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Entering the War


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Old Navy







March 19, 1920 - June 18, 2016

United States Navy ... June 1940 - June 1970




Jack's picture as it appeared in Sydney Australia's "Daily Telegraph" August 7, 1964







These are the Ribbons Jack is authorized to wear. While stationed on board the USS Irwin (DD-794) Jack was awarded the Navy Marine Corps Medal for Heroism when he saved the lives of numerous USS Princeton (CVL-23) Sailors including James Kelliher as noted in the below article.

Click for Description of Ribbons



The below article was published in the

Beaver County and Allegheny County (PA) Times

on 20 September 1999




Jack Bove was a Navy Legend

by Gino Piroli



      We recently attended the re-union of our ship, the USS Irwin (DD-794) in Colorado Springs accompanied by shipmate Bill Soroka of Youngstown and his wife Helen.

     The most important ingredient of any type of reunion is gathering with those who were part of that segment of your life.

    That was the case with these shipmates, especially with the surprise appearance of Boatswain Mate Jack Bove, our legend, our John Wayne.  Not the John Wayne who saw his wartime action in back lots of the Hollywood movie studios, but the swashbuckling combat heroes he portrayed on the screen.

     We've been hoping since our first get together that he would someday  show up.

     The bosun is the life blood of Navy ship,  and  Jack  was   the  epitome of



that  crew.   A regular Navy man who was there for the crew on all occasions, including sewing the canvases for burials at sea.   

     On shore he was true hell-raiser, living by his theory of work hard, play hard, and sometimes he played so hard he ended up in the brig.  In San Francisco, those returning to the ship from leave were greeted by the sight of Bove shackled to the quarterdeck for some infraction.

     He said he never became a Chief Petty Officer because of some trivial misunderstandings like the time in Casablanca when the van he was driving ran over a French Police-man.

    He was never punished  too harshly; the officers thought too much of him and once at sea he was indispensable.

      He retired from the Navy in 1971 and has  been  married to a  Japanese



woman,  his fourth wife,  for 32 years.

They both work as civilians at the U.S. Naval base in Yokosuka Japan.

    I had a personal reason  for locating Bove.  It related to an incident on October 24, 1944 in the South Pacific and his encounter with a close friend and fellow J&L pipe-fitter, the late James Kelliher.

     Jimmy was a 17 year old aviation mate on the aircraft carrier USS Princeton that was sunk that day in the Battle of Subiyan Sea in Leyte Gulf.  He was one of the 646 Princeton survivors rescued by the Irwin.

     I wasn't aboard at that time but Jimmy always told of this muscular red-bearded sailor who pulled him to safety from the troubled waters.

     It was Jack Bove.  After some 55 years I felt good in telling him that Jim and his family and friends were forever grateful that he saved his life.





Jack in 1977 at age 56 from an interview in the Yokosuka Base Newspaper.  Asked why he stayed in Japan, he replied, "The Japanese are sort of a restless dynamic people, like a Boatswain's Mate".





On March 19, 2000, Jack's 80th Birthday, the Active Duty Chief Petty Officer's of the Yokosuka Community honored Jack and pinned him as an Honorary Yokosuka Chief Petty Officer.




Jack Bove on Leadership


The below was written by Jack during his tour on the USS John A. Boles (DD-755) while attending a one week Leadership School.  It was  published  in  the  San  Diego  Naval  Station  Base  Newspaper.

"THE SHORE LEAF" on 7 June 1965.



"What Leadership means to me"


     Of all the traits formulated in military service which are prevalent, Leadership, in my opinion, appears to be the most dominant and necessary to achieve the best results.


     The very fact that leadership and the qualities derived there from, are so urgently required in today's modern Navy, is all the more reason that each and everyone of us involved should take it so seriously and be aware constantly of it's importance.


      The results of good Leadership are so that they manifest wherever progress and accomplishment are in abundance.  The lack of it can be detected by the tragic statistics both to men and equipment, as noticed in our daily logs and reports.


      The essence of Leadership, so necessary for a strong and mature Navy, is considered a challenge whereby an individual can obtain the best results.  Capturing that essence therefore must be the magnetic goal each of us should strive to obtain.


      Consequently this has produced such a strong impression in my way of thinking as to give me the inducement to the best of my ability, to want to seek out these qualities instrumental in achieving good leadership, whereby I can be a credit to myself, my rate and to my fellow shipmates.





In Harm's Way

From Guadalcanal to Tokyo


A great book written by one of Jack's Shipmates on the USS Irwin DD-794.  The book covers the exploits of the Irwin during WWII when Jack was on board.  Although out of print it is still available from


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