Captain Cassin Young - November 13, 1942


Captain Young was commanding the heavy cruiser USS San Francisco, along with Admiral Daniel Callaghan (task Force 67.4) during the naval battle of Guadalcanal, November, 1942.  On November 10 the San Francisco was escorting a convoy of reinforcements off Guadalcanal.   In the afternoon of November 12 the convoy came under air attack.  A torpedo bomber crashed into the aft superstructure of the San Francisco, killing fifteen men.  That night, around 1:30 in the morning of November 13 (Friday the thirteenth) the convoy of American ships intercepted a large Japanese force.

A fierce naval battle ensued.  This battle was compared to a bar fight in a darkened room because much confusion took place in the darkness, and many were killed fBattleship Hieirom friendly fire (both Japanese and Americans).  The San Francisco mistakenly fired on the USS Atlanta, killing Admiral Scott and others.  When the Japanese battleship, Hiei, fired 14" shells into the bridge of the San Francisco, Admiral Callaghan and most of the other officers in the bridge died instantly.  Cassin Young was seriously wounded.  The bridge was destroyed.  This took place around two o'clock in the morning. November 13.


Dr. Roger O’Neil was a physician, a part-time preacher, and a boxing instructor who was on the USS Juneau.  In the morning of November 13, the San Francisco requested medical assistance from the other ships.  Captain Swenson of the Juneau asked Dr. James Neff senior medical officer of the Juneau, to send Dr. O’Neil and three pharmacist's mates to the San Francisco.  At eight o’clock in the morning, November 13, Dr. O’Neil and his three assistants boarded a boat that took them to the San Francisco.  Dr. O’Neil immediately began treating the most seriously wounded.  After treating a black mess attendant, he rushed to Admiral Callaghan's cabin where Cassin Young lay unconscious. As Dr. O'Neil prepared an operating table, a lookout on the San Francisco spotted the wake of two torpedoes headed toward the ship.  The loudspeaker announced, "Stand by for an attack."  It was going to be very difficult for the doctor to operate under attack.  He said that if Captain Young was going to be saved, every second mattered.  The San Francisco slowed down and the torpedoes missed hitting the ship, passing between the San Francisco and the Helena.   One headed for the Juneau; the other vanished into the ocean.'  As Dr. O’Neil was about to operate, he heard the tremendous explosion of the Juneau.  When an assistant told him it was the Juneau, tears filled his eyes, as that was his ship which he was on only a few hours ago.  He turned to Cassin Young to operate, but as he lifted a dressing from a back wound, the smell of the colon bacilli told him that Young's intestinal tract had been punctured.  Captain Young also had a serious head wound.  It was too late to operate, and Cassin Young died on the operating table.



Cassin Young was buried at sea.