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My Days Aboard U.S.S. Santa Fe

[F.H. Gadbois January 9, 1943 – April 1, 1945, Aboard U.S.S Santa Fe]

PDF Version [25.9MB]

Reported for Duty November 28, 1942


Captain Berkey U.S.N.

Captain Wright U.S.N.

Executive Officer CMDR. Boyce U.S.N.

Eng. Officer LT. CMDR. Packer U.S.N.

Nav. Officer LT. CMDR. Heinz U.S.N.

1st Lieut. CMDR. Francis U.S.N.

MD. Officer CMDR Hardesty U.S.N.

GDN. Officer LT. CMDR. Bullen

Comm. Officer LT. Utecht

Supply Officer LT. Tinling

Date of Commissioning Nov. 24, 1942



Jan. 9- Left Philadelphia on a shake down cruise. It was the first cruise for most of us and we all got quite a thrill.

Jan. 11- Arrived at Norfolk VA. and was granted liberty it wasn’t much of a place but it was better than none.

Jan. 13- Left Norfolk to take up where we left off in the Chesapeake Bay.

Feb. 3- arrived in Annapolis Md.

Feb. 4- Liberty in Washington D.C. I saw the hotel that I stayed in in 1939. We didn’t pay any attention to the historical spots because all

we were interested in were the night spots which is only natural for a sailor on leave.

Feb. 6- Left Annapolis.

Feb. 16- Arrived in Philadelphia for a little yard work and some more of that good liberty.

Feb. 28- Left Philadelphia with orders to operate with the Pacific Fleet.

Mar. 5- Arrived in Panama. I would like to have gone ashore here but was unable to due to the fact that I had to stand a watch.

Mar. 7- Left Panama.

Mar. 12- Arrived in San Pedro, Calif.

Mar. 12-13-14-15- had liberty and

went into Long Beach and Los Angeles. Both of these places are very nice.

Mar. 16- Left San Pedro for adventure that most of us new [sic] nothing about.

Mar. 22- Arrived in Pearl Harbor.

Mar. 24- Left Pearl Harbor for a little firing practice.

Mar. 28- Arrived back in Pearl Harbor this time to get some liberty in Honolulu. Incidentally we had to carry our gas masks ashore every time we went. Liberty started at 1000 in the morning and expired at 1730. We had this kind of liberty for a few more days while we were

awaiting further orders.

April 15- Left Pearl Harbor bound for the Aleutian Islands off the coast of Alaska.

April 20- Arrived at the Island of Adak one of the Aleutian chain and which is to be our operating base while we are here.

April 21- Left Adak to join another force.

April 22- Crossed the 180th Meridian.

April 24- Joined task force 200 miles off Japan.

April 26- Bombarded Attu our first glimpse of enemy territory now we are beginning to get salty.

April 28- arrived in Adak for

fuel and provisions.

April 29- Left Adak.

April 30- General Quarters at 1500 enemy planes. They failed to attack.

May 6- 200 miles off Japan on patrol duty.

May 9- Joined large force for invasion of Attu.

May 11- troops landing on Attu under heavy opposition and fog which is very plentiful in this part of the world.

May 15- fighting continues on Attu.

May 16- Submarine contact, one of dozens. I guess the Japs are trying to prevent us from taking over the island because it will

be a pretty heavy blow to them.

May 22- Charleston attacked by 3 torpedo planes (slight damage.)

May 23- P38’s knock down five Jap bombers.

May 24- We have traveled 27,193 miles since our Commissioning.

May 26- arrived in Adak.

May 28- Left Adak.

June 1- Operations on Attu have been completed. During this operation our duty was act as a covering force in case any enemy ships tried to get in or out of the island. Now that operations have been concluded we have been assigned to patrol

duty to prevent the Japs from reinforcing Attu.

June 18- Arrived in Adak for fuel provisions and mail.

June 26- Left Adak.

July 6- Bombarded Kiska Island the Japs strongest base in the Aleutian chain.

July 10- Army bombers attack 4 Jap cargo ships and sink 2 the others getting away but not without damage.

July 11- Bombers sink 1 of remaining two ships.

July 13- Arrived in Adak for fuel provisions and mail.

July 20- Left Adak.

July 22- Bombarded Kiska supported by Army and Navy Bombers.

July 23- Jap fleet reported leaving Paramushiro.

July 24- General Quarters all night

July 25- Bombarded Kiska.

July 31- Arrived Adak for fuel, provisions, ammunition, and mail.

Aug. 3- Left Adak for more patrol duty.

Aug. 9- Arrived in Adak.

Aug. 10- two P-40’s collided in midair and crashed into the harbor.

Aug. 11- practiced bombardment on island of Sitka.

Aug. 13- Left Adak enroute to Kiska with invasion force zero hour tomorrow at dawn.

Aug. 15- 6,000 troops ashore on first day. Visibility is very poor. Bombarded at intervals all day. Shore party reports our shelling very good.

Aug. 16- troops capture 12 tons of ammunition. No opposition as yet.

