The deaths of these 5 sailors changed how US manned military units

In the late evening and early morning of Nov. 12-13, 1942, the United States and Japan engaged in one of the most brutal naval battles of World War II.

Minutes into the fight, north of Guadalcanal, a torpedo from Japanese destroyer Amatsukaze ripped into the port side of the American light cruiser Juneau, taking out its steering and guns and killing 19 men in the forward engine room.

The keel buckled and the propellers jammed. During the 10-15 minutes the crew was engaged in battle, sailors vomited and wept; to hide from the barrage, others tried to claw their way into the steel belly of their vessel. The ship listed to port, with its bow low in the water, and the stink of fuel made it difficult to breathe below deck.

The crippled Juneau withdrew from the fighting, later that morning joining a group of five surviving warships from the task force as they crawled toward the comparative safety of the Allied harbor at Espiritu Santo, in the New Hebrides.

Fumes continued to foul the air in the holds; many of the ships original complement of 697 sailors which included five brothers from Waterloo, Iowa were crowded together topside, blistered from the sun.

At 11:01 a.m., a Japanese submarine tracking the vessels fired another torpedo into the already off-kilter Juneau.

A sudden, furious explosion ripped it apart; underwater blasts followed, likely as its boilers burst. The forward half of Juneau at once disappeared. Then the sea swallowed the stern.

The blasts shot an array of ma....

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