Roundtable Forum
Our 18th Year
July 2015

In this issue.

Roundtable Opening Remarks
Lloyd Childers
USS Enterprise Flight Ops Video 1942
Tex Biard and Jack Fletcher
Write up on BOM Rememberance at AZ State History Museum
Joseph Sanes USS Hamman DD 412
Interview with Joseph Sanes, Hammann Survivor
Clyde H. Stamps of VMSB-241
Announcements and Questions
The Battle of Midway Roundtable Opening Remarks

In this issue we have some more rather sad news that Lloyd Childers and Joseph Sanes both passed away in July.  Lloyd Childers was an active member of the RoundTable for many years and contributed to our understanding of the battle in multiple ways.  Joseph Sanes survived the Hammann sinking and went on to more duties in the Pacific and up until a year or so ago attended various Battle of Midway celebration days.  They both will be missed.  If anyone has anything to say about either please pass it along and I'll put it in the next newsletter.

We also have a variety of topics one of which I find somewhat refreshing.  Chris Carroll found a uniform belonging to Clyde H. Stamps on ebay where the seller says he found it in a flea market.  I suppose the family has a right to do with possesions any way they see fit so I don't really have a problem with that.  But Mr. Carroll stepped up and bought it and wants to preserve it along with a history of the man who wore it.  Kudos Mr. Carroll.

Other topics include an interesting film on early war Flight ops from the Enterprise, a power point presentation on the Battle of Midway from the Arizona Midway day celebration and a follow up on the Fletcher/Biard relationship.

Lloyd Childers

From Ron Russell:

If the news hasn’t reached the Roundtable yet, it’s my very sad duty to report the passing of LtCol Lloyd F. Childers, USMC-Ret, on July 15th, at the age of 94. Lloyd is renowned in the history of the BOM as the sole surviving radioman-gunner among the VT-3 crews that attacked the enemy fleet on the morning of 4 June 1942. Additionally, it is likely that he personally played a pivotal role in the outcome of the battle, although he didn’t know it at the time.

The short version of that is that he appears to have been the only one in VT-3 to spot the Japanese carriers as the squadron proceeded on a tangential course that was going to bypass them altogether. Lloyd notified his pilot, who signaled to the squadron commander, who then turned VT-3 in the enemy’s direction, bringing VB-3 and VF-3/42 along with them. The rest is history, and you can read the full version of it in No Right to Win.

I’ve often said that the outcome of the BOM was like lining up a series of dominoes and tipping over the first one--each falls in turn, knocking down the rest until the one on the end is down. Absent any one of those dominoes and the last one stays standing--or in this case, the Japanese win. Lloyd Childers very possibly was one of those dominoes.

But Lloyd was so much more than a storied BOM veteran. A Navy sailor then, he transferred to the Marine Corps and completed a stellar career that included Korean War service and command of a helo squadron in Vietnam. He subsequently was awarded a doctorate in education and was responsible for a Defense Department program that provided college courses to deployed sailors and Marines who otherwise couldn’t attend school at a campus.

There is a great deal more to add in tribute to this fine man, but I’m already stretching the limits of an email posting, so I’ll leave the rest to others. There surely will be accolades for him here and elsewhere that will rival those awarded to any of his Greatest Generation contemporaries.

Memorial services are tentatively set for September 12th at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Orinda, CA, in the bay area east of San Francisco.

The attached photo of Lloyd and myself is from the BOM anniversary in San Francisco in 2004. I was very proud to have shared his friendship.

From Barrett Tillman:

USS Enterprise Flight Ops Video 1942

From John Greaves:

I recently found this video online that I thought would be of interest - landings and takeoffs filmed aboard CV6 in 1942 at the time of the Battle of Midway. TBDs, SBDs etc. The LSO looks to be the one and only Robin Lindsey.


Editors Note:  Really some amazing footage of carrier operations during 1942.