Aug. 17- Still can’t find any Japs. Destroyer hits mine and blows off fantail 61 men lost. Army reports a few casualties due to booby traps.

Aug. 19- Arrived at Adak.

Aug. 21- Getting very tired of this weather because we haven’t seen the sun in months.


Aug. 25- Left Adak with everyone in high spirits because we are headed for Pearl Harbor once again.

Sept. 1- Arrived in Pearl Harbor and set foot on solid ground for the first time in almost 5 months.

Sept. 11- Left Pearl Harbor enroute to the Gilbert Islands in the Central Pacific.

Sept. 15- Joined four carriers which we have been assigned to cover while their planes make an air strike on Tarawa.

Sept. 18- Carriers launched planes at 4:30 AM. Made six strikes lost about six planes with heavy damage inflicted


on the enemy their loss estimated at about twenty planes. During the operation we crossed the equator and are now shellbacks. The initiation was really rugged.

Sept. 19- recrossed the equator where the 180th meridian meets it.  We are now Golden Dragons which is very rare.

Sept. 23- Arrived in Pearl after another successful operation. We are now flagship of CruDiv 13 with Rear Adm. DuBose in command.

Sept. 28- Left Pearl enroute to Wake Island.


Oct. 5- G.Q. at 4:00 AM planes take off at 4:30 AM make five strikes. We move in to twelve thousand yards to bombard. We now are moving into 8,000 yds. to shell them with 800 rds. of six in and 570 rds. of five in. under heavy fire from Jap shore batteries. They hit all around us but never came close enough to do any damage. Our fighter planes shot down quite a few Jap planes before they could attack us.

Oct. 6- Planes take off at 4:30 AM 5 strikes all told. Great sport watching our main


battery blow shore guns and buildings sky high. Island is covered with hundreds of fires. Whole island is a shambles. We were at G.Q. for 34 hrs.

Oct. 11 Arrived in Pearl Harbor for a little liberty and recreation while we take on fuel, provisions, and ammunition.

Oct. 20- Left Pearl Harbor bound for the New Hebrides. We should see plenty of action there.

Oct 26- Crossed Equator at 0420.

Nov. 4- Arrived in “Espiritu Santo” located at the northern tip of the New Hebrides Islands.


Nov. 5- Left “Espiritu Santo” doing 30 knts. Heading for “Guadalcanal.”

Nov. 6- Arrived in “Tulagi Harbor”, noticed a number of Jap ships wrecked and aground on the beaches.

Nov. 7- Left “Tulagi” on our way to support landings on “Bougainville,” should see plenty of Japs either on the sea or in the air.

Nov. 8- 6:30 PM- Have been at G.Q. for almost forty hours, Japs all around us but haven’t attacked as


8:30 PM- About forty Jap dive and torpedo bombers


attacked us. The night was black, but the flaming wrecks of eight Jap bombers lit up the sea very well. One flaming Jap just cleared our foremast, dropping his torpedo as he passed over. The torpedo cleared us hitting the water along the side. The bomb cradle hit on our deck.

1:30 AM- Japs attacking again. Got two more bombers in flames and two that did not burn. The Japs seem to be afraid to press their attack.

7:30 AM- Headed again for “Tulagi”


Nov. 9- One hundred Japs attacked our carriers in daylight eighty-eight of them went where all Japs should go. Some difference between a day and night attack.

Nov. 10- Arrived back in “Tulagi.”

Nov. 12- Left “Tulagi” bound for “Espiritu Santo”

Nov. 13- Arrived in “Espiritu Santo”. We aren’t going to fool with just one island this time we are going to take the whole Gilbert group.

Nov. 20- Arrived at “Tarawa” (Gilbert Islands) and began a bombardment which lasted for four days. Jam


emplacements and gun positions were surrounded by seven feet of concrete and they took considerable punishment before they were knocked out. This ship alone fired well over twenty four hundred rounds into “Tarawa.” After two hours of sustained bombardment the Marines began to land. The first three waves were wiped out but the fourth secured a beachhead and through the glasses we were able to watch them in hand to hand fighting.

Nov. 22- Our destroyer screen


knocked off two Jap submarines and took prisoners.

Nov. 28- The Gilbert Islands have been overrun the next stop being a large air strike on the Marshal Islands.

Dec. 3- Attacked Marshal Islands knocked out four transports two light cruisers and shot down seventeen Jap planes.

Dec. 4- Attacked in the middle of the night by Jap torpedo planes and got four.

Dec. 10- Arrived in Pearl Harbor 8:15 AM.

NOTE: In one year of Service aboard Santa Fe have travelled 82,000 miles.

Dec. 15- Captain Berkey made Admiral


and has been assigned to some other duty.

Dec. 28- Left Pearl Harbor for the good old United States which we haven’t seen in about ten months.

Jan. 1, 1944- Arrived in Long Beach, Calif but went right out to take part in a practice bombardment which is to last about two or three days.

Jan. 4- Arrived back in Long Beach to get some real good liberty for a change. This was just like heaven after being in Honolulu for so long.


Jan. 13- Reluctantly left the states for an unknown destination.

