Roundtable Forum
Our 19th Year
August 2016

In this issue.

LCdr Philip A. Horne
PBY Patrols and Sighting Reports
PBY Patrols and Howard Ady's Flight
Damage on Mikuma
Gay's Blades
Report of Douglas Cossitt
Nicholas N. Valhos Yorktown Survivor
Cdr. Robert K. Campbell
Announcements and Questions
The Battle of Midway Roundtable Opening Remarks

Welcome to the August issue of the Battle of Midway RoundTable.  Lot of submissions this month furthering various discussions as well as a couple new topics.  I appologize for being a bit late with the newsletter this month.  Lot of information to sort through so took a little longer than usual.  But all good stuff.

First up I'd like to send good wishes to Jonathan Horne and his family as his father Philip Horne passed away in August.  LCdr Philip Horne may well have been one of the last if not the last seaplane pilot that participated in the Battle of Midway.  He served on the New Orleans and later in other duties during the war.   His contributions to the Midway RoundTable started at it's earliest days.  His page is here:  Phlip A Horne Page

We have a lot of good information and discussions this month on topics old and new.  More on the PBY's operations on Midway and why some returned to Midway while others flew to Pearl, a couple of good first person accounts, and much more.  Thanks again everyone for the submissions and comments.  All are much appreciated.  Could not do this without the continuous support from everyone of our members.

LCdr Philip A. Horne

From Jonathan Horne:

Please let the BOM round table know that my dad passed away this morning (8/7/16). He was 99 and lucid right to the end. He died peacefully in his sleep and wasn't in pain.

I'll send you a more detailed obituary for publishing in the newsletter. I'd like you to forward me the copies of the newsletter that have discussions about him. My dad wanted me to let you know. He really enjoyed participating in the discussions.

Jonathan Horne

Editors Note:  Sorry for your loss. I will certainly post his passing in the RoundTable Newsletter. I'll see if I can hunt down as many posts from him and about him in the newsletters as I can and sent them your way.  Glad he enjoyed the RoundTable and discussions. He will be missed by all here. I'm sure a few will have some comments about him but they may not respond till next month's newsletter unless they happen to log on and look at current discussions page.
From Jonathan Horne:

I have access to the past comments.  I was a member of the RT for many years.  I'm 
just asking for the recent and near future.

From Jonathan Horne:

You can publish the attached Obituary in the BOM newsletter.  The photo was taken in April 1941 at NRAB Anacostia, presumably after his first solo.

Philip Ardine Horne 1917-2016

Philip Ardine Horne, of San Rafael, CA died at Nazareth House San Rafael, August 7, 2016 after a brief illness. His cherished family had gathered in the days prior to his death and he was surrounded by them in his last days. He was 99 years old.

Philip is survived by his sister Thea Carpenter of Forest Lake, MN; his children, Stephen Horne of Santa Barbara, CA, Thomas Horne of Novato, CA, and Jonathan Horne of Palo Alto, CA; his seven grandchildren; and his four great-grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his first wife, Doris (Smith) Horne of Campbell, CA, his second wife, Evelyn (Jones) Horne of Palo Alto, CA, his son, Daniel Horne of Honolulu, HW; his grandson, Abraham Horne of Santa Barbara, CA; his brother Robert Horne of Mora, MN and his parents Samson Mathias and Margaret (Pederson) Horne of Mora, MN.

Philip was born on June 27, 1917, on the family farm near Mora, MN to Mathias Horne of Vevring Parish, FØrde Fjord, Norway and Margaret Horne of Hanley Falls, MN. Philip attended Riverside School, a one room schoolhouse, Mora High School, and Augsburg College, graduating with a degree in biology in 1940. In 1941, he became a Naval aviator. During WWII, he was a seaplane pilot attached to the USS New Orleans, witnessed the Battle of Midway and the Battle of the Coral Sea, and flew patrol and bombing missions in New Caledonia, Midway, Tarawa and other Pacific Islands. He was the navigator of the USS Bataan during the Korean War then later flew “typhoon hunter” missions from Guam. By the time of his death, Philip was one of just a few remaining WWII Navy combat pilots and veterans of the Battle of Midway. Following his retirement from the U.S. Navy, Philip earned a California teaching credential, and briefly taught biology before embarking on a long second career as a medical photographer at Stanford University Medical School.

