The Big Stick – USS Iowa, BB61


Michael Harker, son of crewmember James D. Harker, sent me these great shots of the battleship Iowa  –  restored and in residence as a floating WWII warship museum in San Pedro, CA (next to Long Beach, CA)

Iowa 2Iowa 3Iowa 4Iowa 5The USS Iowa participated in the same Task Force 38 and TF 58 operations as the Boston.  While they weren’t in the same Task Groups, they were in the same bombardment groups, especially in the Home Island Raids at the end of the War.  Sailors on both ships could share horror stories of riding out the deadly Typhoon Cobra in December of ’44.

A few distinctions between Battleships and Heavy Cruisers:

The Iowa was 887 feet long.  A city block (varies in length, depending on the city) generally averages 300-325 feet.  The Iowa is more than 2 1/2 city blocks (including the cross street width) long.  The Boston was 673 long: more than 2 city blocks (plus intersection).

The Iowa was built to hold 2,600 men, the Boston 1,200 men.

The Iowa’s biggest guns: 16 inch (see last picture).  The Boston’s biggest guns: 8 inch.

Visiting the Iowa is on my short bucket list.  Thanks, Michael, for sending in these great pictures.

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Paul S. Koscielny, S2c


(on this date in 1945:  Sailors aboard the USS Boston learn that despite the fact that three days earlier the Document of Surrender was signed aboard the Missouri, they would not be going home.  The Boston became one of the lead ships in post-war Occupation Duty, staying in Japanese waters until early January 1946.)

Paul Sylvester KoscielnyPaul’s time aboard the Boston:

He mustered onto the ship while she was anchored in the lagoon at the Marshall Island atoll of Majuro, just prior to the Marianas Operation (Forager) and the upcoming Battle of the Philippine Sea.  He left the ship on Nov. 11, 1945

Photo submitted by Paul’s niece, Barbara Koscielny-Baird.

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Jesse E. Bohannan, S1c


Jesse Earl Bohannan

Jesse Bohannan (r) with shipmate pals aboard CA-69

Jesse Bohannan (r) with shipmate pals aboard CA-69

Jesse Bohannan reported aboard on 4/2/45, while the ship was under repair in San Pedro. He mustered off on May 14, 1946, after mothballing the ship in Bremerton, WA.  Son Steven Bohannan, who submitted these pictures, tells us his dad died on March 25, 2011.

(I included a picture of Jesse walking down an unidentified city street (Los Angeles?) in his whites in Baked Beans, Vol 3.   –  steve. )

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Clifford R. Jones, SC2c


jonesClifford Ross Jones, Ship’s Cook, 2nd Class

Cliff Jones was an original plankowner, mustering aboard the ship on Commissioning Day (6-30-43).  He left the ship on October 29, 1946, more than one year after the War ended and the men had Occupation Duty.

While in the Navy, Clifford served on the USS Boston CA-69 as a Ships Cook Second Class and later as a Commisary Man Second Class. In addition to the USS Boston, Clifford served aboard the USS Baltimore (CA-68), USS Oglala (CM-4) and USS Miami (CL-89).  After his discharge from the Navy on Aug 28, 1946, Clifford worked as a chef at the prestigious Harvard Military Academy in North Hollywood, California.  Clifford was married to Geneva Doris Robinson and had three children (Ross, Barry and Priscilla).  He passed away in Camarillo, California on June 23, 1994.

Submitted by Phillip W. DePauk, Jr (nephew)

(note:  this picture of Cliff is from my father’s photo album.  His picture also appears in A Bird’s Eye View  –  steve)

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Where was CA-69 when the bombs dropped?


Original crewmember and contributor to the Baked Beans books, Bob Knight, sent this comment in after the re-post of last year’s Hiroshima entry: Fascinating. I didn’t realize we were that involved. Where was the Ca69 at the time of the  bomb drop if our MC Capt was already in the inland sea.

That, of course, is a really good question.  When I first met CA-69 Marine Commander Norm Bayley and he told me about his secret recon mission to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I was troubled by the obvious:  the ship was “somewhat” near the Inland Sea on August 6 (1945), but was steaming north with the task group. In fact, on August 9, the Boston was part of a bombardment group hammering industrial targets in Northern Honshu, hundreds of miles away.  This seeming disparity is addressed in previous posts, as well as in Baked Beans, Vol. 3.

What happened was that Norm Bayley reported to the ship only a few days before the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. An Admiral came aboard and asked him to take on the mission.  He left the ship and was transported by another destroyer and dropped off near Hiroshima.  He was later picked up by another destroyer and then rendezvoused with the Boston.  So when Norm first spoke of the “ship” and the “Captain,” I had assumed he was talking about the Boston and Capt. Kelley.  While Norm and his Japanese translator were gathering data at Hiroshima, and then at Nagasaki (where they arrived while the black fallout was still raining down), the Boston was steaming with the task force hundreds of miles away.

Last year, Norm’s grandson and I were working on Norm’s story together.  I did more research into how it would have been possible for a US Navy ship to slip into the Inland Sea and discharge two passengers.  I discovered that task force carrier strikes on July 28 pretty much destroyed every Japanese ship afloat in the inland sea around Kure, within eyesight of the city of Hiroshima.

The project has been put on hold.  Norm is 97 years old, and is no longer up revisiting his service.


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