Andres, Eric Theodore, ENS

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Last Rank
Last Primary NEC
000X-Unknown Navy Officer Classification/ Designator
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1942-1942, USS Astoria (CA-34)
Service Years
1941 - 1942

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Year of Birth
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Casualty Info
Home Town
Valparaiso, IN
Last Address
4138 Cherokee Dr
Madison, WI
(Mother~Vera Marie Andres)

Casualty Date
Aug 09, 1942
Not Specified
Not Specified
Not Specified
World War II
Location of Interment
Manila American Cemetery - Taguig City, Philippines
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Wall of the Missing (Cenotaph)

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 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Battle of Savo Island

By the beginning of August, Astoria had been reassigned to Task Group 62.3 (TG 62.3), Fire Support Group L, to cover the Guadalcanal-Tulagi landings. Early on the morning of 7 August, the heavy cruiser entered the waters between Guadalcanal and Florida Islands in the southern Solomons. Throughout the day, she supported the Marines as they landed on Guadalcanal and several smaller islands nearby. The Japanese launched air counterattacks on the 7th-8th, and Astoria helped to defend the transports from those attacks.

On the night of 8/9 August, a Japanese force of seven cruisers and a destroyer under Vice Admiral Gunichi Mikawa sneaked by Savo Island and attacked the American ships. At the time, Astoria had been patrolling to the east of Savo Island in column behind Vincennes and Quincy. The Japanese came through the channel to the west of Savo Island and opened fire on Chicago - HMAS Canberra force first at about 0140 on the morning of the 9th, hitting both cruisers with torpedoes and shells. They then divided - inadvertently - into two separate groups and turned generally northeast, passing on either side of Astoria and her two consorts. The enemy cruisers began firing on that force at about 0150, and the heavy cruiser began return fire immediately. She ceased fire briefly because her commanding officer temporarily mistook the Japanese force for friendly ships but soon resumed shooting. Astoria took no hits in the first four Japanese salvoes, but the fifth ripped into her superstructure, turning her into an inferno amidships. In quick succession, enemy shells put her No. 1 turret out of action and started a serious fire in the plane hangar that burned brightly and provided the enemy with a self-illuminated target.

From that moment on, deadly accurate Japanese gunfire pounded her unmercifully, and she began to lose speed. Turning to the right to avoid Quincy's fire at about 0201, Astoria reeled as a succession of enemy shells struck her aft of the foremast. Soon thereafter, Quincy veered across Astoria's bow, blazing fiercely from bow to stern. Astoria put her rudder over hard left and avoided a collision while her battered sister ship passed aft, to starboard. As the warship turned, Kinugasa's searchlight illuminated her, and men on deck passed the order to No. 2 turret to shoot out the offending light. When the turret responded with Astoria's 12th and final salvo, the shells missed Kinugasa but struck the No. 1 turret of Chokai.

Astoria lost steering control on the bridge at about 0225, shifted control to central station, and began steering a zig-zag course south. Before she made much progress, though, the heavy cruiser lost all power. Fortunately, the Japanese chose that exact instant to withdraw. By 0300, nearly 400 men, including about 70 wounded and many dead, were assembled on the forecastle deck.

Suffering from the effects of at least 65 hits, Astoria fought for her life. A bucket brigade battled the blaze on the gun deck and the starboard passage forward from that deck, and the wounded were moved to the captain's cabin, where doctors and corpsmen proceeded with their care. Eventually, however, the deck beneath grew hot and forced the wounded back to the forecastle. The bucket brigade made steady headway, driving the fire aft on the starboard side of the gun deck, while a gasoline handy-billy rigged over the side pumped a small stream into the wardroom passage below.

Bagley came alongside Astoria's starboard bow and, by 0445, took all of the wounded off the heavy cruiser's forecastle. At that point, a small light flashed from Astoria's stern, indicating survivors on that part of the ship. Signaling the men on the heavy cruiser's stern that they had been seen, Bagley got underway and rescued men on rafts, some Vincennes survivors,  and men who had been driven overboard by the fires blazing aboard Astoria.

With daylight, Bagley returned to the heavy cruiser and came alongside her starboard quarter. Since it appeared that the ship could be saved, a salvage crew of about 325 able-bodied men went back aboard Astoria. Another bucket brigade attacked the fires while the ship's first lieutenant investigated all accessible lower decks. A party of men collected the dead and prepared them for burial. Hopkins came up to assist in the salvage effort at about 0700. After securing a towline, Hopkins proceeded ahead, swinging Astoria around in an effort to tow her to the shallow water off Guadalcanal. A second gasoline-powered handy-billy, transferred from Hopkins, promptly joined the struggle against the fires. Wilson soon arrived on the scene, coming alongside the cruiser at about 0900 to pump water into the fire forward. Called away at 1000, Hopkins and Wilson departed, but the heavy cruiser received word that Buchanan was on the way to assist in battling the fires and that Alchiba was coming to tow the ship.

Nevertheless, the fire below decks increased steadily in intensity, and those topside could hear explosions. Her list increased, first to 10° and then 15°. Her stern lowered in the dark waters, and her bow was distinctively rising. All attempts to shore the shell hole,  by then below the waterline due to the increasing list,proved ineffective, and the list increased still more. Buchanan arrived at 11:30, but could not approach due to the heavy port list. Directed to stand off the starboard quarter, she stood by while all hands assembled on the stern, which was now wet with seawater. With the port waterway awash at noon, Commodore William G. Greenman gave the order to abandon ship.

Astoria turned over on her port beam, rolled slowly, and settled by the stern, disappearing completely by 12:16. Buchanan lowered two motor whaleboats and, although interrupted by a fruitless hunt for a submarine, came back and assisted the men in the water. Alchiba, which arrived on the scene just before Astoria sank, rescued 32 men. Not one man from the salvage crew lost his life. Officially, 219 men were reported missing or killed.
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 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
USS Astoria (CA-34)
  1942-1942, USS Astoria (CA-34)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1942-1942 Central Pacific Campaign (1941-43)/Battle of Midway
  1942-1942 Guadalcanal-Tulagi landings/Battle of Savo Island
 Colleges Attended 
Valparaiso University
  1933-1937, Valparaiso University1
 Other News, Events and Photographs
  Oct 25, 1941, Joined Naval Reserve attended Midshipman's School at Northwestern University.
  May 15, 1942, Promoted to Ensign
  Dec 23, 2017, General Photos1
 Military Association Memberships
United States Navy Memorial WW II Memorial National RegistryThe National Gold Star Family RegistryWorld War II Fallen
  2017, United States Navy Memorial - Assoc. Page
  2017, WW II Memorial National Registry
  2017, The National Gold Star Family Registry
  2017, World War II Fallen
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