Roundtable Forum
Our 19th Year
May 2016

In this issue.

Dusty Kleiss after Midway
Dusty Kleiss Emails
Aircraft carried on Galley Deck
Drawing on VT-8 Torpedoes
3rd Sole Survivor Harry Ferrier passes
Captain Richard E. Fleming, USMC
Officer vs Enlisted Pilots
Announcements and Questions
The Battle of Midway Roundtable Opening Remarks

I wanted to get this issue out a little ahead of my regular schedule because of an important event happening on June 3rd in South Dakota.  A tribute to John Waldron is going to be unveiled at the Fort Piere Airport that day.  John Mollison who did the artwork for the commemorative has invited any BOM RoundTable member to attend the ceremony.  For further info go to the Announcements and Questions section.

We have more memories of Dusty Kleiss by members who were fortunate enough to have known him in one way or another.  We also have more unfortunate news that Harry Ferrier (the 3rd sole survivor as he liked to put it) passed away in April.

May 30th is Memorial day, originally called Decoration Day, where we remember all those who have died in the service of the United States.  It was first observed in 1868 by General John Logan's General Order #11, "The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.”  He chose the date because it was not the anniversary of any specific battle.

Memorial Day is now observed in nearly every state I believe and was passed as a national Holiday in 1971 to be the last Monday in May.

The wearing of Red Poppies on Memorial Day was an idea by Moina Michael when inspired by the poem 'In Flanders Fields' in 1915.  She wore and sold poppies to friends and co-workers donating the money to servicemen in need.  Later Madam Guerin from France learned of the custom in the US and when she returned to France made artificial poppies to raise money for her own country's servicemen.  The tradition spread to other countries as well.

In 1922 the VFW started to sell poppies made by disabled veterans and in 1948 the US postal service issued a 3 cent stamp honoring Monian Michael with her likeness.

To observe Memorial day we do the normal things, like visiting cemeteries to place flowers or flags on our own fallen, fly flags at half mast till at least noon that day, and many other traditions not so tied to the actual reason for the day.  One fairly new tradition that I'd like all members of the BOM RoundTable to consider that is not so well known is the 'National Moment of Remembrance' created in 2000 by Bill Clinton, where at 3pm local time we pause to reflect on our veterans and what the day is truely about.  It is also a time to play Taps should any of us have the wherewithall to do so.  I do thanks in large part to my father, a great musician in his own right, who taught me to play music when I was very young claiming 'no musician ever starves'.

Dusty Kleiss after Midway

From Bill Vickrey:

Over the years, I came to know Dusty quite well. For some reason, he came to me several times for backup information of speeches he was to make. Before going to the Naval Academy he was in the 114th Cavalry – Kansas National Guard. After the Naval Academy (Class of 1938) – and before flight school – he served aboard VINCENNES, GOFF and YARNELL. He got his wings on 18 February 1941 and was Naval Aviator #7165. His first assignment – following flight school – was VS-6 aboard ENTERPRISE.

Here’s a summary of his post Midway career:
--1942-1944 – dive bombing instructor at NAS Norfolk and NAS Cecil Field;
--1944-1946 – post graduate school USNA and Cal Tech (MS in structural damage);
--1946-1949 – Aircraft design Bureau of Aeronautics;
--1949-1952 – Bureau of Aeronautics – Engineering and Contracts;
--1952-1955 – COM AIR LANTIC STAFF;
--1955-1958 – Director of Structural Laboratory;
--1958-1961 – BUAIR – Design of catapults and arresting gear;
--1961-1962 – Office of Naval Material;
-- 01 April 1962 – Retired.

It is noteworthy that he had no flight billets after 1944. I never discussed this with him. He got the Navy Cross (for Midway), the DFC, Air Medals(plural) and the Presidential Unit Citation. It is worthy of note that the Naval Academy records – for the Class of 1938 – does not show the Air Medals nor the PUC for Dusty.

The PUC was awarded to U. S. S. ENTERPRISE (CV-6) on 27 May 1943 however it was to cover action from February 1, 1942 (Gilbert and Marshall Island raids) through November 14-15 (Battle of Solomon Islands). The citation lists all the actions in which ENTERPRISE was involved including The Battle of Midway. Thus, Dusty Kleiss was a member of THE BIG E during a part of the time for which the award was made....and thus a recipient of the PUC.


