19th May 1943
Something was definitely up at Ponape. SS Rasher reported that she had torpedoed a transport in the anchorage near the atoll. Her skipper also included the sighting of many other ships in his report. He was given immediate orders to shadow the enemy convoy at Ponape and to attack any targets of opportunity that arose.
These orders were later rescinded and the Rasher was immediately ordered to a position to the South West of Ponape where enemy aircraft carriers had been spotted. The source of those Zeroes yesterday had been found and the Rasher along with a brace of other submarines were to shadow and attack the enemy carriers. A quartet of Fletcher Class destroyers were also making a high speed approach of Ponape in order to get at the task force unloading there, unfortunately they arrived too late as their nocturnal sweep brought no returns to their radar screens. With enemy carriers pinpointed at close range they got out of Dodge fairly rapidly and headed back to base. Post haste. Sun up on the 19th May found Ponape anchorage empty but recon photos clearly showed many vehicle tracks leading from the beach to the tree line, a clear indication that the Japs had reinforced Ponape. An opportunity had been missed by the Fletcher’s! The enemy carriers were once again found by VP-14, this time steaming solidly North West, Truk mayhaps?