Langley, Wayne L., S1c

Fallen
 
 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Seaman 1st Class
Last Primary NEC
SN-9700-Seaman - Infantry, Gun Crews, and Seamanship Specialists
Last Rating/NEC Group
Seaman
Primary Unit
1943-1943, USS Helena (CL-50)
Service Years
1940 - 1943
Official/Unofficial US Navy Certificates
Order of the Golden Dragon
Neptune Subpoena
SN-Seaman
Seaman 1st Class

 Last Photo   Personal Details 


Home Country
United States
United States
Year of Birth
Not Specified
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Bersley H. Thomas, Jr. (Tom), SMCS to remember Langley, Wayne L., S1c.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Not Specified
Last Address
Not Specified

Casualty Date
Jul 06, 1943
 
Cause
Hostile, Died
Reason
Other Explosive Device
Location
Solomon Islands
Conflict
World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Northern Solomon Islands Campaign (1943-44)/Battle of Kula Gulf
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 




 Unofficial Badges 

Order of the Shellback Order of the Golden Dragon


 Military Association Memberships
Military Order of Foreign Wars of the United StatesUnited States Navy Cruiser Sailors AssociationMilitary Order of the World Wars (MOWW)
  1941, Military Order of Foreign Wars of the United States [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  1943, United States Navy Cruiser Sailors Association
  1945, Military Order of the World Wars (MOWW)

 Photo Album   (More...


 Ribbon Bar

 
 Enlisted/Officer Basic Training
  1942, Recruit Training (Bainbridge, MD), 298
 Duty Stations
Professional Schools and CoursesNTC (Cadre/Faculty Staff) Bainbridge, MDUSS Helena (CL-50)
  1942-1942, SN-0000, (SN) Seaman Apprenticeship School
  1942-1942, NTC (Cadre/Faculty Staff) Bainbridge, MD
  1943-1943, USS Helena (CL-50)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1943-1943 World War II
  1943-1943 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/New Georgia Campaign (1943)
  1943-1943 Northern Solomon Islands Campaign (1943-44)/Battle of Kula Gulf
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

USS Helena (CL-50) was a St. Louis-class light cruiser of the United States Navy, damaged in the attack on Pearl Harbor, and subsequently active in the Pacific War until she was sunk at the battle of Kula Gulf in 1943. Helena was the first ship to be awarded the Navy Unit Commendation.
Helena, the second Navy ship named after the city of Helena, Montana, was launched 27 August 1939 by the New York Navy Yard, sponsored by Miss Elinor Carlyle Gudger, granddaughter of Senator Thomas J. Welch of Montana, and commissioned 18 September 1939, Captain Max B. Demott in command.

 


Uss Helena in the South Pacific, 1943
(note: radar antennas have been brushed out by censors)
Career (US) United States Navy ensign
Name: Helena
Namesake: Helena, Montana
Builder: New York Navy Yard
Laid down: 1936-12-09
Launched: 1939-08-27
Commissioned: 1939-09-18
Fate: Sunk, Battle of Kula Gulf, 1943-07-06
General characteristics
Class and type: St. Louis class light cruiser
Displacement: 10,000 tons
Length: 608.3 feet (185 m)
Beam: 61.7 ft (18.8 m)
Draft: 19.8 ft (6.0 m)
Speed: 33 knots
Complement: 888 officers and enlisted men
Armament: 15×6 inch
8×5 inch
8×12 mm

 

   
Comments/Citation

Battle of Kula Gulf



Shore Bombardment of New Georgia





Helena in action at Kula Gulf, seen from Honolulu.



After overhaul in Sydney, Australia, she was back at Espiritu Santo in March to participate in bombardments of New Georgia, soon to be invaded. The first goal on New Georgia proper was Rice Anchorage. In the force escorting the transports carrying the initial landing parties, Helena moved into Kula Gulf just Before midnight on 4 July, and shortly after midnight on the 5th, her big guns opened up in her last shore bombardment.



Engagement with Japanese Destroyers

The landing of troops was completed successfully by dawn, but in the afternoon of 5 July 1943, word came that the Tokyo Express was ready to roar down once more and the escort group turned north to meet it. By midnight on 5 July, Helena''s group was off the northwest corner of New Georgia, three cruisers and four destroyers composing the group. Racing down to face them were three groups of Japanese destroyers, a total of ten enemy ships. Four of them peeled off to accomplish their mission of landing troops. By 0157, the Battle of Kula Gulf had begun, Helena began blasting away with a fire so rapid and intense that the Japanese later announced in all solemnity that she must have been armed with "6 inch machine guns". Ironically, Helena made a perfect target when lit by the flashes of her own guns.



Sinking of the Helena

Seven minutes after she opened fire, she was hit by a torpedo. Within the next 3 minutes, she was struck by two more. Almost at once, she began to jackknife. Below, she was flooding rapidly even before she broke up and sank stern first. In a well-drilled manner, Helena's men went over the side.


   
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