From Barrett Tillman:

Additionally the IIRC the PUC omitted the Doolittle raid, for Security reasons.

Dusty Kleiss Email exchange

From Dennis Rodenburg:

These are e-mails sent to me by Dusty Kleiss a few years back. My Dad flew wing on him at Midway. Dusty mentioned a few things about what he did in the Navy after Midway.

Date: Tuesday, April 18, 2006
To: Dusty Kleiss
Subject: Eldor Rodenburg

Hi Dusty,

BOMRT let me have your e-mail address. I recently joined and am enjoying the newsletters. I've been captivated by Midway and the Pacific war since reading Walter Lord's book in 1969.

I know you remember my father, Eldor "Rodey" Rodenburg, one of your wingmen at Midway. I spent 5 years writing his war memoirs and he made sure I mentioned you. He really enjoyed meeting up with you in Kansas in 1994. He had a stroke 3 years later and died in June, 2001.

I was born 2 years after Midway. He first told me about the high blower problem when I was about 6 years old. The question has lingered ever since, would he have survived if he hadn't had to abort the first strike? I know a definite answer is impossible but I was hoping you could give a first hand opinion. Did you and Dexter have any close calls? Was Dexter able to join up on you after the pullout and were you able to join up on Gallaher for the trip back? Roberts was lost but since he told Dad he wanted to dive right down a Jap carrier's stack I assume he pulled up a little late.

I guess the night carrier landing the next day was quite exciting. Dad had yet to fly an SBD at night up until then.

I have Dad's log book. You guys sure had some incredible experiences. Did you have another tour after Midway? Did you fly the beast? It sure would be interesting to hear from you.

The main reason I went to college was to try for naval aviator. I got hit in the eye with a baseball when on my high school team so wasn't able to pass the vision exam. I had to settle on being an engineer.

Hope all is well, Dennis

Subject: Eldor Rodenburg

I can assure you that if the High Blower had not failed that morning, "Rodey" would have (1) made it back to the ENTERPRISE or (2) He would have flown so close to it before running out of fuel that a PBY or destroyer would have picked him up.

Like myself, he would have been near the head of the pack, requiring less fuel, and have a good target before it was engulfed in heavy smoke and flames. I would have liked to have had him follow me back to the Big E. Like most others, I landed with ten gallons of gas. I encountered a couple of Zeroes and lots of AA fire. I never caught up with other SBD's because that would have required more fuel.

According to the Japanese, four sets of bombs made the KAGA an inferno. After that she was a heap of flames. Because McCluskey's instructions were confusing, most pilots aimed at the KAGA and only a few at the AKAGI. Many (or most?) of the planes back in the pack had to chose surface ships as their targets because the black smoke obscured the KAGA after those first few hits.

Yes, "Rodey" would certainly have survived, especially if he was able to make his first night landing on that miserable evening. Clouds galore, a low ceiling, a very dark night.

The new SBD's had replaced the 12 volt system with 24 volts, and the cockpit lights were too bright or were totally off. The new armor plate gave more control problems. The electrical arming switch would drop the bombs as well as arm them. It was because of those aircraft problems that I asked to become an Aeronautical Engineer, and Admiral Nimitz recommended it. I obtained my degrees from Cal Tech.

I suppose you meant the "beast" being the SB2C. I was head of Structures Division in the Bureau of Aeronautics when those planes were delivered, and we refused to OK a Tech Order for its operation because we knew the tail was guaranteed to fail. The tail strength had to be doubled.

I never flew any more combat after Midway. I trained lots of dive bomber pilots, was Aircraft Maintenance Officer of the Atlantic Fleet, and had some experience in selecting the Steam catapult and conversing with Colvin Mitchell, its designer. I also approved the first contract for the aircraft landing system that replaced the LSO waving flags at the stern.

According to official records, J. Q. Roberts and R. Swindell were shot down by AA fire during their dive on the KAGA.

Fair seas and a following wind to the son of a great aviator,
Dusty Kleiss

Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2006
Subject: Aeronautical stuff.

