sunk, while the Japanese lost one cruiser. The American destroyer that was sunk was USS Gwin (DD-433). The ship was seriously damaged during the battle and was unable to move. She eventually had to be sunk by one of Ralph Talbot’s torpedoes to prevent her from possibly being salvaged by the enemy.

Later on in 1943, Ralph Talbot supported amphibious landings in New Britain and in January 1944 participated in the amphibious assaults on New Guinea. Ralph Talbot then was assigned to the central Pacific in mid-1944, where she bombarded enemy positions on the islands of Saipan and Tinian. By late August, Ralph Talbot escorted Task Force 38’s aircraft carriers during attacks on the Bonin Islands, the Palau Islands, Okinawa, Formosa, and the Philippines. She also screened carriers off Cape Engano during the Battle of Leyte Gulf on 25 October 1944.

From January to June 1945, Ralph Talbot participated in the American assaults on northern Luzon in the Philippines, on Iwo Jima, and on the Ryukyus Islands. While on anti-aircraft patrols off the island of Okinawa on 27 April 1945, two Japanese “kamikaze” aircraft spotted Ralph Talbot. Both planes dove for the American destroyer. The first plane smashed into the aft starboard side of the ship. The second plane was a near miss, crashing into the sea off the port quarter. Damage control parties on board the ship eventually brought the fires and the flooding under control and a few minutes after the attack an American patrol craft, PCE-852, pulled alongside the destroyer with a medical officer and seven corpsmen. Ralph Talbot, though, had to go for repairs to the American-held island of Kerama Retto, not far from Okinawa. The tough ship was repaired and remained on duty in the central and western Pacific until the end of the war. At the beginning of September 1945, the Ralph Talbot was present at the surrender of Japanese forces on Truk in the Caroline Islands.

After serving briefly in the occupation of Japan after the war, Ralph Talbot returned to the United States in November 1945. In the spring of 1946, the now worn and battered destroyer was chosen to be one of the target ships for the atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands. Amazingly, Ralph Talbot refused to die even after two atomic bombs were detonated at Bikini in July 1946. However, the destroyer was so contaminated with radioactivity that she had to be sunk. USS Ralph Talbot was eventually scuttled in deep water off Kwajalein Atoll on 8 March 1948. The ship earned 12 battle stars for her service during World War II.


RALPH TALBOT DD 390

This section lists the names and designations that the ship had during its lifetime. The list is in chronological order.


    Bagley Class Destroyer
    Keel Laid October 28 1935 - Launched October 31 1936

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Ralph Talbot DD-390 - History

USS Ralph Talbot , a 1500-ton Bagley class destroyer built at the Boston Navy Yard, was commissioned in October 1937. For the next four years she served with the Battle Force, mainly in the Pacific. Based at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, after mid-1941, she was moored there when the Japanese attacked on 7 December 1941 and was able to get to sea before the raid was finished. Ralph Talbot spent the next few months operating with carrier task forces, participating in some of the early raids on Japanese bases in the central Pacific.

After serving as an escort for shipping in the west coast and Hawaii areas, in June 1942 Ralph Talbot steamed to the south Pacific. She took part in the Guadalcanal-Tulagi operation in early August and in the Battle of Savo Island on the 9th of that month. She was seriously damaged by gunfire in that action, losing twelve of her crew, and necessitating a return to the U.S. for repairs.

Ralph Talbot 's next combat operations were in the central Solomons, where she participated in the Rendova-New Georgia invasion and the Battle of Kolombangara in July 1943. Later in the year, the destroyer supported landings in New Britain and in the first month of 1944 performed similar duties off New Guinea. She was assigned to the central Pacific in mid-1944, where her guns bombarded the enemy on Saipan and Tinian in July. From late August, Ralph Talbot escorted Task Force 38's aircraft carriers during strikes on the Volcano and Bonin Islands, the Palaus, Okinawa, Formosa and the Philippines. In this role, she took part in the action off Cape Engaño during the Battle of Leyte Gulf on 25 October 1944.

In January-June 1945, Ralph Talbot took part in operations to capture northern Luzon, Iwo Jima and the Ryukyus. She was hit by a "Kamikaze" suicide attack off Okinawa on 27 April but was repaired locally and remained on duty in the central and western Pacific until the end of the Pacific War. At the beginning of September 1945, the destroyer was present when Japanese forces on Truk surrendered.

