Paul Trella reported aboard USS BUSH on May 19, 1944. He was 17 years old, and a little more than two months shy of his next birthday. His friends called him "Pie," as he was quite fond of such desserts. He was a native of Youngstown, Ohio. He had been in the Navy since March 2, 1944. He completed his initial training at Great Lakes.
Paul's brother-in-law, Frank Bush (married to Paul's sister, Margaret), was in the Army at the same time. On Christmas Eve of 1944, they held a brief reunion in the Philippines. Paul used to tease his brother-in-law that he'd had an Admiral name the ship after Frank!
Seaman Trella was killed in action on April 6, 1945 in the sinking of BUSH by Japanese suicide planes during the Battle for Okinawa. Of the 87 men aboard BUSH who lost their lives, Paul was one of only 12 whose bodies would be recovered. It would be nearly four years before his remains were returned to his hometown and family.
Paul's specific duties aboard BUSH are not known, nor are the details of how he died. This was common to the time. Families often learned very little, other than someone they held dear was gone.
The losses of BUSH, other destroyers on the radar picket line, and crewmen like Paul, were not losses in vain. The early warning that the radar pickets provided the invasion fleet (in addition to the direct attention Japanese planes showed these ships) helped to minimize damage and casualties to the Okinawa invasion fleet and allied soldiers on the island itself. Without the invasion fleet's support, supplies and equipment ... the soldiers on Okinawa would have had a much tougher time.