As Claxton, Abner Read, Killen and Ammen fought their morning duels predators Leyte Gulf, ten miles south a second group of Japanese planes swept in from the west. Eluding radar detection by hugging the contours of Panoan Island, they skimmed Surigao Strait’s mirror-calm waters of to set upon Anderson (DD-411) and Bush (DD-529).
It was now about 0920 and Anderson was anchored offshore after escorting landing craft into Cabalian Bay. Bush lookouts spotted one of two Bettys—navy twin-engine bombers—launching a torpedo towards Anderson. Anderson guns soon opened fire.
Bush went to GQ, turned west towards the action and accelerated to 15 and then 25 knots. Bush was soon attacked by a different Betty approaching to starboard. Fortunately for Bush and its crew, the tin can’s 35-year-old skipper Rollin (Westy) Westholm was a skilled and confidant ship handler--a burly former torpedo boat squadron commander in the Solomons and off New Guinea. Ordering full rudder turns, Westholm repeatedly swung the ship, both to keep her guns pointed towards attackers and to dodge strafing fire, bombs and possible torpedoes.