Following service supporting the occupation of Japan, Ralph Talbot returned to the United States in November 1945. The following spring the now-elderly ship was designated as a target in the upcoming atomic bomb tests at Bikini, in the Marshall Islands. She was contaminated by radioactivity after the two July 1946 nuclear explosions and was decommissioned a month later. USS Ralph Talbot was scuttled in deep water off Kwajalain on 8 March 1948.

USS Ralph Talbot was named in honor of U.S. Marine Corps aviator Second Lieutenant Ralph Talbot (1897-1918), who was awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism in aerial action over France and Belgium in October 1918 and died in a plane crash later in that month.

This page features selected views concerning USS Ralph Talbot (DD-390).

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Off the Boston Navy Yard, Massachusetts, 23 March 1938.

Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.

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Off the Boston Navy Yard, Massachusetts, 23 March 1938.

Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.

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Silhouetted against the sun, while off Manhattan Island, New York City, in about 1938.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

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Off the Mare Island Navy Yard, 11 April 1942.
Note that her port side anchor and boat davits have been removed as weight-saving measures.

Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.

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Off the Mare Island Navy Yard, 11 April 1942.

Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.

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Escorting the Guadalcanal-Tulagi invasion convoy, circa 7-8 August 1942.
HMAS Australia is dimly visible in the far right distance, beyond the three destroyers manuevering there.
Photographed by Corp. L.M. Ashman, USMC.

U.S. Marine Corps Photograph.

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Underway off Honolulu, Hawaii, circa January 1943.
This photograph was received by the Bureau of Ships from Pearl Harbor, with a letter of 17 January 1943.

Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.

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Underway off Honolulu, Hawaii, circa January 1943.
This photograph was received by the Bureau of Ships from Pearl Harbor, with a letter of 17 January 1943.

Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.

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Underway in Hawaiian waters, circa January 1943.
This photograph was received by the Bureau of Ships from Pearl Harbor, with a letter of 17 January 1943.

Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.

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Photograph received by the Bureau of Ships from the Hunter's Point Navy Yard, San Francisco, California, with a letter of 19 May 1944. It was probably taken in San Francisco Bay just prior to that date.
Her camouflage scheme is Measure 33, Design 1d.
Note U.S. Coast Guard ensign flying from the vessel carrying the photographer.

Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.

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At Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, 20 March 1946, with harbor tugs alongside and nearby.

Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.

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At Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, 20 March 1946, with harbor tugs alongside and a crane barge by her bow.

Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.

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Plaque mounted aboard the ship in honor of Second Lieutenant Ralph Talbot, USMC Reserve Flying Corps.
Presented by the People of Weymouth, Massachusetts on 31 October 1936, it was photographed at about that time by the Boston Navy Yard, Charlestown, Massachusetts.


Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Marine Corps. Born: January 6, 1897, South Weymouth, Mass. Appointed from: Connecticut. Citation:

For exceptionally meritorious service and extraordinary heroism while attached to Squadron C, 1st Marine Aviation Force, in France. 2d Lt. Talbot participated in numerous air raids into enemy territory. On 8 October 1918, while on such a raid, he was attacked by 9 enemy scouts, and in the fight that followed shot down an enemy plane. Also, on 14 October 1918, while on a raid over Pittham, Belgium, 2d Lt. Talbot and another plane became detached from the formation on account of motor trouble and were attacked by 12 enemy scouts. During the severe fight that followed, his plane shot down 1 of the enemy scouts. His observer was shot through the elbow and his gun jammed. 2d Lt. Talbot maneuvered to gain time for his observer to clear the jam with one hand, and then returned to the fight. The observer fought until shot twice, once in the stomach and once in the hip and then collapsed, 2d Lt. Talbot attacked the nearest enemy scout with his front guns and shot him down. With his observer unconscious and his motor failing, he dived to escape the balance of the enemy and crossed the German trenches at an altitude of 50 feet, landing at the nearest hospital to leave his observer, and then returning to his aerodrome.


