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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
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.
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.
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.
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