De Hos Cineres... Up from the Ashes

This website is open to all who wish to learn about this unique warship and the men whose lives are inextricably linked because of her, and have grown over time, as new information has been gleaned from numerous sources. The intent is to tell as many of the stories as possible about the sailors and Marines who knew her, and to that extent, the USS San Francisco Memorial Foundation welcomes any and all information about any aspect of the ship’s history, from the men who served on land and sea, from their families and friends, from historians and hobbyists.

Become a member and help us preserve the faces, photos and stories of these brave Americans for generations to come.

No matter how much the site grows, however, not every story will be told here. Volumes could (and have) been written about the USMC who fought for every square inch of ground in invasion after bloody invasion, and while this site commemorates those battles, there are numerous websites devoted to their efforts at Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, Okinawa and other islands in the campaign. But even focusing on the USS San Francisco is a daunting task, since thousands of men were touched by her.

Some stories have been lost forever, as the players in those dramas have passed on. Time is of the essence, as the people and events depicted here are passing into history. Please help us in preserving these faces, photos and stories for generations to come by joining or donating to the Foundation today.

Foundation News

As this years ceremony has been cancelled, please view this video to pay tribute to those service members who gave their lives aboard the USS San Francisco (CA 38).

2020 USS San Francisco Memorial Event Cancelled

Dear Friends, Board Members, Supporters, and Honored Veterans

I and the Board of the USS San Francisco Memorial have decided to cancel this year’s Memorial Event in light of the health emergency that affects us all. We know that our mission as responsible citizens is to avoid events that congregate persons and in effect promote spread of the COVID-19 virus, and we recognize that precautions will be necessary for some time to come, far beyond the May date when we would have gathered to celebrate our honored Veterans.

Our event held each year aims to pay tribute to those service members who gave their lives aboard the USS San Francisco (CA 38) during the night action of 12-13 November 1942 during the Battle of Guadalcanal. We honor them along with all the fallen of our Pacific Partners from Korea, Australia, the Philippines, and Japan. We pay respect to all who fell as a reminder of the cost of such conflicts and the importance of the strong ties between our nations today.

It is our greatest hope that all of you will take a moment to recognize our fallen during the Memorial Day weekend and take a page from the courage of the crew of our City’s namesake and continue to practice safe social distancing standards. This crisis is far from over and many people, in and around your communities, will benefit from your sacrifice during big holiday weekends.

Close to the Memorial Day weekend we will release a brief video on our website from the memorial to pay tribute to our Veterans; I hope you will come view it on May 24. I wish all of you peace and health during this time of COVID-19, and I look forward to convening again with you all at the Memorial Site in 2021.


John A. McKnight
President, USS San Francisco Memorial Foundation


Join the USS San Francisco Memorial Foundation

The History

Established in 2005, the USS San Francisco Memorial Foundation is dedicated to preserving the history of the storied WWII heavy cruiser and the 100 sailors and 7 Marines killed in action during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal 75 years ago on 12/13 November 1942.

The Photos

Collected from the national archives, families and friends of those who served aboard USS San Francisco (CA-38), these photos will help preserve the memory of this great ship and the important part that it and its crew played in defending our country’s freedom.

The Memorial

Instead of a symbolic statue, the USS San Francisco memorial displays something far more visceral: a shell-ridden section of the San Francisco’s bridge. The site of heavy gauge steel perforated like paper captures the fury and horror of the Battle of Guadalcanal.

The Stories

There are probably more untold stories about USS San Francisco (CA-38) than we have on record – but it is our mission to preserve and archive as many as we can. From sailors to Rear Admirals, experience the real stories from those who lived it.

The Men

Search the list of all of the men and women who served aboard USS San Francisco (CA-38) from the time it was launched in 1935 until it was decommissioned in 1947. And if by some chance someone you know is missing, you can send that information here.

The Foundation

Our mission is to inculcate patriotism, defend the United States of America and its Constitution, and conduct a memorial service each year on the Memorial Day weekend, honoring those men who served and who died serving America.

Become a member and help us preserve the faces, photos and stories of these brave Americans for generations to come.

75th Anniversary of the Naval Battle at Guadalcanal

12–13 November 1942

Like A Barroom Brawl After The Lights Go Out..

By Chief Petty Officer Richard Jon Gordon (known as “Chief Johnny”)

A very powerful Japanese force was moving at night toward our positions in the Solomon Islands. The spearhead of the force that we sent to intercept the enemy was under the command of Rear Admiral Daniel J. Callaghan. He was aboard the leading ship, the cruiser SAN FRANCISCO. The San Francisco sailed right into the enemy fleet – right through the whole enemy fleet – her guns blazing. She engaged and hit three enemy vessels, sinking one of them. At point blank range she engaged an enemy battleship–heavily her superior in size and firepower. She silenced this battleship’s big guns and so disabled her that she could be sunk by torpedoes from our destroyers and aircraft.The SAN FRANCISCO herself was hit many times. Admiral Callaghan, my close personal friend, and many of the gallant officers and men gave their lives in this battle.”

“But the SAN FRANCISCO was brought safely back to port by a Lieutenant Commander, and she will fight again for our country. The Commander of the Task Force of which the SAN FRANCISCO was a part, has recommended that she be the first of our Navy’s vessels to be decorated for outstanding service. But there are no citations, no medals, which carry with them such high honor as that accorded to fighting men by the respect of their Comrades-in-Arms. The Commanding General of the Marines on Guadalcanal, General Vandergrift, yesterday sent a message to the Commander of the Fleet, Admiral Halsey, saying “We lift our battered helmets in admiration for those who fought magnificently against overwhelming odds and drove the enemy back to crushing defeat.” Let us thank God for such men as these. May our Nation continue to be worthy of them, throughout this war, and Forever.”