Bunyan Randolph Cooner, born at Columbia, S.C., 27 February 1914, enlisted in the Naval Reserve 12 June 1939. After flight training, he was commissioned ensign 3 September 1941 and served with Bombing Squadron 3 in Saratoga (CV-3). He won the Navy Cross for gallant service in the Battle of Midway, participating in vigorous and repeated attacks against Japanese warships 4-6 June 1942. Ensign Cooner was then killed in a plane crash during flight operations out of NAS Pearl Harbor on 16 June 1942.
(DE-172: displacement 1,240 tons; length 306 feet; beam 36 feet 8 inches; draft 8 feet 9 inches; speed 21 knots; complement 186; armament 3 3-inch guns, 3 21-inch torpedo tubes, 8 depth charge projectors, 1 hedge hog projector, 2 depth charge tracks; class Cannon.)
Cooner (DE-172) was launched 25 July 1943 by Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Co., Kearny, N.J.; sponsored by Mrs. I. Cooner; and commissioned 21 August 1943, Lieutenant Commander J. M. Stuart in command. Between 1 November 1943 and 9 May 1945, Cooner made nine voyages escorting convoys between New York and North African ports. With the winning of victory of Europe, the veteran of the Atlantic was ordered to the Pacific, and on 28 June 1945 arrived at Pearl Harbor. She sailed on to Ulithi, where between 8 and 20 August she had patrol and radar picket duty. After escorting a transport to Guam and putting in to Okinawa, she returned to Ulithi to load troops, whom she carried to Guam for further transportation to the United States. She herself sailed to Saipan, where from 23 September to 1 November, she stood ready to perform air-sea rescues during the heavy traffic carrying men home from the western Pacific. Homeward bound, she called at Pearl Harbor and San Diego en route to Charleston, S.C., where she arrived 4 December. There she was decommissioned and placed in reserve 25 June 1946.
13 October 2004