Glen Boren, USS Bunker Hill
by GLEN A. BOREN
"Onboard the USS NASSAU between Sept. 15 - 18, 1943 for our
'Carrier Qualification' trip on a small carrier off of San Diego.
Dates etc, taken from flight log of Ltjg Ted Harris." GAB
November, 11, 1943
|R.A. Ogden||1 Zeke|
|A. F. Smith||1 Zeke|
|A. F. Smith and Lavenson||1 Zeke|
|Coureshey and Mowry||1 Zeke|
|Unknown hero - belly tank VF-18||1 Zeke|
|Strafed||1 Tanker and 1 Cruiser|
|T. R. Ogden||1 Val|
|Manson||1 Kate and 1 Val|
Zeke = Zero
Val Dive bomber = AICHI - 99
Kate Torpedo = NAKA jima 97
Parker - water crashed, picked up by destroyer.
Maness - water crashed, picked up by can.
Pearse - landed on board with Aileron; elevator controls only. Crashed in barrier.
Husted - missing. Reported bailed out and was strafed by 2 zeros while going down. Unconfirmed.
|18 Dive bombers|
|4 Torpedo planes|
|34 total Jap planes shot down by V.F. 18 on first trip in combat.|
November 11, 1943 - USS BUNKER HILL Planes took off at dawn for raid on Rabaul. Target was mostly the ships in the harbor. One bomber crashed in the water at takeoff. Gunner saved; pilot?? Planes arrived over target, dropped bombs and torpedoes and fighters strafed a tanker and a cruiser. One fighter plane didn't return. Two fighter planes and three bombers landed in water. Crews picked up by D.D. Planes were too badly shot up to land aboard. Jap planes followed the flight back for a ways and left.
At 1000 the Japs attacked the task force with dive bombers and torpedo planes. We had just launched our fighters after regassing and rearming, which was very lucky for us that they were up. Several were shot down by our fighters, but a few got through at us. The torpedo planes let go their torpedoes of which we out maneuvered and they went by without hitting us. Three or four dive bombers dove on us, but the bombs hit the water close by. They possibly might have gotten one hit on a DD with a small bomb, but otherwise no hits were made. Most of their planes were shot down.
Ensign Watts was the last fighter to take off. The ship;s guns had already started shooting. On takeoff, he cleared the flight deck and banked to port as the Japs were on the starboard side. A dive bomber after releasing his bombs at us, pulled out and in front of Ensign Watts and got shot down. He was a busy man for a few minutes, getting off the deck, getting his wheels up, guns charged and getting ready to fire at enemy and also to avoid our own bLm fire!
Our ship shot up one of our fighters by mistake, but pilot was O.K. He lit in the water afterwards, too badly shot up to land aboard.
Our fighter pilots made a score of 18 dive bombers and 4 torpedo plans and 12 zeros. Our pilots made a wonderful showing for the first time in action. The men had only 2 months training in the F6F and very little gunnery. The attack on our task force was said to be the longest period any ship or ships had been under an attack.
I was working in front of the island, starboard side of flight deck inspecting and checking off the planes as they took off. The firing had already started when we launched the last plane. I took cover in the island when a D.B. let go his bombs. They missed. The attack was in two waves. After the first wave, I went out and helped clear the flight deck of empty 5 shell cases and then took cover in the squadron locker at the starboard bow. I stood on the cat walk until a bomber started his run and then I got in the hole. I looked out in time to see his bombs go off directly straight out from where I was standing, about 100 feet out in the water. I was plenty scared all the time the raid was on. Probably the most scared man on the ship.
Very few of the planes got away. I got a very close look at a torpedo plane as he went by parallel to the ship about 10 feet up and a 100 feet out. He went ahead about 300 yards and our guns opened up on him and he blew up.
We left the area and went back to Espiritu Santo for a day and left the next day for the Gilberts. F-1 received about 78 bullet holes, but is still in good shape!
November l8, l943 - CV17 Arrived some 100 miles from Tarawa. Launched first attack at 4:15. Four planes went to Makin to strafe sea planes. Five attacks were made on Tarawa during the day. Knocked out all aircraft on ground, many anti aircraft guns, etc. Little opposition. No enemy aircraft, no planes lost. Our planes got several holes, but no losses.
Combat air patrol over task force, located a Jap snooper, a seaplane. Resembles SOC-1. Ensign Watts was credited for shooting it down. After dark, a boggie came in. We all opened up on him. Never saw him at all.
