I found the following description of the naval battle of Guadalcanal, mid-November 1942, in which Lt. Cdr. Edward N. Parker (CO of CUSHING, DD 376) won his third Navy Cross and Cdr. T. Murray Stokes (ComDesDiv 10) lost his life. Until May 1942, Lt. Cdr. Stokes had been commanding officer of GRAYSON (DD 435). For more in this website, see
but here are a few snippets from same:
"In anticipation of a possible course reversal during the approach or during the battle, [R/Adm Daniel J. Callaghan] had placed his senior destroyer officer, Captain Robert G. Tobin, ComDesRon 12, in the rear division of destroyers, which were the AARON WARD, BARTON, MONSSEN and FLETCHER. Of these, only the latter had the new SG surface-search radar that could reliably make out targets and plot them at 25,000-30,000 yards, as the cruisers HELENA and BOISE had done at the Battle of Cape Esperance. Heading the lead division of destroyers was his other divisional commander, Cdr Murray Stokes, ComDesDiv 10; these were the CUSHING, LAFFEY, STERETT and FLETCHER, the latter again a brand new ship with SG radar. Callaghan may not have known it, but in L/Cdr [Edward N.] "Butch" Parker of CUSHING, the leading one of his thirteen ships, he probably had his most single battle-aware and experienced destroyer captain, as Parker had fought in the Asiatic Fleet in the desperate months after Pearl Harbor."
While the writer does carelessly place FLETCHER (DD 445) in both DesDiv 12 and DesDiv 10 [as we shall soon read, O'BANNON (DD 450) was the trailing destroyer in DesDiv 10], he does establish Cdr. Stokes as ComDesDiv 10, with Lt. Cdr. Parker as captain of the flagship. The account continues a bit later:
"Cdr Stokes, ComDesDiv 10 in CUSHING, advised ComTaskGroup 67.4 by TBS radio: 'Three unidentified ships 45 degrees on our port bow. Be alert.' In fact YUDACHI and HARUSAME would have been in that direction, but a good 5000 yards off. Had CUSHING somehow seen them? Hammel*, having interviewed L/Cdr Parker of CUSHING, makes no mention of such an early sighting."
And later yet:
"ComDesDiv 10, Cdr Murray Stokes in CUSHING, bulled through the crowded TBS circuit to ask Admiral Callaghan at 0143: 'Shall I let them have a couple of fish?' LAFFEY and STERETT had just made the turn to port to follow CUSHING. O'BANNON now turned 45 degrees left at 0144 to follow STERETT..."
It may be indeed that Lt. Cdr. Edward N. Parker was at the time being groomed to be the commander of a destroyer division, and in fact he had had some experience as such while in the Asiatic Fleet, but certainly in November 1942, he was back at being the commanding officer of a destroyer. Thus I must conclude that his relief of Cdr. Paul Talbot as ComDesDiv 59, Asiatic Fleet, had been both fortuitous and transitory. I for one would like to know more about Parker's later wartime career, not to mention Talbot's.
*The Hammel referred to in the preceding text is Eric Hammel, DECISION AT SEA.
Other sources include
C.W. Kilpatrick, NIGHT BATTLES IN THE SOLOMONS
Samuel E. Morison, THE STRUGGLE FOR GUADALCANAL
Theodore Roscoe, UNITED STATES DESTROYER OPERATIONS IN WORLD WAR II (in abridged softcover as TIN CANS)