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  USS Bunker Hill CV-17 / CVA-17 / CVS-17 / AVT-9
USN
Essex-class aircraft carrier

27,100 Tons (standard)
36,380 Tons (full loaded)
872 x 147' 6" x 34' 2"
4 x twin 5" guns
4 x single 5" gun
8 x quad 40mm
46 x 20mm cannon
90-100 aircraft

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Faccone May 11, 1945

PacificWrecks.com
USN May 12, 1945
Ship History
Built at Bethlehem Steel Company in Quincy, Massachusetts. Laid down September 15, 1941. Launched December 7, 1942. Commissioned May 24, 1943 into the U. S. Navy (USN) as USS Bunker Hill CV-17.

Wartime History

On November 11, 1943 Bunker Hill participated in a strike against Rabaul. Next, against the Gilbert Islands and supported the landings at Tarawa between November 13, 1943 to December 8, 1943.

On December 25, 1943 her aircraft attacked Kavieng On January 1, 1944 her aircraft again attacked Kavieng. On January 4, 1944 they again attacked Kavieng. Lost is F6F Hellcat 26100 (MIA).

Between January 29, 1944 until February 8, 1944 supported operations in the Marshall Islands.

Operation Hailstone
During February 17, 1944 and February 18, 1944 Bunker Hill aircraft participated in "Operation Hailstone" striking Truk and claim eight Japanese ships sunk.

On February 23, 1944 her aircraft attack the Mariana Islands. On March 30, 1944 until April 1, 1944 her aircraft participated in raids against Palau-Yap-Ulithi-Woleai. On April 29, 1944 until May 1, 1944 her aircraft attack Truk-Satawan-Ponape raids. During April 21-28, 1944 supported the U. S. landing at Hollandia. Next, during June 12, 1944 until August 10, 1944 supported the operations against the Mariana Islands.

On June 19, 1944 during the Battle of the Philippine Sea, Bunker Hill was damaged when an enemy near-miss scattered shrapnel fragments across the carrier with two killing and 80 wounded. Bunker Hill continued to fight, with her aircraft shooting down some of the 476 Japanese aircraft destroyed during the battle, and assisting in the sinking of a Japanese carrier. During September, she participated in the Western Caroline operation and then launched strikes against Okinawa, Luzon, and Formosa until November.

On November 6, 1944, Bunker Hill withdrew across the Pacific back to Bremerton, Washington for repairs until late January 1945.

On January 24, 1945 departed Bremerton, Washington across the Pacific and rejoined the 5th Fleet. Starting on February 15, 1945, Bunker Hill aircraft attacked Iwo Jima and supported the invasion and conducted carrier raids against Honshū and the Ryukyu Islands. In early April 1945 supported the invasion of Okinawa.

On April 7, 1945 the carrier participated in the Battle of the East China Sea attacking the Japanese Naval force and participate in the sinking of Battleship Yamato, Light Cruiser Yahagi and four destroyers.

Damaged by Kamikaze
On May 11, 1945 while operating off Okinawa and was hit and severely damaged by two kamikaze aircraft. The first kamikaze was an A6M Zero that appeared from a low cloud, dived toward the flight deck and dropped a 250 kg bomb, which went through the vessel and exploded in the sea. The same Zero then crashed onto the flight deck, destroying many parked aircraft igniting fuel and causing a huge fire. The remains of the Zero went over the deck and dropped into the sea.

Thirty seconds later, a second A6M Zero piloted by Ensign Kiyoshi Ogawa, dived into the carrier dropped a 250kg bomb and crashed into the flight deck near the control tower. The bomb penetrated Bunker Hill's flight deck and exploded. Gasoline fires flamed up and several explosions took place. Aboard, the carrier suffered 346 killed, 43 missing and 264 wounded. A total of seventy-eight aircraft were destroyed. Although badly crippled, Bunker Hill crossed the Pacific via Pearl Harbor before arriving at Bremerton, Washington.

Awards
For her World War II service, Bunker Hill earned the Presidential Unit Citation for the period from November 11, 1943 to May 11, 1945. In addition, she earned 11 battle stars.

Postwar
Every Essex-class aircraft carrier survived World War II. Both USS Bunker Hill CV-17 and USS Franklin CV-13 were severely damaged and although both were repaired neither returned to combat duty.

During September 1945, Bunker Hill reported for duty with the "Operation Magic Carpet" fleet, transporting American veterans from the Pacific back to the United States. She remained on this duty as part of Task Group 16.12 (TG 16.12) until the end of the year.

In January 1946 returned to Bremerton for deactivation. On January 9, 1947 decommissioned into reserve and was reclassified three times. In October 1952 redesignated as USS Bunker Hill (CVA-17). In August 1953 redesignated as USS Bunker Hill (CVS-17). In May 1959 redesignated USS Bunker Hill (AVT-9) as an aircraft transport.

In November 1966, stricken from the Naval Vessel Register. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, used as a stationary electronics test platform off San Diego.

Fate
In May 1973 sold for scrap.

References
NavSource - USS Bunker Hill (CV-17)
USN Overseas Aircraft Loss List May 1945 - May 11, 1945 aircraft losses aboard USS Bunker Hill (CV-17)

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Last Updated
May 9, 2020

 

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