A very powerful Japanese force was moving at night toward our positions in the Solomon Islands. The spearhead of the force that we sent to intercept the enemy was under the command of Rear Admiral Daniel J. Callaghan. He was aboard the leading ship the cruiser San Francisco. The San Francisco sailed right into the enemy fleet – right through the whole enemy fleet – her guns blazing. She engaged and hit three enemy vessels, sinking one of them. At point-blank range she engaged an enemy battleship – heavily her superior in size and firepower. She silenced this battleship’s big guns and so disabled her that she could be sunk by torpedoes from our destroyers and aircraft. The San Francisco herself was hit many times. Admiral Callaghan, my close personal friend, and many of his gallant officers and men gave their lives in this battle. But the San Francisco was brought safely back to port by a Lieutenant Commander and she will fight again for our country. The commander of the task force of which the San Francisco was part of has recommended that she be the first of our Navy’s vessels to be decorated for outstanding service. But there are no citations, no medals, which carry with them such high honor as that accorded to fighting men by the respect of their comrades-in-arms. The commanding General of the Marines on Guadalcanal, General Vandergrift. Yesterday sent a message to the commander of this fleet, Admiral Halsey, saying: “We lift our battered helmets in admiration for those who fought magnificently against overwhelming odds and drove the enemy back to crushing defeat”. Let us thank God for such men as these. May our Nation continue to be worthy of them throughout this war, and forever.
Memorials, Sea - Military - Surface Warfare
Franklin D. Roosevelt
President of the United States
and Commander in Chief
November 17, 1942