November 19, 1943 Launched 5 more attacks on Tarawa. Heavy toll, little opposition. C.A.P. sighted and shot down a twin engine bomber (Jap). Ensign Reeves was credited for it.
No boggies at night.
November 20, 1943 Launched 4 or 5 attacks on Tarawa. Assisted the landing forces to take over.
Late in the evening, sunset, about 20 twin engine bombers attacked the task force, coming in at 20 feet high carrying torpedoes. Five made a run on the Independence. Four got shot down, 1 got through and scored a hit, damaging the rudder. She could steer with her screws, but not very good. She went back to Pearl Harbor?. Our ship shot down 5 of them. VF18 fighters shot down 4 confirmed and 2 possibilities. I don't know what the rest of the T.F. shot down. One or two may have gotten away.
I never took cover at all this time as I was helping to respot the deck for takeoff. I saw 2 go down and crash and explode at about 300 feet away. It really was a sight. I was plenty scared again, but I didn't have much time to think about it as I was busy most of the time. Fl got several more holes in her, but she is good for many more raids yet!!!
November 21, 1943 Still around Tarawa for protection purposes.
November 22, 1943 Same.
November 23, 1943 Same. VFl8 pilot Manson, made the 4,000th landing on the carrier. Received cake.
November 24, 1943 Moved out to about 200 miles east to refuel. Tanker came along side. USS Kidd (DD) came along side for gedunk and turkey for the 25th. USS Chanchey came along side to get same and to give us mail and to put aboard a pilot that had went over the side the day before on landing (stalled and skidded over port side).
November 25, 1943 Thanksgiving Day USS Bunker Hill in commission 6 months today. The day was uneventfully except for Lt. Kelly lit on Tarawa and came back and said 4,500 dead Japs sure stunk! He had a few coins, etc. F-1 7 spun in so it was left there for the time being.
November 26, 1943 Changed task forces from 50.3 to 50.4. Essex left us today and Monterey joined us. Admiral Sherman was piped aboard and we are now flag ship.
Received 7 more fighters today. F(M)12 missed hook wires and hit the barriers and turned over, damaging the plane pretty bad. Pilot was cut up some, but otherwise O.K.
Pilot of F-17 came back from Tarawa with the planes radio gear, etc. Returned in TBF. They brought a lot of Jap stuff with them. The TBF gunner gave me a 7.7 rifle shell, just smaller than our 30 cal(8.0). A few Japs are still alive hiding under rubbish and wreckage and sniping our men on the island. Some were in a pill box so they used a bulldozer and covered it with dirt. We lost 500 men and 800 wounded. They lost over 4,500 men.
Jap planes came within 8 miles of us after sunset and dropped flares, but didn't find us.
November 27, 1943 Four of our planes had to land on the Princeton as our deck was fouled and it was getting dark. They arrived this A.M. They (Billo, Crosby, Watts and Crawford) had shot down a Jap Betty (twin engine bomber) last night. Watts spotted it and they gave chase for 10 minutes before catching it. They dropped their belly tanks and ran at 2700 RPM with 52 manifold pressure before catching it. They shot it down soon after catching it. It rained most all afternoon and was cloudy all day. Our last 8 planes landed aboard in the rain. Just after landing our planes, a Betty flew over dropping a flare, but it was raining too much for him to see us! We fired at him by radar, but ? Nobody knows!
Torpedo defense sounded earlier in P.M. 40 bombers carrying torpedoes were 90 miles away. They never came closer than Tarawa, 74 miles away. Our planes ran them off. They saw our fighters and ran! Billos division shows up as a good bunch of flyers and fighters!
Sunday, November 28, 1943 The day was just routine until about 2 P.M. Four fighters just shot down a Betty. Prepare 4 belly tanks, etc. Three planes circled the ship and landed. F-33 was missing. We checked up and found out that he was with them until after the bomber was shot down, and soon after, noticed that he was gone. They thought he came to the ship. We checked the gas tanks and found that 2 of them had 30 gallons each and one had 20 gallons. He must have ran out of gas and made a water landing. He possibly might have went to Tarawa, but not likely.
Lavenson was the pilot and till 11 P.M. tonight, he is still missing.
Our other carrier (Monterey) joined up with us this P.M., just before 9 of the Independence fighters and 2 torpedo planes came aboard.