Philip married Doris Smith in 1943 in Modesto and together they raised four sons, teaching them the values of compassion, hard work, integrity, and generosity while taking them to Alaska, Florida, California, Guam, Hawaii, Japan, Georgia, and New Jersey. After his sons were grown, he and Doris traveled several times to Europe, particularly Norway where they reestablished contact with family members. Doris passed away in 1986. Philip later married Evelyn Jones and together they spent many years traveling, hosting family, and enjoying worship and activities at Peninsula Bible Church in Palo Alto, CA. Philip devoted many years to faithful and patient caretaking of both his wives through their long illnesses, a memorable and tangible expression of his faith. Philip’s surviving children, their spouses and his grandchildren remember him as an intelligent, quietly encouraging, kind, and thoughtful man who was committed to his family and who lived his life in close alignment with his faith.

A memorial service is scheduled at 2 PM on Saturday, September 3, at Nazareth House. Rev. Marshall White will officiate the ceremony. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Phil's life. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Nazareth House, 245 Nova Albion Way, San Rafael, CA 94903.

From Terrence Popravak, Jr.

Sorry to learn Mr. Horne has flown west. Hand salute to another brave warrior of our nation!

PBY Patrols and Sighting Reports

From Ron Russell:

Here's info on some of the items from last months article on the sighting reports.

1. The PBY reports: as you stated, the radio transmissions were in Morse, sent by the aircraft's aviation radioman. They most likely were not encrypted for two reasons. First, an IJN ship copying a strong, rapidly moving signal in its vicinity would know it was from an enemy aircraft that most likely had spotted it--why else would the aircraft be transmitting? That being the case, they could deduce the reason for the American signal, making encryption pointless. But more importantly, the encryption technique back then was a very lengthy and tedious manual process for both the sender and the receiver, and time was of the essence. So in all likelihood, the message traffic from the PBYs was in plain language, and in Morse. (No "Strawberry Five" voice transmissions at Midway, as dramatic as they appear in the '76 movie.)

2. To another question, why the delay between the PBY transmissions and their information being received aboard TF 16 & 17? That's due to the nature of U.S. naval radio procedures in that era. Official message traffic to the fleet came from the naval communications station on Oahu known as NavCommSta Hono, call sign NPM. Anything for a ship, a group of ships, or an entire fleet was funneled to NPM, who then sent in on via the encrypted fleet broadcast (high speed Morse or teleprinter, dubbed the "Fox broadcast," or just "Fox" for short) or via other circuits established for special purposes. All ships copied Fox as their primary source for incoming radio messages from any originator, anywhere. Even a message for a single ship would be sent by Fox, and every other ship would simply log the message number and its addressee once it was known that the message was not for them. (Every Fox message had to be accounted for, on every ship.) Special purpose circuits, like those for a task force commander, got similar treatment--everything went to NPM, then was transmitted on a frequency copied by the flagship.

The radio frequencies to be used during the Midway operation were specified in CINCPAC OpOrder 29-42, page 9 (the Midway op-order). Frequencies for use by Midway-based forces are listed in detail, while those used by TF 16/17 were identified separately as "frequency plan four," not otherwise defined. But since the mission of the U.S. ships was independent of that of Midway's, we can conclude that PBY frequencies were not listed among those that the fleet was directed to monitor. However, since they are spelled out in OpOrd 29-42, task force staff radiomen aboard the Enterprise and Yorktown would routinely have receivers monitoring those frequencies, for the obvious reason.

All that means that *official* notice of Howard Ady's discovery went from his aircraft to the radio station at Midway, which relayed it by cable to NPM, which then relayed it by Fox or the fleet commanders' circuit to the U.S. ships, whose radiomen had to first decrypt it before passing it to the flag bridge. Admirals Fletcher and Spruance probably got word before that thanks to their radiomen copying some frequencies that weren't mandated for them in the OpOrd, but the historical record documents only the official traffic sent by NPM. It may seem odd to us today, but that explains the delay and it was all by the book.

3. As to whether any PBY other than Ady's ever saw the enemy carriers, the answer is no. Each PBY was assigned a specific pie-shaped wedge to search, and any plane that deviated from its assigned wedge risked the possibility of missing an enemy contact report (you wouldn't want to be that aircraft commander). By luck of the draw, Ady's plane had the one piece of the pie where Kido Butai was to be found at the critical moment. After sending his report, Ady continued on his assigned search--remember that the OpOrd stated the possibility that Japanese carriers would be appear in two or more separate groups (CINCPAC was remembering what happened at Coral Sea in that case).

