Naval History and Heritage Command

National Museum of the U.S. Navy

Air Raids on Truk Island:  February 17-18, 1944

(Codename:  Operation Hailstone)

Under the command of Commander Fifth Fleet Vice Admiral Raymond A. Spruance, USN, the Fast Carrier Force (Task Force 58), commanded by Rear Admiral Marc A. Mitscher performed raids on February 17-18, 1944 at Truk Island.   The two-day aircraft carrier raid worked in tandem with the invasion of Eniwetok Atoll and was a blow to Japanese morale.   The attack on Truk was also the first night aircraft carrier strike when aircraft departed after midnight on February 18.  Besides the numerous merchant ships sunk, the Japanese Navy lost light cruisers Katori and Naka; destroyers Maikaze, Fumizuki, Oite, and Tachikaze; submarine chasers Ch-24, and Ch-29, along with submarine chaser Shonan Maru #15 and Motor Torpedo Boat #10.  

Image:  80-G-216624:   Aircraft Carrier Raids on Truk, February 17-18, 1944.  Rescued aviators from the raid onboard USS Baltimore (CA-68).   Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.