Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Temporary repairs to the USS Saint Louis

Near the end of 1942, the light cruiser, USS Saint Louis (the "Lucky Lou" of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941) was ordered to the South Pacific, where she participated in the final stages of the Guadalcanal Campaign and the first part of the offensive into the Central Solomons. On July 6, 1943, Saint Louis engaged Japanese warships in the Battle of Kula Gulf. In another night action, the Battle of Kolombangara on July13, she was torpedoed in the bow. After the battle, she sailed to Espiritu Santo for temporary repairs by Dad's repair ship, Vestal, which began on today's date in 1943, and continued until the 29th. Saint Louis then sailed to Mare Island to complete the work. The Saint Louis will return to the Solomons for war service through the end of the year.

Torpedo damaged bow of USS Saint Louis after the Battle of Kolombangara,
July 13, 1943. USS Vestal (AR4) is alongside in the left background.
Source: NavSource Online

USS Vestal with USS Saint Louis alongside about July 20, 1943
Source: ShipScribe.com

Commissioned in 1939, Saint Louis saw major action in the Pacific throughout the remainder of the war, earning 11 Battle Stars. At war's end, she was part of the fleet that carried veterans back to the United States. In 1946, Saint Louis was decommissioned, and in 1951, she was sold to Brazil. In 1960, the ship sank near Cape of Good Hope while under tow to Taiwan.

Sources: USS Vestal War Diary, July 1943; Wikipedia

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