"Gentlemen," Captain Kaju Sugiura, commander of Japanese Destroyer Division 12, began, "I am very happy to report that our last transport mission to Kolombangara was a complete success. Both the Navy and the Army high command are gratified. . . . They have also ordered that the mission be repeated the day after tomorrow. . . . We shall go through Vella Gulf and Blackett Strait again . . . exactly as we did last time."1
'Perfect in Every Respect'
Throughout 1942 the U.S. Navy had taken heavy hits from the Japanese, but by mid-1943 fortunes began to change. The Battle of Vella Gulf would be the first Pacific encounter on American terms.
By Captain Stephen F. Davis Jr., U.S. Navy