Aircraft manufacturers, like most other corporations, are money driven. I mentioned about how the bankers at Curtiss refused to allow needed SB2C tail changes. They also had problems with blue collar employees, as well as engineers. They would "lay them off" just before their retirement age, and avoid paying pensions. Of course that caused employees to strike or do other "get even" things. One aviator discussed the differences between the early Ham Standard electric propellers and those Curtiss electric plops.

I had a little something to do with the Palmdale Airport. I represented the Federal government before the Los Angeles Planning Commission. The developers wanted to get approval to build homes near the airport to allow workers to have quick access to their jobs. Fortunately there were enough of us to throw out that concept because noise and safety aspects were major reasons for abandoning some L.A. airports and limiting many operations at others. We finally made several rings around the airport, which only permitted homes at the outer circle, away from noise and danger.

I retired as a Navy Captain with 30 years military service. I was in a couple of selection boards where we had to choose advancement for Regular or Reserve officers. Usually the Reserve officers got the short end of the stick. We promised them anything when we needed them, and then pruned them out in normal times.

I guess my three main accomplishments as a Commander and Captain was preventing stupid things from being put on aircraft carriers. I started the Fresnel landing system which replaced the LSO's, and worked towards (selecting) the steam catapults with Colvin Mitchell on the new ENTERPRISE. I was head of the Catapults and Arresting Gear Division of the Bureau of Aeronautics.

Wow! Did I get some flack for the latter? We took money from the Naval Aircraft Factory in Philadelphia. The Machinists Union leaders, whose members lost some jobs, wrote nasty letters about me. The NAF hydraulic catapults were no good, and their proposed "controlled explosive" catapult was full of problems and short of any successes.

Dusty Kleiss

Aircraft carried on Galley Deck

From Brian D Gray:

I'd like to ask if either the Yorktown or Essex class carriers ever carried/stored aircraft on the gallery deck? I have attached a picture of x-section of an Essex class carriers which seemingly shows aircraft carried on the gallery deck however IMHO the picture just doesn't look right .....

Thank You

Brian D Gray

Editors Note:  I do not know for sure.  I'll try and find something on this.  Maybe someone on the RoundTable knows at least for the Yorktown Class carriers.

Drawing on VT-8 Torpedoes

From Mark Horan:

In response to Dan Hamilton's question on the faces drawn on VT-8 Torpedoes from last issue.  See original post here:  April 2016 issue article.

Dan wrote: ... Years later I have another trivial question if anyone is willing to help me on it. I have built in 1/72 scale a collection of representative U.S. carrier planes for WW II with my final subject being George Gay and George Field’s TBD “T-14” (Gay of course being the only attacking Sq. 8 member to survive the heroic attack). My silly question is this: it appears from John Ford’s film tribute to Sq. 8 (see ) that most of the devastator crews had their picture on the day of battle taken in front of the same aircraft – not necessarily the ones in which they courageously flew off into history and eternity (the photographers must have gotten tired of setting up their cameras or maybe they were rushed – though the crews look remarkably calm considering that their Commander Waldron allegedly and correctly believed they were on a suicide mission and would not return).

I should preface this by stating I have the original 35mm color movie film as mailed to the Waldron family, and had it restored. I made tape copies from that original for all the VT-8 families I made contact with, including non-aviators. Most copies of the movie people see are third or forth hand copies of those tapes (or the one made as part of my Midway Symposioum talk) and not at all as crystal clear as the original film or my master tape copy.

The individual aircrew pictures were taken during the cruise in the Coral Sea by Task Force 16 on either 14, or 15 May 1942. The Fleet order to remove the red centers from the white on blue stars on the wings and fuselage was to go into effect on 15 May. Thus they all had to be painted out prior to, or on the 15th. The film clearly shows that the red center still exists on lower wing stars of the the TBDs moving on deck with single .30 caliber rear mounts. With the wings folded below decks, the lower wing star was not accessible with the wings folded. Thus, to paint them out the planes have their wings unfolded, something that was not likely to happen with a full air group stowed. To allow for this, the squadron was allowed to do a practice squadron spot with live torpedoes.