Jan. 21- Arrived at Lahaina Roads.

Jan. 22- Left Lahaina Roads bound for the Marshal Islands and their capture.

Jan. 30- Attacked and landed troops on the Marshal Islands.

Feb. 3- Anchored in the Lagoon off Kawajalien. [sic]

Feb. 12- Left Kawajalien [sic] bound for Truk.

Feb. 16- Attacked Truk and heavily damaged 37 ships 23 were definitely sunk.

Feb. 17- Left Truk after passing it for two days headed for Saipan 120 mi north of Guam 1400 mi from Tokyo


Feb. 21- Detected by the Japs underwent an all night torpedo attack which lasted well into daylight and planes could be seen burning all over the place.

Feb. 22- Our planes attacked raised hell with Jap planes knocking down over a hundred an also an aircraft carrier.

Feb. 27- Arrived at Majuro in the Marshal Islands.

Mar. 7- Underway at 0730 headed south once again.

Mar. 12- Arrived in “Espiritu Santo” it’s so hot I can hardly breathe.


Mar. 15- Underway at 0700 to join a large task force for our next operation.

Mar. 18- Joined a force of 106 warships bound for Palau and Yap to [sic] very strong Japanese bases.

Mar. 29- Detected by Japs underwent all night air attack.

Mar. 30- Planes strike Palau. Result 12 AK. Sunk 4 destroyers sunk 3 CL badly damaged one beached 1 CVE 1 CVE burning. Beat off all evening and all night torpedo attack.

Mar. 31- Air strike at Yap.

April 1- Air strike at Woleai. Fighters have been shooting


down Bettys for days who have tried to attack us. Before we arrived the Japs sent most of their planes to New Guinea. Army planes caught them and destroyed 160 on the ground and 30 in the air.

April 2- Caught three small coastal vessels south of Truk destroyed them with gunfire. Have been at General Quarters for four days and four nights. It has been pretty rugged.

April 6- Arrived in Majuro for fuel provisions and ammunition.

April 13- Left Majuro for another


unknown destination.

April 16- It seems pretty certain that we are going to aid in the landing of troops on Hollandia in New Guinea and believe me this should be plenty rugged.

April 20- Dusk General Quarters was surrounded at 1900 because we were very close to Japanese held positions and expected them to come out and try to stop us. Tomorrow our force is to make an air strike on Hollandia.

April 21- Bright and early our planes took off from the carriers


to strike the island. The planes were an hour late in taking off so the Japs should be ready and waiting. Tonight the Captain told us that we were to bombard the island of Wadke along with the Biloxi, Mobile and five destroyers. Our objective is to bombard the air strips to put them out of commission so that the Japs would be unable to use them to get planes off the ground to launch an attack. We poured 1500


rounds of 5” and 6” projectiles over on the beach that is the Santa Fe alone. The other two cruisers were to fire as much. It was so dark that we couldn’t see much but there sure was plenty of noise. I think if there had been many more salvos we would all have gone crazy.

April 22- Troops landed on Hollandia and we received a report that there was very little opposition.

April 23- Today we fueled and are standing by for further orders.


April 24- Japs came searching for our troops with no luck what so ever. Deciding that they couldn’t locate us they headed for home on the way paying a visit to Hollandia where our troops are. On arriving at Hollandia the Japs discovered a lone Destroyer patrolling the entrance. They launched twelve torpedoes and scored twelve missiles.

April 25- The Captain addressed the crew and said that we were to proceed to


the Admiralty Islands, a newly acquired territory to replace our damaged and lost aircraft and to await further orders.

April 26- To-day is our first anniversary of our action. April 26, 1943 we fired our first shells on Attu then occupied by the Japs. This afternoon we fueled from a tanker at sea.

April 30- We went to General Quarters at about 0500 this morning to launch an air strike on Truk. We were at G.Q. all day long. At night the M.G. battery had to be on the


alert all night long in case we had an air attack we would be on the ball and ready to go. This is the battery I am on consequently I didn’t get a damn bit of sleep. To top it all off it rained cats and dogs all night long. I think that this is by far the worst night I have ever spent any place.

April 30- We crossed the international date line therefore today is also Sunday and we are still at General Quarters, still no trouble and it is still raining. I guess


the captain and the admiral decided that there was no immediate danger because we secured this afternoon. Tonight at 2000 we went to General Quarters for a sunset alert.

May 1- Air strike on Ponape and our battleships bombarded.

May 3- Back in the Marshals again. Three men from our ship were drowned while on a recreation party.

June 6- Left Majuro with the whole fleet. The captain made a speech tonight and he stated that we can expect the Japs to come after


us with just about everything he has. We are bound for Saipan, Guam, and Tinian, three islands in the Marianas group. Incidentally these islands are closer to Tokyo than they are to our own base at Majuro. By capturing these islands we will be inflicting a great deal of damage upon the enemy as it will greatly cut his supply lines to his men in islands of the south. It is only 1200 miles from the Japanese mainland. From now until we arrive in dangerous


waters we will conduct a program extensively of drills. Including firing of all batteries and casualties that might occur if we actually become engaged in a battle with enemy ships.

