Circled "1309" begins sentence or possible independent clause: "friendly TBM from USS
San Jacinto crashed in water landing alongside". ("Alongside" is the circled, barely legible
word in the lower right corner.) The very real question is: "alongside" what?
This is also the same hourly section group--12-1600 hours-- as that of the USS Healy in
reporting the crash of Houle's plane on "June 20". Note that there has been no "continued" placed at the end of this page, as is usual in the CK Bronson log for pages in which hourly sections continue into a subsequent page.
Finally, this could be read as an independent clause, in which case the vessel or ship "alongside" was not the CK Bronson as is assumed when reading the subsequent, un-numbered page, but the San Jacinto which indeed appears "alongside" Houle's plane in the series of photographs that appears in Stinnett's book (80-1), two photos from which we noted above.
There is also interesting data in other ships' deck logs over this time frame suggesting an open, ongoing search for missing air crewmen in June 21-2, 1944, that would have kept the deck log of the CK Bronson open and in a state of flux between the night shift of June 21 and 12:30 of June 22, when the crew of a downed Japanese aircraft, as well as anyone else in the water in the vicinity, was hauled out of the water by the Healy. Among the things that suggest this was the repeated finding of empty rafts, (USS Terry log for 04-0800 and 08-1200 hours, June 21, 1944;) sightings of lights on the water, (Healy deck log for June 21, 1944, 00-0400 hours sections; Bronson log of June 21, 1944 for 04-0800 hours section, referring to sighting by Cleveland; and Terry deck log for June 21, 1944, 00-0400 and 04-0800 hours sections); and even the recovery of several crews by several destroyers over the night time hours of the 21st, including several of the Lexington's crewmen (deck logs of Lexington, Terry, Healy, and Bronson, to name a few, for June 20-21, 1944). A standing directive ordered a continuing search (Terry's deck log for June 20, 1944, 20-2400 hours section:
". . . searching area in which carriers conducted last flight operations for survivors in accordance with orders from CTG 58.3 transmitted by voice radio," as noted by Lt.jg. B.K. Richardson at 2400 hours).
It's fairly clear such a search demanded that the deck logs be left open for a few hours after each shift in the event an incomplete crew had been retrieved from an aircraft in many cases.
This suggests that the search and listing of crewmen remained "open" in ships' logs until well into the 22nd--and since the "crew" of the Japanese plane was i.d.'d by the Healy by 12:30 on the 22d,(Stinnett 76-86), in the context of the intercept noted on the same pages) if this included Bush, he'd have been listed as "located" after referencing with Healy's communications with the USS Lexington, to which the crewmen in the water found by the CK Bronson were transferred.
There is other interesting data in this respect, as well. The USS Healy transferred some crewmen to the Lexington during this time of combat operations; on June 21, 1944, it picked up from the USS Reno crewmen Brown, Linson and Banazak (Healy log, June 21, 1944, 12-1600 and 16-1800 hours sections) and transferred them to the USS Lexington (18-2000 hours, June 21, 1944 logs of both USS Healy and USS Lexington). Crewmen were also found by the Charette and transferred to the Lexington during this time. (Lexington log, June 21, 1944, 1800-2000 hours section, page 728).
This kind of success in finding crewmen in the water would definitely have kept an ongoing search in operation, especially in light of the 2025 (10:25 pm, June 21) completion of the Healy's transfer and refueling operation recorded in the Lexington's June 21, 1944 log (page 728, 1800-2000 and 2000-2400 hours sections). The fact that the Healy's unloading wasn't completed until into the 2000-2400 hours section of the Lexington, means that the night shift records (11pm June 21-7 am, June 22, 1944) were still open for crew retrievals on the Lexington.
This is also significant in that the Lexington was the ship to which both the Japanese pows and any other persons in the water were transferred on June 22 at around 12:00 noon or 12:30 on June 22, as well as the transfer of Bush's crew to the Lexington from the Bronson at 5:51 pm on June 21.
Also significant, is the continuing activity in the Bronson's log for June 21, 1944: on page 507, for June 21, the Bronson records in its 16-2000 hours section "1950: left formation to investigate green dye marker reported by USS Cleveland...20-2400: ...2005 (10:05 pm) results of search negative..."
However, the Bronson does note that it was not back into full formation until 2040 (10:40 pm), again well into the 20-2400 hours section--which impacted on the night (11:00 pm June 21, 1944 to 7 am June 22, 1944) reports and logs; this could well have kept day shift's log open as well, at least until the 12:30 report of the Healy to the Lexington--which would in turn have been communicated to the Bronson as the ship having other Bush crew members aboard--as to the content of the Japanese plane and other persons found in the water nearby and at the time.