4. I was delighted to see the message from Zsolt Szalanczi, one of the Roundtable's earliest members, way back when we had them in just two countries--the U.S. and Poland! He mentioned a detailed listing of BOM aircraft ashore and afloat, which made me think of Chris Hawkinson's awesome website that appears to be either gone or moved somewhere that I cannot find. Chris listed every pilot and aircrewman aboard the three carriers, including those who never flew during the battle. He also had every aircraft, its type, and even its BuNo (tail number). If memory serves, he had the same data for the Midway-based squadrons, even the AAF planes. As Zolt suggests, that was all probably compiled by Mark Horan and posted on the web by Chris.

The site is still listed on our References-Links page, but it's not there. I used it many times in checking the validity of someone's claim about being a veteran of the BOM, including the imposters cited in chapter 15 of No Right to Win. I hope someone can find a way to recover those pages for us--perhaps Mark still has it all. Those pages were a gold mine of important BOM data.

Editors Note:  I contacted Chris Hawkinson to get all the info from his site to be hosted on the RoundTable.  Keep everyone posted on any progress.
From Lu Yu:

Very interesting and well researched article from Mr. Tynan. I’m not trying to completely resolve the discrepancy, just some related thoughts below.

First, I would suggest Lundstrom’s BSCA, which is by far one of the most accurate accounts of Midway on operational and tactical level. Second, referring to the notes and sources when there is discrepancy. Both Symonds’ and Prange’s books have pretty solid notes, which point to primary sources like communication logs.

Questions 1 and 2

Probably Ady sent the reports regarding carriers. Chase only saw the incoming planes, not the Japanese fleet. For each report sent via wireless, there is the time when it is sent and the times when it is received by various ships/bases. There is a gap between the two times which can range from several minutes to hours to even more than a full day. The times received of the same report can also vary widely depending on the recipient.

Question 3

The PBYs were ordered to complete their sector rather than keep contact once Japanese fleet was sighted. This is partly due to the estimate that Japanese carriers operated in two groups. If you keep contact on the two carriers sighted, you might miss the chance to sight the other carriers.

Question 4

U.S. ships (or admirals aboard ships) seemed to have some problems in communication with tender/land based planes (PBY, B-17). This would happen again and again during Guadalcanal Campaign. Savo Island and Eastern Solomons are two prominent examples.

Looking on the Japanese side (I’ve actually read more reports and communication logs in Japanese than in English), they also had similar problems. For example, the crucial sighting report of Tone’s #4 plane sent at 0728, which was a little vague and didn’t mention any carrier, took about 10-15 minutes to reach Nagumo. There is even claim that Akagi was not directly monitoring the plane’s channel and claim that the report was not received until after 0800. Note that Tone was under the command of Nagumo and thus easier to coordinate. PBYs were under Midway NAS and B-17s not even in the same branch or service.

From Timothy Tynan:

I just wanted to thank everyone who responded to my inquiries on thesighting reports. There help was greatly appreciated. "No Right to Win" was excellent and cleared up a number of other issues in question.


PBY Patrols and Howard Ady's Flight

From Bill Vickrey:

I knew Howard Ady quite well. I visited him in Arizona a time or two and he and Howard, III visited us in our home at Christmas time one year. I have a picture of them in front of our fireplace. We had miles of correspondence (snail mail) and much more via email later on...along with dozens of telephone chats.

Some questions regarding Howard were discussed in the current issue. One comment was that he flew back to Pearl after his mission of 4 June. Many of the PBY’s did fly to Pearl on 4 June but I do not recall Howard telling me that he did so. His log book for 4 June indicates that he made two flights that day in a PBY-5 bearing number 04435. The first flight lasted 2.7 hours and the second lasted 11.3 hours which suggest that he did fly back to Pearl. The 2.7 hour flight was labeled “nite-fly” and the longer one was labeled “patrol.” He had a 5.0 hour flight on 5 June which was labeled “PATROL.”