It is also known (via the still and movie photographers on the ship and surviving air crew interviews) that both the squadron group photos and the individual two-man crew shots seen in the movie were taken at that time as well. At the same time this movie footage was taken, the ship's still photographers took the individual two man crew shots, two man and full three man crew shots for each of the two divisions, and the famous full squadron shot of the pilots, and and unknown shot of the squadron rear gunners. I have almost all of these via Bill Tunstall.

Your supposition that all the photos were taken in front of one plane are correct. They used the one spotted at the front of the pack which, were the spot made per regulations, was the last plane in the squadron formation. At that time the squadron only had thirteen (13) TBDs. They were:  0276 (T-2), 0284 (T-7), 0293 (T-6), 0295 (T-9), 0297 (T-3), 0304 (T-4), 0308 (T-5), 0311 (T-12), 0364 (T-11), 0372 (T-13), 1506 (T-16), 1509 (T-10), 1518 (T-14)

In theory, per the Squadron Tactical organization in effect, that plane would be T-14, BuAer 1518. That said, aircraft often came to the flight in the wrong order because of the way they were stowed below. Considering there was actually not going to be any launch anyway, the air department would not have killed itself to get the right plane in each place if it was inconvenient. Regardless, this all happened in May, not June.

Although the torpedoes shown have live warheads, the squadron was not launched that day, nor was the squadron ever launched with live torpedoes off CV-8 prior to the 4 June launch. The aforementioned face was drawn in chalk, NOT paint! Because those torpedoes were very carefully maintained by the Air Department's and VT-8's ordnance personnel, that chalk was assuredly taken off once the torpedo was removed from the plane after it was returned to the hangar deck and the torpedo was returned to stowage. There was no such shenanigans on 4 June. Lt.Cdr.Waldon was all business and would never had tolerated such on a real combat mission - that comes from every Hornet aviator that knew him. So there were assuredly no faces on 4 June!

The only TBD footage in the movie taken on 4 June is the shots of the last 4 TBDs to depart the ship. This is undeniably true as the planes clearly are equipped with the SBD dual .30 caliber free gun mount externally on the upper fuselage (the dual mount could not be stowed and the guns were held down by bungee cords (surviving air crew interviews) and the fact that the planes are carrying torpedoes with live warheads - and the only date that happened on USS Hornet was on the Morning of 4 June 1942. Because the squadron took off in reverse order of seniority, those four planes were:

T-16 Lt.Cdr. John Charles Waldron, USNA24 (C.O.) --- Horace Franklin Dobbs, CRMP
T-2 Lt. Raymond Austin Moore, USNA38 (E.O.) --- Tom Hartsel Pettry, AR1c
T-3 Ens. William Robinson Evans, Jr., A-V(N), USNR --- Ross Eugene Bibb, Jr., ARM3c
T-4 Ens. Harold John Ellison, A-V(N), USNR --- George Arthur Field, ARM3c

You see all four spotted aft, and watch the first (11th to take off, Ellison/Field in T-4) and the 15th and last off, Waldron/Dobbs in T-16) and brief clips of the other two because, while the camera is following the planes as they move forward of the island during takeoff, the next to take off has already started rolling from aft.

Dan wrote: The conclusion that the same plane is shown for the most part in these close ups is because of the wear and tear on the TBDs in most of the portrait scenes is exactly the same and in the same places on the aircraft AND the face drawn on their torpedoes is usually the same. So my question is: which plane is shown in the Gay/Field’s scene, did the latter’s torpedo have a face drawn on it also, and did it look like the one shown in most of the scenes in the film? I know this is minutia and not worthy of a scholar’s time, but it has become my own private BOM mystery that I would like to solve before I complete my build. Is it possible that the kindness shown me in the past by BOM members could repeat itself? I would love any help from the premier source for all things BOM – even for requests from nerdy modelers who are members.

I addressed the face above. For the record, the face was initially drawn by Ens. William Wilson Creamer, A-V(N), USNR and his gunner Francis Samuel Polston, Sea2c. Also that four of the squadron's aircrew were not in the movie because they did not have planes assigned to them (the three extra radioman/gunners (Robert Bruce Miles, AP1c, Robert Kingsbury Huntington, ARM3c, and Bernard Phillip Phelps, ARM2) or was assigned as Squadron Officer of the Day (Ens. William Warner Abercrombie) who, because of his duty, was not on flying status that day.

I hope all this was of interest.