This keeping of the ships' logs open during these searches--allowing authorized personnel to go back into previous notations at shift changes to make final notations as to whereabouts of crewmen--could be highly significant. It would allow, among other things, a final crewman's name to be added to the list of crewmen picked up or located. The fact that Bush was on the Lexington as the log was finally closed, could have been a contributor to the confusion, since the rest of his crew was, as well.
The difference would have been that Bush would have been returned to the Lexington, not by the Bronson, but by the Healy; not on the 21st, but on the 22nd. But it would have been during a time-frame when all three ships' logs were "open" to entry of crewmen's names as they were located.
It's interesting to note here, too, that the non-Lexington crewmen transferred to the Lexington from the USS Charette on June 21, 1944 at 1800-2000 hours (page 728) were recorded as to their names, whereas the similar transfer of non-Lexington personnel from Bush's plane to the Lexington earlier that same day was not recorded at all, either by name or even as an event. Interesting too, as noted before, when the Terry finally transferred Bush and crew back to the San Jacinto on June 24, 1944, the Terry's log fails to mention their names. It's as if, once arrived on the Lexington, there began to be questions as to the names and even the status of the Bush crewmen.
But if neither Nadeau nor Delaney was actually on Bush's plane for the June 19, 1944 take-off, who was? There are two highly likely candidates: Ted White, whose father was a business and fraternity associate with Standard Oil banking associate Prescott Bush, sr. (George Bush's father), and Robert Stinnett. Why Stinett?
Stinnett had ties to the ONI--hence, to Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, (hence over ONI) and Dulles's partner at Standard Oil, As an official ship's photographer, Stinnett could have been given a higher security clearance than others. Also, this wasn't the first time Stinnett would have flown with Bush. Stinnett tells us
"...On June 9 , Captain Martin ordered Bush to fly two of the San Jacinto's ship's photographers, Howard Rowe and Robert Stinnett, the author, on a special photo mission. These two June 9 substitutions were considered by Nadeau as a double whammy... ."(62).
There are several things that hint at Stinett's complicity in the June 19, 1944 mission and its possible cover up:
(1) He notes that Nadeau had a "thirteen jinx" phobia and added up the numbers of the substitute aircraft and factored in the dates and numbers of flights each plane made in a month (Stinnett 30-46, 47 caption under Nadeau journal, 62, 63); however, while he draws the reader's attention to the way the substitute aircrafts' numbers sometimes added up to thirteen, he fails to note that the Barbara's--Bush's regular plane named after his then-fiancÚ, Barbara Pierce--also added up to thirteen.
(2) While noting that there had been thirteen combat missions during the month of June in substitute aircraft, he fails to bring to the reader's attention that the June 19, 1944 flight in the Barbara was also the 13th flight in that aircraft.
(3) Though he otherwise notes photographs contained in the book as being from the "photo archives" of the San Jacinto, the critical photos appearing on pages 80-1 (noted in "Intercept" on this website) are described very carefully by Stinnett as having occurred on June 20 and having been taken by him. He makes no such specific claim about any other photos in the book.
(4) Stinnett attempts to discredit Mierzejewski's claim that Bush's plane was "not on fire" over Chi Chi Jima--a pre-condition for a bail-out rather than a water landing--by drawing in Joe Foshee. Stinnett asserts Foshee's statements "refute" Ski's claim, when, in fact, Foshee essentially says the same thing: the Bush's plane was "smoking" and that he "never saw any fire, only smoke" on Bush's plane (160). This point is in fact reinforced not only by Foshee's actual eyewitness account, but by three others. Richard Gorman, radioman for Doug West on the September 2, 1944 Chi Chi Jima raid, said he saw Bush's bomber "smoking like a two-alarm fire." Gorman's is the only account of all the eyewitness crewmen that ever actually refers to seeing Bush's aircraft "in flames," and this occurs, not while Bush and crew are still "aboard", but after Bush has bailed out: Gorman said he saw a chute blossom out, and followed the chute down until he saw Bush "hit the drink." Only then did Gorman see Bush's aircraft catch fire. (Stinnett 161). It is apparently from Gorman's reference to this unmanned last dive of Bush's plane--again, after Bush had already bailed out, that is the source Captain Martin's Aircraft Action Report, which notes that the plane "dived in flames". Intelligence Officer Kilpatrick's report said only that "'Bush's plane was hit and caught fire and two parachutes were seen to leave the bomber but only one opened.'"