Battle of Leyte Gulf Memorial by Taffy 3 and Admiral Sprague Bust
San Diego, California
This beautiful monument is dedicated to the memory of Vice Admiral Clifton A. F. Sprague and the 13 ships and 7,300 men of Task Unit 77.4.3, also known as Taffy 3, which were under his command during the furious and heroic naval action fought off the island of Samar on October 25, 1944, during the Battle for Leyte Gulf.
The monument, located in a waterfront park along Harbor Drive, south of Navy Pier, consists of thirteen polished black granite panels – one for each ship – that stand five feet high and are arrayed in a V-shape plan. The centerpiece of the monument is a Moon Kim bronze bust of Admiral Sprague mounted on a solid black granite pedestal. Historical information and data about the ships and battle are inscribed on the base of the pedestal and the adjoining vertical panels.
During the commemorated battle, the lightly armed and unarmored Taffy 3 escort carriers, destroyers and destroyer escorts were attacked by an overwhelmingly superior force of Japanese battleships, cruisers and destroyers. Threatened with almost certain annihilation of his force, Admiral Sprague coolly and brilliantly directed his ships and planes in maneuvers and counter-attacks that bewildered the enemy and repulsed his onslaught.
The incredible courage and tenacity shown by the sailors and pilots of Taffy 3 deprived the Japanese of certain victory. Four Taffy 3 ships and over 800 men were lost in the action, but their sacrifice prevented a serious disruption of the U.S. amphibious landings at Leyte Gulf and contributed to the overall victory of the U.S. Navy in the last and greatest battle between opposing fleets in World War II.