Papers (1942-1945) of a U.S. Naval officer, USNA Class of 1941, consisting of Battle of Vella Gulf battle reports (1943), a history of the USS Lang (DD-399), USS Lang action reports (Feb. 1942-April 1944), naval communiques relating to USS Lang (1942-1944), and after-action reports for the battles of Vella Gulf, Guadalcanal, Wewak, (New Guinea), Morotai, Leyte Gulf, Okinawa, Lingayen Gulf, and other Pacific Ocean operations in which the USS Lang participated (1942-1945)
Captain Pemberton Southard was born in Augusta, ME (February 4, 1918), and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) in 1941. During World War II, Southard served on the destroyers USS LANG (DD-399) and USS MYLES C. FOX (DD-829), and after the war, the destroyer minesweeper USS DORAN (DMS-41), the attack cargo ship USS VERMILION (AKA-107), the radar picket destroyer USS TURNER (DDR-834), and the destroyer tender USS GRAND CANYON (AD-28). Southard also held many administrative positions with the Bureau of Naval Personnel; Amphibious Group Two; the Naval War College; the Naval Station in Key West, FL; the NROTC Unit of Princeton University; the Fleet Training Group in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; the First Naval District; and the Fleet Training Group and Center in Newport, RI. Southard was awarded several medals, including the Silver Star for his conduct for the Vella Gulf Night Action.
The collection consists of official Navy action reports of the USS LANG (February 1, 1942-April 4, 1944), three accounts of the Battle of Vella Gulf in the Solomon Islands, a history of the LANG, and a biographical sketch of Southard. The reports detail the LANG'S participation in various operations and include information on casualties, damage, other ships involved, analysis of the LANG'S performance, commendations, and lessons learned from the engagements. Discussed are the search and rescue of survivors in the Atlantic Theatre from the torpedoed British freighter SS EMPIRE WILDEBEESTE in cooperation with oiler USS SAPELO (AO-11, February 1, 1942); actions during shore bombardments on Guadalcanal (February 3, 1943), Nauru Island (December 10, 1943), and the Caroline Islands (January 31, 1944); surface and anti-aircraft engagements in the Vella Gulf and Georgia Island in the Solomon Islands (July 27, August 1, 15-16, 1943); landings on Makin in the Gilbert Islands (November 30, 1943); and anti-submarine actions (April 4, 1944).
The collection also includes three descriptions of the Battle of Vella Gulf (August 6-7, 9-10, 1943) consisting of an official Navy narrative detailing the battle plan, a chronological log of the battle, actions of all the destroyers involved, diagrams of the battle, and comments on enemy forces; a reminiscence that lists American and Japanese destroyers involved; and a typescript newspaper account of the action by an international news correspondent (August 10, 1943).
Also included in the collection are two histories of the LANG and biographical information concerning Southard.
Gift of Southard, Pemberton, USN (RET), (Capt.)
Processed by K. Romer, April 1996.
Encoded by Apex Data Services
Additional finding aids and editing completed November 5, 1999, by Ann Merriman.
Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.