The war in the Pacific against the Japanese was drawing ever closer to the Japanese mainland. Many of the now famous battles to reclaim the small islands of the South Pacific from the Japanese had already been won, but this battle would turn out to be the largest and greatest sea battle in history; the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
It began on Oct. 23, 1944 and would go on for four days until October 26th. In the narrow waters surrounding Leyte, Samar and Luzon Islands in the Philippine archipelago, two fleets of the U.S. Navy would confront the Japanese Navy in a monumental clash of sea and air power the likes of which the world had never seen before. The victory of the U.S. Naval forces there made it possible for Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s return to the Philippines to take that nation back from the Japanese.
The U.S. Navy committed two fleets to the battle, the 3rd Fleet’s Task Force 38 and the 7th Fleet’s Task Force 77. This included 300 ships with 8 fleet carriers, 8 light carriers, 18 escort carriers, 12 battleships, 24 cruisers, 166 destroyers and destroyer escorts, many PT boats, submarines and fleet auxiliaries and about 1,500 planes. The Japanese forces with 67+ ships and included their combined 2nd, 3rd and 5th Fleets, and their Naval Air Service’s 1st and 2nd Air Fleets.
It is estimated that there were over 200,000 naval personnel involved in this epic battle.
By the end of this epic battle, the U.S. had suffered 3,000 casualties, lost one light cruiser, 2 escort carriers, 2 destroyers, 1 destroyer escort sunk and 200 planes. The Japanese had over 12,000 casualties and lost 1 fleet carrier, 3 light carriers, 3 battleships, 10 cruisers, 11 destroyers sunk and almost all of their 300 planes both carrier-borne and land based.
The heroism and skill of the the U.S. Navy’s combined fleets and their carrier based air forces would destroy upwards of 50% of the remaining Japanese navy by the end of the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
This video is done by the crew of the modern Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser, USS Leyte Gulf, which was named after this historic sea battle of WWII. It carries 2 Sikorsky SH-60B or MH-60 R Seahawk LAMPS III helicopters as well as its compliment of missiles and other weapons. It is manned by a crew of 30 officers and 300 enlisted sailors.
The USS Leyte Gulf’s motto is “Arrayed for Victory,” but you will also hear another motto expressed by these proud crewmembers; “No Higher Honor.”
There is no higher honor than to serve on the USS Leyte Gulf and to carry on its history.
This article is written to remember the now 76th year anniversary of the epic battle at sea in WWII known as the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
Learn more in the video below.
The Veterans Site honors the history and the heroism of the United States Navy victory over the Japanese at Leyte Gulf from Oct. 23-26, 1944. We also send our thanks to those who have served and those who are currently serving on the USS Leyte Gulf (CG-55). You make us proud every day. We wish you all “Fair Winds and Following Seas!”
Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site Blog.