Roundtable Forum
Our 19th Year

In this issue.

Roundtable Opening Remarks
Fred Bergeron
Shattered Sword
2016 Yorktown CV-5 Reunion
Lucky Bag
Royal Navy Report on Battle of Midway
Soryu and Hiryu

The Battle of Midway Roundtable Opening Remarks

The new year starts out with more information from Bill Vickery on Fred Bergeron and others associated with him.  We have the Yorktown reunion announcement and some other questions.  I also included a review of a book on the Soryu and Hiryu that was recently published.  It is a detailed and interesting read.

I also have been exchanging emails with a gentleman interested in finding a detailed map of the tracks of the American squadrons launched from the US Carriers during the morning of the 4th.   I know there are many maps out there that outline the tracks but was wondering if anyone has any they think are more accurate than others.  Likely there are several that outline one squadron better than others like in the book The Last Flight of Lt. Kelly.  Perhaps it will take a few to put one map together.  Suggestions welcome.


Fred Bergeron

From Bill Vickery:

Several years ago, I had a good deal of correspondence with John Landry regarding Fred Bergeron and his brother, Dallas. Both were in VB-3 at Midway. Dallas died of a heart attack at age 42. Fred – at that time – declined to talk to me and probably preferred not to talk with any historians.

Fred flew with Ensign Robert H. Benson at Midway. I never had any contact with Benson but know that he retired as a Commander (USNR).

Both Bergerons got DFC’s for Midway. The “unofficial” ground rule was that if a pilot got a decoration his rear seat man got the next lower decoration

Dallas flew with Ensign Milford (Bud) Merrill who retired as a Commander. Over the years, Bud and I became good friends. He and his wife spent a few days in our home and we visited with them in Chicago – at the dedication of an SBD which had been pulled out of Lake Michigan – and saw Bud at a couple of Midway reunions. His wife was a Professor at Xavier University. Bud was in a nursing home in Ohio a couple of years ago and – until last year – I exchanged Christmas cards with them but have lost track of her and think that Bud has passed away.

In addition to Bud, I also knew Bob Elder and Charles Lane who were pilots in VB-3. Lane grew up in a North Carolina town about thirty miles from us...however...that town has merged with another and I had trouble tracing him but finally did so. I had long been in touch with Captain Syd Bottomley – played golf with him. He and Lane were very close but had lost touch over the years and I was able to put them together. I have been able to reunite several shipmates and this has been a real joy to me.

I have been to several YORKTOWN reunions but the pilots and rear seat men of Bombing Three did not attend as they were only on YORKTOWN for a few days and their roots were on SARATOGA.

It is strange that Bombing Three only lost two pilots at at Midway. Without checking, I think they were both lost in the afternoon flight of 04 June – which flew off ENTERPRISE. I am sure Wiseman was lost then and I think Butler was also.



From John K. Landry:

I'm Fred Bergeron's cousin you mentioned in the last BOM newsletter. Fred is still with us, but he is not in good health. I'll let you know when there is anything else to report.

John K. Landry

Shattered Sword

From John Hentsch:

I've been fascinated by the history of War World II since I was a young man. Thank God for all those brave young men willing to risk their life to go do what had to be done during WW2.

I viewed Jonathan Parshall presentation of the "Shattered Sword: "The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway" today. I wonder if the veterans of BOM would generally agree with Parshall's assessment of the actual sequence of events of the battle and what Parshall refutes of commonly held historical believe from his research and analysis from the first hand historical records...

Thank you!

Editiors Note:

It is difficult to tell exactly how many veterans had a wide enough knowledge of events that day to know for certain if they agree or disagree with his assessment of the sequence of events. Mr. Parshall had a long time to research every aspect of the battle from many different viewpoints as well as historical records. He also wrote the book analyzing the Japanese actions at Midway more so than the Americans although it was necessary to compare both sides actions to fully understand when or where the Japanese made mistakes that the Americans capitalized on or if the American carrier groups following doctrine executed their training that day and won the battle as a result. So I can't really speak for them.

However I would say that most now understand that when the first historical records were written the authors simply didn't have the exhaustive research that is now available. Many authors before Lord did not have enough first hand accounts to piece together which dive bomber squadrons attacked which Japanese carrier. And even he had his analysis of the attacks as a conjecture on his part from interviews. And even then it was not accepted by many men that participated in the attacks. One of the more interesting conflicts were from the men themselves in that even Dick Best who dove on Akagi thought the Island was on the right side of the carrier he dove on. It wasn't until years later when a large scale model of the Akagi was on display where he was attending a reunion or some other event (sorry memory is not good and I don't have my research with me at the moment) and he got up on a ladder and looked down at the flight deck that he realized that the Island he thought he saw was in fact the large funnels that Akagi had on the starboard side of the ship.

