1. Commissioned on 24 November, 1942
2. "Star" operations participated in from commissioning to 2 September 1945:
Note: Words in italics have been added to the official war record by Fred Anderson, who served in the Marine Corps aboard the Santa Fe. This document was transcribed from a photocopy in February, 2001 by Bill Anderson.
The SANTA FE was commissioned at Philadelphia Navy Yard on 24 November 1942,
under the command of Captain R. S. Berkey, USN.
Fitting out, trials and the training program were completed and the ship
ready for sea on 28 February 1943. The
ship was assigned to Cruiser Division 13, with duty in the Pacific Fleet.
Departing from the east coast on 1 March, the strip arrived at Pearl
Harbor on 23 March 1943. Voyage repairs were made and training exercises held.
The ship was assigned to the forces operating in the North Pacific, and
on 15 April departed Pearl Harbor for Adak, arriving on 20 April. Operations thereafter were under the direction of ComNorPac.
On 21 April 1943 got underway for patrol west of Attu, as part of TG (Task
Group) 16.6. On 26 April
bombarded Attu at long ranges. There
was some return fire, but it was so inaccurate as to have no effect on the
bombardment. No ships were hit. Upon completion of the bombardment returned to Adak, arriving
on 28 April.
On 29 April departed Adak for patrol area to westward of Attu, as part of TG
16.6. Had contacts with an enemy submarine on 1 and 4 May, but contact was lost
before any damage was done by either side. On 11 May closed to about 60 miles
southwest of Attu to act as part of covering force for the amphibious forces
during the reoccupation of Attu. Remained
as covering force until 24 May, while our forces landed and retook the island.
Submarine contacts were made on 14 and 16 May but were lost before damage was
done. On 24 May joined TG 16.7 and returned to Adak, arriving 26 May, after a 28
On 29 May 1943 got underway as part of TG 16.7, consisting of WICHITA, SAN
FRANCISCO, LOUISVILLE, SANTA FE and 4 destroyers, for patrol area to westward.
On 30 May shifted to TG 16.6A. Remained
in the patrol area centered about Lat. 54-30N, Long. 176-30E,
until 17 June, when, as a member of TG 16.8, departed for Adak, arriving
18 June. This patrol was
On 27 June got underway for patrol area north of Attu, as part of TG 16.7.
Total forces present were 2 OBB (old battleships), 3 CA (heavy
cruisers), 1 CL (light cruiser -- the USS Santa FE), 7 DD (destroyers).
Fueled on 3 July and on the 4th headed for southern operating area via
Amchitka Pass. Early on 5 July a
submarine contact was made by radar. The
contact disappeared 2 minutes after this ship opened fire.
On 6 July the OBB's departed and the 4 cruisers went in to bombard Kiska.
There was no return fire, and the bombardment was uneventful, results
being hard to determine. Upon its
completion, the ship returned to the patrol area south of Kiska.
Training exercises were held daily until the 13th, when we returned to
Adak for upkeep at anchor.
On 20 July again left Adak in company with TG 16.7. Proceeded to the Kiska area and on 22 July executed a second
bombardment of that island at long range, using radar control.
The results could not be determined at the time, but the assigned area
was well covered. Return fire was
meager and very inaccurate. Upon completion of the bombardment took up a. patrol to the
southwest of Kiska, in anticipation of meeting an enemy cruiser and destroyer
force reported approaching the Aleutian Chain. This force did not materialize,
and on 31 July we left the operating area and returned to Adak.
The next patrol with TG 16.7 commenced on 3 August, when we left Adak and
proceeded to operating area north of Kiska, returning on 9 August after an
uneventful patrol. Bombardment
exercises were held during the next few days while the Kiska reoccupation force
was making up. On 13 August joined
TU 16.4.3, a gunfire support unit, and departed Adak for the invasion of Kiska.
On 15 August executed two bombardments in the Gertrude Cove area of Kiska,
operating in a dense fog with ship and fire control entirely by radar.
Firing ranges were from 6 to 10 thousand yards.
Continued to operate southeast of Gertrude Cove until 19 August, when the
ships departed for Adak, anchoring on the 20th. Kiska had been found evacuated by the Japanese, and the
island was reoccupied without a fight. Reports
were later received that the bombardments of Kiska were very effective, with a
large number of the enemy gun positions and other installations destroyed.
On 25 August, the SANTA FE was detached from Command of ComNorPac and left Adak,
as part of TU 16.15.1, enroute Pearl Harbor to report to CinCPac (Commander
in Chief of Pacific) for duty. Hold
training and firing exercises daily, arriving at Pearl Harbor on 1 September.
In the 5 months in the North Pacific, since leaving Pearl Harbor, the SANTA FE
spent 79 percent of the time underway, steamed 47,812 miles, and delivered four
bombardments on enemy held territory.
At Pearl Harbor limited availability was granted and the ship dry-docked from 5
to 8 September. The ship joined the
BIRMINGHAM and MOBILE (Guy Rochelle's ship) already present, to form an
active Cruiser Division 13. Rear
Admiral L.T. DuBose, USN (G.C. Trimm came aboard with this admiral), was
in command, and shifted his flag to the SANTA FE from the BIRMINGHAM.
On 11 September departed Pearl Harbor as part of Task Force 15, a carrier force,
for an air strike on Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands. Fueled on the 15th and on the 17th commenced a run in at 26
knots. The first strike on Tarawa
was launched. at 0331 on 16 September. At
1353 changed course to the east to commence retirement from the area, the
attacking operations being completed. The
aircraft from the 3 carriers attacked Tarawa and Makin Atolls, doing large
amount of damage to enemy installations. Enemy
planes which sortied failed to locate the Task Force, which was not attacked at
any time. Fueled once on the
return, and on 23 September arrived at Pearl Harbor.
On 25 September Task Force 15 was disbanded and Task Force 14 was formed,
consisting of 3 CV, 3 CVL, 2 cruiser and 5 destroyer divisions.
On 29 September Task Force 14 sortied from Pearl Harbor for air and
surface bombardment of Wake. On 2 October the Task Force split into two groups, this ship
being in the northern. On 3 October
fueled and at 0415 on 5 October the carriers commenced launching aircraft for
the attack on Wake Island. As part
of CruDiv13 closed the island from the north, and at 1249 commenced bombarding
enemy installations on the northern half of the atoll.
Made one run westward and then closed to medium range for an eastward
leg. Return fire from coast defense
guns on the island was irregular but fairly accurate, and avoiding maneuvers
were made twice during the bombardment. No
ships were hit. (Fred Anderson
says that on the second run of this engagement, the enemy shore guns dropped a
shell so close to the Santa Fe that he and his 20-mm fantail gun mount were
splashed heavily with water.)
At 1420 ceased firing and commenced retirement.
