"#1 5-Inch Gun Crew"

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Jim Collinson, Gunner's Mate 2nd Class and #1 5-Inch Gun Captain, poses with his gun crew after some action. Jim is standing in the center of the back row. Empty powder casings from the completed action can be seen on the deck in the lower right hand portion of the picture.

The man in the bottom row on the far right (wearing the thick gloves with his hand on the shell casing) is Seaman 1st Class Ben Libassi. Ben was the #1's hot shellman. Also on the bottom row, second from the left, is Fireman 1st Class Al Shook. Al's family believes Al was a loader - so likely had the job of a shellman or powderman. The names of the other men are unknown.

#1 5-Inch Gun Crew
Jim, a veteran of earlier action in the Solomon Islands/Guadalcanal vicinity reported aboard BUSH on her day of commissioning, May 10, 1943. He remained with her until transferred .... just 10 days prior to the BUSH being lost at Okinawa.

About 28 years old, Jim was 8 to 10 years older than most of the other crewmen. His crew called him "Pop". Jim recalls the BUSH crew was "the fightingest bunch you ever did see". The object hanging under the turret is the hammock Jim slept in. His normal berthing quarters were aft. Jim didn't want any delays getting to his station, the most forward gun on the ship.

Jim recalls, "My gun was named Helen, after my wife, and between my wife and my crew we were unbeatable."

That's the real Helen pictured to the right with Jim, just after the war's end.

Jim and the real Helen

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