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  USS Pope DD-225
USN
Clemson Class Destroyer

1,190 Tons
314' 5" x 31' 9" x 9' 3"


Click For Enlargement
USN Prewar
Ship History
Built by William Cramp and Sons. Laid down September 9, 1919, launched on March 23, 1920. Commissioned October 27, 1920. Named for John Pope.

Prewar
Assigned to the e Atlantic Reserve Fleet. Afterwards, refitted and deployed to the Pacific and was based at Chefoo (Zhifu, Yantai) in China and was based at Cavite on Luzon in the Philippines.

As tensions in China heightened, Pope evacuated American civilians from Manchuria and later removed American nationals and U. S. Embassy staff to the Philippines. Afterwards, Pope continued patrolling off the coast of China. In late June 1941 returned to Cavite.

Wartime History
On December 8, 1941 at the start of the Pacific War, based at Cavite. On December 11, 1941 departed for Balikpapan. On January 24, 1942 in the early morning USS Pope (DD-225) plus USS Paul Jones (DD-230), USS Parrott (DD-218) and USS John D. Ford (DD-228) attack the Japanese transports landing southeast of Balikpapan with gunfire and torpedoes sinking Kuretake Maru, Nana Maru, Sumanoura Maru, Tatsukami Maru and Patrol Boat P-37 plus damage two other transports.


and participated in the Battle of Bali Sea and Battle of Badung Strait against the Japanese invasion of Bali.

Afterwards, participated in the Second Battle of the Java Sea. In the evening of February 28, 1942 USS Pope and HMS Encounter escorting HMS Exeter departed Soerabaja on Java to escape from the Java Sea. On March 1, 1942 during the Second Battle of the Java intercepted by the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) CruDiv 5 sinking HMS Exeter and HMS Encounter. During the battle, Pope released all her torpedoes and expended most of her ammunition. After the battle, Pope managed to escape but was still being fired on by enemy cruisers chasing her.

Sinking History
On March 1, 1942 approximately an hour after the sinking of the other two vessels, Pope was spotted by D3A Val dive bombers from Ryūjō that made dive bombing attacks that caused her to sink from several near misses that caused holes in the hull and bent the propeller shaft and caused a list to the port side. Damaged, the crew abandoned ship. Afterwards, the damaged destroyer was targeted by gunfire from the heavy cruisers in pursuit and sank. For her World War II service, Pope earned two battle stars and a Presidential Unit Citation (PUC).

Kevin Denlay adds:
"The planes were from the aircraft carrier Ryūjō, and if I remember correctly, the two seaplane tenders stationed near Bawean. However at the last moment at least two of the big cruisers that helped sink Exeter came up over the horizon and started shelling Pope too! So it was a combination of bombs (that slowed / stopped her), her own crew scuttling her (the only man to die on board was killed by shrapnel for the scuttling charge), and the big guns of the cruisers.

According to the book Mr. Michel's War (an officer from Pope) and as far as I am aware from other extensive study, she received no direct hits whilst her crew were still on board. As far as I recall It was several very near bomb misses that holed her, bent the screw shaft and killed the port engine and made her list initially to port, and which led to her eventually abandonment. It was only AFTER the crew got off that she started receiving the direct hits from the heavies coming up over the horizon. I have many of the Japanese reports of that day translated into English also, along with Popes after action report and Michel's book."

Fates of the Crew
Afterwards, Inazuma rescued 376 survivors from the battle. On March 3, 1942 Inazuma rescued 151 survivors from USS Pope.

The survivors rescued became Prisoners Of War (POWs) including:
S1c Joe Sam Sisk, 3565278 (POW, survived) Emory, TX

Shipwreck
During December 2008, a group of divers off MV Empress located the shipwreck of USS Pope approximately 60 nautical miles (110 km) from the shipwreck of HMS Exeter (68). However, they found that commercial salvage divers had discovered the shipwreck previously and had scrapped most of the vessel.

Relatives
Jennifer Watanabe (granddaughter of Joe Sam Sisk)
"Hello, I am a U.S. citizen and I am currently residing in Japan. I don't know if you can help me or not but my grandfather and I were very close. He was a navy man in WW2. His ship, the U.S.S. Pope was sank by the Japanese. Later another Japanese ship came and pulled my grandfather and the rest of the men out of the water. After these men were pulled out of the water the Japanese soldiers seized their dog tags. My grandfather made me promise that if I ever went to Japan I was expected to find and bring home his dog tags. Any Idea where I should start looking or who I should start asking?"

References
NARA World War II Prisoners of War Data File - Joe Sam Sisk
FindAGrave - Joe Sam Sisk (photo, grave photo)
Thanks to Kevin Denlay for additional information.

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Last Updated
August 4, 2020

 

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