Tex Biard and Jack Fletcher

From Ron Martell:

To supplement Dr. Stephen Regan's message concerning Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher and Lieutenant Forrest “Tex” Biard, those wishing a more complete analysis of the conflicts between the two can read Layton, And I Was There, pp. 395, 398–400; Regan, In Bitter Tempest, pp. 114–15;, and my book, Showdown in the Pacific War, pp. 253–54.

The crux of the ill-feelings of both Fletcher and Biard at Coral Sea probably arose from a disagreement over the disclosure of Biard’s basis for reporting radio intelligence.

Layton at page 395 wrote:

’I want you to tell me and my staff all about your communications intelligence organization and the code breaking it does,’ Fletcher demanded during a lunch in the wardroom.  Aware that most of the admiral’s staff had not been cleared, Biard flatly refused to explain the details of his work. . . .”

Regan stated that Biard “was eminently qualified in radio intelligence but suffered from . . . arrogance.” Regan also wrote regarding Fletcher's request for disclosure of the basis for his intelligence that “Biard refused, claiming that the admiral’s staff was not cleared for such briefing.”

Biard informed Fletcher of an actual or alleged sighting of a Japanese submarine, which he disregarded, and later advised Fletcher of the Zuikaku’s position. Again from Layton, p. 399: “Biard picked up Zuikaku’s repeated homing signal giving course ‘280 degrees speed 20 knots.’ Fletcher was immediately informed that the enemy carrier force was closing from astern. But he dismissed Biard’s intelligence.”

Editors Note:  I remember reading this passage in Layon's book and thinking how did Biard 'pick up' Zuikaku's homing signal.  Did he have special equipment on board Yorktown that only he was operating?  More likely he was informed  by communications from intelligence sources that only he could read informing him of the possible location, course, and speed of Zuikaku. 

Write up on BOM Rememberance at AZ State History Museum

From Ted Kraver:

I have attached a report and Powerpoint on the BOM that Herb Zinn gave me permission to distribute to the BOM roundtable folks.

June 5 2015 Note to Battle of Midway Roundtable

The Arizona History Museum at the state capital hosted their 2015 two hour Battle of Midway remembrance program on June 5th. The honor guard was Phoenix Division of the US Naval Sea Cadets Corps. USMC veteran and Arizona’s official State Historian Marshal Trimble was master of ceremonies He linked the payback at BOM for the sinking of the BB Arizona at Pearl Harbor with its loss of 1177 crewmen. Marshall was corrected by the Sea Cadet commander when he recognized the “Sea Scouts.” I told him later that I was in Sea Scouts and my scout master was the only reason I went to engineering school in Cambridge, MA.

A tribute was made to one of the first BOM casualties. Ensign John C. Butler dove his Dauntless onto the Hiryu when he was shot down. Ensign Butler was from Buckeye Arizona and there is a major display on his life and times in the museum. The feature display is on Pearl Harbor with a huge USS Arizona model and host of memorabilia.

Historian Herb Zinn gave the best PowerPoint presentation (56 slides) on the BOM that I have ever seen. He covered all the unique aspects with a treasure trove of paintings, including all of R.G. Smith’s. New to me was not the cover-up and false/lost report by Hornet CO Marc Mitscher of the flight to nowhere by Commander Stanhope Ring. Herb elaborated on but the critical effects of the cover-up. Mr. Zinn stressed that the victory of BOM was a great moral boost to the American public and was not to be tarnished by a scandal. Herb also said that another effect was that the PBY searches were not sent along the 265 degree flight path of the 34 VS-8 and VB-8 Dauntless’ and causing the ditched pilots 10 VF-8 Wildcats’ to perish (does not jibe with just two VF-8 pilots lost.) Mr. Zinn was well aware of the our BOM Roundtable and that we had addressed both Clay Fisher seeing the angle of the smoke cloud from Midway Island and how he stuck to the 235-240 degree bearing. I hope I can secure a copy of his PP presentation for our BOM Roundtable members.