World War II Database


ww2dbase Named after WW1-era United States Marine Second Lieutenant Ralph Talbot, the destroyer was sponsored by Mrs. Mary Talbot, Ralph's mother in 1936 and commissioned to Lieutenant Commander H. R. Thuber in 1937. Destroyer Ralph Talbot was a part of the Destroyers, Battle Force of the United States Navy and operated off the west coast of the United States. In Apr 1941, she entered Mare Island Navy Yard in California, United States, and served the remainder of her pre-war career at Pearl Harbor.

ww2dbase At the date of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in Dec 1941, Ralph Talbot was moored there. Her anti-aircraft guns were firing at the Japanese aircraft within minutes of the start of the attack, and by 0900 that morning she had downed one aircraft. After the attack, she patrolled for Japanese aircraft. On 14 Dec, she sortied with Task Force 14 as escort for the Task Force's carriers. In Jan and Feb 1942, with Task Force 8, she supported carriers as they launched their aircraft against Japanese positions in the Marshall and Gilbert Islands in Mar, she performed a similar role during attacks on Wake and Marcus Islands. On 9 Mar 1942, she returned to Pearl Harbor. Between Mar and May 1942, she performed convoy duties between Pearl Harbor and the west coast of the United States. After the Battle of Midway, she escorted auxiliary vessels to Midway area to replenish ships that participated in the battle, then escorted Task Force 16 to Pearl Harbor. On 14 Jun, she sailed for Australia and New Zealand.

ww2dbase On 22 Jul, Ralph Talbot sailed for the Solomon Islands. On 7 Aug, she arrived off Guadalcanal in support of Task Group 62.6 during the landings. Beginning on 8 Aug, she patrolled north of Savo Island. At 0145 on 9 Aug, she received word of three Japanese ships soon afterwards, she observed gunfire to the southwest, which was the start of the Battle of Savo Island. As she approached the battle, she was shelled by a friendly destroyer at about 0215. A few minutes later, a Japanese cruiser lit Ralph Talbot brightly with spotlight and fired at her. A shell landed at the chart house, destroying radar equipment and fire control circuits. Three more shells came down in close succession, hitting the wardroom, the starboard quarter, and the underside of gun number 4. Eleven members of her crew were killed, including the ship's doctor and the chief pharmacist's mate. At 0221, Ralph Talbot ceased firing after the Japanese fleet left in fear of an American air attack after dawn, but the battle continued for her as the damage control team fought the intense fire that enveloped the bridge. Meanwhile, the ship listed heavily to starboard. At 0230, all radio communication to and from the vessel stopped. By 0330, the fire was contained and the flooding was stopped. Soon after 0700, communication was re-established, and by 1210 enough temporary repairs were done for her to get underway. She arrived at Mare Island Navy Yard on 11 Sep 1942 to receive permanent repairs.

ww2dbase On 11 Nov 1942, Ralph Talbot steamed out of Mare Island Navy Yard for Hawaii. On 16 Dec, she departed for Australia. She remained in Brisbane for training and convoy duties between 2 Jan and 10 May 1943. Between 13 May and mid-Jun, she performed training and convoy duties out of NoumÈa, New Caledonia. On 30 Jun, she covered the landings on Rendova Island, New Georgia, Solomon Islands, rescuing 300 survivors of APA McCawley on that day. On 5 Jul, she bombarded Rice Anchorage in New Georgia with her 5-inch guns, following by landing men of the 148th Infantry there. On 9 and 11 Jul, she bombarded Munda in southwestern New Georgia. During the night of 12 to 13 Jul 1943, she participated in the Battle of Kolombangara at the end of that action, her torpedoes scuttled destroyer Gwin. From Aug through Oct, she remained in the Solomon Islands area, performing patrol and escort duties. On 27 Oct, she left for Australia. On 3 Nov, she arrived at Milne Bay, New Guinea, where she resumed patrol and escort duties. During the night of 29 Nov, with Task Force 74, she bombarded Japanese positions on New Britain. In mid-Dec, she covered the landings on Kiriwina Island, Trobriand Islands, off New Guinea. In late-Dec, she covered the landings on Cape Gloucestor, New Britain. On 1 Jan 1944, she sailed with Task Force 76 and conducted pre-landing bombardment of Saidor, New Guinea. She left the New Guinea area in early Feb 1943 for overhaul in the United States.