June 11- The captain gave us the word today that the Task group commander decided to send an air strike tomorrow instead of the thirteenth so that incase we didn’t surprise them we would get them before they expected us.

June 12- this afternoon at 1300 a group of fighter planes


took off from our carriers bound for Saipan the large mountainous Japanese held island. Tonight we got a report that our planes did a great job by bagging in all approximately 150 enemy planes with comparatively little damage inflicted upon us. Tomorrow there will be another large air strike but this time they are really going to mess them up because we are sending dive bombers and torpedo planes in both loaded down with bombs for the purpose


knocking the hell out of the little yellow guys.

June 13- Today the battleships bombarded the island of Saipan. We were laying off as a sort of protection and we could see those 16 inch shells really messing that place up. You know a shell that size weighs about 2,000 lbs and that is a pretty big object loaded with high explosives.

June 14- Our Northern force ran into another Jap convoy five ships were sunk. The battleships bombarded all day today. Tomorrow 45 transports carrying our troops will arrive.

June 15- Troops landed no strain at 6 A.M. Jap planes attacked us all hell broke loose on our port beam as about 6 Japs attacked at once. One of them got away. All day we were under concentrated air attack. Our fighters were having a “Field Day.” The Japs pulled what might have been a very clever and successful maneuver if it hadn’t been for the fact that we had more fighters in the air than all their planes put together. They launched their planes from carriers about 300 mi. away from us. This put them out of range of our planes.


Their idea was to strike us land on Guam, refuel and take on bombs, strike us again and return to their carriers. Our fighters really went to town on them though. The ones that were lucky enough to land were destroyed on the ground at the end of the day the score was 78 Japs for our force 54 for one of the other groups and there are still two forces that we haven’t heard from as yet. We estimated that about 200 Japs hit the drink today. Three of our ships were damaged and we lost less than 25 of our fighters. Incidentally, our ship damages were very slight.


June 16- We are making 23 knots in pursuit of the Jap task force.

June 17 18 19- Still chasing the Japs. I guess they aren’t to [too] anxious to stick around and play with us. Tokyo Rose reports our fleet destroyed again. She must be the president of the associated liars club of Japan.

June 20- At 4 PM search planes located the Jap force. Their force consisted of 40 ships including 4 BB’s- 4 CV’s, 14 Cruisers a few tankers and the rest destroyers. We launched 200 planes. Our planes sunk 2 tankers, 1 carrier and damaged 2 carriers one battleship and many others. Our planes did not return until


after dark. Because of this we lost quite a few of them. Planes that were unable to land and were low on fuel were dropping all around us. We all felt like hell being unable to do anything about it. By using search lights, star shells and our running lights we managed to land most of those who found their way back. It sure would have been great for Jap subs. Our total loss was about a hundred planes but we expect to pick up most of the men.

June 21+22- We chased the Japs again but were unable to catch them because they had a pretty good start on us. We are returning to Eniwetok for supplies, fuel, + planes.


June 27- Arrived in Eniwetok.

June 30- Left port destination unknown.

July 3- Joined up with another force. We now have 4 large Carriers, 3 small ones, 4 CL’s, 1 CA + Destroyers with us. We are going to raid an island called Iwo Jima. It’s about 670 miles from the city of Tokyo and boy that is really getting close. We have been sighted and are sending planes into strafe to keep them away from us tonight.

July 4- Our fighters must have done a good job as we haven’t seen any Jap planes as yet. Our bombers started to work on the islands at 5 AM. They will continue all day. There are 5 Jap cargo ships in the harbor.


At 3PM CruDiv. 13 and CruDiv. 10 started to bombard. We were the leading ship in the column. Much to our surprise we found about 200 planes on the field. About 5 Zuoes took off and one of them shot down one of the Santa Fe’s spotting planes but not without going down himself. Later a destroyer picked up the pilot and the radioman and neither was hurt. We really gave those planes and the airfield a going over. The place was just a mass of smoke when we finished. Who could find a more appropriate day for something like this than July 4th. Why the Japs held their planes down I don’t know but it is a good thing they did because they would probably wrecked the hell out of us.


July 5- The Captain told us today that we destroyed about 100 Jap planes on the ground besides ripping the airfield to shreds and that we are leaving for Saipan where we will take up our station on patrol protecting the island from possible air attack so that our soldiers and Marines may go to taking over the place unmolested.

July 6- Today we fueled from tankers.

July 7- Tonight I had the 8-12 watch. Shortly after we went on watch we received word that there were bogeys around us but that they weren’t looking for us and were going over to bomb Saipan. We had night fighters


up and they were being directed to intercept these planes if necessary. A short while after our first contact gun fire from a plane was visible on our starboard beam, it was one of our fighters shooting down a Jap medium bomber. It was one of the prettiest sights I have ever seen. The fight started up fairly high and ended with the Betty bursting into flames the most beautiful colors and red + orange I have ever seen. We had to go to G.Q. because we were afraid that we might be attacked. While at our battle stations we received word that our fighter “splashed” another


Betty. After this everything was pretty quiet and we secured about 2230. Incidentally while we are operating in this area the planes from our carriers are going to be bombing the Jap held islands of Guam, Tinian, and Rota to soften them up for a forthcoming invasion which will just about clean up the Marianas Islands which is a great hurdle on our way to the Philippines and the main land of Japan.

