“In a Friendly Way”

8-18-18

August 15, 1945:  This morning we returned to the Tokyo area and the carriers had launched their first strike when we heard the final news of the Japanese surrender.  So the war ended for the U.S.S. Boston, 21 months after we left home port.

August 16, 1945:  This morning we have our C.A.P. over the task groups, bogies are still in the area.  There are some Jap pilots that refuse to surrender.

August 17, 1945:  Today Admiral Halsey announced to shoot down Jap planes “in a friendly way” if attacked.

August 18, 1945:  Several Jap planes were shot down today by C.A.P.  These planes tried to attack the ship by crashing into them. We are still on Condition Three Watch.

Frank Studenski   WAR DIARY U.S.S. BOSTON CA-69

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During Okinawa

8-12-18

I am “polishing up” A Bird’s Eye View (for many reasons).  This is an interesting process for me.  I wrote this book about the Boston first, relying on Frank Studenski’s amazing diary and research from whatever I could find on the internet.   In retrospect, it is a good chronicling of the (Central Pacific) War and Task Force 58 and 38.  I am on the Okinawa months, during which the Boston headed stateside and was docked in San Pedro, CA for overhaul and radar / weapons control upgrades.

From a damage – injury – loss of life perspective, CA-69 was a lucky ship.  Many other ships were not so lucky.  The Japanese tactic of “kamikaze defense” was in place routinely by the latter days of the Philippines Campaigns.  There were some incidences during Iwo Jima.  However, during the last-ditch desperation of the Okinawa invasion, Japan unleashed wave after wave of savage one-way “floating chrysanthemums” attacks against US ships and landing forces.   The numbers of ships and men lost are staggering.

3-19-45.    Men on cruiser Santa Fe look on as the heavy carrier Franklin lists. 1,700 men were evacuated to other ships, 260 men were wounded and 724 sailors perished in fiery explosions below deck as enemy bombs ignited planes and aviation fuel.

5-11-45.  Kamikazes hit the flight deck of heavy carrier Bunker Hill, fully loaded with gassed-up planes ready to take off. 389 men perished, 264 men were wounded. TF Commander Marc Mitscher was not wounded, but he lost 14 of his staff. The ship was so badly damaged it never returned to the War.

Just a few examples.  The Boston was truly a “lucky ship.”

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August 6

8-5-18

Men from the Boston visit Hiroshima in September 1945  (pic by Bernie Oster)

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Forties Glam, part 3

7-14-18

For about three months in 1945, the Boston was stateside being repaired at the Navy Yard in San Pedro.  The guys all had three-week leaves (in two shifts).  When they returned to the ship, there was plenty of liberty time for all.  From Baked Beans, Vol 3, Bob Knight tells us:

My aunt had a cousin who lived in Hollywood, right next door to Walt Disney.  I got to meet Walt and tour some of the studios.  Jane Russell was just coming in at that time and I got a quick peek at her in the studio.

Jane Russell

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More Forties Glam

6-29-18

The ship was ordered to return to the Navy yard at San Pedro for major repairs and retrofits in March 1945.  After a brief stop at Pearl Harbor, they reached the California coast on the 25th.

Frank Studenski:  Early this morning, I got my first look at the California coast line.  We pulled into Terminal Island Navy Yard flying our homeward bound pennant.  While the N.O.B. band played and Ginny Simms sang “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning,” with a lot of brass and civilians on the pier.  Just about all of the crew were on the port side.

original photo of Ginny Simms in RKO Radio’s comedy-musical, “That’s right, You’re Wrong!”
Taken in 1939 by Gaston Longst of RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.

 

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