Aviation Radioman 1/c Kenneth
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.