(Stinnett 161). (See also Stinnett's, chapter notes, 192, under "Status Report--People, Places, Airplanes and Warships: Gorman, Richard" where Stinnett notes that Gorman "died in 1989.") Similarly, on page 193 of those same chapter notes, Stinnett obscurely mentions that "Moore, Milton, George Bush's wing man on the Chnichi Jima raid September 2, 1944. Witnessed Bush struggling with bomber to keep it airborne long enough for his crew to bail out...died February 26, 1987." This latter account actually works strongly against Stinnett's claim of events over Chichi Jima, since it suggests that Bush's plane was not on fire so badly that he didn't have time to maneuver it--in fact, that it may not have been on fire at all. (Intriguingly, too, Moore's account contradicts at least one of Bush's several versions of the event, in which, according to Ski in his interview with Blumenthal for the New Republic article of October, 1992 (see Bibliography on this Website), Bush had said that both other crewmen were already dead almost as soon as the plane was hit. Tarpley and Chaitkin--as noted in previous chapters of my book Tim, George Bush and Me: The Undercurrents in All Our Lives elsewhere on this website--have shown how Bush's various versions of this event are often contradictory; Blumenthal makes the same observation. Moore also makes the same Mierzejewksi-like observation the other crewmen do: "We were flying wing on Bush on the...strike and saw the hit on the bomber followed by smoking." (Stinnett 161). Again, smoking--not flaming. Finally, a third crewman is quoted by Stinnett (161). Charles Bynum, contesting Ski's version as to how far Ski was from Bush's aircraft, claims Ski was about 500-1000 feet from Bush's plane at the time, whereas Ski says he was only about 100 feet away; Bynum also asserts that he, not Ski, was 100 feet from Bush at the time. Bynum, however, also says something highly significant in regard to the Chichi Jima event: "I knew he was hit because he leveled off[--emphasis added--mcs]. He came out of his dive, leveled his plane momentarily, then the plane started going down." The leveling-off was done, of course, to allow time for Bush and crew to bail out. The point is, Bynum is here revealing that, though he was in close proximity to Bush's plane he saw nothing to indicate Bush's plane was in trouble until Bush leveled off for the bailout. The significance of whether Bush could or should have water-landed off Chichi Jima--as he allegedly had off Guam earlier on June 19, 1944--is that it may indicate that Bush in fact didn't know how to water-land and had never water-landed an aircraft before.
(5)Stinett also fails to make note of how much impact Bush had on the delay in the usage by the US Marines of his "Operation Snapshot" Palau/Pelelieu photos. By forcing the commanders to send the photos back up the chain of command for reprimand, he delayed the ability of Marine Commander Rupertus in confirming the accuracy of maps based on those photos. This is very convenient in time to the plans of George Bush's father's attorney and business partner Allen Dulles and others at Standard Oil(including ONI head Forrestal) in attempting to prevent the bombing of the Japanese home islands before the killing of Hitler could be arranged on July 20, 1944. Dulles seems already to have prevented the holding of US airbases in Northern China (see "Working with Chiang Kai Shek") from which the US could have bombed Japan proper before the capture of Guam and Saipan in the Marianas, the only other site, besides Pelelieu, from which Japan could be reached by US land-based bombers.
All things considered, Stinnett appears overly anxious to make Bush appear "on the up and up" as to the June 19 flight. The fact he was a previous member of a Bush flight crew makes him a likely suspect--along with Ted White--as a substitute crewman on the June 19, 1944 emergency take-off. Nadeau thus not only wouldn't have been on that plane that day, he'd have prevented Delaney from flying on it as well. As a result, Delaney filed the complaint that resulted in Nadeau's court-martial on June 25, 1944, after Bush's return.
Indeed, of the three normal members of Bush's crew, only Bush himself may have been on the plane that day, and this could account for why each successive account of Bush's crew as it is transferred from ship to ship en route back to the San Jac, seems less sure of their true identities and status. The Terry's log for June 24, 1944, 04-0800 and 08-1200 hours, of Bush and crew back to San Jacinto makes no mention of any names; it also lists such activity as occurring on "1800s" hours--outside of these hourly sections. This is an odd and interestingly coincidental "error". This was the same hourly section when Bush would have been transferred to the Lexington from the Healy--that is, "breeches buoyed" from the opposite direction, in effect--from the other two crewmen of his plane, on the 22d if he were transferred close to the time of the Japanese pows--1805 hours. (Stinnett 79).
If so, Stinnett is slickly correct in stating (photo caption page 85) that Bush and his crew were "on the fantail" of the Lexington when the Japanese POWs were breeches-buoyed aboard; Bush had just barely arrived at that point, though Stinnett ("Delaney") and White ("Nadeau") had already been aboard the Lexington for several hours. (Did a similar juxtapositioning of numbers of dates result in Stinnett's flight with Bush (noted above) being recorded as "June 9" rather than June 19?
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