Mark E. Horan

The Final sole survivor Harry Ferrier passes

From Chuck Berlemann:

We lost Harry Ferrier last month.

Chuck Berlemann

From Barrett Tillman:

Hadn't seen anything on this. Always enjoyed talking with Harry. "I'm the third sole survivor of Torpedo 8."


Editors Note:  Harry Ferrier passed away on April 26th, 2016.  He was an active member of the RoundTable from the early days and contributed to the history of Midway and VT-8.  I'm sure everyone knows but for those that are unfamiliar with the story here are some notes.  George Gay was the only one that survived the attack on the Japanese fleet that launched from Hornet on the morning of June 4th.  He later wrote a book called 'Sole Survivor'.  There was a detachment of the squadron at Pearl Harbor that was due to replace the Devastators on Hornet with brand new Avengers.  The squadron was split in early 1942, Waldron and the more experianced pilots taking the Devastators and deploying on Hornet while the rest of the squadron remained behind to train in the new TBF Avengers then being built by Grumman.  Unfortuantely they got to Pearl Harbor a day late after Hornet sailed.   However they did manage to get 6 Avengers unloaded and readied before the battle.  Volunteers in the new VT-8 squadron flew the 6 Avengers to Midway and on the morning of June 4th also attacked the Japanese fleet along with 4 Army B-26's armed with torpedoes.  Only one Avenger made it back to Midway, the pilot Bert Earnest and radio operator Harry Ferrier survived but their gunner Jay Manning did not.  Many thanks to Harry Ferrier for everything both in the battle and for many years later joining the RoundTable and helping us understand what it was like that day.  It is with heavy heart we say goodbye.

Here are some links.  The first is a really good account of the attack by the Avengers on the Japanese fleet as well as Harry Ferrier's life before and after Midway.  The next one an article he wrote for the  US Naval Institute June 2008 issue.  There are many more on him in the past few years.  Just do a search and you'll come across serveral more on his passing and articles about him attending reunions and events.

Here is an article written by Harry Ferrier: Torpedo Eight: The Other Chapter

Midway RoundTable page on Harry Ferrier

Captain Richard E. Fleming, USMC

From Ron Martell

In the last newsletter, Patrick Hill asked about Richard Fleming, the only person who received the Medal of Honor for his service during the battle of Midway. Richard was the son of Michael E. Fleming, a vice president of a wholesale coal company. Michael, born in England, died on February 12, 1941. I think it very unlikely the father's position in life influenced the award of the medal. Richard’s mother, Octavia Fleming, received the posthumously awarded Medal of Honor from President Roosevelt at the White House in November 1942. I have seen, but cannot now find, a photograph taken of the President and Octavia at that time. There is a photograph of her meeting Admiral Halsey which is at

Richard’s Medal of Honor was given for his repeated flights during two days of the battle, while wounded and having no more than four hours of sleep. Mr. Hill might be interested in Richard’s history. I wrote an article about him that appeared in 2008 concerning the controversy about Fleming’s last mission when he crashed into the Japanese heavy cruiser Mikuma. That article is at

There is more information about Richard at

Richard attended St. Thomas Academy followed by a year at St. Thomas College before transferring to the University of Minnesota from which he graduated in 1939. He is one of three graduates of the university who received Medals of Honor posthumously. The 1940 census shows the family lived at 1732 Summit Avenue, St. Paul, which was and is an affluent location. He wrote a last letter to his sweetheart Peggy Crooks, which is mentioned in several books. I received much information about Richard from BOMRT member John (Jack) Kolb, who passed away at age 90 in 2013. Jack had been stationed at the submarine base on Midway established after the battle. Fleming airfield in South St. Paul is named for Richard.

Best Wishes,
Ron Martell

Officer vs Enlisted Pilots

From Bill Vickery:

Officially, officer pilots were Naval Aviators and enlisted pilots were Naval Aviation Pilots. I recall a conversation with Captain Howell Sumrall and Commander Gale Burkey (both former NAP’s) on the golf course when they both insisted that the Naval Aviation Pilots had to pay for their Wings of Gold.

I suspect that I have been in contact with over 100 Naval Aviators who flew at Midway and quite a few Naval Aviation Pilots. There were many Naval Aviation Pilots in the VP Squadrons.