ww2dbase After a brief stay at Pearl Harbor in May 1944, Ralph Talbot returned to the South Pacific. She escorted a convoy between Eniwetok, Marshall Islands to Saipan, Mariana Islands, arriving at Garapan Harbor on 5 Jul, then provided gunfire support for ground troops. After evacuating casualties, she provided gunfire support at Tinian on 27 Jul. She escorted ships through most of Aug 1944, then joined Task Force 38.4 in support of the attack against the Volcano and Bonin Islands between 31 Aug and 2 Sep, Yap on 7 and 8 Sep, and the Palau Islands between 10 and 19 Sep. In Oct, she patrolled for Japanese shipping in the general area enclosed by Okinawa, Taiwan, and Luzon of the Philippine Islands. On 20 Oct, she supported Leyte landings in the Philippine Islands. On 25 Oct, she screened carriers and battleships during the Battle off Cape EngaÒo. After patrolling the Leyte Gulf area between 16 and 27 Nov, she escorted escort carriers into the Sulu Sea to support the Mindoro landings and then the Luzon landings between 1 and 17 Jan 1945. She screened transports bound for Iwo Jima in Feb 1945, and remained in the area on patrol until 27 Feb. She replenished at Ulithi between 5 Mar and 20 Apr.

ww2dbase On 26 Apr, Ralph Talbot arrived at Okinawa, where the battle had already been waging for almost a month. As a part of Task Group 51.5, she performed anti-aircraft screen duties. At 2200 on 27 Apr, she was struck on the starboard side aft by a special attack fighter, while a second missed, splashing into the sea off the port quarter. She sailed to Kerama Retto nearby for temporary repairs, returning to service on 20 May. She performed convoy duties between the Mariana Islands and the Ryuku Islands for the remainder of the Pacific War. In Aug, she rescued 24 survivors of the cruiser Indianapolis.

ww2dbase On 1 Sep 1945, Ralph Talbot escorted heavy cruiser Portland from Guam to Truk and stood by the next day during the Truk surrender ceremony aboard Portland. She operated off southern Japan in Oct and returned to the United States on 29 Oct. She was used as a target ship during the Operation Crossroads atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands in Jul and Aug 1946. Contaminated with radiation, she was sunk off Kwajalein in Mar 1948.

ww2dbase Source: United States Navy Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.

Last Major Revision: Jun 2007

Destroyer Ralph Talbot Interactive Map

Ralph Talbot Operational Timeline

14 Oct 1937 Ralph Talbot was commissioned into service.
13 Feb 1945 Destroyer escort USS Tabberer arrived off Saipan, Mariana Islands and delivered a supply convoy. Tabberer then sailed with escort carrier USS Anzio and destroyer USS Ralph Talbot for Iwo Jima.
29 Aug 1946 Ralph Talbot was decommissioned from service.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Anthony Marino says:
7 Mar 2010 09:02:34 AM

My Uncle was killed on the USS Ralph Talbot. His name was Charles Marino. Does anyone have any pictures of him or any other information.

2. Cheryl Marino says:
30 Aug 2012 12:58:31 PM

Charles Marino was 1c, he was killed on the USS Ralph Talbot in WWII, as my brother asked, if anyone has any information on our uncle we would greatly appreciate it

3. Johan George Erhard Aupperlee says:
27 May 2013 01:58:59 PM

A very nice site, I have been reading that there where 2 sailors with the name Aupperlee John and William on this ship during the war , my Question is,, are they brothers ? and do they or their ancestors come from The Netherlands.thanks greetings from Holland.

4. Anonymous says:
23 Jun 2013 03:13:10 PM

John and Bill Auperlee were a song and dance duo before and during the war, performing on the USS Arizona 1 week before Dec 7. John passed away and I am not sure about Bill, who retired and has been reunion contact, in North Hollywood, CA. His phone is listed. My grandfather was a close friend of both - George Carl McCarter.

5. Karen Watkins says:
28 Aug 2013 02:18:21 PM

My Daddy was a F2 on the Talbot .His name is Irving M. Davies and he was in the boiler room of the ship when it was hit. he survived the battle,but told us very little of his experience. Does anyone remember this or my Daddy?? Any info would be gratefully appreciated. Thank You All for your service.

6. Becky Beaman says:
21 Sep 2013 02:26:19 PM

I am at a Ralph Talbot reunion as I write this. John and Bill Aupperlee were indeed brothers -- twin brothers. Both have now passed away. I mentioned Charles Marino, and the 2 crew members here think there is some info in the Ralph Talbot book we have. RT took casualities when a kamikaze hit, and in a couple of other actions. Do you know when he died?

