A newsletter, FORE'NAFT, from the USS San Francisco CA 38 dated September 16, 1943 paying tribute to the USS Helena CL 50.
Copied from the original. Provided by Charlie McClelland, USS Helena CL-50
THE USS HELENA
Vol 1 "Fun and Frolic on the Frisco" No. 16
September 16, 1943 U.S.S. SAN FRANCISCO
TO THE LADY WITH THE HEART OF GOLD
Our hearts were heavy from the loss of buddies and shipmates, our stomachs were upset from the sight of blood and the smell of death, our eyes were half-closed from lack of sleep and rest-----our lives were empty and useless from heartache, lonesomeness fear and disgust.
Limping into port, worn and beaten, we flopped into our berth alongside a sister through fortune, a brother through battle, a twin through perseverance. On our cleaning stations we heard something, we bent our ears, our hearts jumped, life awakened, eyes opened, faces broke into smiles - - life was worthwhile after all - - the HELENA band was gathered on our well-deck playing music: a tribute to our dead, a shot-in-the-arm to our living.
The U.S.S. HELENA, who fought side by side with us, who gave and took as much as we, who stood mightily against the same odds, and who emerged as victorious as any, was proving herself a lady of maganimity by giving us the credit she herself deserved as much as we.
The night of October 11, when the U.S.S. BOISE, was hit and afire she placed herself between this unfortunate sister of the seas and the enemy, her guns were blazing in tempo with every beat of her huge heart. The effects of her firepower were felt by the Jap navy, even if not publicized by our own.
The morning of the 13th of November, as the FRISCO pulled away from the enemy battle fleet, the HELENA seemed to know our Admiral was gone, our Captain, Executive Officer, and Navigator were lost, she seemed to feel our helplessness and waded in to lend a helping hand. With the care of a Guardian Angel she hovered about us directing and leading. Literally hustling us into a port of safety.
Then with little thought for herself, she sent her men aboard to cheer us up, to brighten our lives, to tell us we had finished a job well-done--a job she herself had played more than her part to finish.
While all her comrades pulled out and away to recuperate from all their wounds, the HELENA Princess merely shined her guns and greased her engines, and stayed on to fight, and stand her ground even until her end.
We know not the circumstances surrounding her death, but we do know the consequences thereof---Uncle Sam's Navy has lost another fighting lady, a lady with a heart of pure gold.
It seems fitting to the U.S.S. HELENA then, that in view of her gallant exit from the seas her epitaph should read:
"NO GREATER LOVE HATH ANY MAN BUT THAT HE LAY DOWN HIS LIFE FOR OTHERS!"
Signed: U.S.S. SAN FRANCISCO