The above painting by Naval artist Peter Hsu (copyright authorized) shows the 502 under air attack 4/14/45
ACTION REPORT SERIES:
SIGSBEE'S FIFTH WAR ACTION
ACTION REPORT SERIAL 067 25 JULY 1944. BOMBARDMENT DIVERSIONARY RECON AND BEACH DEMOLITION OPERATIONS OFF NORTHERN BEACHES, ISLAND OF GUAM, 16-18 JULY 1944.
From: Commanding Officer
To: Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet.
Via: 1). Commander Task Force 53. 2). Commander Task Force 51. 3). Commander Central Pacific Force. 4). Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Ocean Areas.
Subject: Action Report Bombardment and Diversionary Recon and Beach Demolition off Northern Beaches, Island of Guam 16-18 July 1944.
1. Task Unit 53.1.14 was assigned three missions during the period of this report; A). Simulated landing of recon parties on the reef, TUMON BAY, Guam; B). Simulated landing of recon parties on the reef, AGANA BAY, Guam followed by harasing bombardment of AGANA and ASAN Townss: and C). Actual demolition work on ASAN Beaches ) Beaches Red One, Red Two, Green, and Blue). This task unit was then dissolved and SIGSBEE reported to CTU-53.5.3 for continuation of operations.
2. In the task assignments for the invasion of the MARIANAS ISLANDS, SIGSBEE was attached to Task Group 53.2 ( Southern Attack Force) with primary assigned mission as principal fighter director. Due to delay in the occupation of Guam, Task Force 53 was reassigned to temporary duty with Task Unit 53.1.11 consisting of the U.S. APPALACHIAN.
3. On arrival at Guam, SIGSBEE was assigned screening duties plus primary fighter direction. On July 16, SIGSBEE was assigned to TU 53.1.14, the unit being assigned to demolition tasks on the Northern Beaches. An operation order was issued bearing out the principle that procedures and techniques of Underwater Demolition Teams are highly specialized; this operation order allowed them the widest latitude in their movements and by the same reasoning this report covers none of the activities of the UDT's themselves.
4. Task Unit consisted of SIGSBEE DD-502, SCHROEDER DD-501, DICKERSON APD-18, with UDT No. 3 embarked and the LCI(G)'s 469, 471, 472, and 473. LCI(G) 348 joined this unit at 1021, 17 July for the last phase.
5. No specific enemy forces were encountered. All bombardments and operations were conducted on enemy held shores in areas which had received very little preliminary softening up. It was the good fortune of the unit to encounter only sporadic mortar and machine gun fire and to complete the assigned missions during this period without any casualties from enemy action.
PART 2 ( zone time King used throughout this report) 16 July 1944.
0810 Assumed command of Task Unit 53.1.14 in accordance with CTF-53 dispatch 150235.
0910 Various course and speed proceeding to pick up man seen to parachute from plane.
0916 Whaleboat picked up man, reported unconscious, artificial respiration administered.
0921 Artificial respiration given to man by doctor aboard ship. Man identified as Nicholas Jim Boutos, 647-41- 86, USNR.
0927 Rejoining LCI's while SCHROEDER and DICKERSON proceeded to pick up other man seen to parachute from plane.
1040 SCHROEDER and DICKERSON discontinued search for missing pilot.
1050 Discontinued artificial respiration on rescued pilot. Nicholas Jim Boutos, pronounced dead from drowning by Lt. E.F McGrath, MC, USN.
1325 DICKERSON launched boats, LCI's commenced firing, operations began.
1326 Commenced harassing fire, eastern shores of TUMON Bay. Maintained intermittent fire on left flank with main battery and havy machine guns. SCHROEDER firing on western shores of bay and YPAO point.
1400 Shifted fire to pillbox on TUMON BAY beach.
1410 Ceased fire, first phase of operation concluded. Expended 118 rounds of 5"/38 AA common, 720 rounds of 40mm ammunition.
1433 SCHROEDER ordered to take charge of unit, closing DICKERSON to transfer chaplain.
1447 Chaplain W.J. Organ, Lt. (CHC), USN received aboard from DICKERSON.
1521 Commenced burial services, Chaplain Organ officiating. Nicholas Jim Boutos buried at sea longitude 144 degrees-40 E, latitude 13 degrees -35 N.
1856 Formed approach Disposition. Commencement of Phase Two. Simulated recon of AGANA Beaches and bombardment of ASAN and AGANA.
2051 DICKERSON AND LCI's opened fire on AGANA Town.
2112 All units ceased firing. DICKERSON AND LCI's commenced retirement to area six miles north of CABRAS ISLAND.
2137 Changed speed to 10 knots, course 270; SCHROEDER forming column on SIGSBEE distance 2000 yards to conduct harassing phase. Commenced scheduled exercises as ordered.
2149 SCHROEDER commenced firing. 2147 to 0225 continued bombardment at 7500 yards average range in company with SCHROEDER on course 090 degrees T and 270 degrees T, speed 5 knots.