“Bucky” Earnest was Howard’s Navigator and his log book mirrors Howard’s. In addition he had a note – in the REMARKS column – which said “SPOTTED JAP FLEET 200 MILES NORTH OF MIDWAY-MIDWAY BATTLE.” In a letter he said that they landed on a small island which was supposed to have a boat for refueling but no boat then he plotted a flight to French Frigate Shoals. He then said that he flew back to Pearl (5 hours) on 5 June. I could never convince Earnest that he flew with Ady on 4 June ... he insisted that his PPC was either Smith or O’Dowd but both Ady’s and Earnest’s log books say they flew in a PBY with bureau number 04435....”fogs of war.” I spent a delightful evening with “Bucky” and his wife in a small town in Louisiana.

Thus I am not questioning that Howard flew back to Pearl – even though he never told me he did – but I am trying to learn whether or not he made two flights on 4 June 1942 and then flew back to Pearl on 5 June. I guess one must take Earnest’s comments into unraveling this mystery.

Howard – or Barrett – can you shed any light on this?

From Howard Ady Jr.

Thanks! Yes, he did fly twice. He was very meticulous in his record keeping. I believe he turned his logbooks over to the USNA Alumni Association in the mid 90s. Hope this helps!


From Bill Vickrey:

I have just spent an hour or so browsing my thick file on Howard.

On April 30, 1991 I made some penciled notes of a telephone conversation with Howard. He told me that he landed at French Frigate Shoals on 04 June 1942 but I made no note that he went on to Pearl. In another message he said that all PBY pilots in the air on 04 June were told not to return to Midway...inherent were instructions to go to Pearl but I am not sure they could have completed their assigned patrols and then had enough fuel to fly to Pearl...thus the stop at French Frigate Shoals or some other islet.

On 16 June 1942, Howard was one of several pilots – who flew from Midway – who were interviewed for an an NBC radio broadcast. Here is a part of Howard’s comments:

“We were doing the “usual” just at dawn that morning, when we happened to sight a twin-float seaplane whistling along on a opposite course from ours, about 120 miles from Midway. He didn’t see us. We knew then that the Japs must be darned close. They were. We bucked through intermittent rainsqualls for another thirty minutes, flying pretty low – when we ran smack into that Jap carrier fleet. It was like watching a curtain rise on the biggest show of our lives. You see the enemy was also emerging from a bad weather “front.”. Two carriers, two battleships, cruisers, destroyers. A magnificent sight! We slipped back into the cumulus clouds and throttled down. Then we skirted their flank and picked them up from the rear. Midway lay less than two hundred miles away---and they were steaming straight for it.-----They were just about to deploy into formation for launching the fighters and bombers that Bill Chase saw a few minutes later. Big guys they were. The KAGA and AKAGI---which not long afterward took a pasting from the Army, Navy and Marines and got sunk for their pains. --- Behind them came a third carrier of the SORYU class. I didn’t know it then. Well we got off a hurry-up code message giving their course, speed, bearing and distance from Midway.”

It is interesting that Howard remembered seeing three carriers but his code message reported only two. Remember that his message was in code so there well could have been an error in coding or decoding it.

Howard and his crew shot at the Japanese float plane mentioned earlier.

The men involved in this interview included Jack Reid, Logan Ramsey, Massie Hughes and several of the pilots who made the torpedo flight of 03 June.

From Bill Vickrey:

Now I know...on the third page of a three page letter to me dated 09 June 1995 Howard wrote:

“We returned to Ford Island on the 5th and some days later I was summoned to CINCPAC Ops to review the Army War report, which was probably the wildest official report I ever saw.”

So, I’m putting this to bed.

In that same letter, Howard wrote - regarding PBY pilots on 04 June: “Very few of our stalwarts actually carried out their specific orders. They were all told not to return to Midway since we had the fuel shortage noted elsewhere, we were to land at French Frigate Shoals, which 5 of us did, although our support by an APD, was as close to minimal that you could get.”

It is noteworthy that the reason Howard gave for these specific orders was due to the fuel shortage on Midway. I had always assumed that it was due to the expected Japanese attack on Midway.

Editor's Note:  First of all a huge thank you to Bill Vickrey for digging out all his notes and giving us the facts of the flight along with some insight on what was told to the PBY pilots and crew.  Interesting to note that only 5 out the the 22 sent on patrol actually flew to French Frigate Shoals whereas the others apparently returned to Midway.  Also I think when Ady said "Behind them came a third carrier of the SORYU class. I didn’t know it then" that he meant that when he made his report of 2 carriers he didn't see the 3rd Japanese carrier so only reported 2.  It was later when the dive bombers found the Japanese fleet that he learned that there were 3 carriers in close proximity to each other.

