STANDING BY THE HOUSTON

Taking Aboard Refugees


Taken under fire by the STEPHEN POTTER and other units of the towing group, it passed under the STEPHEN POTTER's stern, and pressed home a perfect torpedo attack upon the towed HOUSTON, ripping open her stern. The plane, after several hits by automatic weapons, finally splashed into the sea. Then a small group of enerr aircraft closed rapidly from astern of the group. The STEPHEN POTTER opened fire on a single "Jill" as it came in from the starboard quarter and passed the stern. Heavy anti‑aircraft fire enveloped the plane and it burst into flames as it attempted to drive its torpedo into the SANTA FE.

Burning furiously, the "Jill" crashed into the water only 25 feet off the starboard bow of the cruiser. The twice‑hit HOUSTON, now with a gaping hole in her stern that opened her hangar space at the sea, seemed lost. Along with several other destroyers, the STEPHEN POTTER was directed to lie astern of the cruiser and to pick up he survivors as they went over the side. The STEPHEN POTTER picked up ninety men, many of whom were injured and badly shaken from the second torpedoing.

Taken from "USS Stephen Potter - The Story of DD538" compiled and edited by Lt. Wilson F. (Bill) Minor USNR (Ret).