Air Attack at Cape Torokina
Following the brilliant American naval victory over Japanese forces in the Battle of Empress Augusta Bay McKean steamed with a reinforcement convoy to Bougainville and on the 6th landed marines near Cape Torokina, Empress Augusta Bay. She carried additional troops to Bougainville November 11. 1943, thence returned to Guadalcanal to embark additional troops for another mission. ... With 185 marines embarked, McKean sailed up the slot late 15 November. As she approached Empress Augusta Bay early November 17, she was attacked by a torpedo plane which launched a torpedo. McKean maneuvered to evade the deadly weapon however the torpedo struck the starboard side, exploding the after magazine and depth charge spaces and rupturing fuel oil tanks. Flaming oil engulfed McKean aft of the No. 1 stack, and she lost all power and communications. Burning oil on the water killed men who were blown or jumped overboard. Her skipper ordered the ship abandoned and McKean sank within 20 minutes after the explosion. ... Sixty-four of her complement and 52 of her embarked troops died from the explosions or flames. The survivors were picked up by rescuing destroyers.