27 MARCH 1945
PLANE DIVES ON BENNINGTON
Re: Please verify a story
Thu, 23 Dec 2004 17:12:09 -0500
lonnie [firstname.lastname@example.org], "Jkpires@Uss-Bennington.Org" [Jkpires@uss-bennington.org]
Here is what I have found out so far, looks like a No, and 2 maybe's :
Hi, I was assigned to the USS Bennington CV20 in March 1944 and transferred in October 1946 and many oddball things happened while I was aboard as a WT1/C in # 2 Fireroom, but I never heard this story, but life was different on the Busy Bee than my previous ships two fighting destroyers.
Merry Christmas. Howard Martin, Mayor of Woodlawn Park, KY email@example.com
This somewhat foggy story has to be based on a memorable incident in which an undetected-by-radar Jap plane (more than likely a dive bomber rather than a Zero) came breaking through a relatively low gray cloud ceiling and made a perfect dive toward the flightdeck. It was clearly not a kamikaze, pulling out of its dive -- and incredibly no bomb was released.
I quote from my journal for March 27, 1945:
"Bogies again -- with GQ sounding around midnight. No firing in our vicinity, so Condition Zebra was secured after a few minutes. Normal pre-dawn GQ lasted practically all day, with bogies showing up shortly after sun-up. The Bennington's luck really held up this morning as a Jap came diving through a terrific flak barrage -- only to pull out unscathed and start high-tailing it away without dropping a bomb, firing a shot, or even pulling a suicide attempt, which he had every opportunity to do. Shortly after, he was shot down by fighters from the Belleau Wood -- but he certainly muffed his chance to become at least a dead hero by adding the Double B to the Japs' list. It would have been a different story if he had failed to pull out as the flight deck was covered with planes and pilots waiting to take-off. Someone is certainly looking out for the boys on the Bennington. And anyway, we like our flight deck the way it is -- without any uncalled for holes!!"
Nelson Futch, AOM2/c
(I refuse to believe that was soon-to-be 60 years ago! I remember it very clearly.)
As you know Bill, I was there. I can't verify the story as you have it. I can suggest the following. On many nights with no moon and a LOW overcast we could hear "Bettys" etc ginning around over head while we were blacked out and I do mean blacked out.We were always at GQ under those conditions and on a couple occasions, Well, more than a couple really, a break in the overcast would give us away and they would attack and the AA would go nuts. On more than one occasion we took "friendly" fire as I'm sure others did as well. To sum up: I can readily believe that it would seem to someone not aviation oriented, that a fortuitous (divine?-lucky?) fog came up when Japs were circling overhead. It happened, but it was to the best of my knowledge and belief low overcasts. Also, remember the Japs did not have radar on their surface ships until almost the end of the war and very few then, and rudimentary radar at that. I never did hear of them having airborne radar so of course they couldn't pinpoint us and/or let down through the "crap".
Once we got to late April and into May and June the "low" overcasts were less frequent with the obvious seasonal weather changes and then the kamikaze attacks began. Don't hold me to it but about mid-May is about the earliest I recall the Kamikaze attacks but that's another story and has nothing to do with this qustion.
Have I helped or hindered?
Bruce Bell CV 20 LSO firstname.lastname@example.org
From Bill Copeland
Howard Martin, Nelson Futch, and Bruce Bell
we received a somewhat cryptic e mail from someone asking about an event that supposedly happened on the Bennington during World War 2. I figured if anyone would know, it would be one of you guys.
Can you verify if this happened ? or have you heard about it ? Let me know either way,
I am wanting to verify a story that I heard about a sailor who has since passed on, so I canít get any further details from him. The story goes like this.
One night when the bennington was overseas there were some zeros that were flying overhead seeking them as a target. (Is Ďzerosí the correct term?) A mysterious fog began to form over the ship and they were never spotted. It was a miracle because this was a part of the world where fog is not common.
Does anyone know about this story and can I get more details on its validity?
Thank you and God Bless the United States Naval Officers who protect our great country!