An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | Aug. 7, 2019

Wasp Holds Wreath Laying Ceremony in Coral Sea

By Chief Petty Officer Andrew McCord USS WASP (LHD 1)

Sailors aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) and embarked Marines from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) gathered in the ship’s hangar bay in the early hours of Aug. 3 to pay tribute to the crews lost during attacks on USS Neosho (AO 23), USS Sims (DD 409), and the eighth USS Wasp (CV 7), with a wreath laying ceremony.
The ceremony was especially compelling as Wasp (LHD 1) was transiting in the vicinity where Wasp (CV 7) was sunk, with the wreckage having been found in January of this year – 76 years after the tragedy.
“As we steam above the final resting place of this ship’s namesake, we take the time recognize the efforts of three amazing crews who served aboard three of America’s finest warships,” said Capt. Gregory Baker, Wasp’s Executive Officer, who served as master of ceremonies. “Today we honor three ships of the Pacific Fleet whose crews served honorably and admirably, and paved the way to victory in the Pacific.”
In May of 1942, during World War II, Neosho and her escort Sims were attacked by Japanese aircraft during the Battle of Coral Sea, with the ships initially being mistaken for an aircraft carrier and cruiser. Both ships sustained extreme damage, with Sims sinking – leaving only 14 survivors – and Neosho afloat, but listing heavily, and drifting for a number of days. Wasp’s demise came on September 15, 1942, when it was hit by three torpedoes from a Japanese submarine, triggering major fuel fires, and in turn ammunition detonations. Commanding Officer Capt. Forrest P. Sherman ordered the ship abandoned less than an hour after the initial torpedo strikes, with that decision ultimately saving the lives of the majority of the crew and embarked Marines. Wasp was ultimately scuttled to prevent the ship from falling into enemy hands.
Five wreaths were placed in the Coral Sea by Wasp Commanding Officer Capt. Christopher Herr, Commander, Amphibious Squadron ELEVEN Capt. Jim McGovern, Commander, 31st MEU Col. Robert Brodie, Wasp Command Master Chief Kevin Guy, and Wasp Navigator Lt. Roger Gonzalez. The ceremony was especially poignant for Gonzalez, whose great uncle – J. C. Crowder – was onboard Wasp the day it was attacked.
“He enlisted after Pearl Harbor, met Wasp stateside – apparently he had never seen the ocean before – and sailed away with the ship,” said Gonzalez. “When the ship was struck, he ended up surviving by jumping off the flight deck after abandon ship was called away. Some of his recollections of this event to family members were pretty horrific, but I think it’s important to focus on the fact that he was able to serve his country, do his duty, and after Wasp, to ultimately live to be fairly old.”
During the ceremony, which concluded with a 21-gun salute, Herr noted the heroism of the crew, especially with the collective and impromptu prioritization they made to ensure all the injured were safely off the doomed ship.
“On that afternoon in the South Pacific, the Sailors and Marines on Wasp were tested; their ship was attacked and damaged to the point of requiring abandonment. And through it all, their humanity shone,” he said. “However… on that day nearly 2,000 men collectively decided the well-being of others was the priority, even at the risk of their lives – and they made that decision in utter mayhem. In the two hours from the initial torpedo strike, until the last man was safely off Wasp, these Sailors and Marines became heroes.”
Wasp, flagship of the Wasp Amphibious Ready Group, with embarked 31st MEU, is operating in the Indo-Pacific region to enhance interoperability with partners and serve as a ready response force for any type of contingency.


Like Us
Follow Us



CARAT Indonesia 2022 Kicks Off with Indonesian and U.S. Navy and Marine Corps
Indonesian Navy Rear Adm. Rachmad Jayadi deputy commander, Indonesian Navy Education and Training Doctrine Development Command, and U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Joaquin Martinez, vice commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, walk down the center aisle to being the opening ceremony for Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training 2022, Dec. 7. CARAT Indonesia is a bilateral exercise between Indonesia and the United States designed to promote regional security cooperation, maintain and strengthen maritime partnerships, and enhance maritime interoperability. In its 28th year, the CARAT series is comprised of multinational exercises, designed to enhance U.S. and partner navies’ and marine corps abilities to operate together in response to traditional and non-traditional maritime security challenges in the Indo-Pacific region.
Dec. 7, 2022 - SURABAYA, Indonesia -- The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps began exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Indonesia 2022 with the Indonesian Navy (TNI-AL) and Marine Corps (KORMAR RI) in Surabaya, Indonesia, Dec...

Joint Statement on Australia-U.S. Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) 2022
Dec. 7, 2022 - WASHINGTON -- The Governments of the United States of America and Australia released the following statement on the occasion of the 32nd annual Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN).Secretary of State...

U.S. Marines, Japan Ground Self-Defense Force Exercise Defensive Capabilities Across Multiple Islands during Keen Sword 23
U.S. Marines with 1st Battalion, 2d Marines and members of the Japan Self-Defense Force Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade offload a Japan Self Defense Force CH-47JA Chinook helicopter during Keen Sword 23 at Tsutara, Japan, Nov. 16, 2022. Keen Sword is a biennial training event that exercises the combined capabilities and lethality developed between 3d Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, and the Japan Self-Defense Force. This bilateral field-training exercise between the U.S. military and JSDF strengthens interoperability and combat readiness of the U.S.-Japan Alliance.
Dec. 7, 2022 - OKINAWA, Japan -- The exercise kicked off with the establishment of three Bilateral Ground Tactical Coordination Centers (BGTCCs) at three different locations in the Nansei Islands where Marines from the 3d Marine Division,...

USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) Returns to Yokosuka, Japan
Sailors stand at parade rest aboard Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) during their return to Yokosuka, Japan, Dec. 5. Chancellorsville is forward-deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet in support of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific and is assigned to Commander, Task Force 70, a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interest of its allies and partners in the region.
Dec. 7, 2022 - YOKOSUKA, Japan -- The forward-deployed Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) returned to Yokosuka, Japan Dec. 5, concluding their successful deployment in the 7th Fleet area of operations.The...

Community Pays Final Respects to Unaccompanied Veterans
A U.S. Army veteran renders a salute to the remains of five veterans after an unaccompanied funeral service at the Fort Richardson National Cemetery on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Nov. 30, 2022. The Department of Military and Veterans Affairs works jointly with the federally recognized non-profit organization Missing in American Project in locating, identifying and interring the unclaimed cremated remains of veterans with full honors and ceremony.
Dec. 7, 2022 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Service members and civilians came together to pay their final respects to five veterans during an unaccompanied funeral service at the Fort Richardson National Cemetery on Joint...