Bannach, Anthony S

Anthony Stanley Bannach was born on May 8, 1923 to Michael and Johanna Bannach who lived in Parkesburg, Pennsylvania. Anthony was the oldest of three children.

Anthony attended Parkesburg High School. He played on their baseball and basketball teams. As a freshman, he made the varsity basketball team as forward, and played alongside of hero Robert Montgomery.

Tony was 6 foot 1 inches tall. He was kind and had a smile for everyone. He was known as quite a ladies man, the women loved him.

Tony was very religious and was an active member of Our Lady of Consolation Church located at 603 W 2nd Avenue.

Anthony or “Tony” as he liked to be called, left school to help support his family. He obtained employment at Lukens Steel Company as a copy boy for their newspaper.
Anthony S Bannach
Tony enlisted in the Navy in February 1942. He received basic training at Bainbridge, Maryland, then was assigned to serve on a new destroyer being constructed at Bethlehem Steel Company on Staten Island, New York. The USS Kimberly DD-521 was launched on February 4, 1943, and commissioned on May 22, 1943. The Kimberly was a Fletcher Class Destroyer, which were distinctive with five single 5-inch gun turrets. They were 369 feet long, displaced 2,000 tons and were fast - up to 37 knots. The Fletchers were the largest class of destroyers ordered, 175 were completed.

Tony served as a range setter on one of the twin 40 mm Bofors anti aircraft guns.

After commissioning and a ‘shakedown’ cruise, Tony’s ship sailed for the Pacific area of operations in September. The Kimberly served as ASW (antisubmarine warfare) screen for battleships and cruisers during the Gilbert Islands Campaign (“Bloody” Tarawa and Makin). She also served supporting marines ashore with deadly accurate gunfire support.

Tony’s ship was then sent north to the Aleutians. She silenced enemy antiaircraft batteries, also served as ASW patrol, as well as bombarding the enemy held installations in the Kuriles.

After a refit in San Francisco in September 1944, the Kimberly again sailed for the Pacific. Tony’s ship saw duty in support of the liberation of Leyte Island in the Philippines. In November, while escorting a supply convoy, she fought a 2-hour kamikaze attack, destroying one and helping to destroy 2 more.

In January, Tony’s ship departed for Lingayen Gulf, Luzon, arriving January 6th, four days before Hero Emidio Falini was killed in the Gulf. The ship destroyed one Kamikaze on the way, and two while in the Gulf. She served as gunfire support for the troops ashore.

In February, Tony’s ship left to support the Okinawa campaign. The Kimberly served as a radar picket to detect incoming Kamikaze’s off the island of Ryukyus. The Kimberly received provisions from the supply ship, USS Haydes AF-28. On board was his brother, Edward - Petty Officer 2nd Class, who was a baker aboard the Haydes. The brothers spent time together during those two days of provisioning.

On March 26th the USS Kimberly was attacked by two Kamikazes. They shot one down, but the other  continued and crashed into the after gun mounts despite numerous hits and in flames despite several crippling hits. Four men were killed, 57 wounded.  Although heavily damaged, the ship survived was able to sail back to the states for repairs.

Tony was serving on one of these gun mounts, and had just switched places before the attack, with a friend, Frank Fagan. 

Seaman 1st Class Anthony Stanley Bannach was Killed In Action on March 26, 1945. The Navy sent a telegram to his father that Anthony was Missing In Action and probably did not survive. Tony’s shipmate, Chief Petty Officer Frank Fagan of Oxford, was sent home to notify the families of two of the missing sailors. He visited the Bannach’s, offered condolences, and informed them of the battle.

A memorial service was held at Our Lady of Consolation Church on  April 27, 1946 in honor of Anthony. The Haubert-Paul Post Number 431 rendered military honors.

A year later, the government officially declared him Killed In Action (the government waits for a period of one year for MIA’s before they officially declare them dead). Anthony is remembered on the Tablets of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial, in Hawaii.

On Saturday September 28th during a ceremony at the American Legion Home, Anthony’s father received the presentation of a Bronze Star for Tony’s gallantry. The citation read in part:

Although fully aware that the onrushing hostile plane would crash near him, Bannach resolutely remained at his station and aided in maintaining a steady stream of antiaircraft fire against the suicide attacker.

His fearless determination and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of almost certain death were inspiring to those with whom he served and reflect the highest credit upon himself and the United States Naval Service

Both his brother and sister served in the Navy, his sister rose to the rank of Lieutenant Commander in the Navy Nurses Corps.


Research by Don Wambold, WCMSC