20 Oct. 1944

APD’s joined us yesterday afternoon. Passed entrance of Leyte Gulf at outer islands shortly after midnight. 71 miles to Tacleban [Tacloban]. 6 BB’s and cruisers going to bombard. DD Ross has hit a mine and has a can tied to each side to keep her upright and afloat. 3 men killed. Jap Betty dropped out of clouds about 8 AM and released 2 bombs off Russells bow, no damage. We and other cans had perfect shots at him, but he flew thru it all with no damage. First troops hit beach right at 10 AM, met no opposition, but as other waves started in, mortars opened up. 4LST’s hit as they beached—one on fire, hit in sick bay, many wounded. All LST’s had to leave beach until late afternoon and then unloaded all night. Heavy fire, mostly mortars, encountered all day by troops. BB’s, CA’s, CL’s and DD’s continued to shell beach all day. We have a sideline view—doing nothing but patrolling, waiting to be called for any emergency. Picked up 2 Filippinos [Filipinos] in a canoe, but they didn’t know much information. General MacArthur and President of Philippines on Nashville and made a speech to people of Philippine Islands and tried to broadcast it to the US at 1500. Jap torpedo plane came in unnoticed at 1630 and put fish in Honolulu and got away without a shot being fired. Honolulu burned and took a heavy list, but still had some power and tried to beach herself, but power gave out. Covered all night by DD’s making smoke screen. We fired on 2 planes during the night, but no hits. Drill Happy Fletcher.