The surface bombardment appeared very effective, many buildings being
demolished and large fires started. There
was no enemy air opposition on the northern side, the Japanese planes having
been largely destroyed by the first air strike.
On 6 October air strikes on Wake were repeated, and at 1830 the Task
Force commenced retirement from the area. The
return was uneventful and Pearl Harbor was entered on 11 October.
On 13 October Task Force 14 was disbanded and the SANTA FE became a unite
of the newly created Central Pacific Force (Fifth Fleet), commanded by Vice
Admiral R. A. Spruance, USN. Operations
for the next year were to be as a part of Fifth Fleet.
On 21 October, as part of Task Group 53.3, sortied from Pearl Harbor
enroute to the Fiji-New Hebrides area for training prior to the occupation of
the Gilberts. Task Force 53 was the
Southern Attack Force, assigned to take Tarawa, and Task Group 53.3 was composed
of Fire Support Units. Proceeded
southwest and on 2 November, to the west of Fiji, commenced training and
tactical exercises. On 3 November
the SANTA FE with CruDiv13 and DesDiv49 was temporarily detached from Task Force
53, to operate under the command of ComSoPac.
Proceeded at high speed to Espiritu Santo, arriving on 4 November. Fueled and departed the next day for Tulagi, anchoring in
Purvis Bay on 6 November. The next
day departed Tulagi to rendezvous with CruDiv12 northwest of Simbo Island, where
we took over the covering of Echelon 24 proceeding to Cape Torokina.
On 8 November arrived off Bougainville.
The 3 cruisers and 4 destroyers steamed in an area about 25 miles to the
westward. At sunset an estimated 20
to 25 enemy twin engine planes commenced a series of determined attacks with
both bombs and torpedoes. The
attacks lasted about two hours, before the planes were finally driven off.
At about 0100 the morning of 9 November a second series of air attacks
commenced, lasting for over an hour. During
these attacks the BIRMINGHAM was hit by bombs and a torpedo but continued in
action. Of the many planes shot
down, the SANTA FE got three, all by automatic weapon fire. Fragments of one bomber landed on the ship when the plane
passed overhead and crashed close aboard. That
day covered the same echelon on its return trip and anchored in Purvis Bay.
On the 12th got underway and proceeded to Espiritu at high speed.
Arrived the next day , fueled, and on the 14th departed, being detached
from the command of ComSoPac. On 16
November rejoined TF 53 and proceeded north toward Tarawa for the operations for
occupation of that atoll. Approached
Tarawa during the night of 19-20 November, no opposition being encountered
during the night. During the early
morning of 20 November patrolled an area southwest of Bititu with orders to
prevent Japanese flight operations. At
0521 opened up with counter battery fire and at 0627 commenced scheduled
bombardment of Bititu Island, completing at 0855.
The landing was made this date. On
21 and 22 November engaged in the Marinos' advance, retiring to the westward at
night as close support for the transports.
For the next 3 days operated in the area to the eastward of Tarawa as a
close covering group.
On 26 November joined carrier Task Group 50.3 preparatory to air strike
on the Marshall Islands. Fueled and
on the 28th left the Tarawa area and headed northeast to a rendezvous with a
similar carrier and a fueling group. On
1 December 1943, fueled and then proceeded westward to approach Kwajalein from
At 0630 on 4 December the carriers commenced launching aircraft for the
first of several strikes centered on Kwajalein.
Those strikes were successful in catching several ships at anchor and a
large number of planes on the fields. Retirement
was started about sunset. At 1846
the first enemy raid was reported approaching.
It was followed by others which maintained the force under constant air
observation and attack. The enemy
used flares freely and approached from various bearings.
The SANTA FE opened fire twice on attacking planes which immediately
turned away. The last attacks were
repelled at about 0200, one plane being shot down over this group. No ships of TG 50.3 were hit, but the LEXINGTON in TG
50.2 received a torpedo aft which disabled her steering gear.
The two groups retired from the area in company.
On 9 December entered Pearl Harbor where the task organization was
disbanded. The ship remained
at Pearl Harbor until 28 December, during which time the SK radar was installed.
On 15 December Captain J. Wright, USN, relieved Captain Berkey as
In accordance with orders of CinCPac, on 28 December departed from Pearl
Harbor and proceeded singly toward San Diego to report to Commander Group 3 of
Fifth Amphibious Force for training exercises prior to the next operation.
On 31 December the destination was changed to San Pedro, where the SANTA
FE arrived on 1 January and discharged about 275 passengers. Completing this, proceeded to join Task Force 52 (Northern
Attack Force) and spent the next 2 days in various training exercises in the San
Clemente area. Returned to Long
Beach on 3 January. On 13 January
left Long Beach as a unit of Task Force 53, the Northern Attack Force, for the
assault on Kwajalein. Proceeded to
Lahaina Roads, holding daily training exercises enroute.
On 21 January took on fuel and ammunition and anchored at Lahaina.
The next day the Task Force sortied for the Marshall Islands.
On 29 January the SANTA FE was among a light force group detached from 53
for bombardment purposes. Proceeded
to Wotje and beginning at dawn the next day bombarded coastal batteries, the two
air strips, buildings, and air installations on Wotjo Island, in order to
neutralize that base during the assault on Kwajalein.
Fires were started in several areas and all targets assigned well
covered. Heavy return fire from
several estimated 6" batteries was accurate, straddling this ship and
hitting the destroyer ahead. The
SANTA FE completed firing at 0822. All
ships completed their run at 1340, thereupon the group rejoined Task Force 53
for the approach on Kwajalein Atoll.
On 31 January arrived off Roi Island before dawn to cover the approach
and entry of LST's into the atoll. At
0845 commenced scheduled fire on the assigned targets, with the purpose of
reducing all beach defenses on the southern and western perimeter of Roi Island
in preparation for the landing on the 1st.
Several blockhouses and batteries were knocked out.
Continued to return fire was encountered from only one battery, a well
revetted double 5" mount which was finally silenced.
This ship sustained no damage. At
1500 completed firing for the day, and retired with the transports for the
night. On 1 February again closed
Roi Island and delivered a heavy bombardment on the southern beaches.
About 1115 the Marines landed and we shifted fire to the northern half of
the island. A small amount of call
fire was delivered in the afternoon, and by nightfall occupation of the island
was assured. On 2 February anchored
in the Roi Anchorage. On 3 February
left the anchorage support for continuing operations.
This duty was completed on the 6th, when the ship was ordered to Majuro,
there to join Task Force 58, the Fast Carriers.
Arrived Majuro on 7 February and reported to CTF 58, the Fast Carriers.
Arrived Majuro on 7 February and reported to CTF 58 for duty, being
assigned to TG 58.1. Majuro now
became our base of operations, an advance of about 2000 miles westward from
On 12 February 1944 the SANTA FE sortied from Majuro for the first strike
against Truk, in which three carrier task groups participated.
