Torpedo Squadron 8 (VT-8)

 

Torpedo Squadron 8 (VT-8)

 

 

Over the weekend I read two stories in my local mini-paper that had me asking the question: When did “fairness” – as defined by somebody – become a necessity to civilized society? Not in the sense of basic fairness, life, liberty, and property, but in the obsession with EVERYTHING MUST be “fair” to the utmost degree possible and even then, we must continue to “work” to make it even more fair.

Seventy-six years ago, it wasn’t fair that the Imperial Japanese Navy outnumbered and outgunned the US Navy. It “wasn’t fair” that Torpedo Squadron Eight (VT-8) aboard USS Hornet (CV-8) was forced to fly in obsolete death traps in a hopeless attack that had no chance of success.

It wasn’t “fair” when VT-8 soared into oblivion. Today we recall not just their sacrifice, but the very meaning of the word. And the realization that without their sacrifice, the rest of that day would not have gone as it did. — Dave Bowman

Torpedo Squadron 8 (VT-8) was a United States Navy squadron of World War II torpedo bombers. VT-8 was assigned initially to the air group of the aircraft carrier USS Hornet, joining Hornet shortly after her commissioning in October 1941.

VT-8’s first and best-known combat mission came during the Battle of Midway on 4 June 1942. Flying obsolete Douglas TBD Devastators, all of Lieutenant Commander John C. Waldron’s fifteen planes were shot down during their unescorted torpedo attack on Japanese aircraft carriers. The squadron failed to damage any Japanese carriers or destroy enemy aircraft.

Only one member of VT-8 who flew from Hornet on that day survived in the action, Ensign George Gay. Ensign Gay was rescued the day following the battle. Torpedo 8 was afterwards awarded the American Presidential Unit Citation.

A list of the fallen:

  • Lieutenant Commander John C. Waldron
  • Lieutenant Raymond A. Moore
  • Lieutenant James C. Owens Jr.
  • Lieutenant, junior grade George M. Campbell
  • Lieutenant, junior grade John P. Gray
  • Lieutenant, junior grade Jeff D. Woodson
  • Ensign William W. Abercrombie
  • Ensign William W. Creamer
  • Ensign Harold J. Ellison
  • Ensign William R. Evans
  • Ensign Henry R. Kenyon
  • Ensign Ulvert M. Moore
  • Ensign Grant W. Teats
  • Robert B. Miles, Aviation Pilot 1st Class
  • Horace F. Dobbs, Chief Radioman
  • Amelio Maffei, Radioman 1st Class
  • Tom H. Pettry, Radioman 1st Class
  • Otway D. Creasy Jr., Radioman 2nd Class
  • Ross H. Bibb Jr., Radioman 2nd Class
  • Darwin L. Clark, Radioman 2nd Class
  • Ronald J. Fisher, Radioman 2nd Class
  • Hollis Martin, Radioman 2nd Class
  • Bernerd P. Phelps Radioman 2nd Class
  • Aswell L. Picou, Seaman 2nd Class
  • Francis S. Polston, Seaman 2nd Class
  • Max A. Calkins, Radioman 3rd Class
  • George A. Field, Radioman 3rd Class
  • Robert K. Huntington, Radioman 3rd Class
  • William F. Sawhill, Radioman 3rd Class
  • J.D. Manning, Machinist’s Mate 3rd Class / turret gunner in Ensign Earnest’s plane (noted above).
Standard

USS Frank E. Evans

USS Frank E. Evans

USS Frank E. Evans (DD-754), an Allen M. Sumner-class destroyer, was named in honor of Brigadier General Frank Evans, USMC, a leader of the American Expeditionary Force in France during World War I. She served in late World War II and the Korean War, and Vietnam War before being cut in half in a collision with HMAS Melbourne in 1969

June 3, 1969, USS Frank E. Evans (DD 754) collided with the Australian Aircraft Carrier HMAS Melbourne (R21) and was cut in half. The forward section of USS Frank E. Evans (DD 754) sank in 1100 fathoms of water within two minutes.

Seventy-four lives were lost. USS Frank E. Evans (DD 754) was struck from the Navy Register in 1969.

