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A Short Biography

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Namesake data

The USS BUSH was named in honor of Marine Lieutenant William Sharp Bush. Lt. Bush was killed on August 19, 1812 while serving aboard the USS CONSTITUTION. It was on this date that the CONSTITUTION earned her nickname "Old Ironsides" during her famous battle with the British frigate HMS GUERRIERE (a French built ship captured by the British in 1806). The GUERRIERE cannon balls just seemed to bounce off the sides of the mighty CONSTITUTION. As the two ships collided in the late afternoon, Lt. Bush was killed by a musket shot to his face as he prepared a contingent of Marines for potential boarding of the GUERRIERE. Lt. Bush was the first U. S. Marine officer to be killed in combat.

The Navy Department's Office of Public Information Ship Section provides the following recap on the history of the USS BUSH (DD529). These words were stenciled December, 1950.

(NOTE: In some cases, the editor of this web site noted errors in dates provided in the following document. Suspected errors are noted with red asteriks. Explanations follow at the end of document.)

After participating in nearly every stepping-stone assault since the New Guinea landings of early 1944, the USS BUSH met her end during the final campaign of the war when three Jap Suicide planes crashed into her sides as she stood picket duty ahead of the Okinawa invasion forces.

The veteran Pacific fighter put up a gallant struggle to survive as her crew warded off further attacks and patched up damage to keep her afloat after the first hit. But their courageous fight ended when two other kamikazes, driving through dwindling AA fire, crashed into her hull.

After leaving Leyte on March 27, 1945, the BUSH steamed to her first stint of duty on Number 1, a Picket Station which was located 51 miles north of Okinawa. On April 2, the USS PRITCHETT (DD561) reported to relieve her and the BUSH proceeded to Kerama Retto for fuel. On the next day, word was received thit the PRITCHETT had been seriously damaged by a suicide plane and the BUSH, after only a few hours rest, was ordered back on station.

From April 3 to 5, the Japs gave the destroyer a busy time. However, she repelled the planes that decided to attack and warned the task force of others evidently out after bigger game. Her luck ended on April 6. During the early hours of that day, the BUSH took four different targets under fire, shooting down one, but by midday, the attacks appeared in increasing numbers.

Shortly after 3 o'clock that afternoon, just when the third raid in a half hour was driven off, a lone Jap fighter with Suicide written in his approach came streaking in about 30 feet above the water. In spite of his roller coaster tactics, the Jap was hit constantly, but not even the accurate fire could deter him from his purpose. The Kamikaze crashed with a terrific explosion at deck level on the starboard side between number 1 and 2 stacks. His torpedo or bomb exploded in the forward engine room with such force that a 6-foot section of engine room blower, weighing about 4,000 Pounds, was blown into the air high enough to knock off the radar antenna and land on the port wing of the bridge.

Fires were put out by damage control crews and watertight integrity was preserved sufficiently to keep the vessel afloat. The USS COLHOUN (DD801) came in from a nearby picket station to offer assistance; however, at 5 o'clock a flight of 10 to 15 Jap planes interrupted the battle to keep the BUSH afloat. The Colhoun was hit immediately and the BUSH received her second blow 25 minutes later. This smash nearly cut her in two. At 5:45 p.m., the third and final Kamikaze smashed her further by driving into her blazing decks.

Four LCS's and the USS Pakana (ATF 108) and USS PCE (R) 855 searched the area for survivors, rescuing a total of 246 men by daybreak. Eighty-seven officers and men were killed and 42 wounded in the action.

About 6 months after commissioning, the BUSH started the first of her long series of assaults on the enemy. Her initial job came on the night of January 25-26, 1944, when she shelled a personnel area on the peninsula seaward of Hadang Harbor, Alexishafen area, New Guinea.

Following in quick succession came fire support missions in the landings on Los Negros, in the Admiralty Island Group; Morotai, New Guinea; and Leyte, Philippines.

The Leyte mission marked the start of trouble for the BUSH. While operating, in the screen of the USS Nashville (CL 43), the destroyer experienced the start of the Nip last-ditch plane attacks. She shot down one plane off Leyte but by the time the Philippines operation had ended she destroyed many more.

On November 1, 1944, while maintaining an antisubmarine screen in Surigao Strait, she withstood a two hour air attack in which four torpedoes and two bombs were dropped near her, none of them accurate enough to cause damage. In retaliation, the BUSH sent two Nip planes into the sea.

While screening unloading supply echelons at Ormoc Bay, on December 9 *, the BUSH took the opportunity to bombard enemy lines near Camp Downes. Three days later, the destroyer escorted a slow tow resupply group to Mindoro from Leyte. Two planes were shot down by ships in convoy and nine others were brought down by CAP planes. One of the planes was splashed as a direct result of the BUSH's fire.