7. Anonymous says:
31 Dec 2013 10:37:24 PM

My uncle was also one of those wounded by the kamikaze attack on April 27, 1945.

8. Anthony Marino says:
25 May 2015 06:08:05 AM

Today is Memorial day and I am thinking of my Uncle Charlie today. I have the USS Ralph Talbot book and it tells the story of the kamikaze hit and the men who died, one being my Uncle. God Bless him and all of the men who gave the ultimate sacrifice for this beautiful country.

9. Rich Swanson says:
28 Jul 2015 12:03:50 PM

My uncle Gordon Burke was on the Rat-Trap as she was affectionately called. I remember all his stories from the time in the Solomon Islands to the kamikaze hit. I love those stories and I miss my Uncle.

10. Anonymous says:
12 Aug 2015 09:42:43 AM

Bill Aupperlee was my dad. I grew up listening to endless war stories. It was great. My dad and uncle Jack were stationed in the engine room. What a great generation, I was fortunate to be given dozens of video tapes and cassettes of many of there reunions. If anyone is interested I'm sure copies can be made.
Jacki Aupperlee Mitchell

11. Michael Spencer says:
30 Jul 2017 08:12:52 PM

My grandfather, Richard Junior Spencer, served on this ship, and I'm told that his father, Richard Dale Spencer, also served on it before him. I'd like to find more info about his father if possible. Many comments on this page have mentioned the kamikaze attack. My grandmother told me that her husband held bitter contempt for the Japanese the rest of his life after being tasked to fish the bodies of his fallen comrades from the sea after that attack.

12. Frank Gray says:
24 Jun 2018 03:42:32 PM

I just found out today that my wife's uncle, SA or S2C Robert "Dee" Florentine Bludworth from Mississippi was one of the 12 men killed at Savo Island. We thought he was on the USS Quincy (CA-39) so any help or info if he was on the DD-390 would be greatly appreciated. Help an old retired Senior Chief because we would eventually like to get him a marker for the family plot.

13. Robert Ward says:
23 Oct 2018 12:20:55 PM

My dad,Glenn Eastman Ward, was on the Talbot,7 Dec 1941.He passed many years ago,but told me they had steam up,and were leaving that Sun. morning.What a story !

14. Jessica Garland says:
4 Apr 2020 10:26:55 PM

My grandfather, Irving Davies, served on this ship, and I would love to connect with relatives of other men who served with him.

15. Bryan Blue says:
8 Jul 2020 03:00:36 PM

My Grandfather, Edward Benedict Blue was a Pharmacist's Mate on the Talbot, and was a boxer during the war. He died before I was born.

All visitor submitted comments are opinions of those making the submissions and do not reflect views of WW2DB.


USS Ralph Talbot (DD-390), 1937-1948

USS Ralph Talbot, a 1500-ton Bagley class destroyer built at the Boston Navy Yard, was commissioned in October 1937. For the next four years she served with the Battle Force, mainly in the Pacific. Based at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, after mid-1941, she was moored there when the Japanese attacked on 7 December 1941 and was able to get to sea before the raid was finished. Ralph Talbot spent the next few months operating with carrier task forces, participating in some of the early raids on Japanese bases in the central Pacific.

After serving as an escort for shipping in the west coast and Hawaii areas, in June 1942 Ralph Talbot steamed to the south Pacific. She took part in the Guadalcanal-Tulagi operation in early August and in the Battle of Savo Island on the 9th of that month. She was seriously damaged by gunfire in that action, losing twelve of her crew, and necessitating a return to the U.S. for repairs.

Ralph Talbot's next combat operations were in the central Solomons, where she participated in the Rendova-New Georgia invasion and the Battle of Kolombangara in July 1943. Later in the year, the destroyer supported landings in New Britain and in the first month of 1944 performed similar duties off New Guinea. She was assigned to the central Pacific in mid-1944, where her guns bombarded the enemy on Saipan and Tinian in July. From late August, Ralph Talbot escorted Task Force 38's aircraft carriers during strikes on the Volcano and Bonin Islands, the Palaus, Okinawa, Formosa and the Philippines. In this role, she took part in the action off Cape Enga?o during the Battle of Leyte Gulf on 25 October 1944.

