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Fletcher class destroyer
376' 6" x 39' 8" x 17' 9"
5 × 5" guns
10 × 40mm AA guns
7 × 20mm AA guns
10 × 21" torpedo tubes
6 × depth charge projectors
2 × depth charge tracks
On November 13, 1942, Strong joined convoy UGS-2 bound for North Africa and arrived at Casablanca on November 29, 1942 and returned to New York with convoy GUF-2. Afterwards, to Norfolk, VA then departed on December 27, 1942 for the Pacific, traveling via the Panama Canal and refueling at Bora Bora before arriving at Noumea on January 27, 1943. Strong then escorted the convoy northwest for two days then returned to Nouméa. Next, on February 1, 1943 with USS Cony DD-508 escorted a convoy bound for Espiritu Santo then on February 5, 1943 departed for a patrol off Guadalcanal until February 13, 1943 when she joined Task Force 67 (TF 67) composed of four cruisers and part of the destroyer screen.
On June 16, 1943 in the afternoon she was about halfway between Guadalcanal and Tulagi when a flight of approximately 15 Japanese dive bombers attacked. Strong was the closest ship to the bombers as they approached in a shallow glide from the direction of Koli Point. Between 2:14 to 2:21pm, she claimed three shot down.
Meanwhile, Japanese destroyer Niizuki fired a torpedo salvo at the destroyers from 11 nautical miles away. At 12:49am, Strong's gunnery officer sighted a torpedo wake. Before he had time to notify the bridge, the torpedo hit Strong's port side aft. Damaged, Strong began to settle rapidly with a 40° to 60° list to starboard. After being hit, USS Chevalier DD-451 intentionally rammed Strong's bow to enable her to throw nets and lines to the stricken ship and rescued 241 of her crew over seven minutes.
Meanwhile, Japanese 140mm naval guns on Enogai illuminated the destroyers with star shells, and then opened fire with high explosive shells. In response, USS O'Bannon began counter-battery fire in an effort to silence the enemy guns but their shells were soon hitting Strong and forced USS Chevalier DD-451 to cease rescue operations.
Strong broke in half before sinking into Kula Gulf. As the destroyer sank, several of her depth charges exploded, causing further injuries and loss of life. In total, forty-six men died aboard the ship. Officially, USS Strong was struck from the Navy list on July 15, 1943. Strong received two battle stars for World War II service.
Fates of the Crew
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