From: Oregon, USA
January 26, 1942
Attached to: TF 45
Mission: Surface Combat
System Damage: 1
Float Damage: 0
Orders: Proceed to Tokyo. From there you will escort heavy cruiser Suzuya to Truk, where both ships will join Cruiser Divison 6, Admiral Goto commanding.
In the Captain's cabin aboard the Hibiki:
Lieutenant Miharu: Truk? Yes sir.
Captain Ishii: You have a question about that, Exec?
Lieutenant Miharu: Sir, I said nothing.
Captain Ishii: Come, I know you better than that. You have a question. Ask it, Lieutenant.
Lieutenant Miharu: Yes sir. Well, I think the men were hoping to see some more action. With Port Moresby, Wake, and the Gilberts in our hands and the American fleet sunk, is there anything left to do in the Pacific other than convoy duty?
Captain Ishii: If convoy duty is what the Imperial Japanese Navy requires of us, Lieutenant, then we will do it well.
Lieutenant Miharu: Yes sir. Of course sir.
Captain Ishii: *smiling a little* But as it happens, I do not think that is to be our fate just yet. I will tell you what I know. It is true that the initial plan called for us to establish a defensive perimeter running from Port Moresby through the Gilberts, then north through the Marshall Islands to Wake and Marcus.
Lieutenant Miharu: And that has been accomplished.
Captain Ishii: Indeed. What I am about to tell you, though, has not been made public, and you are to keep it to yourself.
Lieutenant Miharu: Yes sir.
Captain Ishii: As you know, the American carriers were not at Pearl Harbor when we attacked. Last week they launched a raid at Wake Island, sinking several transports and causing considerable damage to the facilities there. Spurred by this event, Imperial General Headquarters has decided that the elimination of the carriers is necessary to secure our defensive perimiter. It is therefore necessary to force them into battle and then destroy them. To accomplish this we are going to extend our possessions to the south. If we threaten to sever the supply line between Australia and America it is felt that the Americans will be forced to give battle.
Lieutenant Miharu: I see, sir.
Captain Ishii: The situation is constantly changing at the moment, so there is no way to know where we will be sent when we arrive. But there is reason to believe that a decisive battle is in the offing, and we may well be there to see it. Do you think that will satisfy the men's desire to see some more action?
Lieutenant Miharu: Yes sir, I think that it will.