Based at Espiritu Santo, however, was Task Force SUGAR, commanded by Rear Admiral Norman Scott, and organized as follows:

    2 heavy cruisers:
      San Francisco, (F), Capt. Charles H. McMorris
      Salt Lake City, Capt. Ernest G. Small

    1 light cruiser:

      Boise, Capt. Edward J. Moran

    3 destroyers, Capt. Robert G. Tobin

      Farenholt, Comdr. Eugene T. Seaward
      Buchanan, Comdr. Ralph E. Wilson
      Laffey, Lt. Comdr. William E. Hank

The Task Force as thus constituted was too small for effective operations against the enemy units likely to be encountered. It was augumented therefore by three other ships operating in the vicinity of Espiritu Santo: the light cruiser Helena (Capt. Gilbert C. Hoover), and the destroyers Duncan (Lt. Comdr. Ennis W. Taylor) and McCalla (Lt. Comdr. William G. Cooper).

If dispatched within the next few days, this force would, when off the southern shore of Guadalcanal, exert a protective influence on the left


flank of the Army convoy moving toward that island, even though not connected with the convoy in an operational sense.4 Since its creation as a separate unit on 20 September, it had engaged only in target practice.

Accordingly, Task Force SUGAR was ordered to sortie from Espiritu Santo on 7 October, and steam to a point in the neighborhood of Rennell Island, from which, upon receipt of air search information that enemy units were moving towards Guadalcanal, it would proceed to the Savo Island area in time to intercept them. Its stated mission was to "search for and destroy enemy ships and landing craft."


Table of Contents * Previous Chapter (1) * Next Chapter (3)


4 Troops and supplies from this convoy were disembarked at Guadalcanal without incident the afternoon of 13 October.

Last updated: May 27, 2003

Transcribed and formatted by Jerry Holden for the HyperWar Foundation