Born in Wilmington, Del., William Sharp Bush was appointed Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps 3 July 1809. He lost his life while serving aboard Constitution when he fell mortally wounded while attempting to board the frigate Guerriere 19 August 1812. He was posthumously awarded a silver medal by Congress.
(DD -529: dp. 2050; l. 376'5"; b. 39'7"; dr. 17'9"; s. 35.2 k.; cpl. 329; a. 5 5", 10 21" TT.; cl. Fletcher)
The second Bush (DD-529) was launched 27 October 1942 by Bethlehem Steel Co., San Francisco, Calif.,; sponsored by Miss Marion Jackson, great-great-grandniece of Lieutenant Bush; and commissioned 10 May 1943, Commander W. F. Peterson in command.
Between 29 July and 27 November 1943 Bush acted as a patrol and escort vessel in Alaskan waters. Arriving at Pearl Harbor 4 December 1943, she commenced operations as a patrol, escort, and fire support ship throughout the Pacific, from the Ellice Islands to New Guinea, the Philippines, and Okinawa. She participated in the Bismarck Archipelago operations, including the Cape Gloucester, New Britain landings and the Admiralty Islands landings (26 December 1943-31 March 1944); Saidor, New Guinea, Operations (18-21 January); Morotai landings (15 September); Leyte landings (20-24 October); Luzon operation, including the Mindoro and Lingayen Gulf landings (12-18 December 1944 and 4-18 January 1945); Iwo Jima operation (19 February-9 March); and the Okinawa operation (1-6 April).
On 1 November 1944, while operating in Leyte Gulf, Bush splashed two of ten Japanese planes during a severe air attack. She was showered by flying shrapnel and suffered two men wounded.
Bush was operating as radar picket ship off Okinawa 6 April 1945 and had splashed at least one plane when she was hit and subsequently sunk by three Japanese suicide planes. At 1515 the first plane hit at the deck level on the starboard side between number one and two stacks causing its bomb or torpedo to explode in the forward engine room. Although much damage was sustained the ship was not believed to be in severe danger and tugs were requested. Colhoun (DD-801) was closing in to assist when she was hit by a suicide plane and was so severely damaged that she had to be sunk by United States forces.
At 1725 a second suicide plane crashed into the port side of Bush's main deck between the stacks, starting a large fire and nearly severing the ship. At 1745 a third plane crashed into the port side just above the main deck. Some of the ship's ammunition caught fire and began to explode. Although it was believed that she would break amidships, it was thought that both halves would be salvageable. However, an unusually heavy swell rocked the ship and Bush began to cave in amidships. Other swells followed and the ship was abandoned by her 227 survivors just before she folded and sank.
Bush received seven battle stars for her World War II service.
10 January 2006