July 9- We received some more or less unofficial word stating that the Japs on Saipan had broken through Army lines and had forced the retreat into the sea of the Marine artillery unit.


Somehow or other the Infantry must have closed in because the killed approximately 1500 of an estimated 3000 Japs.

July 10- A destroyer picked up a sailor on Guam who had been there since the Japs took it over in the early stages of the war.

July 21- Our troops landed on Guam planes from our force helped cover the beach heads.

July 22- Our force left Guam and headed for Yap and Palau also troops landed on Tinian.

July 25- Our carrier planes hit Yap and Palau with no opposition. We will be here until the 28th.

Aug. 3- We are on our way to hit


the Bonin Islands.

Aug. 4- We sent our first air strike in this A.M. they found four transports + 6 cargo ships and escorts.

Aug. 4- Cru.Div. 13 went in close to finish off the ships that remained of the small convoy. One of the ships was a Jap training cruiser. A destroyer in our group picked up some survivors who were midshipmen and they reported that we fired with uncanny accuracy. The first salvo scored a direct hit and that was fired by the Santa Fe. Incidentally all this is taking place only 350 mi from the Japanese mainland.

Aug. 5- We bombarded the Bonin Islands and sunk four more transports.


Aug. 13- Left Arrived Eniwetok and don’t expect to leave until at least the end of the month at which time something big is expected to take place.

Aug. 30- We have just left Eniwetok and are headed for the islands of Yap and Palau it is to be an invasion operation on the latter.

Sept. 7- Our carrier planes sent strikes over Yap and Palau to soften them up for the coming invasion.

Sept. 8- This morning our force refueled at sea and upon completion will head for the Philippines at a speed of 25 knots.

Sept. 9- We are 60 mi from Mindanao and so far there is no indication that the Japs know we are here. This is the farthest west any U.S. Naval



vessel had been since the outbreak of war with Japan. It is a little to [sic] close to suit me. The captain thinks that the Japs have from 500 to 1000 planes so we are anticipating some very hot air action. Our planes have reported ships in the harbor that have been damaged so the Santa Fe, Birmingham and 4 D.D.’s have been detached to go in and polished them off. Again the Santa Fe accomplishes another first. This time we are the first to enter the Philippines. In this little shindig the Santa Fe was credited with 4 A.K. 

Sept. 11- We have left very little on Mindanao worth using. We are now heading north to it Samar which will be another pre-invasion bombing.


Sept. 12- Today we sent our planes in to Samar and are 50 mi from the island. The planes shot down 83 enemy planes and damaged 118 on the ground and sunk 27 merchantmen 7 Sampana

Sept. 13- A Jap divebomber dropped a bomb intended for the Lexington but did no damage. Today is D-day on Palau for our troops to land.

Sept. 14- Today the Santa Fe’s floatplanes went on a rescue mission to pick up pilots that were downed around Samar. This men that were shot down had to hide in the hills so they wouldn’t be captured. Our planes brought them safely back to the Santa Fe.

Sept. 21- Today we are making an air strike on Manilla. It seems that each time we make a strike it is


much to [sic] close to Japan to suit me. Our planes shot down 110 enemy planes and destroyed 95 on the ground. Our losses were only 15 planes and I think most of the personnel were rescued. The planes sunk 4 large A.K. 1 large D.D., 1 floating dry dock, 4 large A.O. 2 small A.O.

Sept. 22- Combined damage at Luzon 144 planes shot down, 285 destroyed on the ground, 35 ships sunk and 27 probably sunk.

Sept. 23- One of our men died today of pluersy. He was buried at sea the first time I have ever seen this.

Sept. 24- Our planes hit Samar. No air opposition. 10 planes were destroyed on the ground. Sunk 2 DD’s, 2 DE’s, 5 transports, 8 oilers, 11 Cargo ships


damaged 8 oilers and 25 cargo ships and sunk and damaged smaller craft. The captain said we are leaving this area and going into harbor at Palau. The operation was highly successful.

Sept. 27- We arrived in the harbor of Palau. This island has a great many Japs on it and we anchored about 12,000 yds from the beach.

Sept. 28- Left for Ulithi Island but had to leave an account of a bad storm coming up.

Oct. 9- At noon today we start in to the island of Okinawa it is halfway between Formosa and Japan only 250 mi. from the mainland of Japan.

Oct. 10- Our planes sunk 58 surface craft and destroyed 80 planes.

Oct. 11- Still sending raids in. Our planes



shot down 124 enemy aircraft and did heavy damage to enemy shipping and shore defense installations. 97 enemy aircraft destroyed on the ground sunk 2 large cargo ships, 2 medium cargo ships, 10 small cargo ships extensive damage was inflicted upon hangars, buildings, oil dumps, warehouses, docks and industrial establishments.

