USS Bunker Hill CV-17

USS Bunker Hill CV-17

This is a transcription of a newspaper article (from comments in the article, it is from a Chicago paper published sometime in 1945) that has come into my possession temporarily. — Garland


U. S. Carrier Hit, 373 Die;

Bunker Hill Survives Jap Suicide Attack

Flat Top Suffers 656 Casualties

Washington, DC, June 27 UP—Japanese suicide planes scored two direct bomb hits on the carrier Bunker Hill, causing 656 casualties, but the flagship of Vice Admiral Mitscher survived four hours of flaming death and will fight again.

The Navy disclosed today that the Bunker Hill, despite losses of 373 dead, 19 missing, and 264 wounded in the tragic episode off Okinawa May 11 is home under her own power for repair at the Puget Sound Navy Yard.

At least 14 Illinois men, nine from Chicago were among the survivors.

Daring Maneuver Wins

A daring maneuver which literally flung the fire from her hangar deck capped the heroic efforts of her crew and assisting ships to conquer the flames.

Three hours after the attack, firefighters were still waging a nip and tuck battle on the flaming deck.

Tons of water poured on countless gallons of flaming oil and gasoline were forcing the firefighters back against the bulkhead. The sheer weight of the water was causing a six-degree list in the ship. Below decks, men were dying from heat and suffocation.

The cruiser Wilkes-Barre had come alongside, placing her bow hard against the Bunker Hill’s starboard quarter, to add her hoses to the firefighting. With the Wilkes-Barre at her side, the Bunker Hill went into a wide 70-degree turn at 2 ½ degrees rudder. In turning, the Navy account said, she shifted the load of water across the ship and dumped the heart of the roaring inferno on her hangar deck out into the sea.


New Life for Ship

“Men with lips too burned to cheer rushed forward with their hose,” the Navy related. “Fresh air whipped across the deck at their backs, forcing the heavy smoke of burning oil and gas away from them. New life breathed through the ship. Men who were lying on blistering hot decks knew, even as they drew their breath of fresh air, that some miracle had saved them.”

Commodore A. A. (31 Knot) Burke, chief of staff to Adm. Mitscher, said the admiral was in flag plot when the attack came and escaped unhurt, altho three officers and 11 men of the staff were killed and about 20 officers and men were wounded and overcome by smoke.

Admiral Mitscher transferred his flag to another carrier after the ship was saved. Fire destroyed all the Admiral’s clothing except what he wore.

The 27,000 ton Essex class carrier was a proud veteran of every Pacific invasion and campaign since the opening of the Central Pacific offensive more than a year ago, Many of her planes were aloft, supporting ground advances on….. {Continued on page 4, column 2}

Unfortunately, I don’t have the continuation of the article…


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