June 1942 (5)

Dauntless divebombers from the USS Hornet approach the burning cruiser IJN Mikuma

Dauntless divebombers from the USS Hornet approach the burning cruiser IJN Mikuma

 

Continued from Monday’s post ____

At approximately 1030 hours, the Japanese ships were located by the US aircraft and found to have aircraft, munitions and fuel on their decks.  Ensign George Gay would be the sole survivor of those planes.  He watched as his squadron leader, Lt. John C. Waldron, being true to his part Sioux Indian instinct rather than his briefing, did in fact locate the enemy (despite their change in direction).  Gay related, “He went straight for the Japanese fleet as if he had a string tied to them.”  Waldron was last seen attempting to bail out of his flaming plane.

Chunks were being torn from Gay’s aircraft as he dove and released his torpedo.  Gay said, “I could see the Japanese captain jumping up and down and raising hell, I could see the deck full of gas hoses and planes.”  That was just before he pancaked into the ocean and only inflated his life raft after the Akagi turned north.  Gay was picked up the following day. (Newspaper article on Gay in a forthcoming post that further describes his 24 hours in the ocean.)

Burning oil tanks on Midway

Burning oil tanks on Midway

Turning north saved Nagumo from 35 dive bombers that had come off the Hornet and were unable to locate the ship.  But Lt. Clarence McClusky and his 37 Dauntless pilots from the Enterprise did.  They went into a 70-degree dive and locked onto the Akagi, Soryu and the Kaga.  The six minute attack had paralyzed that part of the enemy’s naval defense.

The Soryu was nearly getting her fires under control when the US submarine Nautilus put 2 torpedoes in her and she sank at 1900 hours.  The Akagi was abandoned and torpedoed by one of her own destroyers.  The Hiryu, 2 battleships, 3 cruisers and a dozen destroyers remained to continue on the fight.

As the Japanese Strike Force sought revenge, the USS Yorktown was bombed, ground crews on Midway fought off air attacks and opposing aircraft met in the skies.  The IJN Hiryu limped away like a floating torch, but she would later be discovered for a second strike.

Midway Atoll

Midway Atoll

 

Admiral Yamaguchi and Captain Kaku gave their men a farewell speech before ordering the men to abandon ship.  They proceeded to sing the traditional Kimigayo anthem, drank the ceremonial cups of water and then went below deck to commit seppuku.  The ship was located the following morning with 70 men still on board; after they were taken off, the ship was destroyed.

 

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Military Humor – 

courtesy of Chris @ Muscleheaded.wordpress.com/

courtesy of Chris @ Muscleheaded.wordpress.com/

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Farewell Salutes – 

Frances “Fritz” Bitters – Menomonee Falls, WI, US Army, WWII

Michael Davis – San Antonio, TX; US Army, West Point ’51, Col. (ret.), Korea, Bronze Star & Vietnam, 165th Aviation Group

George Deason – Toronto, CAN; RC Air Force, Cpl., WWIIBIABoNLCEAEPa7G (599x769)

Edward Farnsworth – Idaho Falls, ID; US Army, Korea, Bronze Star

Colin Gray – Christchurch, NZ; RNZ Air Force, WWII, Spitfire pilot, top ace, No. 43rd & 54th Sq.

Robert Horey – Addison, NY & FL; US Army, WWII, Lt. Col. (Ret.), Korea, Vietnam, artillery corps

William LaGrange – Little Rock, AR; US Air Force (Ret. 21 years)

Ron Marshall – Hastings, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 75239

Angelo Mindolo – Secaucus, NJ; US Navy & US Air Force

Dominic “Rich” Noreikis – Jupiter, FL; US Army, SSgt T-3

Alfred Williams – Crofton, MD; US Army (Ret. 30 years), 1st Air Cavalry

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SHOUT OUT – to the Arkansas veterans – I’m waiting to hear from you!

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on March 5, 2015, in WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 64 Comments.

  1. Great to keep the momentum going on this great battle, You can virtually feel the adrenaline running, look forward to the story of Gray’s 24 hours afloat.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re too kind, Ian. I don’t think I quite deserve all the fine compliments you give me. [but I’ll take them, anyway – O_o ]

      Liked by 1 person

    • I just have to say that after reading this post – I was moved and I was thinking about a comment – even though I know we do not always have to leave one – but I wanted to today – anyhow, then I read Ian’s comment and it was exactly what I was thinking…. so I say ditto ! 🙂

      Like

  2. I feel so privileged that I am Abel to read the stories and experience a little of what the men and women did to pay the price for me. Being in the service is a whole different world than the one civilian folks live in. I so appreciate the men and women who fight for my freedom.

    Peace Tom

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Maybe I’m just a wierdo but the cartoon with the hostess shoud have been ” Well they do have a don’t ask don’t tell policy”. I was tired and thought the lady was a cross dressing co-pilot.. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A battle – and the war – is decided by chance…and so is bravery. Being scared _hitless yet you do manage to do your job.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I can always count on an interesting post on your blog !!!

    Like

  6. Thanks for my dose of daily history.

    Like

  7. Found it interesting that the Sioux Indian instincts led them to the location of the Japanese ships. Sometimes our gut feeling or intuition surpasses technology. Another great and interesting post.’

    Like

  8. “They proceeded to sing the traditional Kimigayo anthem, drank the ceremonial cups of water and then went below deck to commit seppuku.” Totally beyond my comprehension, GP.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ah, Page 2 🙂 Great post, Everett. They were really heroes and will look forward to the future report you mentioned. Although I have heard of the movie never went to see it. Sounds like I didn’t miss much.

    Like

  10. Thank you lieber Freund Grüße und Umarmung Gislinde

    Like

  11. As always, another great post! Thank you. Saluting those who gave their lives at this great battle.

    Like

  12. Father Paul Lemmen

    Reblogged this on A Conservative Christian Man.

    Like

  13. Another really impressive blog post. I bought the movie about a year ago, but I wish I hadn’t. I couldn’t really recommend it, despite its cast.

    Like

  14. Great post, GP. If you have time, I’d like to invite you to visit my recent post. I think you will like it. 🙂

    Like

  15. Those men had more than guts. Just flying the aircraft was amazing but multitasking the guns, diving, avoiding and praying you would not be hit by ammo from the ship and the constant what is above me and below me is only for the few.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Pierre Lagacé

    Even if I know that part of history I always learn new facts.

    I told John Le May about your blog GP.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Pierre. The links add to the story. When I put in the eye witness stories, the whole event comes together.

      Like

      • Pierre Lagacé

        I hope people will remember your posts about Midway and not the movie Hollywood made out of it…
        The old “Hey, let’s put a little love story in there to make it a little more realistic…” script like they did with Red Tails!

        Liked by 1 person

  17. Pleased to learn a bit more about this famous battle.

    Like

    • I know I cut Monday’s post short, but you’ll be surprised how much more information will be supplied by the up-coming eye-witness accounts over the official reports here. Thank you for reading here, Ann – and SO early!

      Liked by 1 person

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