On November 12, 1942, USS Juneau (CL-52) was struck on the port side by a torpedo launched by Japanese destroyer Amatsukaze, causing a severe list, and necessitating withdrawal. Before on 13 November, Juneau, along with two other cruisers damaged in the battle - Helena and San Francisco -headed toward Espiritu Santo for repairs. Juneau was steaming on one screw, keeping station 800 yd off the starboard quarter of the likewise severely damaged San Francisco. She was down 12 feet by the bow, but able to maintain 13 kn. A few minutes after 1100, two torpedoes were launched from Japanese submarine I-26. These were intended for San Francisco, but both passed ahead of her. One struck Juneau in the same place that had been hit during the battle. There was a great explosion; Juneau broke in two and disappeared in just 20 seconds. Fearing more attacks from I-26, and wrongly assuming from the massive explosion that there were no survivors, Helena and San Francisco departed without attempting to rescue any survivors. In fact, more than 100 sailors had survived the sinking of Juneau. They were left to fend for themselves in the open ocean for eight days before rescue aircraft belatedly arrived. While awaiting rescue, all but 10 died from the elements and shark attacks.
S2c Byers was listed as missing in action and later declared dead.
Service number: 6501563
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