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Nicole Summers, MMFN
Bangust, Joseph, AD2.
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Home Town Niles, OH
Last Address Niles, OH
Casualty Date Dec 27, 1941
Cause Hostile-Body Not Recovered
Reason Gun, Small Arms Fire
Location Pacific Ocean
Conflict World War II
Location of Interment Manila American Cemetery and Memorial - Manila, Philippines
Wall/Plot Coordinates (cenotaph)
Last Known Activity
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 machinist's 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 plane's 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 Zero's cannon holed the fuel tank, sending gasoline into the mechanic's 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. His body was never recovered. For his extraordinary heroism during the action, Bangust was awarded the Navy Cross posthumously.
Service number: 3812689
Navy CrossAwarded for Actions During World War II
Battalion: Patrol Squadron 101 (VP-101)
Division: Patrol Wing 10
General Orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 304 (July 1942)
Citation: The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Aviation Machinist's Mate First Class Joseph Bangust (NSN: 3812689), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Waist Gunner of a Navy Patrol Plane in Patrol Squadron ONE HUNDRED ONE (VP-101), Patrol Wing TEN (PatWing-10), in action against enemy Japanese war and merchant vessels located near Jolo Harbor, in the Philippine Islands, on the morning of 27 December 1941. In the ensuing action, Japanese Zero fighters and anti-aircraft bursts filled the air around the harbor, but the U.S. Navy PBY-4 bombers made their approach, dropped their bombs and inflicted heavy damage upon several enemy war and merchant ships. Although he was wounded shortly after the approach was made, Aviation Machinist's Mate First Class Bangust remained at his station and continued to fire upon the Japanese Zero fighters until enemy bullets killed him at his post. His outstanding courage and determined skill were at all times inspiring and in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.