In January-June 1945, Ralph Talbot took part in operations to capture northern Luzon, Iwo Jima and the Ryukyus. She was hit by a "Kamikaze" suicide attack off Okinawa on 27 April but was repaired locally and remained on duty in the central and western Pacific until the end of the Pacific War. At the beginning of September 1945, the destroyer was present when Japanese forces on Truk surrendered.

Following service supporting the occupation of Japan, Ralph Talbot returned to the United States in November 1945. The following spring the now-elderly ship was designated as a target in the upcoming atomic bomb tests at Bikini, in the Marshall Islands. She was contaminated by radioactivity after the two July 1946 nuclear explosions and was decommissioned a month later. USS Ralph Talbot was scuttled in deep water off Kwajalain on 8 March 1948.


Ralph Talbot DD-390 - History

A Tin Can Sailors
Destroyer History

Launched on 20 March and commissioned on 27 May 1942, the MCCALLA (DD-488) was in the South Pacific by 8 October screening transports carrying supplies and reinforcements to Guadalcanal. With the SAN FRANCISCO (CA-38), SALT LAKE CITY (CA-25), BOISE (CL-47), FARENHOLT (DD-491), BUCHANAN (DD-484), LAFFEY (DD-459), and, later, the HELENA (CL-50) and DUNCAN (DD-485), she patrolled north of the island. On the night of 11󈝸 October 1942, the task force encountered a Japanese force off Cape Esperance. In the ensuing battle the MCCALLA claimed an enemy destroyer and then was sent to find the BOISE, which was reportedly damaged in the action She failed to locate the cruiser, but found the DUNCAN, burning and adrift off Savo Island. Once the flames had diminished, a salvage party boarded the abandoned destroyer, and the MCCALLA went in search of survivors. With the aid of planes and landing craft, the MCCALLA rescued 197 men. During the rescue operation, the sharpshooters aboard the MCCALLA fought off sharks attacking the men in the water. The DUNCAN, which proved to be beyond saving, sank shortly after noon on the 12th. Two hours later, the MCCALLA’s lookouts sighted a large number of Japanese seamen in the water near the scene of the previous night’s action. The Americans threw lines to several men who refused to take them and then lowered a boat to capture three of the unwilling survivors.

The MCCALLA went on to patrol the area south of Guadalcanal and to escort transports bringing in reinforcements. On 3 November 1942 she went after a surfaced submarine. As she closed at flank speed, the boat submerged, and the MCCALLA launched her depth charges. Subsequent explosions gave her reason to believe that the submarine was sunk, but nothing on the surface confirmed the kill. Over the next two weeks, while screening transports off Guadalcanal, the MCCALLA’s task group fought off several attacks by enemy aircraft, and on 25 November, the destroyer attacked a group of enemy landing craft off Tassaforanga, destroying forty of them.

During the first half of 1943, the MCCALLA steamed among the Fiji, New Hebrides, and Solomon Islands performing plane guard, escort, and antisubmarine patrol duties. Toward the end of June, the New Georgia campaign began, and with the FARENHOLT, BUCHANAN, and RALPH TALBOT (DD-390), she escorted troop transports to Rendova Island. At 1350 on 30 June, the force was attacked by Japanese torpedo planes. The planes strafed the ships with their machine guns, hitting the MCCALLA with four 20-mm projectiles and twenty or more 25-caliber armor piercing shells, one of which put the torpedo director out of commission. Three of her crew were injured. One of the enemy’s torpedoes hit the engine room of the transport MCCAWLEY (APA-4), killing fifteen of her crew and knocking out power. The destroyers MCCALLA and FARENHOLT stood by to cover operations as the RALPH TALBOT took off all but the salvage party. In the midst of salvage operations, the group fought off another dive bomber attack. At 1850, the MCCALLA took the salvage party off the stricken transport. In all, she rescued ninety-eight of the MCCAWLEY’s crew, accounted for at least two raiders, and assisted in another kill. At 2023 two torpedoes caused a violent explosion aboard the MCCAWLEY, which was torn apart and sank in less than a minute.