Guest Speaker Rear Admiral Hugh Dennis (Denny) Wise expressed concern that the CVN 73 USS George Washington, built with a 50 year life, was being mothballed after twenty years because it was “too costly to refuel!” But with the CVN 78 Gerald R. Ford coming into service in late 2017, the Navy will be back to the Congressional mandate of 11 fleet carriers or should I say now “supercarriers.” The CVN 78 is the first in the new class that is replacing the Nimitz class. Electromagnetics replaces steam for launching aircraft plus all types of 21st century goodies.

When then Captain Wise was commanding the CV 67 USS John F. Kennedy during the cold war, they were being tracked by a Russian ship in the Aegina Sea. After dumping a load of sinkable bags of trash off the aft deck, the Russian ship scooped them up and took off. He ordered his bugler find the John Wayne VHS movie, and copy a tape of its bugle sounding the “charge!” He turned the CV 67 around and went to flank speed at the Russian ship. Opening Channel 16 (all ships channel) he played the bugle charge as he broadcast, “Don’t Touch My Garbage Again!” Admiral Wise ended with comments on the current “cold war” in the South China Sea and Arabian Gulf.

The final presentation was by good buddy Jack Holder. From Texas cotton fields, Jack founded himself as PBY plane captain on Ford Island. As the Japanese attackers destroyed the PBYs, Jack and his buddies jumped into a sewer ditch. A zero spotted them but the berm stopped the bullets. Based at Midway his VP-23 squadron spotted the invasion force on May 31st. On early June 4th his aircraft spotted 2 carriers. That afternoon they spotted and bombed a Japanese submarine, resulting with debris on the surface. The squadron lost contact so they landed on the ocean and Jack spent the night on the PBY wing lashed to an antenna. He had no idea of who won at the BOM. The next morning they refueled at French Shoals and continued on to Pearl Harbor.

In July 1942, Jack’s next posting was to New Caledonia and then Espirito Santo to support the Guadalcanal campaign. His PBY was flying in support of the P-38’s that shot down Admiral Yamamoto’s and Jack watched the enemy plane hit. In spring 1943 Mr. Holder found himself in England as plane captain and top turret gunner on a PB4Y (B-24). While patrolling the English Channel and Bay of Bisque, Aviation Machinists Mate First Class Jack Holder shot down an ME-109 and bombed a German submarine into the deep. After the war his life continued in civil aviation with an equal number of Forrest Gump type episodes. But his talk ended with WWII. If you want to learn the “rest of the story” get his book “Adrenaline, Excitement and Fear” I did see Jack one more time that day. I was watching the Jon Stewart show, and in a video clip of Rand Paul’s announcement for president speech. There was Jack Holder two places to the left. Once a Texan, always a Texan.

Power Point Presentation

Joseph Sanes USS Hamman DD 412

From Jay Sanes:

Hi, I would just like to inform you of the passing of my father,Joseph Sanes,on July 8 2015. I had joined the round table and always sent my father stories of interest as he did not own a computer. My father joined the Navy in November of 1941 for 6 years. He never graduated from Great Lakes boot camp as he was shipped out after Pearl Harbor. At the age of 90 he was asked to speak at Great Lakes boot camp. He was given an Honorary degree. My father spoke at Washington DC, at Loyola University, and at grade schools over the years regarding Midway and the war in the Pacific. My family regularly attends the ceremony on the USS Midway each year to honor the veterans of this battle. My family will miss his presence.

Jay Sanes

Editors Note:  I had recieved an interview earlier this month which I'll add in a couple days from Marty Bunch who interviewed Mr. Sanes a few years back.  Jay Sanes and I traded a  few emails about the interview and he added a couple comments but said to run it as is.  I need to format it a little for the web first and will include the messages.  The link below is an interesting article about his 'graduation' from boot camp at 91.

91-Year-Old Sailor Graduates Boot Camp

Interview with Joseph Sanes, Hammann Survivor

From Marty Bunch:

I had the pleasure to talk to Joseph Sanes who was on the Hammann when she went down. There is so much to say but I'll make it short.

