From Guadalcanal to Tokyo
LCdr. Henry DeLauréal

LCdr. Henry DeLauréal

It is not the purpose of this brief, historical sketch of our ship to pat ourselves on the back for our successful efforts, but rather it is to familiarize the men who are serving on the Taylor with the active past that their ship has taken in the war during these three years. With this purpose in mind, the following outline was compiled, a record of our ship’s achievements in World War II

On this, the ship’s third birthday, we offer humble thanks to Providence for having brought us through unharmed.

The USS Taylor (DD468) was named after Rear Admiral William R. Taylor, US Navy, was authorized by the Navy Department on 27 March 1934, her keel laid on 28 August 1941 and was launched on 7 June 1942 at Bath, Maine. On 28 August 1942 the Bath Iron Works Corporation delivered the Taylor to the Navy and she was commissioned on that date at the Charlestown Navy Yard, Boston, Massachusetts.


Our shakedown cruise was spent in American waters engaged in escort duty. The ship made such ports as Kingston, Jamaica; Guantánamo Bay, Cuba; Bermuda, Norfolk and New York.

Our first major task was assigned to us in November 1942 when we convoyed a large number of merchant ships to Casablanca in support of the offensive in North Africa. Enroute, while some 100 miles off the coast of Africa, a Spanish merchantman was intercepted and a boarding party from the Taylor was placed aboard with orders to take the ship to Gibraltar. The remainder of the voyage was without incident and we returned to New York in December 1942.

Departing from New York in the middle of December, we started our voyage to the South Pacific via the Panama Canal and Samoa, arriving in Nouméa on 20 January 1943. We joined the rest of our squadron there and were assigned to Task Force 18, a light naval unit, one that was to make a name for itself.

The following is a more detailed summary of our actions during our period in the combat zone. In this outline, it will not be possible to speak of the many hundreds of miles steamed on patrol and escort duty in constant danger of attack by Jap air, surface, and undersea forces. Only the highlights will be mentioned.


Total mileage from 28 August 1942 to 28 August 1945: 208,534. This is equivalent to 8.36 times around the world at the equator. We have steamed a total of 99,234 miles since 1 February 1944, our last Navy Yard Overhaul.

During the ship’s active life we have burned 10,811,613 gallons of fuel oil. (This would light a good many lamps in China!)

The ship’s generators have produced 5,126,000 kilowatt hours of electric energy in the past three years. This is equivalent to 195kw continually generated for three years and is enough to supply the whole United States for 12 minutes. This same amount of electric power, if converted to mechanical power, could hoist the Taylor to the top of the Empire State Building once each second for one half hour.

Our “rain makers” have produced 10,800,000 gallons of fresh water (this does not include the small amounts of fuel oil which sneak in from time to time). This is enough to float the battleship Missouri or give a bath to each of the former residents of Hiroshima, Japan.

We have, during the past three years, consumed 1,213,704 pounds of dry and 612,792 pounds of fresh provisions. This amount of food is more than enough to feed the city of San Diego, California for one day.

We have expended the following ammunition against the enemy:

20 torpedoes
174 depth charges
14,437 rounds of 5-inch/38 (400 tons)

29 January — Screened the torpedoed Chicago after she was hit by Jap torpedo planes. Taylor took took several aircraft under fire but did not observe results.

15 March — Bombarded Japanese installations on Kolombangara I., New Georgia Group. This was the ship’s first offensive action against the Japs, a performance that was to be repeated many times in the Solomons, Marshalls, Gilberts, Admiralties, New Guinea, Mollucas, Philippines, Borneo and finally in Japan’s home waters with the historic Third Fleet.

7 April — Repelled an enemy air attack in the Guadalcanal-Tulagi area consisting of more than 100 planes. Our gunners accounted for three kills and two probables. This was our first contact with the Jap Air Force.

5 May — Acted as a unit of the covering force while our minelayers mined the waters to the westward of Kolombangara Island. This operation accounted for three Jap destroyers and several merchantmen which steamed through the minefield.

