TIME MAGAZINE ARTICLE|
March 8, 1943
OPERATIONS "Swayback Maru"
A treaty ship laid down in 1927, she is the oldest heavy cruiser the US
has. So bare of streamlined beauty is her ungainly silhouette that Correspondent,
Bob Casey (author of Torpedo Junction) fondly fastened the nickname "Swayback Maru" on her when the censors would not let him reveal her real name. Because
she never got hit hard enough to be sent home for repairs, she never got much publicity.
but many a high-ranking Navy man was willing to concede by last week that on performance
the Salt Lake City was the No. I US Cruiser of the war.
For tall, trim
Captain Ellis Zacharias, as he left her for Washington after five combat actions to become Assistant Chief of Naval Intelligence, the crew of the Salt Lake City had a handsome testimonial.
Their scroll recalled Old Swayback's great fighting career, the raid on the Marshalls, the attack on Jap held
Wake, the days and nights at "general quarters" when the enemy was hammering at them with bombs and
torpedos. "We say farewell to you with a deep sense of personal loss", it concluded.
The Salt Lake City rose to her most heroic moment for a new
Captain Ernest G. "Shorty"
Small, on the night of Oct. 11-12.
That night she was
hunting destroyers which had been reinforcing the Japs on Guadalcanal.
She found more: six cruisers, six destroyers, a transport and
auxiliaries. First, her ten guns set a light cruiser ablazing. Twenty
rounds from her crack batteries were enough to finish a heavy cruiser,
blowing up its entire mid-section. Other US warcraft and the Salt Lake
City joined fire to sink one of the auxiliaries. Then the Salt Lake
City returned to her first target, the damaged light cruiser and pumped
more salvos into her.
See related story from USS SLC Cruise Book
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