Aviation Radioman 1/c  Kenneth Cecil Bunch

  The USS Bunch DE-694 / APD-79 commemorates the Naval career of Kenneth Cecil Bunch, aviation radioman first class.     

             Kenneth Cecil Bunch – born on 21 January 1919 in Norman County, Minnesota – enlisted in the Navy at Des Moines, Iowa, on 9 March 1937, and received his “boot camp” training at San Diego.  Rated as seaman 2d class on 9 July 1937, Bunch was transferred to Scouting Squadron (VS) 42 days later.  He remained in that unit over the years that followed, attaining the rate of radioman 2d class on 16 November 1940.  With the extension of his enlistment on 9 March 1941, Bunch was transferred to the Naval Air Station at Norfolk, Va., on 29 August 1941 where, soon thereafter, he joined VS-8, of the incipient Hornet (CV-8) Air Group.  While in that squadron, he was promoted to the rate of radioman, 1st class, on 1 March 1942.

            On 6 June 1942, on the last day of the Battle of Midway, Bunch was flying as radio-gunner for Ens. Don T. Griswold, USNR, in a Douglas SBD-3 “Dauntless,” as the Hornet air group joined in the attacks on the fleeing Japanese cruisers Mogami and Mikuma.  Antiaircraft fire claimed Griswold’s SBD-3, the only plane lost by VS-8 that day, and it crashed, killing both the pilot and his radioman.  For his contribution to victory at Midway, the radio-gunner was posthumously awarded the Air Medal.


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