Fueled on the 14th and the next day made a high speed run in to the
target. At 0645 on 16 February the
first of six strikes was launched. This
attack was apparently a surprise, and caught the enemy unprepared.
Upon reaching the fueling area to the northwest there was a regrouping of
forces, the SANTA FE going to TG58.2. Fueling
was completed on 20 February and course taken toward the Marianas.
The force was sighted by enemy patrol planes the next day, and the target
alerted. That night the enemy
attacks commenced. The Japanese
planes came in low all the way for their torpedo runs and frequently were not
detected until they were very close to the formation.
Each attack was met with heavy AA fire, and several planes were shot
down, one partly by fire from this ship. These
attacks continued throughout the night and into the 22nd.
However, strikes were launched as scheduled on that day, except that
evasive maneuvers forced launching from a point further eastward than planned.
Japanese Betty's continued to attack.
The SANTA FE got one headed directly for the ship.
Others were shot down by the CAP and AA fire.
A dive bombing attack by Vals was broken up with no damage to the ships.
By noon the attacks on this group ceased and the remainder of the day
consisted of routine air operations The last strike was recovered about 1700 and
retirement to the east begun. On 26 February ship arrived at Majuro and anchored
in the lagoon.
Prior to entering Majuro the SANTA FE completed 100,000 engine miles
since commissioning, this in just under a. year since leaving the commissioning
yard for active service.
On 7 March the SANTA FE got underway as part of TG 58.l, bound for
Espiritu Santo. Training exercises
of all types were held daily while enroute. Upon anchoring on the 12th, the task
group came under the command of ComSoPac and its designation was changed to TG
Sortied from Espiritu Santo on 15 March, and proceeded north, passing to
the eastward of the Solomons. On the 17th received orders to act as the covering
force for the seizure and occupation of Emirau Island. The landing was made
against no opposition on 20 March and no action was incurred by this force.
The task group then covered the first echelon during retirement and the
second echelon during approach. On
26 March we were released from ComSoPac, and redesignated TG 58.1, to operate
with Task Force 58. Fueled and on
27 March joined TG 58.2 and 58.3 for the next operation.
The western Carolines were the next operation, Palau being the first
target. Contact was first made with
enemy search planes on 29 March, south of Palau.
The first attack against our force was made about sunset, when Japanese
torpedo planes were sighted low on the water.
This attack, as well as others that followed, was beaten off by AA fire
which seemed continuous until 2200. By,
2230 the attack was over and all enemy planes clear.
No ships were damaged, while several enemy planes were destroyed.
On 30 March 1944 carriers of 3 task groups launched the first strikes
against the Palau Islands. These strikes were heavy and inflicted a great deal of damage
on the enemy. Upon final recovery
that evening, TG 58.1 was detached to proceed to Yap for further strikes. That
evening there was again a heavy air attack by the enemy, commencing at 2049 and
lasting until 2300. The SANTA FE joined with the other ships in putting up heavy
AA fire at the numerous targets. All
enemy attacks were turned away without damage to any ships, although no enemy
aircraft were definitely destroyed.
On 31 March the carriers launched air strikes on Yap.
There was no attack on our formation during this strike, although the
Task Group was scouted. Upon
completion of the Yap strikes, the group moved eastward and on 1 April launched
air strikes against Woleai. Again
there was no enemy opposition. The
last strikes were recovered by 1400 and the Task Force retired to the southeast.
Passed to the south of the Carolines and returned to Majuro on 6 April.
On 13 April 1945 the SANTA FE sortied from Majuro with TF 58 as part of
TG 58.1. We headed southwest,
proceeding to New Guinea, to support the invasion of Hollandia by land forces of
SoWesPac by providing air strikes, air coverage and shore bombardment.
The approach was unimpeded and on 21 April the carriers launched air
strikes to cover Wadke and Samar. Other
task groups covered the Hollandia area. During
the afternoon the aircraft of this ship rescued three survivors from a crashed
TBF at Wadke, 90 miles to the westward. That
night CruDiv13 was temporarily detached from TG 58.1 and proceeded to Wadke.
There the ships bombarded the air installations on Wadke and at Samar to
prevent their use as staging points by the enemy in repelling the invasion of
Hollandia. The bombardment by the SANTA FE lasted from 0109 to 0210, all
control being by radar. Results of
the bombardment were unobserved but coverage of the assigned area appeared to be
thorough. Upon completion of the
bombardment returned eastward and resumed normal stations in TG 58.1, then
engaged in the second day of air support. On
23 April the ships fueled and then returned to the Hollandia area.
A heavy attack was expected on the night of 24 April, and enemy planes
approached, but there was no attack and the raids retired.
On 26 April duties at Hollandia were completed, and the SANTA FE moved
eastward to the vicinity of Seeadler Harbor for the replenishment of fuel and
On the evening of the 28th, Task Force 58 departed from the Seeadler area
and took a northerly course headed for Truk.
On the second 29 April (date repeated) the second Truk strike was
launched. Enemy air was kept
occupied at the target and none approached this Task Group.
On 30 April the Truk strikes were repeated and others launched against
Satawan. Although there were several alerts on this day, again no
planes attacked in the vicinity of this ship, the few attacks being directed at
other Task Groups. Upon completion
of this day's work proceeded eastward, and on 1 may the carriers launched air
strikes against Ponape, while the battleships carried out a surface bombardment.
There was no enemy opposition, and upon completion of the bombardment the
Task Force proceeded east toward the base, this ship anchoring with TG 58.1 in
Kwajalein on 4 May.
The SANTA FE remained at Kwajalein until 13 May, on which date she
got underway and proceeded to Majuro for the remainder of the month.
AA practice was held frequently and on 28 and 29 May CruDiv13 was at sea
for 2 days of target practice of all types.
The next operation for the SANTA FE commenced on 6 June, when the ship
sortied from Majuro as a part of Task Force 58, now composed of 4 carrier task
groups. The first two days were
spent in training exercises with TG 58.7, a surface striking force, after which
the ship joined carrier TG 58.2, to which she was regularly assigned.
Proceeded westward and on the afternoon of 11 June, the first strike was
sent off with the task of destroying enemy aircraft in the Marianas.
Daily thereafter sustained strikes were launched against Saipan, Tinian,
and Guam, preparing the way for the landing.
Passed to the westward of Saipan on the 13th to operate in that area.
During the day the ship passed through an area where an enemy ship had
been sunk the previous day. About
100 survivors were rescued by destroyers. The
daily strikes continued, becoming air support on the 15th, when the landing was
.made on Saipan. That evening enemy
planes made an attack on TF 58, the main effort being directed against adjacent
task groups. This ship joined in
the fire directed at the one plane which approached our own group.