Oct. 12- We stayed at G.Q. all night 11 planes shot down attacking our ships. We shot up two D.D.’s that were in the line of fire while we were shooting at low flying planes.

Oct. 13- Went to G.Q. many enemy planes reported. The U.S.S. Canberra took a torpedo and is dead in the water. The Wichita is towing her and only able to do 3 knots. We are playing nursemaid. Our plane losses so far are 45.


Oct. 14- Cru Div 13 is still playing nurse maid now to 2 ships as the U.S.S. Houston was torpedoed and in pretty bad shape.

Oct. 16- Two years in the Navy today. G.Q. all night. Enemy planes searching all over trying to locate us but aren’t having much luck.

Oct. 17- This morning we went to G.Q. at 0930 enemy planes reported. There were 65 planes in all. Our fighters shot down 62 of them with only three getting in at us. The first one came in and launched her torpedo that hit the Houston which is the second time she had been hit in three days. Another plane came in and was heading directly at us when it launched its torpedo


and almost simultaneously we made a sharp turn and avoided being hit. The plane went over our bow and exploded burning a number of our men including some survivors of the Houston that were aboard. One of the Marines that survived the Houston died from burns received on the Santa Fe.

Oct. 20- D-day on the Philippines. CruDiv 13 to stand by in case the Jap fleet comes out.

Oct. 24- A Jap task force of 4 BB’s 8 Cru. and 13 DD’s are 210 miles from us. The Princeton was just hit by a Jap  torpedo bomb. There are enemy planes all around us there [sic] objective of course being the carriers. The Santa Fe is helping in the destruction of these planes. The Princeton has


had some tremendous internal explosions and is in very bad condition. The Reno has orders to sink it. The Birmingham went alongside the Princeton to fight fires and an explosion killed upwards of 200 men and wounded about 300 besides wrecking topside stations from the main deck up.

Oct. 25- Cru Div 13 has been sent to the north to sink a couple of crippled enemy ships (a carrier and a cruiser.) The battleships were with us but went south where there is a big naval engagement underway.

Oct. 25- At 1700 we came upon a Jap Carrier and had no trouble sinking it as it was dead in the water.


Later we came upon a cruiser that was supposed to have been damaged but was doing 32 knots. I was down below decks and the damn thing started to come in straight at us at about 20 knots. Knowing that ships like this carry torpedoes I was plenty scared because I was just below the water line where they are most likely to hit. I’m telling you I was the happiest guy in the world when we got the word that this ship was on its way down to Davy Jones locker.

Oct. 27- Since commissioning we have traveled 171,500 miles. We sent planes down into Leyte and Samar today to knock out Jap planes strafing our troops.


Oct. 27 cont.- Here is a report of Jap shipping losses in the last three days:

1 Battleship sunk

1 Battleship probably sunk

7 Battleships damaged

2 Large carriers sunk

2 Small carriers sunk

Many other carriers damaged, Several cruisers damaged, 4 Destroyers sunk, Several other destroyers damaged. Our Losses: 2 Carriers sunk (Princeton and a baby flattop) 5 PT Boats were also sunk

Oct. 30- Pulled into Eulithi for fuel and supplies.

Oct. 31- Changed Captain and Admirals. The Captain’s name is Fitch the Admiral



Nov. 1- Made second class.

Nov. 1- Left Eulithi for Mannaus Island but our orders were changed. We are going on a raid to Formosa.

Nov. 5- Today we sent off an air strike to Manilla Harbor. Heavy damage was inflicted upon planes and shipping of all kinds. At 1330 this afternoon we were called to G.Q. Jap dive bombers came in. They dove on the Lex in a suicide dive. These are the tactics the Japs have been using lately. 15 men were killed on the Lex when this plane hit the signal bridge.

Nov. 11- We went close to Leyte to launch an air strike. On this strike we sunk 6 DD’s, 4 cargo ships and transports with 8,000 Jap troops.

Nov. 13- Today our planes hit Luzon


and Manilla sank a number of ships. Enemy planes have been bothering us for some time but they haven’t had much success.

Nov. 17- Anchored in Eulithi.

Nov. 20- Went to G.Q. Sub contacts in the harbor. Just as we went to G.Q. a tanker blew up off our port bow.

Nov. 22- Weighed anchor at Eulithi bound for Luzon.

Nov. 25- Sent first air strike into Luzon. Enemy planes came in and dove on the Essex. One of them crashed on the flight deck but only slight damage was done. Another one came in and was shot down by the Santa Fe’s machine guns.

Nov. 29- We received an unconfirmed report that the Montpelier and St. Louis and Colorado were



hit by bombs down south. The Montpelier just came out of the states.

Dec. 2, 1944- Entered Ulithi for fuel and provisions.

Dec. 10, 1944- Left Ulithi for Luzon air strike

Dec. 14- Our carrier planes hit Luzon + Manilla with little opposition.

