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U.S.S. BUSH(DD529)

PART VIII - Lessons Learned, Conclusions, and Recommendations

1. The BUSH was proud to be selected for duty as a radar picket in the Okinawa area. She felt as if she had one of the most important posts in the first line of defense. All hands steeled with previous experience in the Philippines relished their assignment regardless of the perils associated with such duty.

2. Experience in this and previous actions lead to the following comments and conclusions:

  1. Radar pickets have been an unqualified success in

    1. Early radar reporting.
    2. Fighter direction at extended distance from objective.
    3. Shooting down enemy planes.
    4. Breaking up enemy raids with gunfire.

  2. Japanese aircraft attack pickets for one or more of the following reasons:
    1. Eliminate interference and early warning supplied by the picket.
    2. Picket offers the easiest target or at least the most accessible target.
    3. One hit on a destroyer type vessel will serve in most cases to put the ship out of action at least temporarily.

  3. Radar picket duty will continue to be hazardous. Better protection of pickets might be gained by the employment of two or more destroyers in close circular formation for mutual support and/or assigning a separate CAP for the sole purpose of defending each ship (or group if more than one). It is realized that the limited number of ships and aircraft available would make this set up a difficult one to maintain when radar coverage must be furnished on a large periphery.

  4. Only destroyers fitted with Mk. 12 and 22 radars should be employed as pickets since these equipments greatly improve the accuracy of anti-aircraft gunfire at night.

3. On April 2 a floating mine was destroyed by 40mm fire from the port forward 40mm mount controlled by the Mk. 37 director. Single shots from one barrel were fired and each shot spotted until a hit was scored. The mine exploded with a high order detonation. The ship was almost dead in the water with the mine 250 yards abeam. This method of mine destruction by destroyers is highly recommended. Although it took eleven rounds to score a hit, it is believed that had the occasion again arisen, fewer shots would be required.

4. Experience has shown that a condition of readiness 1-Easy must be maintained at all times when on radar picket station with the possible exception of the hours of darkness with no moon. The ever present problem of feeding the crew presents itself. BUSH was able to serve hot meals to the men at their stations using army mess kits that had previously been issued one to a man.

5. The experiences of officers and men forced to abandon ship brings forth the following observations and suggestions:

  1. Floater nets are not satisfactory in a rough sea. They tend to bunch up and turn over. A possible remedy is to provide them with spreaders that could be readily fastened in place.

  2. Balsa life floats should be provided in greater numbers. In a rough sea they are under the water most of the time and do not provide sufficient buoyancy for a large number of men.

  3. Five man - C02 inflated rubber life rafts proved to be of great value. One such raft supported 37 men. More could have been used.

  4. Thoroughly indoctrinate personnel in survival in a heavy sea and the importance of keeping groups of men together.

  5. Provide easier ways to get aboard rescue vessels than the cargo nets now used. Personnel that have been in the water for an appreciable period do not possess sufficient strength to climb up out of the water.

  6. The number of men that became hysterical and lost their heads might indicate the need for more thorough psychiatric screening.

6. All hands were proud (and it is believed justly so) of the battle record of the BUSH and they know that she was ready in all respects and at all times to engage the enemy. In addition to participation in shore bombardments at seven different objectives the ship had been subjected to all different types of air attack including four unsuccessful suicide attacks. On one occasion above, while on independent picket duty in the Philippines, it is recalled that she had withstood an enemy air attack of four hours duration. Since her return to the forward areas in August 1944, she had shot down ten Jap planes and claimed four probables. On the occasion of her loss it is felt that the performance of all officers and men was in accordance with the best traditions of the naval service.

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