12th May 1943
Admiral Nimitz was not a happy man. The source of his melancholy was the sudden reappearance of Japanese carrier forces to the north of Nauru Island. Unexpectedly they had launched an attack on the small forward base there. Heavy damage was sustained by the air strip but credit has to be given to the P-39’s of the 70th Fighter Squadron that put up a spirited defence against the Zero swarm. Luckily enough only three planes were destroyed on the ground, the nine pilots the 70th lost today gave their lives to protect the bombers on the ground. Nimitz was livid. The lull that had fallen over the Southern Solomons had lured the USN into a false sense of security and now a substantial Japanese carrier force lay poised on its flank. Livid was perhaps too nice a word, he was well and truly pissed! It was also interesting to note that a new type of carrier borne bomber had been identified in the attack on Nauru.
Furthermore a reinforcement task force steaming towards the Southern Solomons and carrying the 94th Coastal AA Regiment was caught without air cover by B5N2s just to the North of Reef Islands. An unacceptable mistake that prompted Nimitz to cable the following Order of the Day to all commands in SOPAC:
*** COMPLACENCY COSTS LIVES***FULL ALERT ALWAYS***