Roginski, Henry
Diary of Petty Officer Henry Roginski (USN) while serving onboard the U.S.S. Bataan during the Korean War, 1950-1951

12mo, 43 manuscript  pages, (measuring 3 ½" x 5 ½"), unbound, unsewn, written in ink, in a legible hand, very good condition, dated 5 July 1950 to 11 Oct 1951. While the diary is not signed, the provenance comes from the fact that when Roginski's estate was settled, this diary was amongst his possessions and he is known to have served in Korea aboard this vessel.

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Handwritten account of the daily events witnessed by Chief Petty Officer Henry Roginski, United States Navy, while serving onboard the U.S.S. Bataan during the early operations of the Korean War. Diary reveals daily accounts of the evacuation of Hungnam, Inchon and other operations off the east coast of Korea. The number of daily air missions, number of planes, pilots shot down, crashed, rescued or lost, liberty calls in Japan, attacks on the carrier, inclement weather, flight deck covered with snow, iced over, casualties and of men killed in action. A remarkable daily account of life onboard the ship, the missions, weather, amount of equipment and ammunition used during the early days of the Korean conflict.

Henry Roginski was born 19 June 1928 at Ambridge, Beaver County, Pennsylvania. He was the son of Konstanty Roginski and Laura Gogolinski. Henry retired from United States Navy after twenty-six years of service, retiring as a chief petty officer. He died on 15th July 2003 and was buried with his wife at St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery, Norfolk, Virginia, where he had lived for a number of years. His wife, Sandra L. Harrell (1940-2000) predeceased him in the year 2000. Henry's obituary appeared in the 17 July 2003 issue of the Beaver County Times, (PA). Henry also served in WWII, with the Navy, in the Pacific Theater. His brother, PFC Joseph J. Roginski, was killed in action during the Normandy Invasion in World War Two.

U.S.S. Bataan (CVL-29/AVT-4), the ship that Henry served on when he wrote this diary, was originally planned as the U.S.S. Buffalo (CL-99) and also classified as CV-29. It was an 11,000 ton Independence class light aircraft carrier which was commissioned in the United States Navy during World War II. The Buffalo (CL-99) was reclassified CV-29 and renamed Bataan on 2 June 1942 and reclassified CVL-29 on 15 July 1943. It was launched on 1 August 1943 at the New York Shipbuilding Corporation in Camden, New Jersey and commissioned on 17 November 1943, with Captain V. H. Schaeffer in command.

After shakedown, the Bataan reported to the Pacific Fleet. In her initial engagement with the Japanese, Bataan's planes supported the attack on Hollandia (currently known as Jayapura), New Guinea, between 21 April and 24 April 1944. Following this action were strikes against Truk, Satawan, and Ponape (29 April - 1 May 1944); Saipan, Marianas (11 June - 10 August); 1st Bonins raid (15-16 June); Battle of the Philippine Sea (19-20 June), and the 2nd Bonins raid (24 June).

Bataan was then returned to the United States for repairs. Repairs completed, she joined TF 58 and participated in the fleet raids in support of the Okinawa operation (17 March - 30 May 1945), during which her aircraft assisted in the sinking of Yamato on 7 April 1945. Retiring to the Philippines, Bataan joined the 3rd Fleet for operations against the Japanese home islands (10 July - 15 August). Bataan was assigned to Rear Admiral Gerald F. Bogan's Task Group 38.3 (TG 38.3) built around Bataan, Essex, Ticonderoga, Randolph, and Monterey). Bataan returned to the United States, arriving at New York 17 October 1945, and was assigned to "Magic Carpet" duty. On 10 January 1946 she arrived at Philadelphia to prepare for inactivation. Bataan went out of commission in reserve on 11 February 1947.

With the Korean War on the horizon, the U.S.S. Bataan was re-commissioned on 13 May 1950 at Philadelphia. A month later, the Korean War began.  It was in Philadelphia that Roginski boarded. In July 1950, the Bataan sailed for San Diego, and upon arrival she loaded Air Force cargo and personnel, and departed on 16 November for Tokyo Bay. She arrived in Korean waters on 15 December, and until June 1951 her aircraft flew strikes in support of the ground forces. Bataan departed for the west coast 2 June 1951 and, after a brief stop at San Diego, steamed to Bremerton, Washington, on 9 July for overhaul.

