"Buster" Campbell's Account

Excerpts from the wartime diary of ship's baker, Harold "Buster" Campbell

On the afternoon of April 11, 1945, ship baker, Harold "Buster" Campbell, opened a diary and began to write:

Wednesday April 11

1400: "Well this day will live forever in my memory as the most exciting incident I've ever experienced! Pat and I were in the Photo Lab. 1404 the "Air Alert" was sounded and we both ran up to the bridge [08 level] and broke out our cameras. I used the K-20 as always and Pat the F-56. Well we saw a bit of firing on the horizon, then the Jap planes entered our area and all the ships in our Task Group opened up. We hit one and he exploded, I got a few shots [photographs]. While we were shooting this one, another came up off our stern. I got him in the sight of my K-20 and started shooting shots. He kept coming in through the greatest ack-ack [anti-aircraft gunfire] I've ever seen. 5", 40's and 20mm; about 100 yards off the starboard quarter he was hit slightly but kept coming. I keep shooting pictures. He then banked toward the ship about 25 ft above the water.I had taken approx 10 shots since I picked him up. He then came direct at the ship and hit us on the starboard quarter on the main deck, burst into flames. I was shaking but felt relieved after he hit. I took a beautiful shot of him as he hit and several as he came burning all along the starboard side till he ended at Mt. #1 [5" gun mount]. All in all I got 18 shots. Poor Pat was in back of me and couldn't get a thing. They put out the fire and believe it or not, we didn't have a single casualty, not a person was hurt. This I really believe is a miracle as I'll get the pictures to show just what happened. It only lasted about 5 minutes but it sure was something to see."

Preserving our History-Superstructure Preservation Project

Currently, work is being done to our superstructure and is expected to be completed by September 2017. For safety reasons, our flying and navigation bridges will be closed during restoration. We appreciate your patience and understanding and your part in helping to preserve America’s last Battleship

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