Beginning on the 16th it became apparent that a large Japanese surface
force was approaching the area from the Philippines.
In addition to the daily strikes, searches to the westward were also
flown by the carriers. Task Force
58 was reorganized for the impending battle, but the SANTA FE remained with the
carriers. On 19 June contact was
established between the two forces and the Japanese launched an all out attack
on our carrier force. From 1000 on
enemy planes were in the area. The
main attacks were broken up by fighters, only a few planes getting through to
the ships. Dive bombers attacked
this group twice, but did only minor damage.
Several were shot down by AA fire, some of it from this ship.
On 20 June steamed westward in search of the enemy force.
Contact, lost the day before, was regained in the afternoon.
By 1623 a deckload strike from all carriers was airborne.
The planes reached the enemy about 1730 and conducted their attack.
Due to the distance to the target the planes did not return until well
after sunset, necessitating a night recovery.
There was no moon. The
pilots were inexperienced in night landings and operational casualties in planes
were heavy. Many landed in the
water. All destroyers conducted
rescue operations and the great majority of personnel were saved. Searchlights and starshells were used freely to guide the
planes back. Finally at about 2230
when no more planes were airborne, the task groups reversed course to the west
in pursuit of the enemy. Contact
was not reestablished, however, and low fuel forced the ships to turn eastward
on 21 June.
Air support at Saipan was taken over by the CVE's and, after fueling, TG
58.2 headed for Eniwetok for replenishment.
There were no further attacks on this group by the enemy.
On 24 June the carriers launched a small strike on Pagan, hitting the
airfield there. Upon recovery,
proceeded to Eniwetok, anchoring there on 27 June.
Replenishment of fuel, supplies and ammunition was immediately
On 30 June the ship departed Eniwetok as a unit of TG 58.1 for operation
in the Marianas. Iwo Jima, an enemy
air base, was the first point of attack, an air and surface bombardment being
scheduled for 4 July. About 1200 on 3 July an enemy search plane was shot down by
the CAP and it was believed the force was sighted.
In order to prevent night air attacks that evening a fighter sweep was
launched in the afternoon as the ships closed.
On 4 July the carriers launched air strikes commencing at 0440.
The objective of TG 58.1 was Chichi Jima and of TG 58.23 Iwo Jima, where
at 1455 the ship opened fire on the island.
The object of the bombardment was to destroy Japanese air installations.
Passing east and then south of the island firing was continued until
1557, using direct fire at ranges between 9 and 16 thousand yards. From the number and size of the fires burning on the island
upon completion of the bombardment it was considered the installations and dumps
were about seventy five percent destroyed, about half the planes destroyed, and
the majority of the remainder made inoperational. During the bombardment 3 Zekes attacked our spotting plane,
which succeeded in shooting down one Zeke before it was forced to land.
The personnel were rescued by a destroyer.
Our other plane meanwhile rescued a fighter pilot forced down off Haha
Jima. Upon completion of the bombardment rejoined the carriers and
On 5 July one carrier launched a small strike on Pagan, which we passed
south of enroute to the fueling rendezvous.
Commencing 6 July the carriers launched sustained air strikes,
alternating daily between Guam and Rota, beginning with the former, operating in
an area about 100 miles to the eastward of Guam.
Enemy planes approached the formation during the nights of 7 and 11 July,
but were shot down by night fighters. On
14 July the operation area was moved to the westward of Guam.
The strikes continued until 21 July, the day of the landing on Guam.
Support missions were flown that day, and in the evening TG 58.1 was
released to proceed to Saipan for bomb replenishment.
While the carriers went into Saipan the other ships cruised off the
island. On 22 July the carriers
rejoined and TG 58.1 proceeded around the island to fuel east of Guam.
Carrier Task Groups 58.1, 58.2, and 58.3 then headed south for air
strikes against Yap, Woleai, Ulithi, and Palau.
Yap was the target of TG 58.1. On
25 July a few planes approached both in the morning and afternoon but were
either shot down or turned back by the CAP.
Beginning the afternoon of the 25th, daily strikes were launched against
Yap and Ulithi. There was no
further attack by enemy forces. On
28 July operations were completed and that evening took departure for the
Marianas, arriving off Saipan on 1 August.
There the carriers attempted to rebomb, but without success because of
the heavy seas running. This ship
anchored briefly at Saipan for 5 hours on 2 August, and got underway with the
Task Group at 1300.
After fueling on 2 August took a northerly course enroute to the Bonin
Islands for air strikes and bombardment, with the first sweep scheduled for 0900
on 4 August. At 0800 that date
search planes reported a Japanese convoy leaving Chichi Jima.
CTG 58.1 was ordered to locate this convoy and make it a primary target. Planes were launched at 0930, and at 1130 they reported
attacking the convoy. At 1241
CruDiv13 and DesDiv91 were detached from the Task Group, to attack the convoy.
Proceeded at 30 knots to pass between Ototo and Yome Jima.
At 1740 a small craft about the size of an LST was sighted and a few
minutes later sunk by destroyer gunfire. DesDiv91
formed an attack group ahead of the cruisers and at 1845 came upon and sank a
small oiler. At 1852 two weak radar
targets were picked up to the southward. These
were tracked for about 10 minutes but faded from the screen. Soon thereafter two ships were picked up to the northwest.
At 1924 one was sighted and identified as a destroyer.
At 1930 the SANTA FE and the cruisers commenced firing on this ship.
Return fire was light but fairly accurate. Ceased fire at 1946 when the range opened, and resumed fire
at 2020. At 20450 the cruisers
ceased fire. DesDiv100 was ordered
to finish off the target, but it sank at 2056 without further action.
It was later identified from prisoners to be the Matsu.
The cruisers then headed northwest to close another target.
Enroute the SANTA FE fired on and left burning a large landing barge.
At 2145 the other cruisers commenced fire on a large AK and by 2210 sank
it. The ships then commenced a sweep to the north and east in
search of any remaining shipping, none of which was found.
At 0330 turned to the southward to head for Chichi Jima.
Shortly thereafter enemy planes were detected approaching.
These planes made several uncoordinated attacks and were driven off by
gunfire of this and other ships. During these attacks fired on and damaged a
large sampan which was passed close aboard.
By 0800 the air attacks ceased and the ships formed into a bombardment
disposition. At 1013 commenced
firing on shipping in the harbor of Futamiko at Chichi Jima. Three runs were made. Return
fire from a heavy battery was accurate, but was finally silenced with no damage
to the ships. The bombardment was
completed at 1119 and the force proceeded to rejoin the task group to the
southeast of Chichi Jima. Results
of the bombardment could not be accurately determined due to the poor visibility
prevailing, but several ships were sunk, the seaplane base damaged and fires
The evening of 5 August the SANTA FE with CruDiv13 was detached from the
carrier group. Proceeded south and
on 7 August joined TG 58.7 composed of surface ships only.
