Since all logs and records of the U.S.S. BUSH(DD529) were lost at sea, it is felt that a strictly chronological account as required in Part III of the standard action report form would be inaccurate as to time and would fail to tell the whole story of the action in which the ship was lost and has therefore been omitted. Part I has been expanded to include not only a brief summary of the activities of the ship in the Okinawa Campaign but also what is believed the complete detailed account of the events of the afternoon and evening of 6 April 1945, describing the Japanese aerial attacks on the ship, its subsequent sinking, and finally the rescue of survivors.
PART I - BRIEF SUMMARY
Enroute Leyte Gulf from Guam as escort for U.S.E.D. DAN C. KINGMAN. The passage was uneventful. Damage control and emergency drills were held each day.
Arrived San Pedro Bay at about 1600-I, March 16 and ordered KINGMAN to proceed independently. Received orders to join rehearsal group off DULAG-TARRAGUNA area. Proceeded to assigned anchorage above area and reported to ComDesRon24 for duty. In the early morning and forenoon of 17 March, carried out bombardment and landing rehearsal in accordance CTF 55 Training Order Al204-45, under the immediate command of ComDesRon24. About noon units were released and BUSH proceeded San Pedro Bay for fuel and anchorage. The next three days were spent at anchor at which time the ship engaged in routine upkeep.
On the morning of the 21st, got underway for anti-aircraft firing area in company with ComDesRon24 in ANTHONY and AMMEN. Fired anti-aircraft practice in accordance CTF 55 training order and at 1300 stood toward San Pedro Bay. In the afternoon went alongside MARKAB for four day tender availability.
Cleared the tender on 26 March and after much trouble with the gyro throughout the day and night was in all respects ready for sea on March 27th at which time steamed toward Tarraguna and reported to ComDesDiv 126 for duty in screen of Transport Group EASY as laid down in CTF 51 OpPlan Al-45.
Underway at 1015 March 27 as directed by CTU 51.13.2 (ComTransport Group EASY) standing out of Leyte Gulf. At 1300 formed special cruising disposition for anti-aircraft shoot. Conducted anti-aircraft practice throughout afternoon and at about 1800 took departure for Okinawa Jima. Received word to prepare for typhoon weather. Made preparations for extreme heavy weather.
The trip was uneventful for the most part. Weather was bad for the first two days out but the Task Unit was able to conduct exercises morning, afternoon, and evening. On the afternoon of March 31, BUSH delivered mail as ordered by CTF 51 in ELDORADO.
BUSH was released in the early morning of 1 April as the approach was made to the landing area at Okinawa Jima. BUSH assumed patrol of station A-28 in transport screen (see Annex K, CTF 51 OpPlan Al-45). Enemy planes were in the area and two ships were hit somewhat to the Southward of BUSH. At about 1000, received orders to assume patrol of Radar Picket Station #1 located 51 miles on a true bearing of 007o degrees from Pt. Zampa Misaki, Okinawa. Proceeded at 20 knots and at 1330 assumed patrol of assigned station. In the afternoon and night numerous enemy planes were tracked and reported to CTF 51. None closed to gunfire range. At 1930 the SC-2 radar picked up a series of targets tracking at speeds of 20-30 knots on a general course of 315-330oT. These targets could not be picked up on the SGa although targets passed very close aboard. The FD radar reported intermittent contact. The wind was not in direction of the tracks. The destroyer in picket station #2 reported having experienced same phenomena and targets were evaluated as phantoms.
On the morning of 2 April, received orders to proceed to Kerama Retto for fuel and was relieved by U.S.S. PRICHETT on station. Enroute sighted floating chemical horn mine WNW of Ie Shima and exploded same with 40mm gunfire. Arrived Kerama Retto about 1330. Requested fuel assignment from CTG 51.1 (SOPA) but was unable to get alongside any tanker that afternoon. At 1730 stood out to rendezvous with retirement group DOG and at 1830 reported to ComDesDiv 4 in LANG for duty in the screen. The retirement was carried out as ordered in CTF 51 OpPlan Al-45. Enemy planes were in the area and some ships in the general vicinity were hit by suicide planes.
BUSH was released on the morning of 3 April and proceeded to Kerama Retto for fuel. Went alongside BRAZOS and at about 0930 completed fueling. Stood out of the anchorage toward the transport area off Okinawa and at 1000 received orders from CTG 51.5 (ComTransportSereen) to relieve U.S.S. PRICHETT, damaged the previous night by bomb, in Radar Picket Station #1. Increased speed to 21 knots and headed for station. At about 1330 relieved PRICHETT and assumed patrol supported by LCS 62 and LCS 64.
In the afternoon tracked many planes. At 1700, a group of four enemy planes (JUDY) closed and were taken under fire. BUSH shot down one plane, the remainder were destroyed by the CAP. Later in the evening at about 2000 fired at enemy plane closing the ship. Plane turned away and no evidence of damage is offered. Later in the evening a group of enemy planes closed and dropped window all around the ship at a distance of 10 miles completely blocking the SC-2 radar. Some of the planes closed and were taken under fire with some difficulty as the window cluttered up the Mk. 4 screen. None of the group closed within 4 miles, however, and window dissipated in about thirty minutes.
Early in the morning of 4 April at about 0400, took an enemy plane under fire that closed to 3,000 yards and then turned back north at slow speed. At 1000, the LCS 62 departed for the transport area to deliver recovered Japanese material to CTF 51 and was given orders to return the same day if at all possible. Tracked various groups of enemy planes throughout the day and reported same to CTF 51. LCS 62 failed to return and had not done so at time ship was sunk.
The fifth of April was spent in tracking and reporting as before. No planes closed to gun range.
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