Diary of Basilio J. Valdes

April 29, 1942 – Wednesday

7:30 a.m. We were advised by Captain Nelson, commander of the President Coolidge that a plane had been catapulted from the Richmond to locate the St. Louis a bigger U.S.N. Cruiser which was to meet us.

At 10 a.m. the St. Louis was on sight. Alarm was sounded, the soldiers rushed to their respective guns, and pointed them towards the direction where the cruiser was coming from. The cruiser Richmond immediately changed course and sailed to meet it with everything ready for battle. As the St. Louis approached and its identity was revealed calm reigned again in our ships. Then the Richmond returned to the Navy base somewhere in the Samoan Islands and the St. Louis escorted us. I saw Capain Nelson who informed me that he does not fear submarine attack, nor airplanes. The only possible attack would come from a ‘surface raider’ and we would be able to handle the situation.

Quite warm. Had lunch and dinner in the President’s cabin and stayed on deck until 1 a.m.