Our 4th of July celebrations – fireworks, picnics, patriotic parades, (days off from work!) are a reminder of the bloody struggles our young nation endured to break free from the King of England. It also reminds us of the continuum of blood spilled throughout our history in war after war over the last two and a half centuries.
Here’s how the crew of the USS Boston spent Fourth of July, 1944:
This morning at 0500 hours our planes were launched to bomb the bases and airstrips of Iwo Jima. At 1530 hours the Boston, Canberra, San Juan, Santa Fe, Mobile and about 15 destroyers went in to bombard the island. We fired our 8″ and 5″ guns. We got in close to the island to fire 5″ shells. We launched one of our catapult planes for spotting duty over the target. We were hitting the southern airfield where almost seventy aircrafts were lined up. We also hit gas storage tanks. We were hitting all our assigned targets. Looking through the binoculars, I could see a lot of planes on the field blowing up. There was a lot of large fires and explosions. The smoke was thousands of feet into the air. A ship was leaving the harbor, so we immediately opened fire on her, a destroyer went in to finish her off. One of the planes from the Santa Fe, that was spotting for us, was shot down by three Jap fighters. The crew was picked up by one of our submarines. All together this day 116 Jap planes were destroyed and five ships were sunk or damaged. This was a great way to celebrate the Fourth of July, killing Japs.
Frank Studenski, from his War Diary, USS Boston CA-69.
A moment of silence to remember all the officers and crew of CA-69 who have passed away…. Frank, it sure was great meeting you! Sorry you left the building.