MARCH 9th ABOARD THE BOSTON

1944: The Boston, on it’s way to the South Pacific (to participate in Operation Reckless – the support of Gen. MacArthur’s invasion of Hollandia and other enemy strongholds on New Guinea), crosses the Equator for the first time and the men are inducted into the Realm of King Neptune – a centuries old Navy Initiation ritual.

This document graciously supplied by the family of Augustus Harris, S1C, CA-69

1945: The Boston is steaming home after being detached from it’s task group at the start of operations against Okinawa leading up to the Invasion on April 1.  On March 9, 1945, the Boston is sailing east toward Pearl Harbor.

1946:  The Boston sails north from San Francisco to the boneyard at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard  –  where she finishes her AMAZING Pacific Tour on March 12, 1946.

Web Site Progress March 8th, 2010

I finished uploading a set of pictures I received from the national archives (the above picture is one of the entries). Please click on the left hand tab ‘Official Photos CA-69’. Most were shot in boston harbor after the first shakedown cruise. One was taken off the coast of California as the Boston was being escorted by the USS Grand Island (PF14).

I’ve made great progress on the crew list, soon the enlisted men will be complete.

I’ve added three new links, two are to the Rye Fire department of Rye New York which found themselves as the owner of the USS Boston’s anchor, the first story is trying to figure it out, the second story found some history as to how the anchor showed up in Rye New York. The third new link is for CA-69 Sailors who are still alive who want to join an organization devoted to US Cruisers, this site is added to the already existing USS Boston Shipmates site which is devoted to sailors and their spouses from all the the previous USS Boston’s, including CA-69.

I’ve deleted the chat function. We only had one person sign up and I was getting about 10 spam registrations a day. If we get 4-5 people who think this would be a good idea, then use the contact us form and let me know.. For now, just comment on a blog by clicking on the blog title and clicking ‘comment’.

The USS BOSTON and IWO JIMA

As I mentioned in my last post, the tiny island of Iwo Jima was very important to both sides in the War for the Pacific.  The Boston set sail for the Bonin and Volcano Islands four times between mid-June of 1944 and Feb/March of 1945.

In the lead-up to the First Battle of the Philippine Sea (June 19-21, 1944),  Boston’s Task Group 58.1 (Adm. Clark) was joined by TG 58.4 (Adm. Harrill) in a two-day raid against airfields on those islands  –  with emphasis on the planes on Iwo Jima.  Despite typhoon conditions, deckloads of fighter and bombers took off from the carriers and inflicted major damage on enemy aircraft on the ground (91 planes) and in the air.  The raids (June 15 and 16) severely damaged Japanese operational plans during their attacks on the American Invasion Fleet massed off the west coast of the Mariana Islands a few days later.

The actions of the Battle of the Philippine Sea found the ships of Task Force 58 searching for downed airmen in the seas north and east of the Marianas on June 22. Next day, the ships were on their way for resupply and replenishment at Eniwetok (Marshall Islands), with a scheduled raid on the Marianas on the way (a typical WWll “drive-by shooting”) On June 24, raids launched by the carriers of TG58.1 destroyed 66 more planes on the airfields of Iwo.  In dogfights over Iwo and Chichi Jima, Navy pilots destroyed 59 planes in the air (and 24 more on the ground.)

The Boston’s next visit to Iwo Jima was July 4 and 5th.  As the flagship of Cruiser Divison 10, CA-69 lead a task group of five cruisers and 15 destroyers in bombardments of airfields and military installations on Iwo Jima.  With the combined carrier plane strikes and ship’s bombings, the day netted 116 planes on the ground, five enemy ships sunk and several heavily damaged.

After spending the entire month of July in combat  (Operation Forager) off various Mariana Islands, Task Force 58 headed back for resupply to Eniwetok.  On the way, Jocko Clark’s task group broke north for another two day raid on Iwo, including another cruiser bombardment lead by CruDiv10 on August 4 and 5th.

Boston’s next visit to Iwo was in mid February 1945, when the Combined Fifth Fleet (Task Force 58 and the Invasion Fleet) sailed north from Ulithi for the start of Operation Detachment – the amphibious assault of Iwo Jima.

Web Site Update

We’ve added some new pictures into a link called ‘Official Photo’s of CA-69’. I purchased these photos from the National Archives and modified them to fit on the website. I’m trying to incorporate their national archive name as the link so anyone could order the picture from the National Archives if they want to.

I’m considering eliminating the bulletin board section of the web site in the next month or so, the ‘Chat about the Boston’ on the link section. I’m getting three to four request from spammers to join a day (really? three crew members from russia want to join? a day? Humm.) These spammers are really persistent, one of them has attempted to use a different form of the same email address over 100 times (he or she comes from russia, turkey, Luthuania, China, and at least two places in the US!) I’ll close down the experiment of a bulletin board in about a month if it isn’t working.

If you want to comment on one of these blogs, feel free to use the comment section and enter a comment. Just click your mouse on the ‘No Comments’ title below the heading of the blog and you’ll be asked the enter a verification to make sure that you’re an actual human being, and not computer generated spam. 🙂

-Bill

THE IMPORTANCE OF IWO JIMA

As we remember the massive sacrifices made by American amphibious forces on the tiny island of Iwo Jima from February 19 through March 26, 1945, it is important to reflect on the strategic importance of  that volcanic outcropping to both Japan’s defense of her homeland and to America’s strategy to end the war – massive amphibious attacks on the Home Islands of Japan.

The Bonin and Volcano Islands lie halfway between Honshu (Tokyo) and the Marianas. The three most important islands of those two neighboring groups were HaHa Jima, Chichi Jima and Iwo Jima – home to two enemy airfields.  The Japanese defensive plans (as Americans encroached their defenses by victories in the Marshalls and Marianas) always included shuttling fighter planes from Honshu to Okinawa and Iwo Jima airstips.

Taking Iwo Jima would give America a vital airfield about 700 miles from Tokyo, and strip her of vital air-defense “reach”.  After B-24 bases were established at Tinian and Saipan in the Marianas, Iwo as an American airbase would prove invaluable to the strategic Air campaign that ran concurrent with the Navy’s campaign against Tokyo.

Navy planners and commanders took Iwo Jima VERY seriously.  Before it could ever be invaded, it had to be neutralized several times in the year or so prior to the February 1945 Marine invasion.  No one task group nor one group commander is more synonymous with Iwo Jima than is TG58.1 and “Jocko” Clark.  Under his command, the Boston participated in three major assaults against Iwo Jima – twice spearheading the close-up bombardments (as flagship of Cruiser Division10) of airstrips and facilities on Iwo and the Volcano Islands.

Jocko Clark had such a personal interest in attacking Iwo, that one of his raids (at his initiation and suggestion) came to be known as “Operation Jocko”.

I will detail the raids against IWO JIMA in my next blog.