Battle of the Coral Sea
In late April, a Japanese task force was assembled to win control of the Coral Sea area and thereby isolate Australia. American ships were divided into task forces centered around Lexington and Yorktown, ... Sims was ordered to escort oiler, Neosho (AO23). The task force refueled on May 5 and 6 and then detached Neosho and Sims to continue to the next fueling point. ... On the morning of May 7, a search plane from the Japanese striking force sighted the oiler and destroyer and reported them to Admiral Takagi as a carrier and a cruiser. Takagi ordered an all-out attack. At 0930 15 high level bombers attacked the two ships but did no damage. At 1038, 10 attacked the destroyer, but skillful maneuvering evaded the nine bombs that were dropped. A third attack against the two ships by 36 dive bombers was devastating. Neosho was soon a blazing wreck as the result of seven direct hits and one plane that dived into her. ... Sims was attacked from all directions. The destroyer defended herself as best she could. Three 500-pound bombs hit the destroyer. Two exploded in the engine room; and, within minutes, the ship buckled amidships and began to sink, stern first. As Sims slid beneath the waves, there was a tremendous explosion that raised what was left of the ship almost 15 feet out of the water. ... Chief R. J. Dicken, in a damaged whaleboat, picked up 15 other survivors. They remained with Neosho, still afloat despite severe damage, until they were rescued by Henley (DD-391) on 11 May.