From Bill Vickrey:

I’m gonna stick with what “Bucky” Earnest told me and whose log book exactly mirrors Howard’s. ‘Tis not terribly important in the pages of history.


Damage on Mikuma

From Don Boyer:

Been a long time since I've been able to send anything regarding the Midway action. Apparently, the good Lord is under the impression that I should work for a living. Must be the price I have to pay for living on the north shore of Oahu.

In regard to the "crash on Mikuma" -- "Also the picture showing the wreckage of the Mikuma with what appears to be the wreckage of a plane on the turret is more than likely Mikuma's own seaplanes." Without going into whether or not Fleming's plane actually crashed anywhere aft on Mikuma or not, I am of the firm belief that the "wreckage" on top of her turret five is a combination of the wrecked antenna and its base mounted on that turret and the steel cladding added to all the Japanese heavy cruiser's turrets -- a thin layer of metal over a steel girder framework laid on the turret tops and sides that left several inches of air space between the cladding and the actual turret metal. This had been put on to provide a cooling effect on the turrets which, of course, were not air conditioned. And of course, who knows what amount of wreckage blown off the aircraft decks by the explosions of Mikuma's torpedoes might have also ended up on top of that turret, it's impossible to say from the few photos in existence. There just isn't anything visible on the turret that looks "aircraft" rather than "ship" to me. And of course absolutely none of this detracts from the fact that Fleming was one hell of a brave man.

Hope this helps explain some of the damage shown in those famous photos of Mikuma.

Best Regards,
Don Boyer

Gay's Blades

From George Kernahan:

Those photos show SB2C-4s of Air Group 75, probably taken in early 1946. George Gay may have been a pilot in one of the air group squadrons.

Editors Note:  The photos he's referring to are in the last newsletter at the following link.

From George Kernahan:

Further to my previous e-mail I have now found out that in June 1945 Cdr. George Gay was ordered to take command of a new squadron at Quonset Point, VT154. It was to introduce into service the new Consolidated TBY-1 torpedo bomber. However, VT154 only operated the aircraft for a short time and I'm not sure whether it was even formally commissioned. I believe that Gay left the Navy soon afterwards and so I can see no connection between him and Air Group 75/USS F.D.R.

Report of Douglas Cossitt

From Bill Vickrey:

Here is a narrative prepared for Colonel Robert Barde, USMC (Ret) by Douglas Cosssitt. Bob took his doctoral studies at the University of Maryland under the guidance of Gordon Prange. Bob’s thesis was called THE BATTLE OF MIDWAY: A STUDY IN COMMAND. It had a different slant on Midway – as compared to most writers because it was written for a different purpose. Colonel Barde shared a good deal of information with me including the attached.

Ron Graetz will – no doubt – remember Cossitt as they were both in VT-6 at Midway. I knew Captain Winchell but – when I visited with him he had lost track of Cossitt and I was never able to catch up with him. I think Colonel Barde gave me this dissertation.


Report of Douglas Cossitt

From Howard Ady Jr.

Aloha and Mahalo! A very good first hand account of a great slice of the BOM action!

Editors Note:  Well worth the read for an interesting personal account of events.

Nicholas N. Valhos Yorktown Survivor

From LCDR (Ret.) Nicholas J. Valhos:

We have talked before and I purchased 3 of your books for my family. My father Nicholas N. Valhos was on the Yorktown at Midway and is on your survivors list. I recently found some newspaper articles starting in August and two in October 1942 where he was injured by a Japanese bomb at the Battle of Coral Sea. Do you happen to have any info about men injured at Coral Sea, as we are trying to get him the Purple Heart, but, I have found out the records were lost in a fire in St. Louis. I contacted the Red Cross and they no longer have the notification of the injured, but it was mentioned in the paper that they notified my grandmother. Can you give me any help in this matter.

