Family History >
USS Neosho >
The U.S.S. Neosho
Sources and Further
interested in learning more about the U.S.S. Neosho or the Battle of the
Coral Sea, here are some good sources of information:
by Charles Rawlings and Isabel Leighton (1943)
knowledge, this is the only book ever written exclusively about the U.S.S. Neosho.
It's 38 pages long and is available through used bookstores (see
for about $20. It has some good photos and it's the only book where I've
ever seen the pictures of Captain John Phillips and of the Neosho burning,
both of which I've included in this website. Frankly the writing is
melodramatic and filled with hyperbole, as were many stories written during the war, but it provides a lot of detailed description about the
and of the persons involved.
Sea, Midway, and Submarine Actions: May 1942 - August 1942" by
Samuel Morison (1949)
book contains the best scholarly description of the Battle of the Coral Sea that I've come across.
Also, the detailed maps are fantastic and they give you a good feel
for the battle (in fact, I used Morison's maps of the Battle of the
Coral Sea as the basis for some of the maps I created and posted on
my website). However, the book doesn't describe the experience of the
Neosho in as much detail as
the other two books listed here. You can find this book at
"Blue Skies And Blood: The
Battle of the Coral Sea" by Edwin Hoyt (1975)
This book is less
Morison's book and includes more personal accounts of the battle. Although
it sometimes reads like a novel, it
includes a stirring and detailed description of the fate of the U.S.S.
Neosho at Coral Sea. It's better written than Fat Girl and is quite informative. My only criticism is the book cover, which includes a
ridiculous painting of several burning battleships and cruisers, an encounter which
clearly did not happen at the Battle of the Coral Sea. I'm not sure why this drawing was
used and it detracts from an otherwise fine book. You can find Blue Skies and
interested in the U.S.S. Sims, there's a book that I just discovered
called "Grace Under Fire" by Dan Verton (140 pp). It's available
www.amazon.com for $21.95 and was published in 2003.
I haven't read it yet, but I hope to post a synopsis soon.
Information on Casualties
If you would like information about a person who died on the
U.S.S. Neosho of U.S.S. Sims during the Battle of the Coral
Sea, check my
Survivors and Casualties page. You can also visit the U.S. Navy
http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq11-1.htm, which describes how you
can purchase a microfilm or microfiche list of casualties for any campaign
in the war. As this webpage states, the information for each casualty
includes the man's name, service number, rank/rate, casualty code (wounded
or killed), and date of casualty.
Instead of purchasing the microfilm or microfiche, you can
find this same information in the following book:
Combat Connected Naval Casualties, World War II, by States. 2 vols.
US Navy. Washington: Office of Information, 1946. (Volume 1 covers Alabama
through Missouri; Volume 2 covers Montana through Wyoming and other areas)
OCLC 03829654. According to the U.S. Navy, you can find
this book in large university or depository libraries. I have not seen
this book, so I know nothing about it, but it lists every Naval casualty in
World War II. Please refer to the
http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq11-1.htm page for more information.
I saw this movie in a theatre when it first came out in the early 1970s.
I didn't really like it,
thinking it was a "Bora Bora Bora," and my Mom and Dad, who
saw it with me, felt the same way. However, the more times I
watch it now, the more I like it.
definitely the best movie about the Pearl Harbor attack ever produced,
much more entertaining, informative, and historically accurate than the
Hollywood monstrosity, "Pearl Harbor," starring Ben Affleck that
came out in 2001. My uncle Bill saw both movies and also thought "Tora
Tora Tora" was more accurate than "Pearl Harbor." As I
recall, Bill's main complaint about the movie "Pearl Harbor" was
that, and I quote, "It was too loud. It wasn't that loud during the
attack at Pearl Harbor." Since Bill was right in the middle of the
action, I took his word for it.
you don't actually see the U.S.S. Neosho -- or even a replica of the Neosho
-- during "Tora, Tora, Tora." However, late in the battle
scene, as the Japanese are attacking the seaplane PBY base on Ford Island, two
Americans on Ford Island have the following harried conversation:
my God. The
tanker Neoshoís over there and itís full of aviation fuel!"
other guy: "If
that thing goes, itíll blow up half the harbor!"
that, to my knowledge, is the only time the U.S.S. Neosho has ever been mentioned
by name in any
believe that any movie about the Battle of the Coral Sea was ever
produced. Well, all right, there was a movie called something like
"Battle of the Coral Sea" starring Cliff Robertson about submarines during the
battle, but I don't think it involved much action on the surface.
"Midway," however, has about the best footage of the Battle of the
Coral Sea that I've seen. Both "Tora, Tora, Tora" and "Midway"
were made in the early 1970s and look similar. "Midway" tells the story of the
battle in the Pacific in 1942, starting with the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo in April, the
Battle of the Coral Sea in May, and culminating, of course, with the Battle of
Midway in June. What makes "Midway" special is the inclusion
of a lot of actual footage shot during World War II, much of it by film-maker
movie is mostly accurate, although it cuts some corners on telling the story
of the Coral Sea battle. Nevertheless, the footage of the U.S.S.
Lexington and U.S.S. Yorktown at Coral Sea is interesting. The movie is hard to follow if you
don't know what's going on and frankly the acting isn't very good, but "Midway" packs a lot of information into
two hours. The cable channel AMC airs both "Tora, Tora, Tora" and
"Midway" on a regular basis.
On the Cavalcade of
America website, you can hear a radio dramatization, broadcast in
1943, of the Neosho's attack at Pearl Harbor and its sinking during the
Battle of the Coral Sea. The Cavalcade of America was a
weekly drama series broadcast on radio from 1935 - 1952. Refer to
episode CALV 430510 - 330 Fat Girl at the
It's a 30-minute broadcast and at the end, the captain of the Neosho,
John Philips, speaks for a few minutes to commemorate the lives that
were lost. This is the only recording of his voice on the Internet
that I'm aware of.
My sources of information for this section of my website
accounts from my uncle, Bill Leu, Fireman Third Class, U.S.S.
Neosho (1941 - 1942)
in the three books listed above (Fat Girl,
Coral Sea, Midway and Submarine Actions
and Blue Skies and Blood).
official Action Reports, obtained via the Internet.
My photo sources include my personal collection, U.S.
Navy photographs, and U.S. Navy Historical Center photographs. The
photo of Captain John S. Phillips appeared in the book
Fat Girl and
is by Jack Short.
The names appearing on my "List of survivors and
casualties" was obtained from the three books listed above and from the
U.S. Navy Action Reports, as well as from correspondences I've received
from relatives of those who served on the Neosho.
I drew all of the maps and diagrams appearing in the
U.S.S. Neosho section of my website.
Table of Contents:
The current page is shown in