Commander Thurmond A. Smith

USS BUSH Commanding Officer ("CO")

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Commander T. A. Smith
Thurmond A. Smith on the bridge of the USS BUSH. Though not confirmed, the editor believes this picture was most likely taken in 1944 about the time of the Admiralty Islands invasion.

Commander Smith, whom the crew affectionately called Smitty, reported to the BUSH on May 17, 1943 and assumed command on June 12, 1943. He relieved Commander Wallis Peterson, who was being promoted to Commander of Destroyer Division 48.

As the "CO" of the BUSH, he was called "Captain" Smith by rest of the crew. In the navy, the term Captain can refer to a ship's commanding officer or an officer's rating. Generally, a rating of Lt. Commander or Commander was held for a CO on a World War II Fletcher class destroyer. A sea going destroyer officer with a rating of Captain, would most likely have responsibility for Destroyer Squadron or Divison. A squadron was made up of two destroyer divisions, with each division having four ships.

Commander Smith would serve as the BUSH Captain until May 30, 1944. In addition to his time aboard BUSH, Smith served as a cryptographer at the Navy Department in Washington D.C. He helped to break the German and Japanese codes during World War II. A 1928 graduate of the Naval Academy, his naval career was both varied and distinguished. At the time of his retirement from the Navy he was known as Rear Admiral Thurmond A. Smith.

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