17 July 1944 0225 SCHROEDER detached; ordered to proceed to fueling rendezvous in company with DICKERSON in accordance with CTF-53 dispatch 152358.
0244 Changed course to 180 degresss T closing range on ASAN Beach. 0255 Commenced firing 40mm battery on Main Director Control.
0416 Commenced firing 5" and 40mm batteries with main director controlling both batteries. 0430 Continued bombardment at greatly reduced rate of fire on entire target area. 0512 Ceased firing: conclusion of Phase Two. Ammunition expended - 366 rounds of 5" AA common, 26 rounds of star shells, 3 rounds of white phosphorous and 1674 rounds of 40mm.
Cruised in company with LCI's in area northwest of OROTE PENINSULA all day.
1937 Formed approach disposition with SCHROEDER , LCI's, and DICKERSON. Commenced Phase 3 Beach Demolition Operation on ASAN Beach.
2005 DICKERSON reported she was having trouble with her radar and asked for our assistance in placing the LCI's, 500 yards off the reef. Replied affirmative.
2022 Notified DICKERSON LCI's were getting very close to the reef and too far to the left.
2025 LCI 348 reported she was aground.
2025-2041 LCI 471 proceeded to the assistance of LCI 348. LCI 348 reported that she had ten feet of water under her bow and was aground on a northerly heading; she amplified this later with the statement that she had ample water all around her and believed that she was on a coral head. LCI 471 first attempted to tow her from the bow but could make no progress; tow line was shifted to amidships on advice of Commanding Officer of LCI 348 but LCI 471 went away too fast and took the bitter end of the tow line.
2156 LCI 348 reported she was under heavy mortar and machine gun fire from ASAN Point. SCHROEDER on right flank, ordered to take Point under fire.
2202 Circumstances were very favorable for the capture of LCI 348 intact; our own forces blanked the lines of fire of the supporting ships, the LCI was in an enfilade position from ADELUP and ASAN Points and radar indicated the LCI 348 to be within reach of attacking forces from the beach. The paramount consideration was to prevent operation orderss and plans for the invasion of GUAM from falling into the hands of the Japanese. The Commanding Officer of LCI 348 was ordered to burn all classified material and at the same time to jettison all fuel, water, stores, and ammunition that could be disposed of quickly. LCI 471 was ordered to make further attempts to pass a tow to LCI 348.
2214-2220 LCI 471 reported she was aground. LCI 471 ordered to back clear and withdraw to a safe navigational distance. LCI 471 reports that she is free and withdrawing. LCI 348 reports that her propellers are destroyed.
2222 LCI 348 again directed to burn all classified matter, to destroy IFF, destroy rockets and guns, and to salvage SCR 610 radioi. DICKERSON directed to send boat to rescue personnel. LCI ordered abandoned.
2248 SCHROEDER ordered to take ASAN Point under rapid fire.
2312 DICKERSON reported all personnel and confidential gear removed from LCI 348; lifeboat and life raft proceeding to DICKERSON. DICKERSON requested extension of deadline for completion of Demolition Mission to twenty minutes before moonrise; permission granted.
2325 LCI 469 reported that she had eight men from LCI 348 onboard.
18 JULY 1944
0025 Boats with Underwater Demolition Teams embarked enroute beaches; DICKERSON requested interdiction fire to drown out noise of the boat engines. 0140 Demolition party on beach reported mortar fire from ASAN Point SCHROEDER ordered to take Point under fire, U.D.T. spotting.
0556 Commenced firing along tree line on beach back of LCI 348. 0630 Formed column with SCHROEDER and resumed bombardment inside of ASAN Beach, speed 5 knots, average range 3000 yards and conforming to movements of MINNEAPOLIS.
0829 Heavy dive bombing and strafing attack commenced on ASAN Beach. 0852 Formed protective disposition around LCI 348 with the remaining two LCI's about 200 yards off the reef, the DICKERSON about 400 yards astern of the LCI's and the two destroyers 800 and 1000 yards on either flank.
0905 Commenced heavy harassing fire. 0929 Following message received from CTF-53, DICKERSON has been directed to send an armed boarding party on LCI 348 to retake grounded craft. Direct LCI 471 and 473 to cover boarding party from each flank. SIGSBEE and SCHROEDER cover from as near reef as practicable. Have one of the LCI's take 348 in tow.
1023 Boarding party reported that they had found no Japanese on board LCI 348. There was 3 feet of water all around the ship and a long towing cable would be required to pull her clear. 1123 LCI underway, passing towing cable completed. 1128 Secured from General Quarters. 1154 Received from CTF-53 following message, Report with SCHROEDER to CTU53.5.3 for screen duty
All personnel behaved in an admirable manner and great credit accrues to them for maintaining a high state of alertness over a period of forty-eight hours of almost continuous shooting and with many interruptions dring the lulls between phases. No personnel casualties resulted from this operation.
Cmdr. G.P. Chung-Hoon.