By 5 July the MCCALLA was in the New Georgia area to screen the landing of marines at Rice Anchorage. On the 9th she took part in the bombardment of Munda Airfield and then returned to escort work. On the night of 29 September, the MCCALLA had a steering casualty while battling the enemy off Kolomangara in the central Solomons. The result was a collision with the PATTERSON (DD-392) causing serious damage to the MCCALLA’s bow. Quick action and effective damage control kept the ship afloat and able to reach Purvis Bay, Florida Island, for emergency repairs. She then headed for the states and a new bow. En route, on 12 November 1943, she rescued 868 survivors of the torpedoed troop transport CAPE SAN JUAN and delivered the survivors, mostly members of the African-American 855th Aviation Engineer Battalion, to the Fiji Islands.

Ready for war duty again in January 1944, she got underway for the South Pacific and a month later was off Majuro to resume ASW operations and escort assignments in the Marshalls. Through the night of 18󈝿 February, she and the PORTERFIELD (DD-682) searched for a plane crash survivor and at 1233 on the 19th the MCCALLA picked up the man who had been in the water for four days. She continued patrol duties off Tarawa and Kwajalein and mopping up operations on Ailing Island and Nanu Atoll. At Majuro on 30 May 1944 she joined the fast carrier task force including the ESSEX (CV-9), COWPENS (CV-25), LANGLEY (CV-27), LANG (DD-399), STERETT (DD-407), WILSON (DD-408), ELLET (DD-398), LANSDOWNE (DD-486), LARDNER (DD-487), and CASE (DD-370). She screened carriers during the air strikes on Guam and Rota Islands and Iwo, Haha, and Chichi Jima and then on the Palaus, Philippines, and Morotai. On 14 September, the MCCALLA, FARENHOLT, and GRAYSON (DD-435) proceeded to Mindanao and in October the MCCALLA went on to cover carriers during strikes on Formosa and Okinawa.


Pearl Harbor Attack, USS Ralph Talbot (DD-390)

A16-3/DD390/(067) UNITED STATES FLEET
DESTROYERS, BATTLE FORCE
U.S.S. Ralph Talbot (390)
December 12, 1941.

From: The Commanding Officer.
To: The Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet.
Via: (1) The Commander Destroyer Division Eight.
(2) The Commander, Destroyer Squadron Four.
(3) The Commander, Destroyers Battle Force.

Subject: Action Taken During the Air Raid Attack, Dec. 7, 1941.

Enclosure: (A) Sketch of harbor showing where planes were believed shot down by Ralph Talbot.[not attached]
The USS Ralph Talbot was moored bow to southward to buoy X-11 with the Patterson alongside to port and the Henley to starboard.

Under way at 0900 and passed sea buoy No. 1 at 0934.
Expended 150 rounds 5"/38 caliber and 1500 rounds .50 caliber.
Two planes that this vessel was firing on were seen to crash and another started to smoke badly but due to other approaching planes its further flight was not observed. One plane dove low over the bridge and was hit by our forward .50 caliber machine guns. It was seen to crash along the shore by Pearl City, marked A on the enclosed sketch. Other ships were also firing at this plane. While standing out the after 5"/38 caliber guns fired on planes attacking the Curtis. One plane was seen to fall to pieces just after gun No. 3 fired and it fell in the vicinity of the place Marked B. The Curtis was undoubtedly firing on these planes.
There were no personnel or material casualties due to enemy bombing or machine gun fire. The JA talker on the bridge had his arm grazed by a .30 caliber machine gun bullet fired by a plane.
All hands behaved excellently. CHAVIES, Edward J. Cox., and MARSHALL, Robert L., Sea2c., are worthy of special mention. Chavies went down the anchor chain hand over hand and swam out to the buoy and tripped the pelican hook as the motor whaleboat was slow in reaching the buoy to let go our chain. This was during a period of much machine gun fire by enemy planes. MARSHALL, a new man, was in No. 3 handling room sending up shells. One shell started to drop from the rack and as he had his arms full he tried to put his foot under the falling shell. He believed that it might explode if it dropped to the deck. Fortunately only one toe was mashed and he kept right on with his work until a lull in the action when he requested help.
[signed]
RALPH EARLE, Jr.


Watch the video: USS COLORADO BB-45 FIRE PRACTICE - USS RALPH TALBOT DD-390 REFUELS - 11-05-1943 - SOUNDLESS - CO (August 2022).