The photos in the gallery below are of Dr. Laughlin himself, a group of medical professionals together at Treasure Island in June of 1945 just prior to the end of the war (a tropical medical program off the coast of California), STRONG on the way to Africa on the shakedown cruise in the fall of 1942, a destroyer in the distance at Espiritu Santos March of 1943 (possibly STRONG, hard to read the hull numbers) and a refueling event in March of 1943 in the Coral Sea. Of the photos, two were easy to investigate.
The Coral Sea refueling actually did take place on March 17th, 1943 as STRONG was engaged in actions with Task Force 18.6 and DESRON 21. The refueling ship was the USS KANKAKEE. What I love about this shot is Captain Wellings on the left foreground and the crew of the KANKAKEE can be seen on the deck hard at work. They refueled between 12:00 and 16:00 hours:
“17 March 1943: Steaming as before. 1315 Commenced maneuvering at various courses and speeds to make approach for fueling. 1346 Received tow line from USS KANKAKEE. 1351 Commenced fueling forward. 1354 Commenced fueling aft. 1435 Completed fueling forward. 1446 Completed fueling aft. Received 117,542 gallons at 86 degs. F. 1451 Cast off all connections to tanker. Commenced maneuvering at various courses and speeds to assume patrolling station #4. 1519 on station, commenced patrolling at 13 knots.”
One shows a destroyer in the background skirting the coast of an island. The family reported the photo as off the coast of Tulagi Island on March 7th, 1943. When I searched the war diary for this date it happens that they were moored on and patrolling around Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides:
“2nd March 1943: Steaming on various courses at 16 knots, standard speed 16 knots. Patrolling eastward entrance to Espiritu Santo Harbor. Task George A/S patrol. Boilers #2 and #3 in use. Condition of readiness TWO and Material condition Baker set.”
There’s nearly 700 miles distance from Tulagi to Espiritu Santo, so it’s unlikely they made the trip over night.
It’s amazing to have the documents that provide easy and ready answers to corroborate and verify the things that come to me. There are some of you I have shared this information with through Dropbox, and if any of you are interested in seeing the war diaries or other documents, email me or send a note via the Contact page on the web site. I prefer to share with family members only at this point, however if you are a researcher in need of information then we can discuss the sharing. I feel a need to protect this data, so distribution at this point is conditional.
As always, any of you that have photos or information to share I welcome that. Others within the group get a kick out of seeing what you find and it encourages them to dig a little deeper. No way can I put a value on the benefits of this information. It’s priceless. So thank you Connie and Barbara!!!