Naval Battle of Guadalcanal
In the Guadalcanal campaign, after shepherding the transports o safety, Sterett joined the US cruiser-destroyer force to intercept the Japanese raiding force. Upon detecting the Japanese force Sterett and her colleagues increased speed changed course and threaded their way into the enemy formation. ... A deadly crossfire immediately engulfed Sterett. She fired on a cruiser to starboard and, in turn, took a terrific pounding from battleship Hiei on her port side. Soon her first target was enveloped in a large explosion and sank. Sterett turned now to the Japanese battleship tormenting her port side, let fly four torpedoes, and peppered her superstructure with 5-inch shells. Though the battleship neither sank nor sustained severe damage, Sterett had the satisfaction of scoring two torpedo hits before a third target crossed her bow. At the appearance of an enemy more her size, Sterett tore into the destroyer with her guns and launched two torpedoes. Before the Japanese destroyer could fire a single shot at Sterett, she was lifted from the water by exploding torpedoes and rapidly sank. ... Sterett had undergone a brutal beating from Hiei and various other enemy ships. With the Japanese retiring toward Savo Island, Sterett, her after guns and starboard torpedo tubes out of commission, began to withdraw. She had difficulty overtaking the rest of her force because of her damaged steering gear and the necessity to reduce speed periodically to control the blaze on her after deck. ... During the battle Sterett sustained 11 hits (three were major caliber hits) and several near misses that caused damage. ... Casualties incurred were 26 killed and 18 seriously injured. However, by dawn, she was back in formation on the starboard quarter of USS San Francisco.