From: Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships


Born in Norman County, Minn., 21 January 1919, Kenneth Cecil Bunch enlisted in the Navy in 1937. He served with Scouting Squadrons 42 and 8. He was killed in action 6 June 1942 during the Battle of Midway.

(DE-694: dp. 1400: l. 306'; b. 36'10"; dr. 13'6"; s. 24 k.; cpl. 186; a. 3 3", 3 21" TT.; cl. Buckley)

Bunch (DE-694) was launched 29 May 1943 by Defoe Shipbuilding Co., Bay City, Mich.; sponsored by Mrs. Kenneth C. Bunch, widow of Aviation Radioman Bunch; and commissioned 21 August 1943, Lieutenant Commander A. A. Campbell, USNR, in command.

Between November 1943 and July 1944 Bunch operated as a convoy escort and completed six trans-Atlantic voyages to the United Kingdom. From 12 October through 20 December 1944 she underwent conversion to a high speed transport, having been reclassified APD-79, 31 July 1944.

Conversion completed, Bunch transited the Panama Canal 26 December 1944 and arrived at Pearl Harbor 15 January 1945. She proceeded across the Pacific, via Eniwetok, Ulithi, and Leyte, to Okinawa where after arrival in March she acted as parent ship for an underwater demolition team and participated in fire-support and patrol activities. On 4 April she rescued 61 survivors from Dickerson (APD-21) which had been sunk by a Japanese suicide plane. During May Bunch escorted a convoy to Ulithi and Guam and then returned to Okinawa. She remained in this area until 1 July 1945 when she departed for the west coast, arriving on the 24th. She underwent overhaul in California until 6 September and then returned to Okinawa via Pearl Harbor and Eniwetok.

Between 1 October 1945 and 21 February 1946 she operated off Okinawa, China, and Formosa in support of the occupation. Bunch participated in minesweeping operations during November and December 1945. Upon her return to the United States in March 1946 she was assigned to the 19th Fleet to await inactivation. She was placed out of commission in reserve 31 May 1946 at San Diego.

Bunch received two battle stars for her World War II service.