It was very cloudy most of the afternoon and evening. Just after sunset, torpedo defense sounded and the fun began. A few Betties were in close - 4 or 5 maybe. They came in pretty close and one made a run on the Monterey. The cross fire from two of the battleships blew it up in mid air. It sure burnt! Ten minutes later, the DD Bums got another one. They left soon after.
The score for VF 18 now is 42 Jap planes and at least 2 possibles.
|18 Dive bombers|
|4 Torpedo planes|
|1 Sea plane|
November 29, 1943 Very dull day, no boggies at all. Still no word about Russ Lavenson
November 30, 1943 Enemy sub reported 34 miles from task force on surface. Fighters were strafing it. No further word. Day very quiet. Boggie 20 miles from us in evening; never came in.
December 1, 1943 Sub around us in A.M. Still within 100 miles of Makin and Tarawa.
December 2, 1943 No soap.
December 3, 1943 Nothing during the day. About 9:30, general quarters sounded. Boggies 117 miles out. Came within 40 miles and bombed Tarawa. Radar plot reports about 130 bombers (in 3 groups). Two small groups searched the area that we were in during the day. Lucky we moved at night.
December 4,1943 No action.
December 5, l943 News flash. Jap carrier sunk by sub. Monterey fighters shot down a Betty 6 miles from task force.
December 6,1943 Rumors that a raid is in view for tomorrow.
December 7,1943 Raid on Nauru postponed until 8th.
December 8,1943 Raid on Nauru started before daylight. It was really effective. We were within 100 miles of the island all day yesterday and last night, and we still caught them with their pants down. Not a gun was manned when the first attack went in. The raid was highly successful. VFI 8 suffered another loss. One pilot and plane. Ensign A. F. Smith got shot down and crashed in the water, bringing the total to 3 pilots. Ensign Husted, Ensign Levenson and Ensign A. F. Smith. The Japs paid dearly for those 3 men and will pay more yet!
We lost one bomber and two men also. Someone sent a DD in to pick them up, but nobody was there to pick up. The Japs got the range of the DD and shelled it, killing 27 of our men and wounding several others - just to save 2 dead men.
Our fighters found 11 or 12 more planes on the ground and took care of them quickly. A Betty. was sighted on the horizon from us, but our C.A.P. chased it out to 45 miles and shot it down. The squadron got credit for it as everybody that saw it took after it. I think only one of our planes got holes in it, left aileron shot half off. As I said before, the raid was highly successful even if it did cost us 30 men.
The B.B. shelled the island for an hour. They caused most of the damage. F-1 more holes, still good!
December 9, 1943 Until 1000, no action.
December l0, 1943, 1000 on It was December 9th until 1000 today and then now it is the 10th, same 24 hour period. We crossed the International Date Line. We are heading for Espirito Santos for a while from all indications.
December 11, l943 Enroute - no action.
December 12,1943 Arrived in Espirito Santo in A.M. Got to Lugan Field by 12:30. MAIL CALL!! Lots of mail. First mail since November 12th. I can really answer letters now. Just found out Ben Wolberg is on DD "Burns". She's been with us all the time, but I didn't know he was on it. Found Zeke Zeller, whom I went to AF&I with, here in CASV 13. Will see him after 5 P.M.
Had swell rest ashore!
December 21, 1943 Called back to ship suddenly. Possibly a raid in view. Two hours notice.
December 22, 1943 Planes flew out in A.M. Kelly in F-10 tail hook pulled out and he crashed in barrier.
December 23, 1943 Raid on Kavieng planned for Christmas Day, I hear. Took exam for 2nd class, passed I heard (I hope!).
What a lovely Christmas the Japs will have, (us too maybe)! Just counted up and V.F.- 1 8 has 43 Jap planes to credit so far! 10 or 12 strafed on ground. Best squadron in the fleet!!
December 25, 1943 Busy day for the Bunker Hill! Reveille at 3:45. Launched attack 190 miles out. It was a Merry Christmas. Two destroyers, 1 medium transport, 1 large transport. Definitely sunk several barges, etc., damaged. We lost 1 TBF and 2 men. About .0900, a Jap 4 engine seaplane Marvis was shot down by Wooly, with one burst, it burnt. Later a Betty was shot down by Ambrosio. Boggies were around us all afternoon. As we were landing our last flight, Pearse shot down another Betty. Just at sunset, we were surrounded by about 30 Betty?. We fired at several of them, but hit none.
Several flares were dropped, but not very close. They gave up about .2030 and went back.