Joe enlisted in the Navy on November 14, 1941. He had no experience and had never been on a ship. Joe went to bootcamp at Great Lakes, then after the attack on Pearl Harbor Joe went to Norfolk, VA to wait for an assignment. Joe was a young 20 year old Apprentice Seaman and he with 200 other guys still in bootcamp were told to board the Troop Ship USS McCaully. Then 1 hour later 4 Simms Class Destroyers pulled into port. The USS Morris, Mustin, Anderson, and Hammann were all returning from duty in the North Atlantic. The 200 Navy Seaman all lined up in alphabetical order and were assigned one of the 4 ships in groups of 50. So each ship got 50 fresh crew members. This happened on December 17. Joe got underway for the first time on a navy ship later that day. The Hammann went to Cooper River Shipyard via Cape Hatteras. On his first night he got stuck with night watch in a gun tub. The seas were rough and Joe remembers puking his guts out wondering why he joined the Navy. He spent his first night soaked in salt water and vomit and had to go to sleep that way. Then the seas smoothed out the next day. The Hammann spent some time in Cooper River getting the 50 cal guns removed and replaced with the newer 20mm guns and got painted in the newer Measure 12 paint scheme. The crew were given WWI vintage metal helmets and many of the crew were making comments on how un-prepared the US was for war. Ten days later they left for the Panama Canal and escorted the USS New Mexico and a few other ships to the Pacific. After escort duties the Hammon went to San Diego and the crew was granted a short leave. Joe was very impressed with San Diego and the great weather, then off to the South Pacific he went.

Joe talked about the Battle of the Coral Sea and how he watched the Lexington blow up. He said there were bodies and planes flying into the air and the Hammann's whale boat went and rescued many survivors in the water. Joe then talked about how the Hammann was supposed to escort the Neosho but at the last minute the Simms got the duty. The Simms was sunk with a heavy loss of life and later the Neosho sank from friendly fire to prevent it from getting into the Japanese hands. Joe then told me about a risky night run to save 2 Fighter Pilots that ran out of gas and ended up on Tulagi Island where there was a heavy Japanese element. The Hammann sent their Whale boat to try to go ashore and pick up the 2 pilots but the waves were too heavy. So the crew rigged up a line to have the pilots get pulled out to the boat but the line got wrapped around the small propellor on the boat. After a few minutes unwrapping the line the pilots finally got aboard. Then one of the pilots forgot to burn his plane so had to swim back and burn it and return to the boat. The pilots were then taken back to the Hammann.

Now the big one, the Battle of Midway and Joe's story. Joe was at his station as a 20mm cartridge reloader and saw all of the attacks on the Yorktown and described the day. The first Japanese attack came in the morning and bombed the Yorktown. Then in the afternoon a second Japanese attack came in and Yorktown's Fighters took off and flying into known friendly fire took on the Japanese planes. Joe said they opened up on the attacking planes and got a few. After the second attack a lone Wildcat flew at 50 feet above the water and over the bridge of the Hammann and was pointing towards a downed flyer a few miles away so the Hammann went and got the pilot. Then he told me about the day the Hammann sank. Joe was on the starboard side on the bridge as the Hammann was assisting the Yorktown and he saw 4 Torpedoes coming at them and he said to himself "here comes a shitty end". He laid on the deck thinking it would be a better way to take the hit and the explosion lifted him up off the deck and slammed him down. Stunned but unhurt he proceeded to walk into the water, no life jacket, and with his shoes on, just walked from the deck to the water because she was sinking so quick. He was a good swimmer so swam for a whale boat that had been going back and forth between the ships about 200 yards away. He had just boarded the whale boat when the explosions happened and many men died in the water due to internal injuries. Joe said no one still really knows if it was the Torpedo seen spinning in the tube that went off or a depth charge. The depth charges had supposedly been set to safe mode. Joe boarded the USS Benham and went back to Pearl Harbor for 30 days leave.  On the way back to Pearl Harbor Joe told me of a Sailor sitting next to him on the Benham with his heads in his hands for hours and not talking and then the next day he was missing, apparently he jumped off the ship and killed himself.

