H I S T 0 R Y

    The U. S. S. BANGUST (DE739), Flagship of Escort Division Thirty-Two, conceived by the wartime urgency for submarine defensive measures, constructed by newly trained shipyard personnel and manned by a crew and officers ninety-five percent Naval Reserve, on the thirtieth day, of October nineteen hundred and forty three, unfurled her commission pennant. The ceremony took place at the builder's yard, Western Pipe and Steel Company, San Pedro, California where she became the first of twelve ships of her class constructed by that company to join the Naval forces of the rapidly expanding Pacific Fleet.

    After a short fitting-out period shakedown and training were commenced under the program outlined and administered by Commander Operational Training Command, Pacific. By December sixteenth she was deemed ready by CotcPac to join the fighting units of the Pacific Fleet and ordered to the Naval drydocks, San Pedro, California for a final check-over before leaving the continental limits of the United States. This period was completed on Nine January 1944, and the BANGUST was ready to contribute her share to the war effort.

    Arriving in Pearl Harbor Nineteen January, a report was made to Commander Service Force, Pacific Fleet of readiness for duty and the first assignment taking the BANGUST to Funafuti Atoll, Ellice Islands was received.

    For the next two months, operating under the command of Commander Task Group 57.7, the BANGUST performed various duties in the Marshall and Gilbert area. These assignments included escorting between Majuro, Tarawa, Kwajalein, Eniwetok, Roi, Apamama and Makin, a short tour of duty in Tarawa where Commander Escort Division 32 served as Senior Officer Present Afloat, hunter-killer duties as necessary to keep the Japanese submarine threat at a minimum, participation in the Marshall Islands Operation for which a bronze campaign star was awarded to personnel of the ship, and duty with the Logistic Support Group supporting the Fifth Fleet during the Palau, Yap, Ulithi, Woleai Raid of Thirty March to One April. For this latter operation a second bronze star was awarded for wearing on the Asiastic Pacific Campaign Ribbon.

    The Twenty-second of May 1944, found the BANGUST at Navy Yard, Pearl Harbor where she remained until the Fourth of June undergoing routine maintenance and overhaul.

    Shortly before midnight Ten June, while enroute Roi from Pearl Harbor to join Task Group 16.7, radar contact was established on an unidentified surface contact about sixty miles east of Roi, Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands. Sight contact was made soon after at a range of three thousand yards. The contact, identified as either a small ship or submarine, was challenged immediately but failed to respond and submerged almost at once. Sonar contact was established and on the fourth attack several hits were scored followed by a tremendous underwater explosion. Contact was not regained and at daylight a large oil slick and debris were discovered at the scene of the successful attack. This engagement was assigned a "C" classification by Cominch Committee on Assessments, pending further evidence of destruction.

    Twelve June was the commencement of a long an unbroken series of operations for this ship with the Logistic Groups supporting the Third and Fifth Fleets in the great Central Pacific counter offensive. Operating first with Admiral HALSEY and the Third Fleet, then merely changing task force designations to operate with Admiral SPRUANCE.
    The BANGUST successively engaged in the following operations:


    During this period the BANGUST successfully survived two tropical typhoons which inflicted considerable damage to many ships of the Pacific Fleet. The first, encountered in December of 1944 off the Philippine Islands, resulted in the loss of three destroyers and damage to many other fleet units. The second occurring on Five - Six June 1945 once again found her as a screening unit of Task Group 30.8 employed in replenishing Task Force 38. No major damage or casualties were sustained in either storm although all life rafts, floater nets and other articles were bodily torn from the ship by the force of the wind .

    August of 1945 found the BANGUST still serving with the Logistic Support Group, as a unit of Task Group 30.8 supporting the Fast Carrier Task Force air strikes and bombardments of the Japanese homeland. With the acceptance by Japan of the "Potsdam Declaration Terms" in the middle of August, the BANGUST was detached from the Logistic Group for the first time since June of 1944. During this period she had served effectively and efficiently protecting the tankers, provision ships, fleet tugs. replenishment carriers and other ships necessary to maintain the efficiency of our fighting forces at sea for extended periods. For excellence in tactical ship handling, leadership and devotion to duty during the Okinawa Operation and final assault on the Japanese Empire, Commander C. K. HUTCHISON, U. S. Navy, Commander Escort Division 32 in this ship, received the Bronze Star Medal.

    On the Twentieth of August the BANGUST joined the newly organized Task Group 35.80 for the initial occupation of Sagami Wan and Tokyo Bay. This group was designated as a support group and consisted of various tenders and auxiliary vessels. Orders were received on Twenty-seven August placing in effect the entry plan from Commander Third Fleet. Shortly after this the BANGUST was diverted by further orders from Commander Third Fleet and directed to intercept a surrendering Japanese submarine off northern Honshu. With a prize crew aboard furnished by Commander Submarine Squadron 20, an interception course was set and the following day a rendezvous made with the I-14, one of Japan's newest and largest submarines. The prize crew was exchanged for forty Japanese prisoners of war and on Twenty-nine August the BANGUST entered Sagami Wan in company with her prize.

    Tokyo Bay was entered on One September and here the BANGUST remained, with the exception of one short trip to Saipan, until Two October when orders were received for Escort Division Thirty-Two to proceed via Pearl Harbor and San Pedro to the Panama Canal where it would report to the Commander in Chief, U. S. Atlantic Fleet for duty.

    On Two October with homeward bound pennant streamed, the BANGUST steamed out of Tokyo Bay on a trip which would bring her home to her birthplace in San Pedro just two years and nine campaigns after her commission pennant had first been unfurled.

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