It is Christmas eve at home now. It was Christmas Day for us as we are across the date line. We sure delivered lots of presents, but received none (so far). Total for VF 18 - 46 planes.
December 27, 1943 Changed course to meet a Jap task force. Things should get very interesting soon
December 28, 1943 No task force.
December 29, 1943 No task force.
December 30, 1943 No task force.
December 31, 1943 No task force. Seems routine for A.M.
January 1,1944 Japanese ships reported in vicinity. Sent out scouts to find out. Located a DD and a cruiser in Kavieng harbor. Launched air group for attack. Combat air patrol lands aboard about 1030. Fox I landed aboard; hard landing. Tail section pulled off forward of stabilizer. Pilot starts up deck. Suddenly engine reves up and plane goes overboard on port side. Pilot, Ensign Hayes reported to have went down with it. Too many bullet holes from previous raids, I guess.
Attack group reports attack has started. Planes return. Fox 27 got shot up pretty bad by anti aircraft. Says lots of zeros there. All fighters return. All TBFs return. All SB2Cs return but one. Photo plane reported to have gone down.
Scramble - 12 to l 5 boggies 55 miles. Combat air patrol intercepts. Launch 8 more. One shot down. New Tony latest zero of Japan. Coats.
Captain reports 2 cruisers, 1 DD sunk, 1 DD badly damaged, 8 zeros shot down probably. The Japs sure have a bad time on holidays!!
General quarters sounded about 1930. 3 or 5 boggies 27 miles, came into 18 miles and left. Secured, hoping no more finds us!! Another holiday less Japs.
January 2, 1944 Headed back for Espiritu Santo from all indications.
January 3, 1944 Reversed course for Kavieng. More ships reported.
January 4, 1944 Launched a predawn patrol and a search for Kavieng. Located several ships about. Launched attack at 0800. Returned about noon. Several hits were made on cruisers and DD's. None were believed to be sunk. The ships were out of the harbor and in open water.
Ensign Beedle got shot down by a Hap after driving him off of one of our bombers. He caught fire and crashed in the water. The Captain came in with no hydraulic system. A shell hit in the wing stub and exploded, broke all the flap lines, thus loosing fluid. He made a beautiful landing without his flaps. Shrapnel from the shell penetrated the cockpit, injuring his leg, but not serious. Trigg landed and dropped a wheel over the side, damaging F-29 pretty bad.
General quarters sounded about 2 P.M. Boggies at 50 miles. 5 Zekes and 1 Nell. Monterey fighters shot them down very soon.
A Jake, 3 place seaplane (twin floats) was shot down by Lt. Runyon about 28 miles away. Later a Betty was shot down on the horizon ( 15 miles) by Mandt and Trigg (before Twigg cracked 29 up).
The submarine Guardfish surfaced just 12 miles from us. She has been around us most of the time. It sure looked pretty breaking water about 1845. She will submerge about sun up.
January 12, 1944 Arrived in Espiritu Santo for another stay on the beach.
January 13, 1944 D. D. Smith stalled and spun in Fox 11. Rumors are that Marshall Islands are next target!
January 18, 1944 Packed bag and baggage and headed for the ship.
January 19, 1944 Got underway by .0600. Landed air group by noon. Tail hook pulled out of Fox 13 and crashed-in barrier. D. D. Bums is with us again. Hope to see Wohlberg this time. Five BBs with us also. Headed for Funafute.
January 20, 1944 No excitement.
January 21, 1944 Arrived in Funafute. Anchored at 1208.
January 22, 1944 Still here. Tried to go to 588, but couldn't get boat over. Got soaked trying. Captain Ballentine announced that he had been promoted to Rear Admiral! More power Captain. Maybe leave here in A.M.
January 28, 1944 Have moved into battle position on the Marshalls. Attack to be in the A.M. 0310 reveille.
January 29, 1944 Launched a predawn incendiary attack. Several attacks were made during the day. No air opposition was encountered. Very little anti aircraft, but what there was was accurate. Lt. Mark Mowry went down in flames. Two TBFs and one SB2C went down also. The airfield at Kwajalein island was made useless. The D. D. Burns went in after dark to pick up the crew of one of the TBFs. On the way out, they ran into a Jap convoy consisting of 2 D.E.s, 1 AK? and 1 merchant ship! Sank all four of them.
