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The United States Navy Memorial

Navy Memorial Honoring the Men & Women of the Sea Services



Ship Designation: 
Date Lost: 
Thursday, May 7, 1942
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.

Lost At Sea Log

Number of sailors in this log: 225

Namesort descending Service Branch
Sea 1c James Pike USN
F 2c Allen Pittman USN
AS Cecil Pitts USN
F 3c Burel Plant USN
AS Manuel Polomares USN
Sea 2c Johnnie Privett USN
Sea 1c George Pruett USN
F 3c Clabe Putnal USN
AS Willis Quesenberry USN
Lt Melvin Radcliffe USN
MM 1c Maunsel Ramsey USN
F 1c Raphael Ratti USN
SC 1c James Ray USN
CGM John Reistetter USN
FC 3c Lawrence Renger USN
F 1c Nathan Roberts USN
MM 1c Robert Rock USN
AS Harold Rose USN
F 3c Harold Ross USN
EM 2c Harold Ruffner USN


Dictionary of American Naval FIghting Ships