A great read by John J. Domagalski at this month’s Naval History Magazine detailing the little-known raid by DESDIV 59 against Japanese-held Balikpapan, some 80 years ago this month.
“The U.S. Navy’s first sea battle of the Pacific war, the Balikpapan raid offered much-welcomed proof that the Japanese could be thwarted…”
Commander Paul Talbot likely felt a heavy weight of responsibility resting on his shoulders as he sat in the command chair on the bridge of the destroyer USS John D. Ford (DD-228) during the late hours of 23 January 1942. He was about to lead the U.S. Navy into its first sea battle since the Spanish-American War of 1898. Talbot was in command of Destroyer Division 59, composed of his flagship and three other destroyers—the Pope (DD-225), Parrott (DD-218), and Paul Jones (DD-230). The force was moving through the night to attack a group of Japanese ships off Balikpapan, Borneo, in the Dutch East Indies (present-day Indonesia).