January 30,1944 During the night, we moved up to Engebi island and started hitting it before dawn. 8 or 10 Betties were caught on the ground and our fighters soon set them on fire. One started to taxi out, but unfortunately didnt get to take off! The field was ruined.
January 31, 1944 Hit Engebi again. Lt. Runyon was blown around considerably when Ensign Harris hit (strafed) a building and it blew up (ammo). 40 or 50 bombs set to go off 6 hours after dropped were dropped. Should go off about .2230 reveille! No gun firing was seen in P.M.
February 1, 1944 Same as before. Three attacks sent out. Troops on Kwajalein have advanced from west end of island to point about midway of strip. Got ashore with few casualties and are consolidating as they go. Most of Roi has been taken. No details.
February 2, 1944 Launched first strike at 1000. One TBF after taking off went out about a mile and spun in. No one was picked up or to be found. Over the target, 2 Tares ran into each other. Nobody was said to be seen. Lt. Cmdr. Whitaker and Raymond Clapper were both in one of them. 6 enlisted men, 3 pilots and 2 war correspondents were lost today. We have completely taken over Roi." Kwajalein is about over with. Fighting is still going on at Nauru.
Our fighters dropped their belly tanks on Jap troops at one concentrated point and then strafed them and setting fire to the gasoline. It worked very good
February 3, 1944 Dropped back to refuel. Completed about 1400. Launched C.A.P. and A.S.P. Received 4 SB2Cs and 3 TBFs from a C.V.E. All planes land aboard except Ensign Reeves. He cant get his flaps down. After trying several times to stop his skidding on approach, he landed in the water forward of a DD, wheels down. He took a nasty splash and I think he was picked up. Just found out for sure! Hes O.K.
February 4, 1944 At about 0615, land was sighted. We kept coming in till you could see the coconuts on the trees! We dropped anchor at 1035 in Majuro Atoll. Majuro Lagoon.
We are approximately 18 days ahead of schedule on the Marshall campaign. Practically all of the Marshall Islands are in our hands. Just before dark today, I looked out into the lagoon in which we are anchored and I could see ships everywhere. At least 100 of all kinds around us. Carriers, BBs, CLs, CHs, DDs, transports, tankers, etc.! What a nice target for the Japs!
February 5, 1944 1335, Rear Admiral J. J. Ballentine was relieved as C.O. of the Bunker Hill. Captain Jeeter took his place.
February 12, 1944 Left Majuro Atoll for Truk. It appears that some of the Jap fleet might be in there! (We hope).
February 16-17, 1944 Started raid on Truk. Fighters sweep sent in first to get air superiority, which was done soon! No VF18 pilots lost here. Over 200 Jap planes shot down and destroyed, over 19 ships sunk, 40 some odd damaged and maybe some of these sunk!
February 21, 1944 On a course for the Marianas. About 430, two Jap Betties sighted us. One was shot down by C.A.P., but the other got away. About 2100, torpedo defense sounded as the Betties came in. General quarters sounded soon after. 11 or 12 Betties were shot down during the night. None of our ships were hit! We are still on our way to Marianas, but we might have a hot reception!
February 22, 1944 "Bunker Hill" is keeping up it's record and tradition as the "Holiday Raider"! Washington's birthday was spent giving the Japs another bad time at Guam, Saipan and Tinian. Four VFN were sent in. First one is missing. One came in wounded in the arm and leg with plane badly damaged, but he shot down 3 Zekes before he came back. VFN76 got 5 Japs on that hop!
The Captain's Division, Billos and Runyons, 12 planes altogether flew over Guam raising all kinds of hell with Jap planes. 2 Betties shot down, 3 Douglas transports, 4 Betties, 2 Zekes were destroyed on the ground. Several planes were destroyed at Tinian (40 or 50).
Ensign Foreman was reported going down in water and in life raft. Hope he was picked up by sub.
February 23, 1944 Back to Majuro Atoll.
February 25, 1944 Just got word that we are heading for States. 1200 - Confirmed!
This is the personal property of Glen A. Boren. This material is not in public domaine.
Thanks for providing your diary Glen!
For further information about the USS Bunker Hill in WWII, see the following book:
Robert Olds, Helldiver Squadron: The Story of Carier Bombing Squadron 17
with Task Force 58 Dodd, Mead, and Co., 1944.
Reprinted: Zenger Publishing Inc., Washington D.C., 1980.
copyright 2008 T.O.T.W.
Created 25 February 2001 - Updated 12 February 2002