January 1945


Happy New Year!  I find myself face-deep in redoing the Baked Beans Books.  As it turns out, I am just finishing January (1945) [Vol. 2] so by happy coincidence I’ll talk a bit about what was happening on the ship.

By now, Task Force 38 was winding down its Philippines Operations, with only the landings at Luzon left to support.  The next big targets on the board were invading Iwo Jima, to be followed by invading Okinawa.  Reconnaissance planes had spotted what was left of the Japanese fleet anchored at or near Singapore.  (You’ll remember that Halsey’s TF38 decimated the enemy fleet over the course of four sea battles that comprise “the Battle for Leyte.)  I can’t emphasize enough that there was no modern technology  –  NO INTERNET, NO GPS –  and that all info was passed on through convoluted signals (ships maintained radio silence at all times) from visual reconnaissance.  Old news by the time it got back to the commanders.

When Halsey learned that the Japanese fleet was “in the neighborhood,”  he ordered a battle group (battleships, cruisers and destroyers) be formed and slip into the South China Sea for an old time barroom brawl  –  warship against warship – two fleets lining up against each other and firing everything they had   –   last man standing is the winner.  He was an old school battleship guy.  Even though he commanded a Task Force built around aircraft carriers that prosecuted the war by launching fighter and bomber planes,  all he ever craved was ship-to-ship battles.

So the Boston (flagship of Cruiser Division 10) was part of the Battle Group (Task Group 34.5) that slipped into the South China Sea (via the treacherous Bashi Channel) to sink the Japanese Fleet in the dark of the night of Jan. 10.  Unfortunately for Halsey, the elusive enemy fleet was noweher to be found.

Frank Studenski   January 12, 1945
This morning we are probably on our largest operation so far. We have been heading north through the China Seas for a raid on a base the Jap fleet uses in French Indo China. We may bomb Saigon Bay. We will probably be in sight of land, and get a glimpse of the Asiatic continent, completing the trip across the Pacific. It is still dark and we may not have been discovered.
At 0900 hours we were within range of eight inch gunfire. We formed a surface task force of battleships and cruisers, the carriers stayed out of range. The carriers launched a big strike. We were disappointed, because the planes reported the Jap fleet was not in Camrahn Bay. They continued to launch strikes all day. Later on in the day we left 38.2 and returned to our own task force. We also have with us two war correspondents, we picked up two days ago. Tomorrow we expect to fuel, one hundred and fifty miles closer than the day before. During the night we had several sub contacts and destroyers were dropping depth charges.

George Pitts:  Jan 12
We formed the Surface Attacking Force this morning and closed in to about 40 miles of French Indo China or CamRahn Bay. When our planes went in to start the attack they reported the situation back to us as our prey had flown the coop. A few AK’s and AO’s* were sunk. Nothing for us to do a job on. We disbanded and joined our carrier group 38.2 and later went to 38.1.
Our planes did a swell job searching all of the Indo China’s coast. They sank 8 AK’s 4 AO’s 4 AE’s* 6 DE’s 5 DD’s and 1 light cruiser. Tomorrow we fuel 50 miles off the coast, then we start looking for more trouble. I hope we find it.

January 1945 was a very exciting month of almost non-stop action for the guys aboard the Boston.



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Another year flying out the window


We have recently had several folks reach out with pictures of their Boston family member.  I will post those up when I can.  We also heard from Judith Armstrong.  She sent this picture of her dad and pals at the “Moana Surfrider.”  Anybody recognize any of these sailors?

(left) Arthur Armstrong, EM1c (electrician’s mate)

Task Force 58 website up and running, mostly done, will be tweaked from time to time.  Take a few minutes to check it out.  The Boston was a unit of Task Force 58 and 38, so her stories are always in the context of the Task Groups and Task Forces. www.taskforce58.org.

Baked Beans: After I finished the Baked Beans books, I started working on a “Boston in the broader context of Task Force 58” book  –  which has been sitting half-baked on the back burner ever since.  I am pushing to get it going again, which is why we went to work on the TF58 site.  However, because I am never satisfied and don’t always stay on task with laser-focus, all that activity kept reminding me of how, in retrospect, I needed/wanted to improve the Baked Beans trilogy.  When I wrote them, I didn’t know what I didn’t know.  (I still don’t know anything.  Just ask my kids.)

I can tell you that I am restructuring the books, adding some things, and re-arranging some things.  The basic reason for my dissatisfaction is simple:  I met some of the guys after Vol 1 was published.  And, I met Frank Studenski as I was just about done with Vol. 2.   I had access to his incredible diary all along, but I did not feel comfortable using his material until I looked him in the eye and asked for his blessing.  The revised books, when they are finished, will contain all of Frank’s diary entries across all three volumes.  This will flesh out the Boston story in remarkable detail and enhance any reader’s understanding of what life aboard the ship was like.

Having said that, I am reminded of how much I miss Frank.  And John Farkas.  And Norm Bayley.  And George Pitts.  All of this Boston activity in my life, by the way, because a copy of Frank’s diary came into my possession a few years before my father died.  I gave a copy to my dad, and after reading it, he still wouldn’t talk about the war with me.  After he died, I read Frank’s War Diary and filled with regret, I began my quest to find out what I could about his ship and his War.

The Posts of Christmas Past:  whether or not you celebrate Christmas, you might enjoy scrolling backwards (click through the “older posts” arrow at the bottom of each post  –  organized in in reverse order) and checking out the Holiday Feast menus  –  everything from turkey to cigarettes on the menu!  The guys didn’t have much to celebrate over their tenure in the Pacific . . .

Many of us celebrating our traditional holidays at this time of year.  To our old friends and new readers, Happy Holidays!



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Radar and The USS Boston

I came across this picture when I was looking at Photographs from NARA.  Obviously this was censored because it showed the top secret radar installation on the destroyer next to the Boston.

When the Boston returned in Early 1945 to San Diego, the radar and fire control systems were upgraded.  Radar was a huge factor in the War in the Pacific.

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Pics Occupation Duty


More looks at Occupation Duty:


Men from the USS Boston with confiscated munitions, at Sasagawa

Men from the USS Boston at suicide boat caves, Sasagawa

Men from the USS Boston, towing suicide boats to scuttle, Sendai

All photos from the National Archives, retrieved by Bill (with help from Rivka)

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After the Signing of the Documents of Surrender, the next four months (Occupation Duty) seems anti-climactic somehow.  The Navy had the onerous task of getting millions of sailors home   –  a reverse order lottery –  during which time men who had served their required time got to go home, and newer arrivals did not.  By the time the ship left Japanese waters in early January 1946, about a third of the crew was still on board.  Most departed the ship when she arrived in San Francisco, but a skeleton crew rode her up to Bremerton, WA, where she was decommissioned.

Meanwhile, the ship’s crew was tasked with “demilitaization duty” on Eastern Honshu, in the general area of Tokyo Bay.  I have included below a sample from CA-69 Action Reports, retrieved from the National Archives by Bill.


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