Training exercises of all types were held for the next three days, and on
11 August the ship anchored at Eniwetok. This
completed a cruise of 42 days, during which time the ship steamed 17,656 miles,
an average of 420 miles daily.
While at Eniwetok the Carrier Task Force was reorganized, and Admiral
Halsey assumed command. As such the ships were assigned to the Third Fleet.
The SANTA FE was in TG 38.3.
On 30 August sortied from Eniwetok as part of the Surface Striking Force
for training purposes. Various exercises were held and on 3 September all ships
rejoined the carrier groups. proceeded
to an area south of Palau, where from 6 to 8 September the carriers launched
strikes on Palau, Pelelieu Island being the principal target. On the evening of the 8th proceeded toward Mindanao for air
strikes there, as part of neutralization of Japanese air power during the Palau
At 0500 on 9 September carriers commenced launching planes to attack
Mindanao. The second strike when
returning spotted a convoy of many small enemy ships off the east coast of
Mindanao. The SANTA FE, BIRMINGHAM
and DesDiv110 were detached to attack the convoy.
The ships left the carriers and about 1130 the convoy was sighted north
of Sanco Point. Planes had attacked
the ships and five could be seen burning as we approached.
The convoy was seen to be scattered along the coast from Sanco Point to
the vicinity of Mahaba Island. Many
were attempting to take cover behind the islands along the coast.
It was estimated that there were about 22 undamaged craft of the SD or SC
type in the vicinity. Commenced
firing at 1152. The group steamed
back and forth across the mouth of Bislig Bay, taking the ships under fire as
directed by ComCruDiv13, and as opportunity offered. It was estimated that gunfire from this ship was directed at
about 15 different craft, singly or in groups, most of which were fired upon by
other ships before or after this ship fired upon them.
Of those targets, 4 were sunk, 3 left burning and several badly damaged
by this ship's gunfire. At 1345 all
targets in sight were burning, sinking, or in a wrecked condition, and cease
fire was given. Departed from
Bislig Bay and rejoined TG 38.3 that evening.
On 10 September the air strikes on Mindanao were continued and the
following day the task group headed eastward to fuel.
Upon completion of fueling on 11 September the ship headed west again and
on 12, 13, and 14 September the carriers launched air strikes against the
Visayan area. On the 13th the
disposition was attacked by a single enemy plane who missed the LANGLEY with his
bomb and escaped to the south under fire from this and other ships.
On the 14th the two seaplanes of this ship rescued two downed aviators
from the Camotes Islands and returned them aboard.
That evening departed from the area and proceeded east to the fueling
From 16 to 18 September operated to the westward of Palau in readiness to
provide air support for the landing operations on Peleliu.
No support was required and on the 19th departed for another air strike
on the Philippines. On 21 September
the carriers of the task group launched the first air strike against Manila. This strike proved to be very profitable and was continued on
22 September. On this date single
enemy planes twice closed the formation but were driven off by gunfire, partly
from this ship. About noon that
date turned southeasterly toward the fueling area.
After fueling returned to the Philippines and on 24 September the
carriers launched continuous air strikes on the Central Philippines from an area
off San Bernardino Strait. That
evening we again retired eastward and on 27 September anchored in Kossol
Because of the insecurity of the anchorage and the possibility of night
air or surface attack from the Japanese forces on Babelthuap Island, 5 miles
distant, the ship got underway nightly while at Kossol, returning at daylight.
On 1 October proceeded to Ulithi, arriving the next afternoon. For the next six months, Ulithi was to be the base for this
On 6 October 1944 the SANTA FE sortied from Ulithi with carrier TG 38.3,
for air strikes in preparation for landings in the Philippines.
Proceeded northwest and on 10 October arrived south of Okinawa, where the
carriers launched heavy strikes throughout the day.
At nightfall retired to the south, fueled, and headed toward Formosa.
During the approach on 12 October enemy planes were around the formation
but did not attack. Strikes were launched on Formosa and the Pescadores during
the day, and at 1815 commenced retiring for the night.
At 1835 enemy planes were reported approaching.
From then until 0330 the Task Force was under almost constant attack by
enemy torpedo planes. The brunt of the attacks was borne by adjacent task groups,
little firing being done by ships of TG 38.3.
The attacks appeared coordinated and were made from various directions
with the aid of flares. Emergency
maneuvers and stack smoke were used to avoid the attacks.
On 13 October the air strikes on Formosa were repeated, uninterrupted
during the day by enemy attacks. The
last strike was recovered at sunset as enemy planes again closed for a night
attack. No damage was done to TG
38.3, the attacks being turned away by gunfire.
At 1830? the Canberra, in TG 38.1 to the south, reported being hit by a
torpedo and requiring a tow. CruDiv13
was ordered to assist, and ComCruDiv13 to take charge of salvage operations.
As ordered, the ship left TG 38.3 and closed CANBERRA, circling her while
the WICHITA took her in tow and headed eastward at about 3 knots.
The carrier remained in the area for protection until the evening of the
14th, when CABOT was assigned to the group, TG 30.3.
Enemy planes approached during the day but were driven off by CAP. At 1627 heavy air attacks began developing.
No attack got through to the ship until about 1839, when the SANTA FE
fired on a Betty, turning it away. Other
planes continued to close for attacks, and at 1917 the SANTA FE shot down one
plane in flames. Made stack smoke
and steamed at high speed around the tow. The
attacks lasted until about 2340, after which the group was undisturbed for the
remainder of the night. On 15
October MUNSEE took WICHITA in tow while the torpedoed HOUSTON in tow of BOSTON
joined the group. During the day
several heavy air attacks were intercepted and driven off by CABOT fighters and
the ships were not attacked. This
ship fueled destroyers during the day. On
16 October the PAWNEE relieved BOSTON in towing the HOUSTON.
For the next few days operated about 300 miles east of Luzon as
supporting force for the landings on Leyte Island.
On 20 October closed the Philippines and the carriers launched two
strikes over the Visayan area, returning eastward that night.
On 23 October received reports of the Japanese fleet approaching the
Philippines. Task Force 38 was ordered west to strike the enemy, TG 38.3
proceeding to a position east of the Polillo Islands. At 0610 on 24 October the carriers commenced launching planes
for patrols, a VF sweep over Manila, and a search to the southwest.
At 0750 a large enemy raid was reported closing from the west.
This was intercepted and broken, as were subsequent raids. However, a few planes got through and attacked the formation.
One, damaged by this ship's fire, missed the HEALY with a bomb and
crashed ahead on the horizon. Others
were driven off by AA fire. At 0938
one hit the PRINCETON with a bomb, starting large fires which forced the
PRINCETON to drop out of formation. Meanwhile
the search planes reported contact with the main enemy surface force in the
Sibuyan Sea and strikes were immediately launched to hit it.
