We spent many months inthe Solomons after leaving Espirito Santos, New Hebrides. We anchored at Tulagi across from Guadalcanal. It was from there that we transported the 4th Marine Raiders, commanded by Col. James "Jimmy" Roosevelt. We made landings at the Russel Islands, New Georgia Islands, Bouganville, Treasury and Choseul Islands.
I of course, can't remember the dates but at New Georgie we took the 4th raiders in on one night, dropped them off, came under heavy shore batteries and had to abandon our boat crews and the next night we went back, picked up the Raiders and our boat crews and proceed back to Espirito Santos. While on the beach, our Boatsun' mate in charge was given an order by a Marine Officer to do some thing or another, and he politely told the Officer that he was a Sailor not a Marine and to shove off. Naturally he was court mashalled , broken down a notch, but before it was over with he had his rank back.
We then made the landing and several reinforcements at Bouganville and on one such excursion we came under heavy Torpedo bomber attack in the middle of the night around 3-4 AM. I can't recall how many ships were hit, but do know that the USSMckean and APD was hit and sunk, off our Starboad bow . I heard that in picking up the survivors, they also picked up the Japanese pilot of the Torpedo Bomber that sank them as he was shot down in the process. I can"t verify this.
We also recieved the Presidential Citation for making two landings in one day. One at Treasury Island and the other at Choiseul Island.
Immediately after these two landings and after leaving the latter Island we picked up a Native guide and we traveled in the moonlight until about 3:00A, being bombed by our own PBY's as we were on radio silence. I believe we went to Vella La Vella Island where the Japanese Imperial Guard was supposed to be, and picked up Survivors from one of our Naval Ships that was sunk. If my memory serves me right, they could have been from the Heavy Cruiser, USS Helena.
One interesting development occurred on the trip and that was with our native guide. He was standing amid ships with his hand on the metal guide of the boat davits. Unbeknowing to him, were were being very quiet and a verbal order was given to the Boatsun Mate to Lower one of the landing crafts. This Cradles wheel rolled over the fingers of our Native guide crushing all fingers. He was in excrutiating pain, but his hatred for the Japanesse was such that he climed in the boat and went ashore and retrieved the survivors with our Boat Crews.
During my tour of duty onthe USS Ward and the USS Crosby I participated in 32 initial landings. We shot down several Japanese aircraft and bombarded several beachheads.
One interesting note on the sinking of the USSWard APD16 was that Major Bong, the P-38 Ace was flying cover for us at Ormoc. He and his crew shot down the three Bettys and the first one tried to hit us but went over our bow just in from of the bridge. The second one come down on us a saw that he could'n't get low enough to Sui-Louie us so he drop a bomb. Our ship was so rusty that the bomb went throught the well-deck and out the Starboard side of our ship. The next one was low enough to hit us Amid ships. Ou Radarman was coming out of the Galley with a cup of "Joe" and was walking right over the sopot where the plane hit.