During the pre war years USS Phoenix patrolled the United States West coast and was later based in Pearl Harbor in 1941. On December 7, 1941 she was anchored next to the hospital ship Solace southeast of Ford Island. Phoenix was not a primary target of the attack, Japanese planes were focused on Battleship row, so as the planes flew by the crew of the Phoenix opened fire. Phoenix like the mythical bird she was named after rose from the ashes and by noon was underway. She was ordered out of the harbor to join the small task force of ships who escaped from Pearl who unsuccessfully searched for the enemy fleet. After some convoy duty between Pearl Harbor and the main land she departed for Australian waters with a force of ships. For some time she escorted troop ships and provided convey protection, her main sailing was in and around Australian waters. In February 1942 Phoenix was sailing towards Ceylon in convoy duty with the USS Langley a seaplane tender and the HMS Sea witch. The three ships were ordered to change course towards Java at top speed due to the Japanese invasion in the East Indies. Langley was sunk by IJN planes but Phoenix and Sea witch survived.
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