Leading another resupply group to Mindoro, the BUSH's fire fought off plane attacks during the entire run from Leyte. One day out of Leyte, December 28, two merchantmen and an LST were sunk by suicide planes. The arrival in Mindoro offered no peace for Jap planes kept on sweeping in, plummeting into any available target. Four other ships were damaged while at Mindoro. The trip back to Leyte was equally harassing but enemy damage was kept to a minimum due to added aid from the CAP. During this short run, the ships of the convoy sent 16 planes into the sea, two of which went down after being hit by the BUSH gunners.

The beginning of 1945 brought no rest for the veteran destroyer. January 4 to 9 the BUSH screened the amphibious assault in Lingayen Gulf, Luzon, Philippine Islands, and then remained in the area to patrol the Gulf entrance against submarines. On the 9th, an enemy suicide plane crashed through anti-aircraft fire and appeared headed for her stern but missed and crashed into the sea 25 feet off the fantall. During the next day, another Jap attempted to succeed in the task where his late comrade failed, but his luck was even worse. The Jap was never able to pull himself out of his initial dive, he dove headlong into the sea with the BUSH's anti-aircraft fire following him from the peak of his dive to the final splash.

This marked the second straight time that the BUSH was singled out of a group of destroyers as the object of a suicide attack. The next day, ** her crew got busy repainting her sides to conform with the colors worn by the other "tin cans".

During the remainder of January, the BUSH set a trio of Jap luggers aflame as she swept the northeast corner of San Fernando Harbor for Nip shipping. After bombarding the western part of Rosario and starting four large fires there, the BUSH retired to prepare for the Iwo Jima landings.

The assault on Iwo started February 19 and lasted until March 6. During this time, the BUSH was employed as an inner and outer transport area screening ship and had several opportunities to train her guns at Jap installations in support of the American land advance. This was her final mission prior to the fatal Okinawa operation.

Built by the Bethlehem Steel Company, San Francisco, California, the BUSH was commissioned on May 10, 1943.*** Commander Wallis F. Peterson, USN, was the ship's first commanding officer.

The second ship to bear the name BUSH, the DD-529 was christened by Miss Marion Jackson Allston, Massachusetts, great, great grandniece of the vessel's namesake, First Lieutenant William S. Bush, a Marine Corps officer who lost his life on board the USS Constitution during the war of 1812.

For its action against enemy forces, the USS BUSH (DD 529) is entitled to the following battle stars:

1 Star/Bismark Archipelago Operation
Cape Glouchester, New Britain, 26 December 1943 - 1 March 1944
Admiralty Island Landings, 29 February - 17 April 1944

1 Star/Eastern New Guinea Operation
Saidor Occupation, 2 January - 1 March 1944

1 Star/Western New Guinea Operation
Morotai Landings, 11 September 1944 - 9 January 1945

1 Star/Leyte Operation
Leyte Landings, 10 October - 29 November 1944

1 Star/Luzon Operation
Mindoro Landings, 12-18 December, 1944
Lingayen Gulf Landing, 4-18 January 1945

1 Star/Iwo Jima Operation
Assault and Occupation of Iwo Jima, 15 February - 16 March 1945

1 Star/Okinawa Gunto Operation
Assault and Occupation of Okinawa Gunto, 24 March - 30 June 1945 ****

The BUSH measured 377 feet in length, 39 feet in beam. A Fletcher type destroyer, the ship was credited with a top speed in excess of 35 knots and was armed with five 5"/38 caliber guns and 10 21-inch quintuple torpedo tubes.

Editor's Notes
* The original write up provided to the editor showed a date of November 9. The editor has corrected the date to December 9 in accordance with the ship's deck logs.
** While the painting did occur, it is doubtful it happenned the very next day as the BUSH continued active patrol in the Lingayen Gulf area for another two weeks or so. More likely, the new paint was applied while at anchor in San Pedro Bay, Leyte, Philippines beginning January 23, 1944. This later date would be consistent with the recollections of the BUSH's Deck Division officer, Lt.(jg) E. E. Sechrist.
*** The original write up (obtained through BUSH reunion material) reflected a commissioning date of June 10 1943. The editor has corrected the date to May 10, 1943 in accordance with deck logs and other sources of information.
**** The original write up (obtained through BUSH reunion material) reflected a completion date of 30 January 1945 for the Okinawa campaign. This is an obvious error and the editor "guessed" that the intended date was 30 June 1945.

One last editor's note. After her shakedown cruises and exercises, the BUSH spent late 1943 patrolling Alaskan waters near Adak, Alaska. BUSH departed from the Aleutians Islands near the end of November 1943.

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