USS South Dakota BB-57 Sailor's Mail Jan 12, 1944 - Preparatory Invasion of the Marshalls

USS South Dakota BB-57 Sailor's Mail Jan 12, 1944 - Preparatory Invasion of the Marshalls

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USS South Dakota BB-57 Sailor's Mail Jan 12, 1944 - Preparatory Invasion of the Marshalls

USS South Dakota loaded ammunition from the transport William Ward Burrows on 5 January 1944 and went to sea in company with Indiana and three destroyers for gunnery training on 16 January.

The next operation in which South Dakota participated was the invasion of the Marshalls, code-named Operation Flintlock; South Dakota was now part of TG 37.2, Third Fleet, which included Indiana, Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Washington, escorted by six destroyers. They departed Efate on 18 January, bound for Funafuti. Heavy seas injured several men aboard South Dakota and swept one man overboard, who was not recovered. The ships met the carriers Bunker Hill and Monterey on the way, and on arriving in Funafuti two days later, the group was re-numbered as TF 58.8, as Fifth Fleet had taken command of the fast carrier task force. The ships refueled and departed on 23 January, and on the morning of 25 January, South Dakota, North Carolina, and Alabama were detached to form TG 58.2.2. The fleet continued on to its objective over the next several days, the voyage marked by false submarine sightings and radar contacts. The ships reached Roi-Namur on 29 January, and the carriers launched major air strikes on the islands in preparation for the coming assault. South Dakota remained with the carriers to protect them from Japanese aircraft that did not materialize. On 30 January, South Dakota and the rest of TG 58.2.2 were sent to shell the islands, part of the preparatory bombardment before the ground forces went ashore the following day.