11 May — Acted as a unit of the covering force for minelayers which laid a minefield in Kula Gulf, coordinated with a bombardment of enemy installations at Munda, Bairoko Harbor, and Enogai Inlet on New Georgia Island.

20 June — Repelled an enemy night bombing while escorting a troop convoy to Guadalcanal.

11–12 July — As a unit of the screening forces, covered landings at Rice Anchorage on New Georgia Island and inflicted heavy damage to an enemy submarine during our retirement from that area. Message received by Taylor: “Admiral Halsey sends well done and continued good hunting on the occasion of your tangle with a Jap sub in Kula Gulf.”

12–13 July — Participated in the Battle of Kolombangara and delivered a torpedo attack in conjunction with other ships of Destroyer Squadron 21 against a light enemy naval task force. Results: 1 light cruiser and 1 destroyer sunk; 2 destroyers probably sunk and 1 destroyer damaged. For action in the above the Commanding Officer of USS Taylor was awarded the Silver Star.

15–16 July — Upon the receipt of information that there were approximately 175 survivors on Vella Lavella Island from the USS Helena (which was lost on 6 July) the Taylor and Maury with two high-speed transports were ordered to effect a rescue. This assignment was considered an extremely hazardous one in that enemy naval forces were known to be active in the area, the waters were inadequately charted and the extent of enemy minefields unknown. The operation was carried out as planned and with the exception of encountering a few Jap snooper planes, no contact was made with the enemy. It is believed that the Taylor (which was the flagship during this operation) was the first US naval vessel to transit the waters in and around the Island of Vella Lavella. The following message was received from Commander Task Force 31. “Thank you for bringing home so much of our bacon. Well done.”

23–24 July — Bombarded enemy installations at Bairoko Harbor, New Georgia Island in support of friendly troops advancing on that objective.

25 July — Bombarded enemy installations at Munda, New Georgia Island. This action was conducted in conjunction with a large scale air raid against the Japs. The airfield at Munda fell to the Allies within a few days.

15 August — Escorted high-speed troop transports and screened these vessels while they disembarked Marines in the occupation of Barakoma, Vella Lavella Island.

17 August — Intercepted and put to flight a Jap surface force attempting to reinforce their positions on Vella Lavella Island. Two destroyers, four large barges and many small barges were destroyed by gunfire from ships of DesRon 21 and another enemy destroyer damaged. For action in the above the Commanding Officer USS Taylor was awarded the Navy Cross.

25 August — Covered minelayers as they laid a minefield in enemy waters off the west coast of Kolombangara Island.

15–28 August — During this period the Taylor made ten trips up the Slot in search of Japs attempting to evacuate by-passed islands and to reinforce others. We shall never forget the countless, seemingly endless hours we spent at General Quarters while prowling in enemy waters, dodging bombs, shells, mines, and torpedoes. Someone aptly called the “Slot” a hellhole. And after we returned to our anchorage at Tulagi (Iron Bottom Bay), we were visited regularly by Jap snoopers and bombers. How we would have like to have strangled the Jap who used to come down to Purvis Bay every night, depriving us of rest when it was so badly needed by all!

2–3 October — Interception of Jap surface forces evacuating Vella Lavella and Kolombangara Island. This action resulted in the destruction of one unidentified Japanese vessel (believed to have been a gunboat) and numerous barges.

6 October — Rendered assistance to damaged Selfridge after her surface action north of Vella Lavella. removed many casualties from that ship and escorted her to base.

Our duty with the South Pacific Force was terminated for a while and from Admiral Halsey came the following message: “I wish you Godspeed on your detachment from the South Pacific Fighting Forces. Your habit of getting in the winning scraps with the Japs has made history. Destroyer Squadron 21 always will be remembered when Guadalcanal, Munda, Kula Gulf, Vella Lavella and the Slot are mentioned. You may be sure I will welcome you back with open arms any time, any ocean.”

19–24 November — With the Fifth Fleet in the Central Pacific we took part in the occupation of the Gilbert Islands and operated with a Fast Carrier Task Force while our carrier planes bombed and battered Japanese positions in those and the Marshall Islands.