LCDR (Ret.) Nicholas J. Valhos
Yorktown-Father a survivor

Coral Sea Page 1
Coral Sea Page 2

Editors Note:  Mr. Valhos, I will see what I can do. There have been instances where some form of paperwork shows up in the most unlikely places. But after all this time I am sure it's going to take a bit of digging. I had the same issue with my father who was wounded during an air attack in the Pacific on board a destroyer but made it to his station and treated later. He carried some of the 20mm fragments in his leg for the rest of his life. However since the destroyer did not leave station till much later nothing was filed for him. He never received a purple heart and we could never get one for him. May be due to the fact he was never 'officially' hit, but only suffered fragment shrapnel, that he never was awarded the medal.  But as with your father any records are no longer around. My father said there was never an official recommendation for him so may be a totally different situation so I remain hopeful we can find something for your father.

Let me contact some knowing individuals and see if they have anywhere to go with the search.

And the previous host of the RoundTable, Ron Russell, actually wrote the book. I took over the duties three years ago when he found he didn't have time to do it justice any longer due to obligations. He's still a contributor to the RoundTable and I'll pass on the info to him. He may be able to help too.

From LCDR (Ret.) Nicholas J. Valhos:

Did you happen to get any response from your sources. I got a letter from Congressman Chris Gibson (NY) Office from the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, MO, that states they are not on file and to check with the VA Regional Office. I really don't see where this office would have U.S. Navy records from WWII, however, I will check and let you know the results. Thanks for all your help to date.

From Bill Vickrey:

The best bet is to get his Congressman or Senator to run with the ball. I have read about numerous success stories by going this route.

My bother in law – a P-40 pilot – was lost over the Mediterranean and his folks got the Purple Heart but did not wish to follow-up any more. He surely would have been eligible for the Air Medal and likely the DFC but – after I came into the family – his mother would barely talk about his loss and – of course – I did not push it. His Dad – a WW I vet – rightly did not push his Mom on this. It was doubly hard as a newspaper report had him shot down and rescued but it was not so.


From LCDR (Ret.) Nicholas J. Valhos:

I have started that route, but he is going out of office December 31st and he staff do not seen like they really pursue it. See attached.


Return Letter from Congressman

Cdr. Robert K. Campbell

Good afternoon,

Does anyone know anything about Cdr Campbell who flew in the Battle of Midway? We are planning to honor him at our Veteran’s Day ceremony. Would like to know if he is the last living pilot of the Battle or if there are others.

Barrett, I very much enjoyed your recent articles about Fighters and the Fire bombing of Japan. My father, B-17 andB-24 pilot, worked for Lemay for a time while in Pendleton Or. In 1942

I’d be grateful for any information that could be provided.

Many thanks in advance,

Larry Wahl
From Barrett Tillman:

We thought that maybe Dusty Kleiss (VB-6) was the last BOM pilot but Cdr. Campbell of VB-3 appears to hold that title. It's barely possible that another carrier aviator remains. Would not be surprised if some junior PBY or even B-17 guys remain.
From John Landry:

I read with interest the July issue of the BOM Forum. Two things about the issue interested me: Commander Robert Campbell and the photos of the Japanese cruiser, Mikuma.

I'm John Landry, Fred Bergeron's cousin, mentioned in earlier BOM Forums about Fred. Fred, along with his brother, Dallas, flew with VB-3 at Midway. Fred is still with us, but he is not well. In an earlier conversation, Fred related to me how he came to fly the second day of Midway with Commander Campbell.

Fred's plane wouldn't start, so he would probably not have flown if Campbell hadn't met Fred with two ham sandwiches in hand saying they were Fred's if he would fly as his radioman/gunner. Campbell's radioman/gunner was unavailable.

Also, in the forum there are views of the Japanese cruiser, Mikuma. Once when looking at a picture of the damaged ship, Fred told me that he had vivid memories of how devastated the cruiser was when he and Campbell flew over.

Many many years later Fred, Campbell and their wives had a enjoyable reunion at a dinner and also the two men's interviews for a film series about Midway made in California. Fred and his wife were flown from Texas for his interview. However, the interviews about Midway went unused and the series was made about the Marines only. Fred said he didn't mind since the Marines had the worst of it in the Pacific. It was patterned after the series Band of Brothers and was called The Pacific.

Fred was very fond of Campbell and said that at that time he told Elizabeth Campbell, "don't you think your husband was awfully foolish putting his life into the hand of a teenage kid for only two ham sandwiches." We often forget how young some of these warriors were at the time of Midway. Fred enlisted at 17, and if I'm not mistaken, he had just turned 19 at Midway.