ENSIGN ALAN HERBERT ARMSTRONG

SEAMAN JAMES ROBERT BAKER

YEOMAN THIRD CLASS ANDREW JAMES BOTTO

RADARMAN THIRD CLASS THOMAS BELUE BOX

ELECTRONICS TECHNICIAN THIRD CLASS JAMES FRANKLIN BRADLEY

ENSIGN ROBERT GEORGE BRANDON

SEAMAN APPRENTICE HARRIS MELVIN BROWN

BOILER TECHNICIAN SECOND CLASS WILLIAM DANIEL BROWN II

CHIEF HOSPITAL CORPSMAN CHARLES WILLIAM CANNINGTON

RADARMAN SECOND CLASS CHRISTOPHER JOHN CARLSON

SEAMAN MICHAEL KALE CLAWSON

SEAMAN DANNY VICTOR CLUTE

YEOMAN THIRD CLASS JAMES RICHARD CMEYLA

ELECTRONICS TECHNICIAN THIRD CLASS LARRY WAYNE COOL

SEAMAN PATRICK MICHAEL CORCORAN

SEAMAN APPRENTICE JOE EDDY CRAIG

ELECTRONICS TECHNICIAN (RADAR) THIRD CLASS JAMES WILBURN DAVIS

SEAMAN APPRENTICE LEON LARRY DEAL

SEAMAN JAMES FRED DYKES III

SEAMAN APPRENTICE RAYMOND JOSEPH EARLEY

GUNNERS MATE THIRD CLASS STEVEN FRANK ESPINOSA

SEAMAN APPRENTICE STEPHEN DONALD FAGAN

SEAMAN APPRENTICE WILLIAM DONALD FIELDS

SEAMAN APPRENTICE ALAN CARL FLUMMER

SEAMAN APPRENTICE HENRY KENNETH FRYE

SEAMAN FRANCIS JOSEPH GARCIA

SONAR TECHNICIAN (SURFACE) THIRD CLASS MELVIN HOLLMAN GARDNER

SEAMAN APPRENTICE DONALD EUGENE GEARHART

BOATSWAIN’S MATE THIRD CLASS PATRICK GENE GLENNON

SEAMAN APPRENTICE KENNETH WAYNE GLINES

SEAMAN APPRENTICE JOE LUIS GONZALES

SONAR TECHNICIAN (SURFACE) THIRD CLASS LARRY ALLAN GRACELY

SEAMAN APPRENTICE DEVERE RAY GRISSOM, JR.

SEAMAN APPRENTICE STEVEN ALLEN GUYER

RADARMAN THIRD CLASS TERRY LEE HENDERSON

CHIEF ELECTRICIAN’S MATE EDWARD PHILIP HESS

RADARMAN SECOND CLASS GARRY BRADBURY HODGSON

SEAMAN APPRENTICE DENNIS RALPH JOHNSTON

SEAMAN APPRENTICE JAMES WILLIAM KERR

CHIEF BOATSWAIN’S MATE WILLIE LEE KING

CHIEF RADARMAN GEORGE JOSEPH LA LIBERTE’

RADIOMAN SECOND CLASS RAYMOND PATRICK LEBRUN

RADARMAN FIRST CLASS EUGENE FRANCIS LEHMAN

SEAMAN APPRENTICE ISAAC LYONS, JR.

SEAMAN APPRENTICE DOUGLAS ROY MEISTER

SEAMAN APPRENTICE ANDREW MARTIN MELENDREZ

SEAMAN FREDERIC CONRAD MESSIER

SEAMAN APPRENTICE TIMOTHY LYNN MILLER

ENSIGN JOHN TOWNSEND NORTON, JR.

ENSIGN GREGORY KOICHI OGAWA

SEAMAN APPRENTICE MICHAEL ANTHONY ORLIKOWSKI

INTERIOR COMMUNICATIONS ELECTRICIAN SECOND CLASS LINDEN RUSSELL ORPURT

LIEUTENANT JUNIOR GRADE DWIGHT SCOTT PATTEE

SEAMAN APPRENTICE CRAIG ALLEN PENNELL

SEAMAN APPRENTICE JEROME PICKETT

YEOMAN SECOND CLASS EARL FREDERICK PRESTON, JR.

BOILER TECHNICIAN THIRD CLASS LAWRENCE JOHN REILLY, JR.

RADARMAN SECOND CLASS VICTOR THOMAS RIKAL

BOATSWAIN’S MATE SECOND CLASS GARY LOREN SAGE

RADARMAN THIRD CLASS GREGORY ALLAN SAGE

SEAMAN APPRENTICE KELLY JO SAGE

SEAMAN APPRENTICE JOHN ALAN SAUVEY

BOILER TECHNICIAN FIREMAN APPRENTICE ROBERT JAMES SEARLE

FIREMAN APPRENTICE GERALD WAYNE SMITH

SEAMAN THURSTON PERRY SMITH, JR.

SONAR TECHNICIAN SECOND CLASS JOHN RAYMOND SPRAY

LIEUTENANT JUNIOR GRADE JON KENNETH STEVER

SEAMAN APPRENTICE THOMAS FRED TALLON

RADARMAN SECOND CLASS RONALD ARTHUR THIBODEAU

RADARMAN THIRD CLASS JON WAYNE THOMAS

SEAMAN APPRENTICE JOHN THOMAS TOLAR

QUARTERMASTER THIRD CLASS GARY JOSEPH VIGUE

RADARMAN THIRD CLASS CON WESLEY WARNOCK

SEAMAN APPRENTICE HENRY DENNIS WEST III

Standard