Lieutenant (jg) “Pappy” Cole was the PPC of the PBY which rescued Ensign George Gay. AMM 2/c (NAP) Roy Robinson (later Commander, USN) climbed out of the PBY and pulled Ensign Gay out of the Pacific. There was no animosity by this Ensign toward this NAP on that day. I was privileged to spend a good deal of time with the Gay and Robinson aboard the new YORKTOWN. It was great to hear them relive this experience. On his outward leg Cole flew over George but could not land due to his orders. He came back – later – to make the rescue. I have a video of George and Robby’s discussion at Charleston, SC. Robby observed “George, when we flew over you – and could not land – you looked like the loneliest man in the world.” George was quick to respond “I not only looked like the loneliest man in the world –I was the loneliest man in the world!” BTW, Robby had 714 flight hours as of 01 June 1942. (Barrett, I seem to recall you were there??)

A great percentage of the Naval Aviation Pilots were commissioned or warranted starting early in 1942. Many of the Naval Aviation Pilots assigned to VP squadrons were commissioned in March 1942 as those squadrons had lots of aircraft but not enough seasoned Naval Aviators to fulfill the need for Patrol Plane Commanders. The Senior CPO’s were commissioned Lieutenant (jg) while most of the remaining CPO’s were commissioned Ensigns while the NAP’s first class – and below - were either commissioned as Ensigns or Warrant Officers. Some of the real senior CPO Naval Aviation Pilots – for whatever reason – were commissioned Chief Warrant Officers. Chief Warrant Officers were commissioned officers and when commissioned became Naval Aviators while Warrant Officers remained – as I recall - Naval Aviation Pilots.  (Edit:  I was wrong. When an enlisted NAP became a Warrant Officer he also became a Naval Aviator. - Bill)

Ensign Dan Sheedy flew wing on Machinist (Warrant Officer) Tom Cheek at Midway. I once spent a couple of hours with Dan at his home in Williamsvville, NY. He said “ I cannot remember being happier than when I found out I was flying wing on Cheek on 4 June 1942.” On 01 June 1942, Machinist Tom Cheek had 1,501.2 hours of flight time in his log book. I do not have Danny’s log book but he got his wings on 17 September 1941....

No doubt there was some animosity between certain Naval Aviators and certain Naval Aviation Pilots but it was not wide spread.

I do not recall a single officer having anything but praise for the Naval Aviation Pilots. John Crommelin loudly proclaimed that “when WW II broke out the best pilots in the Navy were the Naval Aviation Pilots.” Dick Best shared this opinion and – you may know – Dick served a tour of duty as one of the Naval Aviators in VF-2 (the Flying Chiefs) aboard LEXINGTON.

Here is an article on Enlisted Pilots which I pulled off the net.

BTW – we have a Naval Aviation Pilot amongst us. Ron Graetz was a rear seat man in VT-6 at Midway and became a Naval Aviation Pilot in 1945. At the moment, I do not remember whether he was first a Naval Aviation Pilot and then was commissioned or whether it is reversed. I’m giving him a copy of this email so he can chip in...Ron?

I was privileged to attend two or three SILVER EAGLES reunions as guests of Captain Howell Sumrall, Commander Tom Cheek, Commander Bill Esders and Commander Gale Burkey. It was a real privilege to visit with these men.

BTW, Tom Cheek’s wife was also a retired Navy Commander (Navy Nursing Corps).

One of the most interesting NAP’s I knew was Captain Albert Waldo Winchell, USN (Ret). He was a pilot in VT-6 at Midway. His aircraft was badly damaged which forced him to ditch and he spent 17 days in his raft along with his rear seat man. He lost 60 pounds in the process before being picked up by a PBY. Before leaving Pearl he purchased a SCHAEFFER fountain pen and – strangely enough – it kept functioning while he was on the raft. He still had the diary he kept and insisted that I take it (I did so but made a copy and sent the original back). At one point an Imperial Japanese sub surfaced, took a look at Walt and his gunner then sailed away. Walt’s note said “I guess they had a ‘no riders policy.”’ Walt had 1,468.7 flight hours in his log book as of 01 June 1942. Walt later flew in the Berlin Air lift - and – as a matter of information – Walt picked up the tab for a great steak dinner.”

