When the Boston left Pearl Harbor on January 19, 1944, she joined with hundreds of warships as a unit of newly-created Task Force 58. She was part of the aggressive push against Japanese “defensive ring of islands”, which ultimately led to the Surrender of Japan (8-15-45). First target: the Marshall Islands. The Marshalls are small islands and reefs scattered across 180, 000 square miles in the Pacific. There are several large atoll lagoons among the islands big enough to anchor large warships.
Throughout the war, Boston anchored in: Kwajalein (655 sq. miles), Majuro (114 sq. miles), Eniwetok (50 miles), and Ulithi ( [in the Carolines] 212 sq. miles).
In August 1944, The Boston was anchored in Eniwetok for the entire month. In case that sounds like “the easy life of a sailor”, during the previous 6 months, the guys attacked the Marshall Islands, several of the Carolines, participated in the Hollandia invasion, Truk, Wake and Marcus, and began the capture of the Mariana Islands. This action, generated the Japanese all-out defensive attack (June 19-20 Battle of the Philippine Sea) which lives on as “the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot.” After that they tried to bomb Iwo Jima, but the weather was too bad. After a quick stop at Eniwetok lagoon, they went back to Iwo Jima, then back to the Marianas to support troop landings. With just five days left in July, they attacked the Carolines.
A month in Eniwetok. After six months of non-stop combat.
So, here we are, 70+ years later. The peoples of the Marshalls (The “first stop in the end of the Pacific War”) are faced with the spectre of having their islands disappear under the waves of the rising Pacific. If you are a “climate change” denier, then there’s no sense in reading any further. However, the fact of the matter is that the Marshalls and all other low-lying islands in the Pacific are under Mother Nature’s siege.
A busy month in 1945. While the task force moved up the coast of Honshu (8-4 through 8-9) so the heavy ships could bombard the industrial city of Kamaishi, a couple of bombs went off that changed the world. Little Boy (8-6) and Fat Man (8-9) were unleashed on two densely populated cities – the ultimate abandonment of U.S. policy at the beginning of the War banning attacks on civilian targets . . .
On 8-9, the Boston, along with cruisers Quincy, Chicago and St. Paul met up with battleships Massachusetts, South Dakota and Alabama for daylight bombardment of Kamaishi.
“When we bombarded Japan, we had the British battleship King George the Fifth. She was firing at targets and we had to fire on a bridge over a deep ravine. We knocked it out and went on to bombard where King George was bombarding with their 16″ guns. We fired our 8’s right over their heads. You should have seen that!” John Farkas
“As soon as we got back from San Pedro, we bombarded Japan twice. The ship actually bombarded three steel mills and the like. I never thought a thing about all that we were doing; being in the Navy – I just wanted to get out, get home, drop everything. That’s what you did. It wasn’t until I got home – and years later the light bulb went on and I realized I was making history out there.” George Pitts
August 15, 1945: This morning we returned to the Tokyo area and the carriers launched their planes for the 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. Frank Studenski
Brother Bill and sister-in-law Lisa have been working diligently to mitigate recent attacks on the website. What a pain in the ass! Looks like I can now satisfy the log-in security requirements to be able to post to this site (and www.taskforce58.org)
At the moment, I don’t have much to say except “hi.” But here’s a “size-of-ship comparison scale” that I scanned from the 1942 Blue Jacket’s Manual, which I think you’ll find interesting.
I was surprised when I was working on newly found records of the USS Boston Aviation unit, that when the Boston was pulled from duty in the Pacific after months of fighting, the Aviation unit was removed lock, stock and barrel when the ship arrived in San Francisco on the way to it’s retrofit in San Pedro. there were between 15 to 20 members of the unit, and many had been together from 4 months before the ship was commissioned. The Aviation unit was started in February of 1943 and the ship was commissioned in June of 1943.
On the 28th or March 1945, the entire Aviation Unit was transferred to the Alameda Naval Air Base in California. After the Boston was retrofitted, an entirely new crew was mustered in San Pedro to restart the unit.
The Boston was a very lucky ship. No man was lost on the receiving end of enemy fire while she was in the Pacific. There were several deaths in the line of duty, however. One such death befell pilot Lt. E.E. Grutzmacher.
I remember the time we lost Lieutenant Grutzmacher, one of the Gooney Bird pilots. He was spotting for us on one of the operations. I don’t remember if it was Iwo Jima, but it was one of the islands where we were firing our 8 inch guns.
He came back to get on board — they have cranes to pick him out of the water — anyway, the ship turns in such a way that it smoothes all the water near the stern. A big area is nice and smooth and he lands in there, motors it in close to the ship and they put the hook on and they pick him up. Well, this time he hat a ground swell and it flipped the plane upside down. He got caught in it. He didn’t have time to get out and went down. Gone. I saw it with my own eyes. he died. There’s all kinds of ways of getting killed out there.Pat Fedele.
Thanking and honoring all our soldiers killed in the line of duty.