Dec. 15- Still striking and still now[sic] opposition a few planes came in fairly close but were disposed of by our fighters.

Dec. 18- Stormy now. Two destroyers were battered by wind and high seas and sunk with very few survivors.

Dec. 20- Our air strikes have been cancelled due to bad weather.

Dec. 24- Arrived in Ulithi and are to have midnight mass tonight.

Dec. 26- The U.S.S. Mobile, one of our sister ships has just left for the states in our place. If the Admiral hadn’t been one way we would be on our



way back but no we will stick around a while longer.

Jan. 3, 1945- Today we hit Formosa with an air strike. The weather is very bad our planes had trouble seeing there[sic] targets. A lot of damage was inflicted however.

Jan. 5, 1945- Refueled at sea and received mail.

Jan. 6- Sent planes to strike Luzon. American troops land on Luzon. The weather is still very bad.

Jan. 7- Still striking Luzon. The Seventh Fleet has been hard hit by these Jap suicide dive bombers. I am keeping my fingers crossed because as yet they haven’t bothered us much.

Jan. 9- We hit Formosa again inflicting severe damage to the Jap shipping and air power. The Captain just told us that we are going through the Bashi Straits which are between Formosa + Luzon


and strike Southern China and Indochina with our carrier based planes.

Jan. 10- We are now in the South China Sea just knocking at the enemies back door and daring him to come and get us. Admiral Halsey is in charge of the operation and he is really “a fighting son-of-gun.”

Jan. 11- We are still in the South China Sea. We have a fleet of tankers with us so we can fuel. It is pretty risky business but the ships have to have fuel and it is a long way to the eastern side of the Philippines.

Jan. 12- Our planes are holding “field day” on the Jap shipping.

Jan. 13- One year ago today we left Long Beach, 366 days without a liberty. Today we are fueling and tomorrow or the next day will strike Hong Kong, China. Yesterday we were exactly halfway


around the world.

Jan. 17- Made strikes on Hainan + Hong Kong. The weather is still very stormy. The Jap planes are having trouble locating us.

Jan. 18- Headed South. We are supposed to leave the China Sea via the Surigao Straits tomorrow night.

Jan. 19- Headed North again. We can not go through the straits because of navigational hazards. We will go through a channel just north of Luzon.

Jan. 20- The weather is clear and the Japs are trying like hell to find us but aren’t having much success because our fighters are beating them to the draw.

Jan. 21- Well we got out of the China Sea without a casualty and are attacking Formosa. “Banzai Joes” attacked. One plane dropped a bomb on the Langley damage slight. Another crashed into the Ticonderoga


causing heavy damage to material and personnel. A DD and carrier were hit in the other force.

Jan. 22- Today we hit Okinawa Jima. No enemy planes were able to close on the formation. Anybody that says our Navy pilots aren’t any good is crazy because they have saved our necks a great many times.

Jan. 26- Entered Ulithi and left Feb. 10 headed for Tokio[sic] to knock out munitions plants and air power. This will bring us pretty darn close to the Japanese mainland.

Feb. 15- This morning we sent an air strike into Tokio[sic]. We are 98 mi from there now. Our planes destroyed some 300 Jap planes; blew up hangars and airfields; and destroyed an aircraft factory.


Feb. 16- We sent more strikes into Tokio[sic] again this morning. We still haven’t had a ship hit by the enemy. All strikes were cancelled.

Feb. 17- Tomorrow is D-Day on the island of Iwo. We are to bombard while the troops land they expect to secure this island in 72 hrs.

Feb. 19- We started bombarding today. The Marines had pretty rough going once they landed because the Japs were dug into caves and the Naval bombardment apparently didn’t kill to[sic] many because there is an awful lot of resistance.

Feb. 20- We are still at G.Q. and haven’t had any sleep. One of our planes was hit by Jap A.A. fire and a Marine spotter, who was in the cockpit was very badly wounded by shrapnel.


Feb. 21- Last night we fired all night long. The Marine officer died today. We fired 4,025 rounds of ammunition. There are many enemy planes in the vicinity. A D.D. and the Nevada shot one a piece down. I suppose this will be another sleepless night.

Feb. 23- We had burial services for the Marine officer today.

Feb. 24- On our way to Tokio [sic] for another raid. After this one if we come out O.K. I think we will head back for the good old U.S.A.

Feb. 25- We were able to send in only a couple of strikes today because of the inclement weather.

Feb. 26- The weather is still so bad that we are recalling all strikes and heading for Iwo Jima to refuel.


Feb. 27- The Captain told us that we were going to Ulithi to meeting the Birmingham and transfer the Admiral. It looks very much like we are going to return to the good old U.S.A.

Mar. 1- Arrived Ulithi with everything looking toward the best. Scuttlebutt is flying around fast and furious.

Mar. 8- Today a tug came alongside with three Norwegian girls in it. All hands went wild because they were the first girls we had seen in over a year. When they returned in the afternoon the Skipper and the Evc. got sore and called all hands to quarters and really balled us out. You couldn’t blame anyone because it was a wonderful sight for salty eyes.