So I probably can't really answer your question. But from the many discussions on the RoundTable about events that day it is clear the aim was always to insure that history of the battle was about getting it right.

2016 Yorktown CV-5 Reunion

From Warren Heller:

Continued congratulations on the excellent job your are doing with the Midway Roundtable. Two items of interest are attached. One is an updated announcement of the CV-5 annual reunion to be held aboard the CV-10 near Charleston, SC. The other, for your possible personal enjoyment, is a music clip that you may not have heard.

Veterans, their families and friends will gather, this year, between April 27 and May 1 at Patriots Point in Charleston Bay, SC to honor the sacrifices, memories and spirit of the heroes who served aboard the “Fighting Lady”. Events will include a field trip to Fort Sumter, a banquet, a memorial breakfast with an American Legion rifle volley team and a special Thursday symposium/gala aboard the Yorktown CV-10 to publicly honor all living CV-5 veterans. Discounted room rates at the Patriots Point Quality Inn are available to attendees. Registration deadline is March 25. Further details, a schedule and registration form are available by contacting the CV-5 2016 Reunion Chairman at

Editors Note:

Thanks very much. No I had not heard the song before. It's really good. Would like to post it on the web site but due to copyright may not be able to do so. Do you know who owns the rights?

From Warren Heller:

Glad you liked it. There is no copyright on the lyrics; however, I do not know the status of the tune ("Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald").

Editors Note:

Yes I'm sure the "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" is copyright by Gordon Lightfoot and I'm not comfortable enough in music copyrights to know how it all works when the tune is performed by other artists even if its not for profit. I'll take the safe stance of not posting it. But thanks for sending it to me.   As a side note I'm working on seeing if I can post the song without getting into trouble or having to pay royalties.

From Warren Heller:

Being careful seems to be the wisest course. You just never know. On the other hand, we typically pass out CDs to anyone who attends the CV-5 reunions and is interested.

Lucky Bag

From Kate Doolan:

During my travels, I found a copy of the USNA Class of 1935's year book "Lucky Bag".

What makes it unique is that it is signed by the members of the Second Battalion. Included among the signatures are Milton Ricketts(MOH Receipent), Noel Gayler, Joe Penland, Manning Kimmel, Dave McClintock being amongst the more prominent ones.

I am in the process of purging my collection as it is getting out of hand. If any members of the Roundtable are interesting in buying it, they can contact me. The only drawback will be the postage as it is a large book in size and weight.


Editors Note:  For anyone interested send an email to and I'll pass your information on.

Royal Navy Report on Battle of Midway

From Corbin Williamson:

I'm researching Royal Navy observers with the Pacific Fleet during WW2. A Commander Michael B. Laing, RN, was on board USS Yorktown during the Battle of Midway and later in 1942 wrote a rather critical report on the U.S. Navy's performance during the battle. Has anyone ever seen a copy of this report?

Corbin Williamson

Editors Note:  I have never seen the report but knew it existed.  If anyone has informaton on where the report is located or whether it is accessible please let me know and I'll pass on the information to Mr. Williamson.

Soryu and Hiryu

Soryu and Hiryu.

Picked this book up in January more out of curiosity than anything but was pleasantly surprised by the detail. The book suffers a little from being translated but nothing that detracts from the content. The book examines the construction, armament, history, and other interesting details about the two 'sister' ships. It includes a lot of pictures I had not seen before. It also includes a much clearer picture of the Hiryu launching aircraft during the Battle of Midway. The photo may have been enhanced or maybe the others were not reproduced very well. The book also is illustrated with details on such things as AA mounts and the aircraft arrangement in hanger decks.

A number of facts about the ships I had not known before included that they had two levels of hanger decks, one above the other and each hanger deck partitioned with a fire wall. Munitions lifts were only included in the aft hangers and the forward bottom hanger. The forward top hanger which normally housed the Fighters only had a small lift from the hanger deck below more than likely because the fighters were never equipped with bombs.

Another interesting fact was why the Japanese ships carried spares. Apparently the Japanese philosophy was that damaged aircraft could be more readily repaired at a shore facility which had considerable more resources than onboard ship. So if an aircraft was significantly damaged it was set aside and a spare rotated in its place rather than perform on board repairs. Minor repairs were still performed on board.

I recommend the book to anyone interested in some details on the two ships. The book is an oversized thin book but contains a lot of data on the two ships. Well worth the investment in time to read.

There is a previous publication on the Kaga that reviews say is even better than this one but I can only find it on overseas book dealers.  Amazon has it listed but no date for replenishment.