The bronze bust shown in the foreground, is in the likeness of RADM
Clifton A. F. “Ziggy” Sprague, highly respected commander of Task Unit
77.4.3, known as Taffy-3.
Behind the “Ziggy” Sprague's bust is the monument that represents the 13
small ships of his Task Unit 77.4.3. It was this group, of some of
the smallest combat ships in the United States Arsenal, who stopped the
monster fleet of Japanese Admiral Takeo Kurita.
Admiral Kurita’s central force, consisting of 4 Battleships, 7 Cruisers
and 11 Destroyers, were headed for Leyte Gulf, with the intent of
destroying the many thousands of troops, supply ships and landing craft,
that were supporting General MacArthur’s beach head, in the Philippines.
Had not “Ziggy” Sprague's Taffy-3 Task Unit been in a deployed position,
supplying air cover for the troops on the beach at that moment, there
would have been a terrible slaughter of MacArthur’s troops and naval
Totally out of it's class, to participate in a surface engagement, with
the largest Naval Surface Fleet, of Japanese Capital ships ever brought
together, where it appeared that total annihilation was imminent, ‘Ziggy”
Sprague gave the command for “small boys” to attack, ”mini aircraft
carriers” launch all aircraft.
Destroyers and a Destroyer Escort made a torpedo attack, on the
Battleships and raked the Cruisers with 5.38 inch diameter shells. The
enemy retuned fire with up to 18 inch diameter shells.
Taffy-3’s mini carriers with orders to, “launch all aircraft”, sent their
Fighters and Torpedo Bombers on their missions. Because of the sudden
appearance of the Japanese monster fleet on the horizon, there was not
enough time, to arm all the aircraft, with bombs or torpedoes, some were
short on fuel, but all launched aircraft, attacked the enemy monster
fleet, while the mini carriers fired their only large gun, a single 5.38
inch caliber, at 3 Japanese Cruisers and their destroyers, that were
closing in on the mini carriers.
These unexpected aggressive actions by the men of “Taffy-3” bewildered and
slowed the enemy monster fleet, until other aircraft from Taffy-2, and
Taffy-1, Task Units to the South, could arm and fuel their aircraft and
then join in the battle.
RADM “Ziggy “ Sprague, from his flagship a mini carrier, that was under
constant enemy ship and then kamikaze attack, calmly planned and directed
his men, into a lop sided victory over a vastly superior enemy.
On October 25, 1944, according to authors, historians and researchers of
today, who have been meticulous in their research, our leader RADM .”Ziggy”
Sprague, saved the day for the United States and prevented a disastrous
defeat, which would have prolonged the war with a vast amount of
additional casualties. This potential major defeat, nearly came about
because of the miscalculation of Admiral ‘Bull’ Halsey who left unguarded
the, San Bernardino Straits, this allowing the enemy fleet under the
command of Admiral Takeo Kurita, to slip into Leyte Gulf, with the intent
to destroy the Americans. Prior to October 25, 1944, ‘Bull’ Halsey had a
string of impressive victories, over the Japanese, but on this day,
Clifton A. F. “Ziggy” Sprague was our hero. ‘Bull’ Halsey was chasing a
decoy fleet, that the Japanese had cleverly placed, to draw ‘Bull’ Halsey
away from his responsibility, of protecting the San Bernardino Straits
and the smaller ships of Taffy-3.
For a more detailed report, with photographs, and official Archive
records, of this battle, go to:
www.bosamar.com a history website, by our
In the background of the above photograph, is shown the USS Midway. One of
the largest carriers of WWII, Korea and Vietnam, built on a Battleship
hull, not like the mini carriers, of Taffy-3, that were built on flimsy
merchant ship hulls. The USS Midway, is now a Naval Museum, in San Diego.
Click here to view the Memorial Monuments of Taffy 3