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Re: Relief

April 23 2009 at 8:26 AM
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Nelson  (no login)

Response to Re: Relief


You wrote:

< I strongly suspect that his relief was scheduled to occur, that his relief, Lt. Cdr. Edward Nelson Parker, USNA25 was slated for his division command... >

I'm not saying I don't wanta believe, but in fact I'm muy dubious. Not a few men of both services held orders for their imminent transport back to the States, but the war threw a terrible monkey wrench into the works and their orders got put on hold. Three realities would argue against your version of events:

1. Every evidence indicates that Parker's elevation to division commander was a temporary thing--though perhaps more than as acting commander--meant only to hold the line. In November 1942, upon winning his third Navy Cross, Parker was no longer a division commander, who despite his repeated bravery in action, remained a lieutenant commander and was back to being a destroyer commanding officer (albeit of a modern can). His division commander, Cdr. T. Murray Stokes, sailed and died aboard Parker's CUSHING (DD 376) the night she was lost in the Solomons.

2. Commander Paul Talbot was cooling his heels and then some in Oz, waiting for transport stateside. Even if he was performing admin duty of some sort until he departed, didn't the U.S. Navy have better use for such an audacious destroyer division commander? It's not like we were winning the naval war in the NEI hands down. I also call to your attention that going into 1944, Talbot was still a commander (despite his NC) and serving as XO...nicht CO...of a troopship (albeit a megatroopship). I have been provided a photo of him in late 1943/early 1944, standing with his boss on WEST POINT, and still wearing three gold rings on his sleeves. This was part of the grand scheme that the navy had planned for such a warrior?

3. IMO, the only senior American destroyer division commander still performing as such was Cdr. Thomas Binford, who fought his division bravely if without effect at Java Sea. I don't know what Crouch or his boss Wiley were up to at the time, but both seem conspicuously absent from belligerent events. And after the intrepid Parker led his two-ship section at Badoeng Strait, he sort of disappears, too. Ironically, one of the most professionally superb--and last--acts accomplished by American DDs acting in divisional strength was their escape through Bali Strait and across the Indian Ocean to safety. Thereafter, we have a series of brave single-destroyer events, most of which led to their destruction.

None of those instances strike me as examples of the sound use of experienced senior personnel, intended as the best measures for at least the short-term prosecution of the war.

Don wrote:

< {There were also those who did not take kindly to Crouch's decision to clear the area after WHIPPLE returned to p/u the survivors of PECOS, but that may be another matter.} >

Yeah, the vast majority of them still afloat in the Indian Ocean. To be fair to Crouch, it must be pointed out that the decision was made as a concensus by him, Abernathy (PECOS), and Karpe (WHIPPLE), but I think it is also fair to surmise that a different man...or different men...would have made a different decision.


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  • Stokes and Parker in the naval battle of Guadalcanal - Nelson on Apr 23, 2009, 5:12 PM
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