One of many ships requiring emergency repairs by my dad's ship, Vestal, at Espiritu Santo on this date in 1942, was the USS Zeilin, a Harris-class attack transport vessel. Zeilin was designed to transport troops and their equipment for amphibious invasions. The ship was well armed with antiaircraft weapons to protect itself and the vulnerable troops it carried from air attack in a battle zone.
On November 11, off Guadalcanal, Zeilin and the light cruiser, Atlanta, with destroyers and other auxiliaries, engaged 9 Japanese dive bombers. Zeilin's gunners set one plane on fire. However, 1 enemy bomb scored a damaging hit, cracking and rupturing the ship's hull plating. A second attack an hour later by 27 bombers was repulsed with anti-aircraft fire and fighter planes from Henderson Field.
Though damaged and listing, Zeilin carried casualties to Espiritu Santo, where the ship received emergency repairs by the Vestal. The repair ship's crew was able to repair the Zeilin by November 26, and it sailed to the states for permanent repair work.
|Source: Naval Historical Center|
Zeilin continued to see a lot of important and dangerous service throughout the war. She earned 8 battle stars before her decommissioning in 1946. Sadly, like so many WWII ships that helped to win the war, Zeilin was consigned to scrap in 1948.