Claude William "Bud" Plant jr.

Claude "Bud" Plant  

U.S. Navy   Lieutenant (jg)

Silver Star
Distinguished Flying Cross
Air Medal


Service Number 0-290758
From Portland (Ionia County), Michigan
Graduated from Portland High School
Attended Central Michigan College
Loved to play baseball & was an excellent pitcher
Had a tryout with the Detroit Tigers
May well have pitched for them had he survived the war
Flew with VF-15 "Satan's Playmates"
Off the deck of the USS Essex CV-9

MIA 12 September 1944



Talent Scouts Laud Pitcher
Bud Plant Given Chance To Try Out At Tiger Stadium

Recognition of the unusual pitching talent of Claud "Bud" Plant, star of the Portland High school baseball team, was made Friday when two scouts from the Detroit Tigers offered him the opportunity to "try out" at the Briggs stadium.
Although the game with Belding Friday resulted in Portland's first defeat of the season by a score of 5-8, his swift southpaw-pitching drew the admiration of the two talent scouts sent by the Detroit club. Later, he received a letter from the club, questioning him on his plans for the future and whether he would be able to appear at the stadium for a trial with Wish Egan, Tiger scout.
A second opportunity has been offered him by Michigan State college, which has asked him to appear there. No definite plans are being made as yet, until he graduates from the High school June 9.
The Lake Odessa baseball game here Tuesday was called because of rain, and will be played at a later date, possibly on Memorial Day.
Wednesday, members of the High school golf team suffered defeat at the hands of St. Johns for the second time this season, by 29 strokes.

Letter from Detroit Tigers
Letter from Detroit Tigers baseball team. Sent to me from Phil Hecksel.


Portland Flyer Battling Japs


Son of Mr. and Mrs. Claude Plant Sr., of this village is pictured above. Bud was recently credited with shooting' down four Jap planes in an encounter off the Marianas, as reported in a story in the Review & Observer of two weeks ago.


Claude "Bud" Plant is seen here in the cockpit of a ??

  Bud Plant


Ensign Claude Plant Jr., Naval Flyer, Missing in Action

Mr. and Mrs. Claude Plant Sr. were advised on Thursday last from the government that their son, Ensign Claude Jr., (Bud) a naval aviator, was reported missing in action since September 18. Bud had been in the Pacific for some months, flying in a fighter squadron, and had seen action aplenty. The many friends of the family are hopeful that news may soon be received that the young man has been found safe and sound. It is presumed the action took place over the Pacific, from an airplane carrier.
Last July Bud's unit won high praise when it knocked down 63 Jap planes in a single day. Details of that action, which took place June 19, were printed in this paper July 8th. Bud personally shot down four that day.
Ensign Plant is a graduate of Portland High, attended Central Michigan College of Education, and was active in High school and college sports. He has been widely known in this locality for his pitching ability, and played on several minor league teams before entering service.


Three Awards to Lieutenant Plant, Naval Airman

Claude Plant

Mr. and Mrs. Claude Plant of Portland recently received from the Navy department the permanent and temporary citation for the Air Medal, which was awarded their son, Lt. (jg) Claude W. Plant, Jr., U. S. Naval Reserve, who was reported missing in action a year ago Wednesday of this week. The air medal was sent under separate cover and has been received by Lt. Plant's parents. It is the third medal awarded the young man. Lt. Plant was serving with the Naval air force when shot down over the Pacific.
Distinguished Flying Cross was awarded him for action 12 June 44, as pilot of a carrier based plane near the Marianas, when he went in on a masthead level bombing attack, scored a direct hit on a small cargo ship and left it in a sinking condition. Then, in face of anti-aircraft fire he strafed a new type enemy destroyer which was set fire and thereafter exploded and sank. He repeated strafing attacks against enemy cargo ships, causing heavy damage, the citation states.
The Silver Star was awarded Lt. Plant for action 19 June 44 (The Battle of the Philippine Sea or The Marianas Turkey Shoot -jf) in the Marianas area, where he distinguished himself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity in action while participating in a flight against the Japs. Sixty-seven Jap planes were knocked down by his squadron in that action, and Lt. Plant personally destroyed four fighters and damaged several more.
The Air Medal was awarded for meritorious service on 23 June 44 in the Marianas Island area, when Lt. Plant "fought his plane gallantly in swift and aggressive attacks, personally destroying one of the enemy fighters while airborne and aiding his section leader in blasting another Japanese aircraft from the sky. An outstanding airman, Lt. (jg) Plant, by his cool courage, exceptional skill and heroic conduct, contributed materially to the destruction of eleven Japanese planes and probably three others...."
In each of the citations the courage, coolness and skill of the young man were mentioned as in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. Two citations are signed by Vice Admiral M. A. Mitscher and one by Atremus L. Gates, acting secretary of the Navy.


Victories Include :

19 June 1944
23 June 1944
9 Sep 1944
12 Sep 1944
  4  Zeros
1.5 Zeros
  2  Vals
one Zero

8.5 / 0 / 0


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Thanks go out to

Marilynn Johnson & Phil Hecksel for the photos & infos !

On these pages I use Hugh Halliday's extensive research which includes info from numerous sources; newspaper articles via the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation (CMCC); the Google News Archives; the London Gazette Archives and other sources both published and private.

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