Joe went to the USS Gansevoort for over a year then the USS Kitckun Bay Escort Carrier which he called "Kaiser Coffins" due to the lack of compartmentalized damage control. I asked Joe what was the thing that really stuck out in his mind regarding Midway and he said "The Pilots". He said how the Pilots really were inexperienced and flew knowing they didn't have enough fuel to return from some of the missions and just couldn't say enough good things about them. He never told his Father or Mother of the ship sinking and didn't really talk about it until his Grandson kept asking questions. 

We talked about other stuff and his life after. Joe lives in the Chicago area, just turned 89 and is sharp as a tack! I only hope I can be so fortunate to be in such good shape at his age. It was an honor to talk to him and we discussed my 1/96 scale Hammann I'm building and he wants pictures when its done. He mentioned a few books and one called Screened Her Going Down about the several ships looking for the sub after the attack and how no one got the to the I-168 that fired at the Hammann and Yorktown. I think the book is by Norman Shaw but I'll do some more research on that later. What a great day talking to a great man!

Marty Bunch

Editors Note: The book mentioned is indeed Screened Her Going Down by Norman Shaw.  It was published in 1984 and is a quite good read.  I think it mostly concentrates on the history of the Hammann if I recall.  The following is the email exchange between Mr. Sanes and myself.

Mr. Sanes,
Sorry for your loss and all of ours as well.  I'll put a note in the next newsletter.  I received an article a couple weeks ago from Marty Bunch where he interviews your father.  Appears to be from several years ago. 

From Jay Sanes:

Good morning, Please send me the notes from Marty. I will look them over and see if I can add to them. I was blessed to have my father for so long as he often said he thought he would  be dead at 20 when his ship was sunk and he he had 73 borrowed years.

Editors Response:
Your father must have been a lot like my father who served on a Destroyer in the Pacific. He said he didn't expect to come back and when he did the rest of his life was a bonus.  Also interesting thing about him laying down on the deck when the torpedo was going to hit the ship.  My father said when they were hunting submarines everyone walked around on their tip toes because if you walked flat footed the vibration from the torpedo hit would break your ankles meaning you'd most likely drown abandoning ship as you couldn't swim any longer.  I think by 1944 when my father first went into the Navy it was pretty well known what happened when a Japanese torpedo hit a ship so they told all the men to not walk flat footed but maybe early in the war it was not so well known.  Your father seemed to know that standing was probably not a good option.
From Jay Sanes:

I believe this is from a man who made a large model of the USS Hammann from navy records. He invited my father to view this and talk about experiences. My father took me to this mans home to show me this model . This model was also brought to Great Lakes Naval Base where my father spoke. I forgot to mention, if you just google Joseph Sanes you will come up with quite a few articles about him.

Clyde H. Stamps of VMSB-241

From Chris Carroll:

Can you help? I seek any and all info on Clyde H Stamps, any stories regarding his actions at Midway June 4 and 5. I've heard stories he shot down a plane when returning, I’ve heard his gunner Thomas did? I’ve heard he was wounded? All history you can help me with on Stamps is greatly appreciated.

Chris Carroll

Editors Note: I have some info on him but will take a bit of time to find. May I ask how you came upon him and how you wish to use the info. Some of it is copyright in books so permission would have to be granted from the author for use.  I also might have some info from books that are more public records of combat summaries. I can put a note in the next newsletter. Let me know how I can best help.

From Chris Carroll:

His uniform from 1959 I have no plans to publish, it’s for personal use, I’m a collector. I recently found his Lt. Col. dress uniform, and I LOVE history. All help is greatly appreciated.

Editors Note: Looks like an evening jacket for Non-Commissioned Officers. I don't think I have much on him other than at Midway but I'll look. See what I can find. Where did you come across it?

From Chris Carroll:

I actually found it on eBay. Dealer got it from a flea market in California. Stamps died in CA in 1997 guess his family got rid of his stuff. Stamps deserved better honor than flea market or eBay. Would love to hear about his actions at Midway. I read his after action report, but as noted earlier I read on a forum that he shot down a zero on way back midway after attack of June 4.

I read this excerpt on internet???

