Last Known Activity|
FN/1c Louis James COLONA
USNR Service # 8182022
KIA Lost At Sea WWII
Louis was born in 1921 to Joe and Margaret Colona who lived at 324 Lincoln Highway in Malvern, Pennsylvania. His parents, both from Italy, began their family in America. His father was a stonemason. Louis was one of six children: Amerika, Nellie, Harry, William, Louis, and Augustine.
Louis attended the Berwyn High School graduating in 1939. He was a well known athlete at the school, and active in school activities. He was on the football team his 2nd, and 3rd years, basketball his 3rd, track 2nd, Supper Committee 4th, Dance Committee chairman, 4th, Student Council 2nd, Student Monitor 3rd and 4th years. Louis was a member of the Hungarian-American Club in Phoenixville, and worked at Westinghouse Electric Company in Philadelphia.
Louis joined the Navy entering the service on August 21, 1943. He received basic training in Bainbridge, Maryland; and ship fitters and metal smith school at Great Lakes Training Station, Illinois as a Fireman (fire and tending to ships boilers which created steam for propulsion).
Louis was assigned to serve on board the Essex Class aircraft Carrier USS Bunker Hill CV-17. Louis’s ship participated in carrier operations against Rabul, the Gilbert Islands, and supported our landings on Tarawa in November, 1943. The Bunker Hill also was involved in strikes against the Bismark Archipelago, Marshall Islands, Truk (main enemy Naval Base), Marianas, and Hollandia. His ship was in the Battle of the Philippine Sea, (also known as the Great Marinas Turkey Shoot) in June, in which the Japanese lost 480 aircraft and 3 aircraft carriers. Louis’s ship participated in strikes at Okinawa, Luzon, and Formosa (Taiwan), Iwo Jima, Honshu and Nasei Shoto (Japanese home islands).
In the closing months of World War II, Americans found themselves facing a new and terrifying weapon: kamikazes—the first men to use airplanes as suicide weapons.
While supporting the landings on Okinawa, on the morning of May 11, 1945, the Bunker Hill was hit by two Japanese suicide aircraft – Kamikazes. Suffering considerable damage, 346 crewmembers were killed, 246 wounded and 43 missing.
Fireman 1st Class Louis James Colona was Killed In Action on May 11, 1945. He is remembered on the tablets of the Missing In Action or Buried at sea at the Honolulu National Memorial in Hawaii. He was awarded the World War II Victory Medall, Purple Heart (posthumously), Presidential Unit Citation with star for second award, and the Asiatic Theater Campaign medal.