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Military History/Nimitz Presentation Watch

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Question
I have an Omega Seamaster watch from approximately 1956.  The inscription on the back of the watch states: From Adm Chester Nimitz to Lt AJ Williams Fighting 38, 1943.  Any information on Lt. Williams and/or what Fighting 38 1943 refers to?  Thanks.

Cory

Answer
Cory:


You might have an answer to this by now.

Fighting 38 was the USS San Francisco and WWII New Orleans Class Cruiser.  If fought off Guadalcanal and was involved in the sea engagements in the "Slot" during 1943.  The watch was undoubtedly given to the Lt Williams upon the ships return to San Francisco for repairs after the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal.

I just finished a book called "Neptune's Inferno" about the battles off of Guadalcanal.

In the confusion of the battle, the USS Atlanta got between the USS San Fran, and was hit repeatedly by her gunfire causing a lot of casualties and nearly crippling her sister ship. There was also feeling on the USS Helena that the USS San Fran cut and ran and left the Helena to fight alone.

Task force 67 was commanded by Adm Callaghan who was killed in the engagement.  He led his 5 cruisers 2 heavy and three light, along with 8 destroyers against 2 Japanese battle ships, one cruiser and 11 destroyers.  They sank one battleship and several other Japanese ships and achieved a victory as they stopped the Japanese from attacking Henderson Field, which was in a critical stage of buildup.

Having said all that, the date, 1943 would indicate the watch was given for some reason for actions in that year, unless it was recognition delayed a year.

The CA-38 participated in the landings at Attu in the Aleutians, a raid on Wake Island, the landings at Tarawa, a strike on the Marshall Islands.

Since the ship was awarded the first Presidential Naval Unit citation in 1942 it might have had something to do with that.

You might want to contact the Nimitz Museum of the Pacific War.  They might be able to tell you more.  Nimitz was from Fredricksburg Tx and so the museum is based there.  A few years back the Bush's as in George Bush Sr. bought in and got his name added to the museum name. They might be able to research it, and tell you more or even take the watch as a temporary display piece if it can be tied to the unit citation.

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Keith H. Patton

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I can answer questions pertaining to weapons and tactics, personalities, battles, and strategies in european and U.S. history.

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