I got this wonderful medal from a relative of Leroy Soule. He was killed in action on November 13, 1942 in the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, along with the 5 Sullivan brothers.
The ship's first major action was the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands on October 26, 1942. Shortly after 10am, 27 Japanese aircraft attacked the USS Hornet and accompanying ships, which the Juneau was escorting. Though the Juneau along with other screen ships splashed about 20 Japanese aircraft in an effective AA screen, the Hornet sunk the following day. Just before noon, the Juneau left the Hornet's escort for the Enterprise group several miles away. Adding her firepower, the Juneau repulsed 4 enemy attacks and splashed 18 Japanese aircraft.
At 2am on November 13, the Juneau along with a few other ships ran into a large Japanese force consisting of 2 battleships, 1 light cruiser and 9 destroyers. Because of bad weather and poor communication, the battle took place in pitch darkness at near point blank range. The Juneau was struck on the port side by a torpedo and withdrew from the battle.
Before noon on November 13, the Juneau along with 2 other cruisers damaged in the battle, the Helena and San Francisco, the Juneau headed for Espiritu Santo for repairs. She was down 12 feet by the bow, but still maintaining 13 knots. A few minutes after 11am, a Japanese submarine, the I-26, launched two torpedoes meant for the San Francisco. They missed and instead hit the Juneau in the exact same spot she was hit earlier that evening in the nighttime battle. There was a huge explosion, and the Juneau disappeared under the waves in less than 20 seconds. Fearing for more attacks from the I-26, and thinking that nobody had survived, the Helena and San Francisco fled the scene. Little did they know over 100 men had survived the torpedo attack. These men, were left stranded in the open water for 8 days. 3 of the Sullivan brothers died in the explosion according to reports, 1 of the brothers survived for one day after the sinking but disappeared under the water, and the 5th brother died a couple days before the rescue. Most died from shark attacks and the elements, until only 10 men were rescued by a rescue aircraft.
The USS Juneau received 4 Battle Stars for her service. RIP Seaman 2nd Class Leroy Soule.