4 December — With the Fast Carrier Task Forces while carrier planes conducted many strikes against enemy installations in the Marshall Islands. Several torpedo plane attacks were repelled during this period.

9 December — Arrived Pearl Harbor and DesRon 21 received its Christmas present by being ordered to San Francisco for a 45-day navy yard overhaul. Admiral Nimitz at his headquarters at Pearl greeted our squadron with this message: “Special greetings to you veterans of the Slot. We are proud to have you with us.”

1 February 1944 found us ready once more for a crack at the Japs and after a short period of training at Pearl we began our second, and what was to be a much longer, cruise.

12–25 February — As a unit of the screening force, escorted merchantmen with troops and supplies to various islands in the Marshall Islands Group during the occupation of those islands.

5 April — Reported to the Seventh Fleet (Southwest Pacific) with other ships of DesRon 21 for duty.

17 April–5 May — Participated in the initial landings at Hollandia, New Guinea.

29 May — Bombarded enemy positions on the east coast of New Ireland, Bismarck Archipelago, silencing one enemy gun position after it had fired on us.

10 June — Attacked with depth charges an I-class Japanese submarine and forced it to the surface, scoring several hits with the main battery and automatic weapons. This action was assessed by the Commander in Chief US Fleet as a probable kill. The Commanding Officer USS Taylor was awarded the Legion of Merit for the above.

15–30 September — Participated in the initial landings at Morotai, Helmahora Islands, Molucca Group.

18–30 October — Escorted the Second Reinforcement Echelon to Leyte Gulf, P.I. and upon arrival operated with the Support Force and also Escort Carrier Force while we were consolidating our beachhead in the Philippines. During this period our forces were subjected to many enemy air attacks.

16–29 November — Operated with the Support Force in Leyte Gulf and also as a picket destroyer, patrolling the eastern entrance to that gulf. During this period numerous enemy air raids were made against our forces and the Taylor destroyed one plane and assisted in the destruction of others.

4 January–2 February 1945 — As a unit of the Close Covering Group, participated in the initial landings in Lingayen Gulf, Luzon Island, P.I. and in the occupation of Subic Bay. On 5 January, south of Negros Island, rammed and sank one enemy midget submarine. During this period our forces were under enemy air attack for many hours and Taylor assisted in the destruction of two enemy planes. For the destruction of the enemy submarine the Commanding Officer was awarded a Gold Star in lieu of a second Legion of Merit.

13–18 February — Participated in the bombardment and occupation of Corregidor and Mariveles Bay, Luzon Island, P.I., and in direct support of minesweeping operations in the entrance to Manila Bay. This was a hazardous operation because we were called upon to close the beach and deliberately draw fire from the numerous shore batteries on Corregidor.

8–12 March — Bombarded enemy installations and supported minesweeping operations during the initial landings at Zamboanga, Mindinao Island, P.I. More close quarters work with duels between the Taylor and Jap mortars.

26 March — Bombarded enemy installations prior to initial landings on the island of Cebu, P.I.

27 April–3 May — Bombarded enemy installations prior to and after Australian Forces landed on the island of Tarakan, Dutch Borneo.

8 July–28 August — Operated as a screening unit for the ReSupply Force for Task Force 38 during the month of July 1945, while the Third Fleet conducted many air strikes and naval bombardments against the enemy homeland.

13 August — Joined Task Force 38 and served with that force during strikes against the enemy on 13 and 15 August at which time the Japanese surrendered unconditionally to the Allies.

Worthy of mention is the fact that the Taylor delivered her first blow against the Japs while under the command of Admiral Halsey and had the good fortune of being assigned as a unit of Admiral Halsey’s Third Fleet (the mightiest armada ever assembled in the history of naval warfare), only ninety miles from Tokyo Bay when the Japanese Government surrendered to the Allies on 15 August 1945.

Few of us will forget the Taylor, her victories, glory and achievements and we all take just pride in having served on her.

H. H. DeLauréal
Lieutenant Commander, U.S. Navy,