J. M. Cross was part of the USS Bush commissioning crew, reporting aboard as
a Fire Controlman 3rd class on May 10, 1943. Prior to reporting aboard
ship, he had attended the Fleet Service School for
"Fire Control-Rangefinder-Spotters", graduating on the 6th day of
As a Fire Controlman he was part of the ship's Ordnance Division. His assigned battle station was the #41 40MM director, on the starboard side of the ship, just forward of the bridge and above the #41 40MM gun itself. Shipmates have described him as a "good natured fellow" and "a big strong kid, well liked". J. M. was lost with the USS Bush on April 6, 1945. By that time, his rating had increased to Fire Controlman 2nd Class. He was 21 years old.
J. M. Cross - FC2c
This big, young sailor had no first or middle name, just the initials J. M.
He was the only surviving child of Mr. and Mrs. Hubert M. Cross from Tulsa Oklahoma.
A surviving cousin related the following from her childhood memories, "J.M.
didn't smoke or drink, and also being a very tall man, was often sent on shore
patrol. There was only one time he needed his billy club, but because he'd
never had to use it, he couldn't get it off his belt!"
A letter to Jay's parents dated June 2, 1945 from the ship's Commanding Officer told of J. M's death and his gallant actions as the USS Bush was lost. Below are excerpts from that letter:
ROLLIN E. WESTHOLM
Commander, U. S. Navy
Former Commanding Officer
|Pictured below are images for the Silver Star and Purple Heart that J. M.'s parents would receive for his noble actions and subsequent death on April 6, 1945.|
Text on the Silver Star medal itself includes "For Gallantry in Action..."
USS Bush Fire Controlmen
Coy Phillips, J. M. Cross, Norman Handy-1944
Taken in 1944, the picture at left shows J. M. Cross (in the center) with two other USS Bush Fire Controlmen. On the left is Coy W. Phillips, FC3c, and on the right is George N. "Norm" Handy, FC3c. Like J. M., both of these men were part of the commissioning crew.
Coy Phillips would remain aboard reaching a rating of Fire Controlman 1st Class. At 23 years of age, Phillips, like J. M. Cross, was lost with his ship. On April 6, 1945 his battle station is thought to have been in the main battery director above the bridge. From Florence, Alabama, Phillips was one of five brothers serving in the military during World War II. He and another brother would not return home.
Norm Handy was detached from the ship on Janury 31, 1945 while the Bush was moored at Ulithi. Handy was born in London, England and had a cockney accent. He was one of the oldest enlisted men aboard ship, leaving the ship at age 41 or so.
||Recollections ||Ship's Poetry ||Sailors Lost ||Fletchers ||Glossary ||Links