North High School Wall of Honor
Robert Bartlett McMullen
Class of June, 1943 (West)
Robert Bartlett McMullen
Research done by Claradell Shedd, Class of 1953. PAGE IN PROGRESS
Robert Bartlett McMullen

Robert graduated in the June, 1943 West High class, although he had been a part of the North High student body and remained close friends to North High graduates his entire life. He enlisted in the US Navy on April 10, 1944 in Des Moines, IA. His service number was 3221710. Robert's next of kin was listed as F.W. McMullen at 1333 Harrison Avenue, Des Moines, IA.

Robert Bartlett McMullen
Year   Rank   Status
June, 1943   Graduated   Graduated from West High School, Des Moines, IA.
date x Student/Graduated x Schooling?
April 10, 1944 x Enlisted in US Navy x Naval Recruiting Station, Des Moines, IA
April 19, 1944 x Basic Training x Naval Training Center, Farragut, Idaho. Seven months.
date x Schooling/Training x University of Idaho; Moscow, ID (radio training). Nineteen months.
date x Enroute x To San Francisco, CA. RAD Cen Shoemaker, CA.
January 8, 1945 x Enroute x Shipped via *USS Alaska (battle cruiser) from San Francisco to Philippines (Iwo Jima, Okinawa)
May 20, 1946 x US Navy x Discharged. US Naval Personnel Separation Center, Lido Beach, Long Island, NY
date x Civilian x

Texas. Deceased 07/05/08.

*USS Alaska
Alaska and Guam served with the U.S. Navy in the last years of World War II. Similar to the Iowa-class fast battleships, their speed made them useful as shore bombardment ships and fast carrier escorts. Both protected Franklin when she was on her way to be repaired in Guam after being hit by two Japanese bombs. Afterward, Alaska supported the landings on Okinawa, while Guam went to San Pedro Bay to become the leader of a new task force, Cruiser Task Force 95.

On 8 January 1945, Alaska sailed for Hawaii, reaching Pearl Harbor on the 13th, where, on the 27th, Captain Kenneth H. Noble relieved Captain Fischler, who had achieved flag rank. Over the ensuing days, Alaska conducted further training before getting underway as a unit of Task Group (TG) 12.2, weighing anchor for the western Pacific on 29 January. She reached Ulithi, the fleet anchorage in the Caroline Islands, on 6 February, and there joined TG 58.5, a task group in the "famed" Task Force (TF) 58, the fast carrier task force.

Alaska sailed for the Japanese home islands as part of TG 58.5 on 10 February 1945. She was assigned the mission of screening Saratoga and Enterprise as they carried out night air strikes against Tokyo and its airfields. TF 58, cloaked by bad weather, approached the Japanese homeland from east of the Marianas. Using radio deception along with deployed submarines, long-range patrol aircraft from Fleet Air Wing 1, and Army Air Forces Boeing B-29 Superfortresses as scouts ahead of the advancing task force, the task force neared their objective undetected. The low ceiling prevented Japanese retaliation. Assigned to TG 58.4 soon thereafter, Alaska supported the Iwo Jima operations, and, as before, no enemy aircraft came near the carrier formation to which the large cruiser was attached. For nineteen days she screened the carriers before retiring to Ulithi to take on stores and carry out minor repairs.

With the decision reached to occupy Okinawa in early April 1945, invasion planners proceeded on the assumption that the Japanese would resist with maximum available naval and air strength. To destroy as many aircraft as possible and thus diminish the possibility of American naval forces coming under air attack from Japanese aircraft the fast carrier task force struck airfields on Kyushu, Shikoku, and western Honshu. Alaska, still with TG 58.4, formed around Yorktown, Intrepid, Independence and Langley, again drawing the duty of protecting the carriers. Her principal mission then, as it had been before, was defense of the task group against enemy air or surface attacks. Its battle plan outlined in detail, TF 58 cruised north-westerly from the Carolines, following the departure from Ulithi on 14 March. Refueling at sea on the 16th, this force reached a point southeast of Kyushu early on the 18th. On that day, the aircraft from TG 58.4 swept over Japanese airfields at Usa, Oita, and Saeki, joining those from three other task groups, TG 58.1, TG 58.2, and TG 58.3 in claiming 107 enemy aircraft destroyed on the ground and a further 77 (of 142 engaged) over the target area. Alaska engaged the Japanese for the first time on the 18th during a Japanese air attack upon the force. She downed two aircraft by herself: a kamikaze Yokosuka P1Y "Frances" that had been on course to hit Intrepid, and a Yokosuka D4Y "Judy" at about 13:15.

Protecting the Franklin:
The Japanese struck in full force on the 19th, and they caught TG 58.2 some 20 miles (32 km) to the northward of the other groups in TF 58. At about 07:08, Franklin was hit with two bombs; Wasp too, fell victim to Japanese bombs. On board Alaska, those in a position to watch the developing battle noted a flash, followed by a slowly rising column of smoke. "All who saw it knew that a carrier had been hit," the cruiser's historian records, "and soon the radio brought confirmation that the Franklin had been the victim".

Okinawa:
Over the next few days, the air strikes against Okinawa continued, setting the stage for the landing set to commence on Easter Sunday, 1 April 1945. Alaska continued to provide support for the carriers launching the strikes until detached on 27 March to carry out a shore bombardment against Minami Daito Shimo, a tiny island 160 miles (257 km) east of Okinawa. The task unit, TU 58.4.9, consisted of Alaska, Guam, San Diego, Flint, and Destroyer Squadron 47.

Four days later, on the 16th, Alaska's gunfire splashed what were probably a "Judy" and two Mitsubishi A6M Zeros, and the ship claimed assists in downing three additional enemy aircraft. That same day, however, an enemy aircraft managed to get through Alaska's barrage to crash into Intrepid. That night, though, the cruiser's gunfire proved instrumental in driving off a single snooper attempting to close the formation. On the night of 2122 April, the cruiser again used her heavy antiaircraft battery to drive off single aircraft attempting to attack the task group. On the night of 2930 April, toward the end of the ship's time at sea with the fast carriers for that stretch, Alaska twice drove off attacking groups of Japanese aircraft.
USS Alaska Insignia USS Alaska (CB-1)
Insignia and photo of USS Alaska (CB-1)
Map of Philippines Okinawa Deployment
Philippine Islands and Okinawa Deployment
Robert Bartlett McMullen
Radioman; Third Class; V-6
United States Navy

US Navy Seal



Robert Barlett McMullen

US Navy Insignia

Radioman; 3d Class
Victory Medal; American Theater, Asiatic Pacific Pedal w/two stars; Philippine Liberation Medal

Victory Medal; American Theater Medal,
Asiatic Pacific Medal w/two stars; Philippine Liberation Medal
References
(1) Information was obtained from the Records on Military Personnel Who Died, were Missing in Action, or Prisoners of War as a result of the Vietnam War. This document can be found online at the National Archives and Records Administration at http://www.archives.gov/.

(2) The comprehensive list of names from North High's 1893-2018 graduation classes are from Claradell Shedd's North Des Moines High School website. The names of North High School graduates can be found online at: http://www.ndmhs.com/. Robert Bartlett McMullen's 1943 class page is: http://www.ndmhs.com/pages/yearclass1943(2008.65).html.
07/21/10. Died 07/05/08.
Music: "Anchors Aweigh"
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