"Seattle, Washington Survivors"

Jack C. Day - CM2c
John J. Peterson - B2c
Curtis E. Stenson - WT3c

Back to Photos List

Jack Day-CM2c, John Peterson-B2c and Curtis Stenson-WT2c are pictured in an official U. S. Navy photo following their safe return to the United States after the loss of their ship, the USS BUSH, on April 6, 1945. All three men hailed from Seattle, Washington. All three were part of the ship's Engineering Division.

Each of these men were part of the BUSH commissioning crew of May 10, 1943. On commissioning date, Day and Stenson had ratings of Seaman 2nd Class, while Peterson's rating was Seaman 1st Class. Peterson had previously served aboard the attack oiler USS NEOSHO (AO-23) and survived her sinking on May 7, 1942 during the Battle of the Coral Sea.

USS BUSH Seattle Survivors
Left to right above:
John Peterson-B2c, Jack Day-CM2c, Curtis Stenson-WT3c
Regarding the ship’s early days, Jack Day remembers, "I and the Shipfitter were on the ship every day; weeks before the crew came aboard, getting the damage control and fire fighting equipment on line. On her shakedown cruise, we hit some heavy weather out of San Fran. Most of the crew was sick, except for Lt. Sechrist and I. We were securing stores. He left and came back and said, "Can you steer?" "Just small boats, but sure I can". We went to the bridge and I relieved Ray Mayhugh who had been on the wheel for 4-5 hours. This became my watch station for almost a year."

Day became the ship’s carpenter’s mate and diver. As such, he was very familiar with the overall ship. His duties included 'sounding the ship' – which meant testing various compartments throughout the ship to make sure her hull remained watertight and seaworthy. This was a twice a day task for him. Day’s battle station was as part of the forward repair party. During general quarters, the forward repair party was stationed near the forward smoke stack. Their job was to help mend the ship as quickly as possible in the event of battle damage.

The photo above accompanied May 1945 newspaper articles from unidentified Seattle area newspapers. These clippings included then "fresh memories" from Jack Day and John Peterson about the sinking of their ship. Day and Peterson were quoted as making the following comments.

John Peterson - "I was in the after fire room when the first Jap suicide plane hit us," Peterson said at the home of his mother, Mrs. Irene Peterson. "We waited awhile and then tried to make it topside. The front of the boiler had blown off and we were being flooded out. I climbed out of the aft fireroom in nothing flat to escape live steam pouring out." Peterson is also quoted as saying "I got out through the escape hatch and stayed aboard awhile. I guess I did a little bit of everything – fire fighting and so on. Finally I jumped off and got on a raft. We were out there floating from 5 o’clock in the afternoon until 1 in the morning."

Jack Day - "The first of the three made the worst mess," he related. "Two hit amidships and one struck the forecastle and went into the ward room. There wasn’t much left but she stayed afloat about two hours." He noted his survivor's leave plans included "Sleep and plenty of it".
More than 60 years later, Jack Day elaborated further about the events of April 6, 1945 and the week or two immediately following. Day remembers, "When the first plane hit us I was burned and out. Bob Thompson got me into the wardroom after he hit me with a couple shots of morphine. When I came to in the wardroom, someone hit me a couple of more. I was probably flying high. I remember trying to get the generator to run. No luck, it kept shorting out. Never did run. At the last, I was shoring the bulkhead between the after fireroom and aft engine room. Great stuff, morphine, you can leap over tall buildings."

Day went on to recall, "I vaguely remember being picked up, being put in a bunk and given a shot. The next thing I knew I woke up on a hospital ship ... All the burns (cases) were in one hold down in the bottom. From the waist up I was wrapped like a mummy ... holes for eyes, nose and mouth. The corpsmen would pour soup in the mouth hole. The smell down there was unbelievable. I kept thinking 'Oh, for a breath of fresh air'. The second or third night I crawled out, evaded the sentry and made my way topside to the stern, took a deep breath ... the same rotten smell! It was me."

Upon having his bandages removed, Day noted, "The last day I was there they unwrapped me, picked out a cup full of paint and small particles. Skin had sloughed. I was pink as a new baby. I was moved over to the Henrico just as she was getting underway."

Both Day and Stenson were rescued by the LCS(L)-64 and Peterson was picked up by the LCS(L)-24. Once rescue operations were completed, the surviving BUSH medical officer, Lt. George Johnson, listed both Day and Peterson as having been injured and "discharged to duty" following a medical examination and treatment.

Home ||Short History ||Deck Logs ||Final Action Reports ||Photos

||Recollections ||Ship's Poetry ||Sailors Lost ||Fletchers ||Glossary ||Links