USS Wilkes-Barre (CL-103) Transfers Wounded from USS Bunker Hill (CV-17)

Casualties are transferred to USS Wilkes-Barre (CL-103) for medical care, off Okinawa on May 11, 1945, the day after two kamikazes struck Bunker Hill's flight deck. Photographed from Wilkes-Barre's port side amidships, looking aft. Note Curtiss SB2C Helldiver bombers (one with a burned wing) parked aft on Bunker Hill, smashed 40mm Bofors gun position on her starboard side, smoke from still-burning fires, and firefighting water streaming over her side. On Wilkes-Barre note the 40mm Bofors quad gun mount in the foreground and the electronic antenna above. Capt. Robert L. Porter brought his light cruiser alongside Bunker Hill at 1115 Hours on May 10, placing Wilkes-Barre's bow hard against the flattop's starboard quarter. The cruiser played ten streams of water on the persistent fires, while 40 men, trapped astern in Bunker Hill, scrambled to safety. Destroyers Stembel (DD-644), Charles S. Sperry (DD-697), and English (DD-696) also added their fire hoses to the joint effort to save the stricken carrier. Wilkes-Barre transferred fire-fighting gear, rescue breathing apparatus and stretchers to Bunker Hill in exchange for the carrier's injured and dying. At 1530 when the flames finally were well under control and her assistance was no longer needed—Wilkes-Barre finally cleared the blackened flattop. Bunker Hill's Captain, Thomas P. Jeter, later praised the ships which had labored bravely and tirelessly to save the carrier. "The Wilkes-Barre the Sperry, and Stembel and English did a magnificent job. They came alongside not knowing whether we were likely to have explosions aboard. The Wilkes-Barre evacuated our seriously wounded, and with their able assistance, we got through." On the 12th, Wilkes-Barre held burial services on board for the thirteen men from the carrier who had succumbed to their wounds and transferred their surviving shipmates to the hospital ship USS Bountiful (AH-9).
Caption Written By: 
Jason McDonald
United States Naval Historical C
Date Photographed: 
Friday, May 11, 1945
USS Wilkes-Barre (CL-103) Transf