Enemy planes continued to attack this task group.
At 1015 a plane damaged by our fire was shot down by a VF.
At 1230 large raids began closing from the northeast.
Again some planes got through the CAP and at 1350 the ship was firing on
four planes simultaneously. Other
planes dived on the formation twice in the next hour, but in each case their
bombs missed. At 1637 search planes
to the north reported contact with a new enemy force containing carriers located
190 miles north of us. The
PRINCETON was ordered sunk and TG38.3 headed southeast to join the other task
groups, then to go north to attack the enemy carrier force.
That night the SANTA FE joined the heavy surface striking force and on 25
October steamed northward after the enemy force.
This chase was given up at 1120 and the ship was detached to rejoin TG
38.3. Before rejoining, this ship
received orders to join a cruiser-destroyer striking group consisting of the
SANTA FE, MOBILE, WICHITA, NEW ORLEANS and 12 destroyers, to operate
independently to sink enemy ships crippled by the carrier planes, who continued
to strike the retiring northern enemy force.
At 1415 took a northerly course heading for damaged ships reported ahead
of us. At 1605 the first target,
CVL, was picked up. This carrier
(later identified as the CHIYODA) was dead in the water but apparently in fair
condition. The SANTA FE opened fire
at 1631 at a range of 14,500 yards. The carrier returned the fire with medium caliber weapons, but
could not reach us. At 1639 all
cruisers ceased fire, with the carrier burning badly and listing to port.
It rolled over and sank at 1655. The
group proceeded north and at sunset made contact with 3 more ships.
Fire was opened at 1852. Two
of the ships escaped to the north, but the third remained and returned the fire.
The action with this target continued until 2056 when she sank under the
concentrated fire of the SANTA FE and other 3 cruisers.
The target was believed to be a light cruiser but was never positively
identified. Other enemy ships were
reported to the northward but the fuel situation would not allow a long stern
chase, so at 2150 headed south to rejoin the carriers at the fueling rendezvous,
which we reached about 0900 on 26 October.
On 27 October closed the Philippines again and the carriers launched
minor strikes against crippled enemy units in the Visayan area.
That night, with the threat of enemy surface attack being over, TG 38.3
was ordered back to Ulithi, which we reached on 30 October.
On 1 November Rear Admiral M.L. Deyo, USN, relieved Rear Admiral DuBose
as ComCruDiv13 and Captain H.C. Fitz, USN, relieved Captain J. Wright as
On 1 November the ship got underway as part of TG 38.3, to proceed to
Manus. That evening received orders
to proceed westward in order to meet heavy enemy surface forces reported
approaching Leyte. On 3 November
the Task Group was attacked by a submarine, the RENO being torpedoed and forced
to return to Ulithi. The report
concerning enemy surface forces proved false, and air strikes on Luzon were
ordered instead, in order to reduce Japanese air, which had been heavily
attacking our forces at Leyte. On 5 November carriers launched strikes to hit the Manila
area. About 1330 while conducting
air operations, the formation was attacked by several planes which evaded the
CAP. One crashed on the LEXINGTON
and another near the TICONDEROGA, while a third was shot down. This was the SANTA FE's first experience with Japanese
suicide plane tactics. Two other
raids later on that afternoon were beaten off by fighters.
On 6 November the air strikes on the Manila area were repeated, after
which the force retired to the eastward to fuel.
On 10 November the force again headed westward, to counter Japanese
forces reported approaching the Philippines.
This attack did not materialize and the carriers were ordered to strike
enemy shipping in the Visayan area. Searches
were launched on 11 November and a convoy with reinforcements for Leyte was
located in the Camotes Sea. On one
strike from the three carrier task groups the enemy force was annihilated, after
which we again retired eastward. There
was no enemy attack on the force.
After fueling on the 12th the task group again closed Luzon and on 13 and
14 November sustained strikes were launched on the Manila area.
A few enemy planes approached the force during these two days, but only
on e plane came in close enough o cause AA fire, the CAP taking care of the
others. Japanese air power had been
severely beaten down by repeated carrier strikes and apparently was directing
its remaining efforts against our forces on Leyte.
Upon completion of this strike we returned to Ulithi, reaching there on
While at anchor on 20 November 1944, the ships at Ulithi were attacked by
a group of Japanese midget submarines, one of which succeeded in hitting the
tanker MISSISSINEWA. An OS2U plane of this ship, flying patrol at the time, landed
near the blazing and sinking tanker and hauled several survivors clear of the
ship before rescue boats arrived on the scene.
At least on e submarine penetrated the anchorage and was destroyed about
a mile from this ship, while others were sunk outside.
On 22 November again sortied from Ulithi as a part of TG 38.3, for air
strikes on the Philippines. Approached
Luzon and on 25 November the carriers launched planes to hit enemy shipping on
the west coast of Luzon. This time
Japanese planes attacked and at 1254 one plane dove through fire from this and
other ships and crashed on the ESSEX. Two minutes later the SANTA FE shot down a
second plane as it started a dive, bringing the ship's kills up to seven. Heavier and repeated attacks were made on adjacent task groups
resulting in two ships being damaged by suicide dives.
That evening retired eastward to fuel prior to further operations.
The force then operated in the area to the eastward of the Philippines in
a supporting position until 2 December, on which date we returned to Ulithi.
The SANTA FE's next operation commenced on 10 December, when the ship
sortied from Ulithi with TG 38.3 for further air strikes on the Philippines.
Held various training exercises enroute and on the days of 14, 15 and 16
December the carriers launched attacks covering the entire Luzon area.
The airfields there were covered day and night by our planes, with the
result that the Japanese air forces were successfully held down while SoWesPac
troops landed on Mindoro. Only a
few enemy planes approached the Task Force and none attacked the ships.
The toll of enemy planes and shipping was high, well repaying the efforts
On the evening of 16 December retired to the fueling area to the
eastward. The next day fueling
operations were commenced, but had to be broken off when a storm suddenly began
to form up just to the eastward. Steamed west during the night to avoid the bad weather, but
were unsuccessful when the storm turned into a full-fledged typhoon heading
directly for us. The seas became
exceedingly heavy and the wind increased to 55 knots.
Several ships were in difficulty and the Task Force became well
separated. various courses were
attempted to find the easiest riding one, particularly for the carriers, but all
ships still rolled excessively. The
highest roll recorded by the SANTA FE was a 50( to starboard.
The storm center passes about 35 miles north of this ship about 1400 and
thereafter the weather became increasingly better.