Initially it looked like Henderson’s SBDs would get away clean but as they broke away from their attack runs on the Hiryu, six of the Hiryu’s fighters returning from the Midway strike went after them, their pilots enraged over what had just happened to their ship. As the Zeroes caught up to the dive bombers retiring at low level they sent two into the water but they learned what many Japanese Zero pilots learned throughout the war. Dauntless dive bombers relieved of their bomb loads and a significant portion of their fuel were actually pretty spry and when flying in formation they packed a deadly sting from behind. The Marine tail gunners got one Zero and damaged another as they made their passes, and one Zero that overshot the formation got caught in the sights of TSgt Clyde Stamp, the only enlisted pilot in VMSB-241. Stamp let fly with his nose mounted .50 caliber machine guns and several bullets found the Zero’s unprotected gas tank with fairly spectacular results. Eventually the Zeroes broke off and Henderson returned with 14 dive bombers to Midway and a hero’s welcome.

Also his tombstone notes he received purple heart? Wasn’t wounded at Midway from sources I’ve read?

Here are pictures of the jacket.

Editors Note: Here is part of the action report Clyde Stamps filed.

Also on Midway Island was Marine Scout Bombing Squadron 241. Technical Sergeant Clyde H. Stamps Marine NAP No. 6-41, was the only Marine enlisted pilot in action at the Battle of Midway. He participated in the early morning strike of 4 June as one of the 16-plane group of SBD-2s led by Major Loften R. Henderson. Here is an excerpt from Sergeant Stamps 4 June official action report;

"On the morning of the 4th of June, 1942 the air raid sirens sounded and our squadron took off rendezvousing at Point Affirm. We received orders to attack an enemy carrier bearing 320, distance 180 miles. About 10 miles prior to arrival at objective we were attacked by about 15 to 20 fighters, consisting of two types. One type had fully retractable landing gear, the other type had narrow fixed landing gear. The first method of the fighter attack was an attempted strafing of our formation from almost dead ahead at 500 feet above us. They then came in from the sides and rear. We made our attack on the carrier through a cloud from about 6,500 feet. Upon entering my dive, I noticed two fires, one amidships on the port side and the other on the stern. There was a fighter on my tail while I was in the dive, but my gunner set him afire and the fighter fell into the sea. Immediately after the pullout, I was attacked by another fighter who was very persistent in shooting at my tail. He stayed with me for about five miles making passes. He shot my left aileron off and made a large hole in the right horizontal stabilizer which necessitated full right aileron tab and full right stick to fly level."

Stamps landed safely. On the next day, Stamps was one of six SB2U'3s led by Captain Richard E. Fleming. Fleming was the only recipient of a Medal of Honor at Midway.

Announcements and Questions

From Jeffrey McMeans:

Under the heading; Life Imitating Art, Nancy Canavan Heslop had this to say in this issue: " ...(My father and Claude Larkin each flew an R4D-1 up to Midway as the battle was ending to bring in much needed water and more ammo.The desalinization plant was damaged in the battle and Midway needed water badly.")

If that is true, was that the same water plant that Jasper Holmes used in the famous unencrypted emergency warning that led to the Japanese radio transmission stating that AF was having problems s desalination plant and were almost out of water? I don't think I had ever heard that before. I think that is delicious irony.

Jeffrey McMeans

Editors Note:  The one and the same. The link is here: Thinking of those who were at Midway...  The only water plant on Midway was damaged by the Japanese attack on Midway the morning of the 4th. So they really were short on water after that. The R4D-1's that both pilots flew up to Midway on the 7th delivered among other things water. One of the more interesting results of this supply mission was the return trip back to Pearl on the 8th taking with them crewman from the B-26's that had survived the battle. They delivered the first actual eye witness accounts the press had of the battle and the crewman from the B-26's were first to report that the Army bombers had won the battle as they of course had participated in the battle claiming hits and also because they had talked to the B-17 crews who also claimed hits on the Japanese carriers. The first B-17 crewman returned to Pearl on the 12th and added more fuel to the fire with exaggerated stories of their own. The press of course gobbled up the story as it was the first good news since the war started.