Shortly after midnight, entered Ormoc Bay. Finding no enemy, continued north. At about 0182, float plane approached column from astern. SIGOURNEY apparently challenged it with signal light (which we couldn’t have seen). The plane then began signaling with the same challenge (rather than the proper reply) as it moved up the column on the starboard side. Although incorrect, it was sufficiently ambiguous to warrant ComDesDiv 44 (in CONWAY at head of column) holding fire. As it passed close abeam to starboard and then across our bow, it was identified as a Jake. After circling, it closed the column on the port quarter and the Division commenced firing, only to drive it off to the west. Since this was an observation plane, we now knew for sure that the Japanese were aware of our presence.
Contacted surface target between Gato and Carnasa Islands off the northwest corner of Leyte. Enemy began firing. Division then opened fire shortly after 0230 on what appeared to be a relatively small tanker or cargo ship. The target exploded and sank at 0245 (LAT 11° 24° N; LON 124° 04° E).
I was exhausted after all the excitement and unaware of our plans to bombard Palompon and Ormoc City on the way back. I therefore sat down on the raised torpedo director platform, with back against the pedestal, and head (with helmet) about one foot below the bottom of the directors; and immediately fell asleep. When the shooting began I awoke with a start, bounced up and down several times banging my helmet on the director and my seat on the platform, and finally rolled out on the deck in great confusion. No one could quite figure out what I was doing.
Continued south to exit area by dawn in order to be in safe company of friendly ships and air cover. Rejoined TG 77.2 about 0945. Departed Leyte Gulf for Kossol Roads, Palau.