This ship suffered only minor damage, but three destroyers were lost by
capsizing, while 3 CVL's, 6 DD's and several DE's were ordered back to Ulithi on
account of storm damage. All ships
fueled on 19 December, after which the entire efforts of the Task Force were
directed toward the search and recovery of survivors from the sunken destroyers. Air approach on Luzon was started on the night of 20
December, but the weather to the westward proved too bad for carrier operations
and the strike was cancelled. Another
sweep was made for destroyer survivors and on 24 December we arrived at Ulithi.
The SANTA FE remained a part of TG 38.3, which on 30 December again left
Ulithi with the carrier Task Force for operations in conjunction with the
landings at Lingayan Gulf. Proceeded
northwest and on 3 and 4 January 1945 air strikes were launched against Formosa
and the southern Nansei Shoto. The
weather was poor, both at the target and at the Task Force, and only limited
results were achieved. About noon
on the 4th, further operations were cancelled and we proceeded south toward
Luzon, where air strikes were launched on 6 January.
Another strike on Formosa was scheduled for 7 January, but the heavy seas
running prevented the ships from making the speed required to ready the
launching area in time, so on the 7th the strike on Luzon was repeated, in spite
of very poor weather. On 8 January
all ships again fueled, after which we headed north and on 9 January launched
air strikes against Formosa. The
principal task was still the destruction of enemy aircraft and air installations
as a means of reducing enemy air opposition to our operations at Lingayen, where
the landing was made this date. During all this series of strikes there were no enemy air
attacks on the carrier force.
During the night of 9-10 January passed through Bashi Channel and
proceeded southwest through the South China Sea.
Three passing enemy planes were shot down on the 10th , and on 12 January
the carriers launched strikes against enemy shipping in the south Indo-China
area. The attack was a surprise,
much shipping being found in the area, although major enemy fleet units were
absent. In one day's operation the
planes sank 127,000 and damaged 70,000 tons of merchant and minor naval shipping
in spite of unfavorable weather. Moving
to the northwest, the force fueled on 13 and 14 January, two days being required
on account of heavy winds and seas. On
15 January strikes were launched through holes in the weather, and shipping at
Takao, Amoy and Swatow attacked after which we moved to the westward, where on
16 January in spite of still unfavorable weather, strikes went out to attack
Hong Kong and Hainan the 19th when good weather was found in the lee of Luzon. On 20 January the force headed back north to leave the South
China Sea. That afternoon while
approaching Balintang Channel, enemy aircraft apparently enroute from Formosa to
Luzon were attacked by our fighters with good results.
About sunset enemy planes made several light attacks on the Task Force,
but inflicted no damage. The SANTA FE fired at only 1 plane with undetermined results.
on 21 January the carriers launched strikes on Formosa, from a position
southeast of the island. About
1145, without warning or previous contact , two enemy planes dove on the
formation. One, fired on by this ship, hit the LANGLEY with a small
bomb, while the other crashed on the TICONDEROGA.
About 1245 two new raids were detected approaching.
The fighters turned back one raid, but the other came in, resulting in
another plane crashing the TICONDEROGA. Normal
flight operations by the other carriers were resumed shortly thereafter.
Other enemy raids approached later but none attacked TG 389.3.
After evening recovery proceeded southeast and then north, and on 22
January the carriers launched strikes against Okinawa.
There was no enemy attack on this date.
This was the final air strike of the operation and the SANTA FE with the
Task Force returned to Ulithi, arriving there on 26 January, having steamed
11,983 miles during the 27 days operation.
On 17 January the SANTA FE completed steaming 200,000 engine miles since
commissioning, the last 100,000 since 26 February 1944.
Upon arrival, the carrier Task Force reverted to the Fifth Fleet,
commanded by Admiral Spruance, its designation being changed back to Task Force
The carrier Task Force was reorganized and the SANTA FE assigned to TG
58.4. On 10 February 1945 left
Ulithi for air strikes against Japan, the first to be carried out by a carrier
task force. Passed south of Guam
and then proceeded north toward Tokyo. On
16 February the carriers commenced launching strikes on Tokyo, from a position
about 150 miles southeast of that city. Despite
our being close to the home area of Japan, no attack was made on the Task Force,
and the strikes were continued the next day until noon, when unfavorable weather
caused the cancellation of further strikes.
That evening the ships proceeded south with our destroyers ahead sinking
several enemy picket boats as we passed through their line.
On the evening of 18 February the SANTA FE was detached to proceed to Iwo
Jima for fire support work.
Arriving at Iwo Jima early on 19 February, the day of the landing, the
SANTA FE commenced bombarding at 0645, in scheduled neutralization fire.
Moved into a position about 2500 yards south of the beach and continued
firing through the landing until 1000, after which all fire was as requested by
the Marines ashore. The ship
maintained 1 plane in the air for spotting purposes during the day.
About 1353 shifted position to the westward of the island, to work on
enemy positions on Mt. Suribachi. (When the Santa Fe reached this position on
the back side of the island, 16" projectiles from the battleships began
ricocheting off Mt. Suribachi and falling into the water near the Santa Fe.
Fred Anderson says he could hear them falling into the water - loud
splashes ["whop! whop!"]. He
says the Santa Fe reported the situation and was ordered to return to the ship's
About sunset shifted to a position southeast of the island and throughout
the night continued firing at area assigned, lying to and getting underway
infrequently in order to remain in the assigned fire support sector. On 20
February executed various missions such as preparation fire for the morning
assault, neutralization of Japanese mortar positions, firing on enemy artillery
emplacements, and illuminating ahead of the front lines to prevent a surprise
night counter attack. On that day our spotting plane was hit and the observer
fatally wounded. Strings of small
caliber projectiles dropped around the ship several times, but no one was hit.
That evening the ship received new target assignments and remained lying
to off the island, again firing throughout the night.
Much of our fire was directed at enemy rocket launching areas, from which
the enemy was pouring heavy fire onto our beaches.
Firing was continued until 1045 on 21 February, when the ship was ordered
out to replenish ammunition, being relieved by the NORTH CAROLINA.
During the period of two and a half days the ship remained at General
Quarters, and fired 989 rounds 6" and 3027 rounds 5" projectiles.
After ceasing fire the ship steamed to eastward and southward of Iwo Jima
in a clear area, waiting to form up with the night retirement group.
There was a small air raid at 1735 but both planes were shot down by AA
fire of the ships. On the night of
21 February retired with the battleships for the night, returning to the
transport area on 22 February. The
ship spent the latter day attempting to replenish ammunition but was largely
unsuccessful because of the sea conditions.
That night the ship was released from fire support duties with Task Force
51 and headed east to rejoin the carriers.
Upon rejoining TG 58.4 the SANTA FE fueled, and then proceeded with Task
Force 58 northward for a second Tokyo raid, which was carried out on 25
February. The weather was bad and
the strikes were discontinued at 1212, after which the Task Force proceeded
south with the intention of coming up and hitting Nagoya on 26 February.
