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|7k||Joseph Bangust was born on 30 May 1915 in Niles, Ohio and enlisted in the Navy on 16 November 1938. Promoted to seaman 2d class, he was transferred to Patrol Wing 2 in June 1939,
and, within the wing, to Patrol Squadron 21 the following July. He accompanied the squadron as it deployed to the Philippine Islands with its Consolidated PBY Catalina flying boats, and in December
1939 received promotion to seaman 1st class. Within the next year, he was promoted twice: to aviation machinistís mate 3d class (May 1940) and aviation machinist's mate 2d class (February 1941).
When the war began in December 1941, Bangust was assigned to VP-101. Six PBYs departed their base at Ambon, Netherlands East Indies on 26 December 1941 to attack Jolo harbor. Bangust flew as gunner
with Ens. Elwyn L. Christman. Antiaircraft fire from shore emplacements greeted the PBYs over the harbor, ceasing when a group of Mitsubishi A6M2 fighters appeared to intercept the attackers.
Bangust teamed up with AMMl Andrew K. Waterman in downing the first Zero. The attacker having been dealt with, Christman released his bombs and headed west along the Sulu Archipelago. One fighter
followed, attacking the planeís port side persistently, but Christman sought to foil the attacker by turning into him, forcing him to break off his runs. Unfortunately, a projectile from one of the
Zeroís cannon holed the fuel tank, sending gasoline into the mechanicís compartment. On his next run, the Zero ignited the volatile fuel. Blinded, with third-degree burns on his face, hands and neck,
Bangust and RM2 P. H. Landers bailed out of the burning plane. Ens. Christman rode the plane in and landed on the water. Landers, less injured than Bangust, guided him as they struck out for the island
of Lugos. At about noon on 27 December, Landers glanced behind to see only an empty life jacket, Bangust had apparently slipped from it and drowned. For his extraordinary heroism during the action,
Bangust was awarded the Navy Cross posthumously.
USS Bangust (DE 739) (1943-1946) was the first ship named in his honor. (Photo from USS Bangust website)
|20k||undated wartime image||Donald R. Pond
|17k||undated wartime image|
|82kb||circa 1953: as BAP Castilla (F-61)||Robert Hurst|
|41kb||circa 1964: as BAP Castilla (F-61)|
|View the USS Bangust (DE 739) DANFS history entry located on the Naval History and Heritage Command web site.|
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