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Essex-class aircraft carrier
27,100 Tons (standard)
36,380 Tons (full loaded)
872 x 147' 6" x 34' 2"
4 x twin 5" guns
4 x single 5" gun
8 x quad 40mm
46 x 20mm cannon
USN May 12, 1945
Next, on February 23, Bunker Hill aircraft attacked the Mariana Islands then Palau-Yap-Ulithi-Woleai raids (30 March–1 April); Truk-Satawan-Ponape raids (29 April–1 May); Hollandia (currently known as Jayapura) operation (21–28 April); and Marianas operation (12 June–10 August), including the Battle of the Philippine Sea.
On 19 June 1944, during the opening phases of the Marianas battle, Bunker Hill was damaged when an enemy near-miss scattered shrapnel fragments across the ship. Two men were killed and over 80 were wounded. Bunker Hill continued to fight, with her aircraft shooting down some of the 476 Japanese aircraft destroyed during the battle, and assisting in the sinking of a Japanese carrier. During September, she participated in the Western Caroline Islands operation and then launched strikes at Okinawa, Luzon, and Formosa until November.
On 6 November, Bunker Hill retired from the forward area and steamed to Bremerton, Washington, for a period of yard availability.. Repairs completed, she departed the west coast of the United States on 24 January 1945 and returned to the war front.
During the remaining months of World War II, Bunker Hill participated in the Battle of Iwo Jima: the 5th Fleet raids against Honshū and the Nansei Shoto (15 February–4 March); and the 5th and 3rd Fleet raids in support of the Battle of Okinawa. On 7 April 1945, Bunker Hill's planes took part in a Fast Carrier Task Force attack on a Japanese naval force in the East China Sea. Yamato, one cruiser, and four destroyers were sunk during Operation Ten-Go.
Damaged by Kamikaze
Thirty seconds later, a second A6M Zero piloted by Ensign Kiyoshi Ogawa, dived into the carrier , dropping a 250kg bomb, and crashed into the flight deck near the control tower. The bomb penetrated Bunker Hill's flight deck and exploded. Gasoline fires flamed up and several explosions took place. In total, the carrier suffered the loss of 346 men killed, 43 missing, and 264 wounded. A total of seventy-eight aircraft were destroyed. Although badly crippled, Bunker Hill managed to return to Bremerton via Pearl Harbor.
While laid up, she was reclassified three times, becoming CVA-17 in October 1952, CVS-17 in August 1953 and AVT-9 in May 1959, the latter designation indicating that any future commissioned duty would be as an aircraft transport. As all Essex-class carriers survived the war, the peacetime navy had no need for the services of Bunker Hill. She and USS Franklin, which also had sustained severe damage from aerial attack, were the only carriers in their class that did not see active duty after the end of World War II, despite being repaired. Stricken from the Naval Vessel Register in November 1966, Bunker Hill was used as a stationary electronics test platform at San Diego during the 1960s and early 1970s. She was sold for scrapping in May 1973.
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