Again the destroyers sank several enemy picket boats during the
retirement. The weather continued to get worse during the night, and at
0530 on the 26th all scheduled operations were cancelled and the Task Force
headed south. On 27 February TG
58.4 was detached, and proceeded to Ulithi where the ship anchored on 1 March
While at Ulithi Task Force 58 was reorganized and the SANTA FE was
assigned to Task Group 58.2. On 9
March ComCruDiv13 shifted his flag to the BIRMINGHAM, for duty in Task Force 54.
On 11 March two suicide planes attacked the fleet at anchor, one hitting
a carrier inflicting moderated damage, and one crashing on an island doing no
On 14 March the SANTA FE sortied from Ulithi as part of TG 58.2, enroute
to air strikes on the Empire. That
day and the next were spent in AA training exercises, and on 16 march all ships
fueled. upon completion Task Force 58 started the approach on Kyushu.
Snoopers were detected on the night of 17 March but no attacks were made
on the ships of TG 58.2, although AA fire was observed from an adjacent Task
Group. On the morning of 18 March,
from a position about 125 miles southeast of Kyushu, the carriers launched
strikes on that island. Enemy planes were in the vicinity, and made minor attacks on
other Task Groups, but none approached this ship closer than 8 miles.
The strikes were continued until 1816, after which we retired to the
southeast. About midnight course
was changed to north and an approach begun on Shikoku.
Attacks on 19 march were scheduled to be made on that island and vital
parts of the inland sea. Enemy
planes remained in the vicinity, as attested by frequent AA bursts from various
On 19 March the carriers commenced launching the first strikes about
0700. Enemy planes were in the
vicinity. At 0708 a single engine
plane dove on the FRANKLIN, about 4500 yards on our port bow, and hit her with
two bombs. FRANKLIN had launched
only a few planes and both flight and hangar decks were filled with gassed and
armed planes. There were immediate
large explosions and fires, with clouds of black smoke obscuring the ship.
The SANTA FE fired at the attacking plane, which was later shot down by
the CAP. As the FRANKLIN turned out
of formation, the SANTA FE followed in order to cover and assist as possible.
Shortly thereafter CTU 58.2 ordered this ship to take charge of
operations about the FRANKLIN, assisted by five destroyers and later the
PITTSBURGH. Many FRANKLIN men,
trapped in after spaces, were jumping overboard; others were blown overboard and
the track of the carrier was marked by a trail of men in the water.
The MILLER was first alongside the FRANKLIN to take off the Admiral and
Staff for transfer to another ship. While
waiting, this ship rescued several men from the water.
As soon as the MILLER cleared, the SANTA FE maneuvered alongside the
FRANKLIN, then making 8 knots, and started taking off wounded men by travellers
and fighting fires raging in the after part of the ship.
At 1242 a bogie was detected closing and at 1259 a Judy dove out of the
sun and dropped a bomb close aboard the FRANKLIN.
Although fired upon by all ships he escaped to the south.
At 1307 the PITTSBURGH reported going ahead slowly , and by 1509 was
making 5 knots to the southward. Small
fires at the stern of the FRANKLIN broke out occasionally, and a destroyer was
kept close aboard her to fight fires that could not be reached by the FRANKLIN.
Although the FRANKLIN yawed considerably at times, progress was steadily
made to the south. That evening CruDiv16 and 6 destroyers joined as additional
escorts, the group being designated Task Unit 58.2.9. Task Force 58 covered us to the northward.
During the night of 19-20 March the FRANKLIN gradually got the damage
under control and began to work up her own power.
By noon the next day she reported ready to proceed and at 1218 the
PITTSBURGH cast off the tow. The FRANKLIN thereafter steamed under her own power.
Enemy planes again approached and despite interception by the CAP, one
made an attack on the FRANKLIN, dropping its bomb on her port quarter.
Although fired on by all ships, the plane escaped.
This was the last attack on the FRANKLIN.
Orders were received to proceed to Guam, but on the morning of 21 March
were changed, and we headed for the fuel rendezvous of Task Force 58.
On 22 March Task Unit 58.2.9 rejoined Task Force 58, and was dissolved.
During fueling, Task Force 58 was reorganized and a new group consisting
of the FRANKLIN and 2 other damaged carriers, the SANTA FE, and DesRon52 was
formed and designated Task Group 58.2. We
left the force about noon and headed southeast for Ulithi, which was reached
without incident about noon of 24 March.
At Ulithi over 550 of the FRANKLIN personnel were transferred to various
activities, and orders were received to proceed to the States for Navy Yard
overhaul. Preparations were
completed by 27 march and that evening FRANKLIN and SANTA FE departed Ulithi for
Pearl Harbor. Passed close aboard
Eniwetok on 30 march and on 3 April 1945 entered Pearl Harbor, this being the
first contact with civilization since 12 January 1944.
The remainder of the FRANKLIN personnel were transferred and on 4 April
1945 the SANTA FE departed Pearl Harbor, steaming singly, arriving Naval
Drydocks, Terminal Island, California, for overhaul on 10 April 1945.
The ship had steamed 221,750 engine miles since commissioning with no
regular yard overhaul during that time.
Original availability was scheduled for 47 days, but due to the large
amount of work to be done the period was extended to 0000, 14 July.
All personnel were granted 30 days leave with 7 days travel time.
The ship was completely regunned, the boilers and machinery given a major
overhaul, new radar, RCM, and fire control equipment installed, the bow
strengthened, 4 40MM mounts added, and the OS2U planes replaced by SC-1.
During this period, ComCruDiv13 returned aboard.
On 14 July the availability ended and the ship commenced a 10 day shake
down and training period, operating off San Clemente.
Drills of all types were held and surface and bombardment practices
fired. Final inspection and damage
control problem was on 23 July, after which the ship returned to San Pedro for
topping off of ammunition, stores, and fuel, and last minute repairs.
On 26 July departed San Pedro and on 1 August entered Pearl Harbor.
Training exercises, including AA and bombardment practices, were held
south of Oahu from 3 to 6 August, after which we returned to Pearl Harbor.
On 12 August the SANTA FE sortied from Pearl Harbor as a unit of Task
Group 12.3, enroute Wake Island for an air strike and bombardment, with the
final destination of Leyte. On 14 August the Japanese accepted the Potsdam surrender
terms and orders were received to cancel all offensive operations.
The Wake operation was cancelled and the SANTA FE ordered to Eniwetok,
which was reached on 19 August. The
next day the ship departed for Okinawa, as a part of Task Unit 96.6.2.
On 23 August passed close aboard Tinian and on 26th anchored in Buckner
Bay, becoming a part of Task Group 95.2.
Except for training exercises on 29 and 31 August the SANTA FE remained
at anchor in Buckner Bay, and was there when the surrender pact was signed at
Tokyo on 2 September 1945.