Roginski's diary follows the course and action of the Bataan for the time period described here from Philadelphia on 5 July 1950, to San Diego by 28 July 1950 via the Panama Canal, to Yokosuka, Japan by 28 Nov 1950, to being off the coast of Korean by 15 December 1950 participating in strikes against the enemy for the next six months, then back to San Diego on 25 June 1951, and on to Bremerton, Washington, for repairs, arriving 13 July 1951.

The following are some examples of entries from the diary. Each entry is short and precise in its description of the day's activities, usually mentioning the number of planes that flew that day, their objective, success, loss, etc:

"Left Sasebo, Japan, Dec 15, 1950 Operating with Task Force #77 off Korea. Very rough weather. Making raids on Korea."

"12-20-50 Refueled at sea. Transferred personnel. Brought bombs aboard."

"12-21-50. Left Task Force #77 Joined the U.S. Bairoko & U.S.S. Sicily. Making strikes at the Chosen Reservoir. Excellent results."

"12-16-50 Reports on the raids were very good. Our planes inflicted many casualties. One plane was damaged by automatic weapon. Japan Sea."

"12-22-50 Planes making six flights. Transferred Napalm bombs from "can" Operating with U.S. S. Badoing Strait & U.S.S. Sicily ship is off the East Coast of Korea."

"12-23-50 Three flights made today. Chosen area."

"12-24-50 Day before Christmas. Good results on three raids. Attended midnight mass. Carols were sung beautifully. Raids on Hamhung."

"12-25-50 Christmas Day. Effected rendezvous with Task Force #77 Valley Forge with us now. Hamhung was evacuated. Hangnan was evacuated without any trouble. That town got an awful pasting from naval ship and air power. Xmas dinner was served after General Quarters (0600PM). Excellent food. Task Force #90"

"1-1-51 Commies start attacks. Flights are increased. Close to operating area. Our plane guard is over fleet. Leaving for Sasebo, Japan."

"1-2-51 Orders changed. Leave convoy and sail for Inchon, Korea. Regulation."

"1-3-51 Rendezvous with T. F. 99.8 Cruising off Inchon. Flights to take off at noon. Now in the Yellow Sea."

"1-4-51 Commies pushing back our troops to Seoul. Our planes killing many."

"1-5-51 Normal routine. Twenty-eight planes in the air. Weather cold. Seas calm."

"1-6-51 Effected rendezvous to replenish the ship with fuel, ammo, & provisions. Mail call today. Seoul taken by Reds."

"1-7-51 Back with Task Force. Plane dropped its rocket. Explosion under ship gave us a scare. Damage unknown."

"1-18-51 Four flights today. On first flight Capt. Patterson was shot down at Suwon. He will be rescued by helicopter. Huge fish rapped around bow. We had to stop & back down to release it."

"1-19-51 Regular sea routine. Capt. Ward was killed when his plane was hit. Sailor wounded by accidental discharge of fifty-caliber from plane. Three other planes hit by flak. 38 plans used."

"1-20-51 Capt. Agan hit by flak. Pulled from sea. Died aboard ship in sick bay. Body in icebox. Capt. Agan died from exposure. 34 planes used on raids. Results good."

"2-14-51 58 planes used on yesterdays raids. Arrived Sasebo, Japan at 0530 P.M."

"2-18-51 Routine Day. Mail today. Trips being made to Nagasaki, Japan."

"2-20-51 Routine Day. Liberty today."

"2-22-51 Routine Day. Mail. Underway tomorrow. All hands cautioned against V.D. Must be inspected. Weather warm."

"4-23-51 Capt. tells all hands that offensive has started. We are subject to sub & air attack. Fuel ship from the U.S.S. Montrose & U.S.S. Kas Kas Kia. Planes launched while tanker and 2 destroyers are alongside. 52 planes were launched."

"4-25-51 22,000th landing made. Over three million rounds of ammo expended. 50 planes launched."

"5-17-51 Riot on Hangerdeck two hundred sailors and marines."

"5-20-51 Rocket explodes next to ship very loudly, giving a scare."

An uncommon diary from America's "Forgotten War"