John K. Landry
Editors Note:  Mr. Landry, Thanks very much for the story. I'll post it in the newsletter. Glad Fred is still with us and sorry he's not well. If possible hope he gets better and can carry on.

As for the Mikuma apparently the Mogami jettisoned all the torpedoes and seaplanes as well as anything flammable they could. The captain of the Mikuma chose not to do the same for some reason, thus the damage she sustained. It has been written many times that the wreckage on the aft turret was from a plane. If anything it probably was it's own seaplane rather than Flemming's dive bomber but no telling now what it was. Just looking at the photos I can only imagine what Fred saw looking down from an aircraft at the cruiser that day observing the wreck. Thanks again.

Announcements and Questions

Battlefield S1/E3 - The Battle of Midway

From Gary LaForge:

While I did manage to find it on Amazon, it’s available for free on YouTube.

Editors Note:  An excellent documentary on the Battle of Midway if you haven't seen it.

New Midway movie

From Barrett Tillman:

I've heard occasional reference to the project but just saw this:

In 06-07 when we did Dogfights on THC (now just called "The Channel") the head CGI guy--a huge IJN fan--predicted 10 years to photo realism. He wasn't far off.

In Y2K I was commissioned to revise a BOM script that really needed revising. I wasn't optimistic--knew the numbers from a screen writing class--but enjoyed the change of pace. At least the check cleared.

One good thing: at least Hal holbrook is way too old this time around!  

Barrett sends

Torpedo 8

From David Riddick:

I've been fascinated by the battle of Midway since I was a young boy and read all I can get my hands on. One thing I'm having trouble with is the specific aircraft identification of the TBDs of VT-8. Everything I've ever read or seen indicates that they had their ID in the "Squadron-type-aircraft number" form. So with Gay, that was 8-T-14 as an example. But I've recently watched the Ford film made for the families and the only waist ID I can find is "T-3 and T-5." But that could have been shot on Enterprise after the fact.

So two questions....Did VT-8 wear the entire ID or just the "T-X". Secondly, we know who all the aircraft crews were, but do we know who flew which aircraft?

Thank you in advance,
David Riddick

Editors Note:  Mr. Riddick, First of all thank you for the question. Here is a link to one of our past newsletters with an accurate drawing of Waldron's aircraft. Backissues/2016/20160601.aspx# Link8

However not all aircraft were exactly the same. Some had larger letters and some had the numbers in front of the insignia and some behind. The 8-T-14 was largely attributed to Gay's aircraft but it is not likely painted on the aircraft during the battle. May well have been before but then the red center of the Star would have still been painted. All red centers of the stars on US aircraft were painted over after the Battle of Coral Sea as ship board AA gunners tended to see a red meatball and start shooting. I believe the 8- was removed when the war started so the aircraft could not be identified by the Japanese as belonging to a particular Carrier.

The Ford Film was for the most part shot on Hornet before the battle so the aircraft are pretty much as they'd have looked during the battle.

As for the aircraft crews that flew in each aircraft I am in the process of recovering that information. A web site at one time had it but it was deleted about 2 years ago. I'm in contact with the author of the site and seeing if I can publish the information on the RoundTable. But to answer your question, yes, we do know who flew each aircraft.

From David Riddick:

Thank you for your prompt response. Your answers pretty much confirmed what I thought already, but wasn't certain. BTW.....I'm a huge fan of your website! Thanks again!


John Waldron to be Featured on Old Guys and Their Airplanes

Editors Note:  John Mollison does a series called Old Guys and Their Airplanes.  Currently he is getting an episode together on John Waldron.  Most of these episodes include interviews with the pilot but as we know this is not possible.  Still here are some facts on the future production from John Mollison:

It will air on SD Public TV and then distributed nationally

We hope to get our national PBS distribution to coincide with 2017 anniversary of Midway

We hope to Premiere in Fort Pierre, SD (Waldron's home town) on Veteran's Day it will also coincide with a school-naming

Chances are good for a Premiere event at the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola - details will follow after the episode is done

We should have a terrific shot at bringing the average person into the life and moments of this man who contributed to changing history in a fascinating fashion...

The link below will take you to info on the Waldron Memorial + digital media pages for dedication this year.

President's Visit to Midway Island

From Fran Kraus:

President on Midway Island

From Kate Doolan:

President Obama visited Midway today...September 2, 2016