Foster, John Gordon, LTJG

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Last Rank
Lieutenant Junior Grade
Last Primary NEC
111X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Surface Warfare
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1945-1945, 111X, USS Bush (DD-529)
Service Years
1942 - 1945
Official/Unofficial US Navy Certificates
Order of the Shellback
Order of the Golden Dragon
Plank Owner
Lieutenant Junior Grade
Lieutenant Junior Grade

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Tommy Burgdorf (Birddog), FC2 to remember Foster, John Gordon, LTJG.

If you knew or served with this Sailor and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Casualty Info
Home Town
Not Specified
Last Address
Bristol, CT

Casualty Date
Apr 06, 1945
Hostile, Died
Other Explosive Device
World War II
Location of Interment
Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial - Honolulu, Hawaii
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

Order of the Shellback Order of the Golden Dragon

 Military Association Memberships
The National Gold Star Family RegistryWorld War II FallenUnited States Navy Memorial WW II Memorial National Registry
  2013, The National Gold Star Family Registry
  2013, World War II Fallen [Verified]
  2013, United States Navy Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  2013, WW II Memorial National Registry

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

 Duty Stations
US Navy
  1942-1944, Naval Sea Units
  1945-1945, 111X, USS Bush (DD-529)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1945-1945 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Okinawa Gunto Operation
  1945-1945 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Iwo Jima Operation
 Colleges Attended 
Worcester Polytechnic InstituteUnited States Naval AcademyBowdoin College
  1934-1938, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
  1943-1943, United States Naval Academy
  1943-1944, Bowdoin College
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Lt.(jg) John Foster

When the USS Bush was lost, Lt.(jg) Foster was one of two men whose bodies were not recovered but were listed as "Killed in Action" rather than "Missing in Action". Foster survived the first two kamikaze planes to strike the USS Bush. When the third suicide plane struck the ship, Foster was killed. Witness statements by USS Bush officers Lt.(jg) Earl Sechrist and Lt. Harry Stanley confirmed his death, and final resting place on the starboard side of the No. 1 5-inch gun. The ship's doctor, Lt. George Johnson, prepared a death certificate based upon those statements ... thus the "KIA" status.

Commander Rollin E. Westholm, Commanding Officer of the USS Bush on her final day, wrote to Foster's parents in a letter dated June 4, 1945. This letter included the following:


My dear Mr. and Mrs. Foster,


It is with deep regret that I, Senior Survivor of the USS BUSH, write to you concerning your son, John Gordon Foster, who was killed in action against the enemy on April 6, 1945.


John survived the initial action and was directing the repair of vital radio material which had been damaged in the first attack. Later in the afternoon we were severely hit forward in the area in which he was working. He was killed almost instantly by the terrific blast and concussion of the hit. His body could not be recovered because of the intense heat of the raging fire that soon thereafter covered nearly the whole forward part of the ship. The circumstances of the ship's loss itself prevented the recovery of any personal effects.


Your son had only been aboard two months but in that short time he proved himself to be an excellent officer and wonderful shipmate. No matter what had to be done he was always in good spirits. The excellence of our radio material was due in great measure to his enthusiasm and technical ability. He put in many long hours to be sure that our equipment was in constant working order. His loss is felt very profoundly by all of us who survived. His courage and performance of duty were in the best traditions of the naval service. I can only say that we share your sorrow and will always hold the memory of John's sacrifice for his country in our hearts.


Very sincerely,

Commander, U. S. Navy
Former Commanding Officer

Pictured below are those USS Bush officers serving with Lt.(jg) Foster and noted in the above text.
Shipmates of Lt.(jg) John G. Foster
From left to right:
Ensign Butler, Lt.(jg) Sechrist, Lt. Stanley, Lt. Johnson, Commander Westholm

A WPI Alumni publication noted "This war has robbed the world of few young men of greater mental capacity than John Foster possessed". In addition to school records supporting this observation, the Navy had similar sentiments regarding John's intellect. In a letter dated October 29, 1946, John's father, Addison L. Foster, quoted the following comments from Admiral Chester Nimitz:
The scholastic standing maintained by Lieutenant (jg) Foster was very high. At the U.S. Naval Reserve Midshipman's School, U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis Maryland, he ranked sixteenth in a class of two hundred and ninety-one (291) and his final grade of 3.46. He ranked among the highest with a score of 3.8 at the Naval Training School (Radar) Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he was among the top five in a class of one hundred and fifty-two (152) with a score of 3.5, and was passed "with honor".
At the age of eight, John Foster began a life of building tools, fixing furniture, and tinkering with various inventions he created. His life long interest and aptitude for technical disciplines was very evident. So it is not a surprise that when his ship was in distress, he would spend the last moments his life using his "Yankee Ingenuity" to help repair radio equipment his shipmates would need.
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