Turner Publishing Company published a book called – simply – ENLISTED AVIATION PILOTS. I do not know if it is still in print. Among other information they have a list of all recorded NAP’s.


P. S. there was one Marine – a Staff Sargent - NAP in VMSB-241 on Midway Isalnd during the Battle.

Editors Note:  The Book is no longer in print but you can get a copy on Amazon as well as another book on Enlisted Pilots.

Enlisted Pilots They Also Flew

Announcements and Questions


From Russ Brown:

How can I find out who (pilot) got the hits on the mikuma?

Editors Note:  I think there are several accounts of the attack along with who scored hits as a best estimate in several books written on Midway.  Considering the multiple attacks that day were scattered among several squadrons and the two cruisers were identical I'm not sure they ever definitively identified the pilot responsible for every hit. Still there are some best guesses.

A special invitation from Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor

From Col John F. Miniclier:

A real old member of the BOM, now 94 years old and original member of the 6th Defense Bn, which I joined in 1940 until I left Midway in 1943. Now a retired 06 Marine Corps. I attended the 70th reunion on Midway as a quest of FWS and they are now planning for the 75, as of now I could attend. My daughter, Peggy Miniclier was my escort in 2012 and will be again, if I go. She is a active member of FOMA [friend of Midway atoll] and can provide you information on joining FOMA which is a good source of current information on Midway. I would like to see all members of BOM offered the information about FOMA and how to join.


Midway Mural Invitation

Editors Note:  Here is a link to the Friends of Midway Atoll for membership info.

John Waldron Memorial Dedication

From John Mollison:

Thank you for the NOTAM re: Placard. And, thank you for the encouragement. I hope the finished piece does as you and I hope, too.

Attached are two graphics we’re going to be using on Social Media and email communication; feel free to post it wherever, however. Of course the whole Midway Roundtable is invited (but I don’t have privileges to post, so if you could do that bit of heavy-lifting, I’d be appreciative).

We are hoping to have 2 P-51s and 2 TBMs in attendance and do a formation fly-over the John C. Waldron bridge (crosses the Missouri between Ft. Pierre and Pierre).

btw - the SAC Museum and myself have linked up to produce another episode of Old Guys and Their Airplanes; I’ll be in OMA often enough over the next while. If we don’t meet in Pierre, I hope we can connect during one of my trips to NE.

The city of Pierre, SD is putting up a memorial to honor South Dakota (and part Native American) pilot, John C. Waldron. My horse in this race is that I got to create the Memorial. If you do Social Media or feel the need to let your history-geek friends know via email, please use the graphic and/or the Spark video. It’s not so much that people attend as they “remember” and hopefully, get a little buzz going about someone who changed the face of WWII in a particularly indelible way.

Best regards,
John Mollison
Website #1:
Website #2:

Editiors Note:  For all those interested this is an excellent opportunity to show appreciation for the sacrifice of not only John Waldron but all who fought at the Battle of Midway.   I only included one graphic as the two are identical except for the grey notice on time and aircraft at the bottom.

Captured American Airmen

From Michael Simonis:

My question pertains to the captured American airmen, Wesley Osmus, Frank O'Flahertly, and Bruno Gaido. Would they have possessed any knowledge of the Americans having broken the Japanese code, either directly or rumor? If so, did they Japanese lose an opportunity to learn this information by their hasty execution of these men prior to an in depth interrogation?

Editors Note:  Great question. My recollection is that the fact we had broken the Japanese Naval code was a closely guarded secret not likely to be known by the average aviator. Still I have read accounts by airmen or sailors that there was at least a common knowledge that we had intercepted Japanese messages and so knew their movements. Not necessarily at Midway but other battles as well. I read a diary not long ago where the seaman wrote that the scuttlebutt was the Japanese code had been broken or at least intercepted and so we knew some of their movements. Can't recall the exact words he wrote. However that was probably not on the Japanese minds during the interrogations. They were still pretty arrogant that their code was unbreakable, something they held on to till the end of the war even though there were several glaring indications that it had been compromised. Bottom line the aviators captured probably didn't have any information regrading the Japanese Naval Code.  If anyone else has better information regarding the possible information these men might have had please chime in.