These are the remains of the flag bridge of the cruiser USS San Francisco, badly damaged in battle against Japanese naval forces on the night of November 12-13, 1942. The shrapnel-torn holes in her bridge bear mute testimony of to the ferocious combat and enormous casualties suffered by the warship during the encounter near Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands in the Pacific Ocean.
War in the Pacific
On December 7, 1941 San Francisco was at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii awaiting a major overhaul. Moored across the channel from Battleship Row, the cruiser was undamaged during the Japanese attack and put to sea on December 16. The USS San Francisco became one of only a handful of major American warships operating in the Pacific.
On Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands, Japanese soldiers were building an airfield that would control thousands of square miles of ocean and the sea routes to Australia. To stop this enemy build-up, U.S. Marines invaded Guadalcanal in August 1942
The USS San Francisco served a key role in this campaign, protecting American aircraft carriers and troop transports throughout the Solomons, bombarding shore installations, and intercepting enemy vessels attempting to land additional troops and supplies.
On November 12-13, 1942, during a nighttime engagement, described as "the most furious sea battle fought in history," the San Francisco and twelve escort ships turned back a Japanese fleet of seventeen ships that was threatening U.S. forces on Guadalcanal Island. The cost of victory was enormous: 107 of San Francisco's crew were killed during the action, including Rear Admiral Daniel Callaghan, a native of San Francisco.
Following the gallant actions off Guadalcanal the cruiser was repaired and returned to duty. She served throughout the war and earned seventeen battle stars and a Presidential unit citation.
After the war, San Francisco installed a monument here, the centerpiece of which is the battle-damaged flag bridge. It was dedicated on November 12, 1950, as a memorial to the ship, her crew and their courageous sacrifices during World War II.