March 10- Transferred the Admiral to the Birmingham. It is still not known definitely whether we will get our state side orders. Everyone is hoping for the best because we have had enough of this war for a while.

Mar. 11- Tonight we had the band from the Langley over to play for us. While we were all seated on the fantail listening to them a Jap plane crash dived on the Randolph and we all went to G.Q. Boy it is a good thing we didn’t get hit aft or it would have killed about three fourths of the crew.

Mar. 14- Well we missed out again because today we left for another operation.


Mar. 18- Early this morning we sent strikes into Kyushu. The Japs picked us up because there are many Bogies. As yet none of our ships have been hit. Everyone has been under attack but us. We can see planes being shot down on the horizon. So far we have destroyed about 325 Jap planes via ships gunfire and our own planes.

Mar. 19- Last night we had little sleep because the Japs were around all night. This morning a Jap plane dropped out of the clouds and let a string of bombs go on the U.S.S. Franklin a carrier in our force. At that time she was launching a strike. All the planes on the flight deck were loaded with bombs rockets and men. Boy what a hell of a mess. Gasoline lines


were broken and fire raged from stern to stern. Bombs, rockets, and everything else was blowing up. It is the worst sight I have seen in my whole life. In my mind I don’t see how anyone can possibly survive. The Santa Fe has been appointed to go alongside the Franklin to help fight fire and rescue men. This is really a dangerous assignment because you can never tell when a powder magazine will blow up and blow us to smithereens. Our Captain has moved right in just as close as he possibly can. She is listing to starboard and her flight deck is over hanging us and really beating the hell out of our side. She has already ruined one of our five inch mounts. Survivors are coming aboard by the


hundreds. All told a little over ½ of the men were saved. I’m telling you that is a surprise to me. The U.S.S. Pittsburgh a heavy cruiser has been ordered to take her in tow at a speed of about 4 to 6 knts.

Mar. 20- We had a couple of planes make an attack today but didn’t do any damage. Our strikes have been very successful. Destroyed 270 Jap planes, 8 merchantmen, badly damaged 2CVE, 2 BB 1 CV and 1 CV under construction, 3 CVL, 2 CA, 1 CL, 5 DD and 21 merchantmen.

Mar. 21- we had a few Jap planes come in today but were shot down before they could do any damage.

Mar. 22- we met the fueling group today. All ships fueled and headed for Japan except the Santa Fe, Wasp, Franklin,


and the Enterprise and 7 DD who are going to Ulithi.

Mar. 23- The captain told us today that we will be in Ulithi a few days while the Franklin makes minor repairs then we will head for home. It is almost too good to be true.

Mar. 24- Last night one of the wounded men died. Services were held for him this morning. At noon we entered port. Tonight an officer asked me how I would like to get rid of about half of my battery. I thought he was kidding but he wasn’t so I rounded up my men and proceeded to get ready. We worked until midnight. Tomorrow they will take 2 mts and five directors.

Mar. 26- Today we took just about all our ammunition off.


April 1- Today we were about three days out from Pearl Harbor. Around noontime the Captain made a speech. He said that he just received a message from Cincpac[?] to Navy Yard Pearl to prepare the Santa Fe for sea. Well boy you talk about a broken hearted bunch of men. About five minutes later he made another speech. He said that he had received another message that said the first was an April Fool joke. We found out later that it was cooked up aboard ship by a commander and the Communications officer. In the short time that elapsed between messages I think all hands planned where they were going to hide in the Hawaiian Islands. According to all reports we are due in the states April 10 so I should be home for


moms birthday.


[Separated Pages] 


F.H. Gadbois U.S.S. Santa Fe

Duty Commencing July 26, 1945

July 26, Left Terminal Island, Calif for the great wide Pacific. It was really wonderful duty while it lasted and I have a great many ever so pleasant memories.

Aug. 26, We arrived in Okinawa today and boy this is really a rugged chain of islands and I can readily see why our troops had such a rough time fighting here. I will say again as I said while home on leave that I am damned glad that we missed this one.

Sept. 20, Today we arrived in Sesabo on the island of Kyushu in the Japanese mainland. There aren’t any occupational troops here as yet but there are expected in a few days. We steamed in the harbor early this afternoon. We saw three Jap carriers that we believed were damaged when our planes attacked this base last

Sept. 20 (cont.), March the day that the Franklin was hit which was our last operation before going home. About two or three hours after we arrived here a small boat came out loaded down with Jap naval officials with a bunch of papers and maps. They came aboard but the Captain directed them over to a Communication ship on which there was Vice Admiral Hill who was supposed to officially execpt [sic] the surrender of this base along with Rear Admiral Deyo who is stationed aboard the Santa Fe in command of Cruiser Division 13. As yet, it isn’t known where we are going when we leave here but rumors have it that we are going to Nagasaki and then on to Kobe. After this we hope to get back to the U.S.A. to be assigned to the Pacific Fleet Reserve and maybe a bunch of us will get discharged. I am certainly hoping so along with a great many others. 

Published: Wed Apr 10 07:25:41 EDT 2019