, Salem, MA


August 15, 2013

Salem's Buczko recalls the “Last Shot” of WWII


After the “last shot” event took place, the USS Bearss returned to the Aleutian Islands to check the ship for damage and to train for the final phase of the war. At that time, they were notified that they would be taking on Japanese officers to transport them to the signing ceremony of U.S. Naval Emergency Occupation Order No. 1.

“I was top side when the Japanese officers came on board,” Buczko recalls, “manning the search lights.”

The Japanese officers included Japanese Vice Admiral Kenji Ugai, Rear Admiral Densuke Kanome, Lt. General Toshimoto Hoshino, and other Japanese naval, army and civil delegations to the flagship of U.S. Vice Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher, where they signed the Emergency Occupation Order No. 1 “in advance of occupation forces for Northern Honshu and Hokkaido,” according to accounts of the day.

Buczko concluded his WWII military service onboard the aircraft carrier USS Midway. He returned to the U.S. on Dec. 7, 1945, to San Diego. From there, he passed through the Panama Canal and landed in Charleston, S.C. Finally, two days before Christmas, Buczko returned to his hometown of Salem.

He went on to receive a doctorate in law from Boston University after receiving his B.A. from Norwich University (with honors).

Buczko entered military service again by joining the Army in 1949, eventually serving as a unit tank commander with the Third Armored Division and as assistant staff judge advocate for the division. For his service after retiring from active duty, Buczko received the Meritorious Service Medal. In the Army Reserves, Buczko served with the 304th Armored Calvary Regiment, commanded the 357th Civil Affairs Brigade and served as chief of staff of the 94th Army Reserve Command, which was composed of 10,000 soldiers in 100 reserve units in New England.

Buczko served as Massachusetts state auditor for 30 years and as an Essex County Probate and Family Court judge for 15 years. He is credited with bringing the (fellow Polish) Pope to Boston in 1979. He continues to reside in Salem.


Bonnie Hurd Smith is a Salem historian.

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