Torpedo Attack out of Pearl Harbor
Neches steamed from Pearl Harbor late in the afternoon of January 22, 1942, headed for the western Pacific. Shortly after midnight, the watch discerned a possible submarine at a range of about 1,000 yards and immediately took evasive action. At 0310 there was a heavy thud amidships, probably a dud torpedo. At 0319 a torpedo struck the oiler on the starboard side abaft the engine room. The explosion caused extensive flooding in the engine room spaces, although water did not reach the fire room. At 0328 the submarine [I-72] was sighted to port just before another torpedo struck the port side. Both 5-inch guns took the submarine under fire and continued firing until 0335, when the list to starboard made it impossible to depress the guns sufficiently. ... Neches slowly settled forward and the list to starboard increased steadily. She sank at 0437, with a loss of fifty-seven men.