Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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Vella Gulf II (CG-72)


(CG-72: displacement 9,650; length 567'; beam 55'; draft 33'; speed 30 knots; complement 376; armament Standard SM-2, Tomahawk, Harpoon, ASROC, Mk 46 torpedoes, 5-inch, Close In Weapon System, two SH-60B LAMPS Mk III helicopters; class Ticonderoga)

A naval engagement in the Solomons campaign of World War II, fought in Vella Gulf between the islands of Vella Lavella and Kolombangara, the battle joined shortly before midnight on the night of 6 August 1943. In the Battle of Vella Gulf, six U.S. destroyers: Dunlap (DD-384), Craven (DD-382), Maury (DD-401), Lang (DD-399), Sterett (DD-407), and Stack (DD-406), under Comdr. Frederick Moosbrugger attacked four Japanese destroyers attempting to reinforce the garrison on Kolombangara. The American warships closed, undetected, and fired torpedoes that sank Hagikaze, Arashi, and Kawakaze; only Shigure escaped the onslaught. Some 200 Japanese soldiers died that night. Comdr. Moosbrugger’s ships emerged from the action unscathed.

Starboard view of the Roosevelt at dock
Caption: Vella Gulf (CG-72)’s coat of arms links the men who fought at the Battle of Vella Gulf (6–7 August 1943) with the sailors who sail Vella Gulf into the future. The commissioning pennant recalls escort aircraft carrier Vella Gulf (CVE 111), the previous ship of the name. The dark blue and gold of the shield are the colors traditionally associated with the Navy. The Battle of Vella Gulf occurred in a body of water in the Solomon Islands known as “the slot,” which is the shield. The wavy division at top refers to the sea. The six sections comprising the shield recall the six U.S. destroyers that fought in the battle, while the red discs suggest the four Japanese destroyers. Dark blue alludes to the darkness of the nocturnal battle. Counterchanging the colors of the shield underscores the unity of U.S. Navy components, while the bald eagle symbolizes the U.S. victory and naval strength, past and present. In the crest, the trident represents prowess at sea and the modern weapons-- the vertical launch and the AEGIS systems-- of CG 72. The lightning flashes signify her quick strike capabilities and allude to the advantage that radar provided to the Americans at Vella Gulf. Red traditionally symbolizes courage and firepower. The star commemorates the battle star awarded to the previous Vella Gulf for her World War II service. The crossed swords embody the synergism of the officer-enlisted teams. Finally, the ship’s motto is adopted from a favorite military maxim of Lt. Gen. Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson, CSA, that reads: “To move swiftly, strike vigorously and secure all the fruits of victory, is the secret to successful warfare.”

Published: Wed Oct 21 12:15:16 EDT 2015