Roundtable Forum
Our 21st Year
April 2018

In this issue.

Roundtable Opening Remarks
Captain Walt Winchell
Midway and the Army Air Corps
F4F-3 in the videos of Lexington
Don Kirkpatrick VS-8
Mitscher Report
Mitscher Enclosures
Check Out Midway's Legacy Week Line-Up
Announcements and Questions
The Battle of Midway Roundtable Opening Remarks

Welcome to the April issue of the Battle of Midway RoundTable.  With the 76th Anniversary of the Battle of Midway less than a month away we have a few announcements coming in to celebrate the events.  I'm sure there are more on the way.  If anyone has some knowledge of others let me know and I'll put out the next newsletter a little ahead of schedule so if anyone wants to attend they have a little advance warning.

We also have some interesting files from Steve Kovacs on VT-8.  While the Mitscher Reports are probably not new to quite a few of our members I am sure others have never seen them.  So now is your chance to read the reports, or at least as much as I have.  I'm sure many are now available online if one looks hard enough.

Bill Vickrey again never disappoints and has some information on Captain Walt Winchell that is a part of the battle from a personal point of view.  Which reminds me.

As the 76th anniversary of the Battle of Midway is coming up I'd like to invite any members that have some stories told to them that probably never made print.  I'm sure our authors have some interviews or letters written to them that was valuable in research but just didn't make the book but are nonetheless interesting reads.  Others like Bill Vickrey who was and is friends with many veterans probably collected a letter or two that they'd like to share.

The store of the Battle of Midway never really ends as many letters and stories are found every now and then that were previously only personal accounts for family members or close friends.  I say this because my own father wrote a book for only us three children and gave it to us as a Christmas present a number of years ago.  While he was not in the Battle of Midway it was written from a personal point of view of his service aboard a Destroyer Escort in the Pacific during his service from 1944 to 1946.  One particular story he wrote called 'Coming Home' was something one never really reads about, the return to the US after two years at sea.

Captain Walt Winchell

From Bill Vickrey
April 6, 2018

I was delighted to see the letters Walt Winchell wrote. I had a good deal of correspondence with Walt and had a delightful visit with him at his home in Florida and he bought me a steak at the American Legion “hut.”

Walt and his rear seat man had a long telephone conversation on 4 June each year until Walt lost track and assumed his friend had passed on.

I browsed through my correspondence file with Captain Winchell and came up with one of my most prized pieces of the Battle of Midway memorabilia. Just before THE BIG E left Pearl for Midway, Walt bought a new SHAFER fountain pen which he had in his shirt pocket when he took off from the carrier on 4 June 1942. Somehow – after he ditched – he found that the pen would still write so he kept a “log afloat” while they were floating around in the Pacific.and gave me the original of this log. Following my practice of never keeping an original document Midway veterans sent me, I copied this document and sent the original back to Walt. One entry still fascinates me as it read “Jap sub surfaced (? writing not clear?) and said NO RIDERS!!” He told me that the Jap sub surfaced and that a “fat” Jap officer seemed to signal “no riders” and sailed away. The log only went through June 14 and I assume he ran out of ink or that the ink had been diluted with salt water.

One of the pilots who rescued these two was named Eaton but I was never able to run him down. He was an Ensign (former NAP) in VP-24 but flew with VP-44 at Midway. He too was a NAP.

I have his flight log book and it is noteworthy that he had 1,450 hours flight time as of the end of May 1942. Two close friends – whom I admired very much – told me repeatedly that the best pilots in the Navy when WW II started were the AP’s. The two friends were Rear Admiral John Commelin USN (Ret) and Lieutenant Commander Richard Best, USN (Ret). Dick was one of four (I think) officers in VF-2 aboard LEXINGTON before WW II and all the rest of the pilots were NAP’s

BTW, Captain Winchell died on Christmas Day 1990.


P. S. It is now two A. M. and I have spent the last one and a half hours going through my most interesting file on Walt.

Editors Note:  Thank you for the info.  I am always pleased to receive some personal information you collected over the years from your long friendships with many of the veterans of the battle.

Midway and the Army Air Corps

From Jack Parker
April 5, 2018

In “Carrier Combat”, Fred Mears relates how when they arrived back at Pearl and visited a bar, the Army pilots were bragging that they had won the battle. I forget his exact words, but evidently “Nig” White exclaimed “that’s a damned lie” and started a fight. I can well imagine his anger, after losing a good portion of his fellow pilots, while the Army pilots flew at a more removed, safer, and less effective altitude. I often wonder about that evening, my own uncle (Dick Jaccard) was purportedly running up and down the stairs of some hotel or other coming up behind the house detectives looking for him, goosing them and then running off.

Mears relates how when they returned to the ship they had a single dollar left amongst them, that they tore it into 4 pieces and each (of the 4 pilots) kept a piece for good luck. Recently I helped my wife sort through her uncles effects, he too was an SBD pilot who died when his SB2C went into the drink - later in the war. In his effects was half a dollar bill. It gave me a chill. Was splitting your last dollar a common practice at the time?

Jack Parker

Editors Note:  I don't know how the tradition started or even if it was widespread.  I have heard of many different versions using not only dollar bills but playing cards etc.  Perhaps someone has more information for you.

F4F-3 in the videos of Lexington

From Chuck Wohlrab
April 6, 2018

Regarding Richard Douglass's comment about the F4F-3 in the videos of Lexington, the answer is simpler. VF-3 used the Felix the Cat insignia (and patch) at the beginning of WWII. In January 1942, after Saratoga was torpedoed and her air group beached at Pearl, VF-3 was assigned to Lexington so that VF-2 (the Flying Chiefs) could go ashore and transition from the F2A Buffalo to the F4F Wildcat. When Lexington made her quick run to Pearl Harbor in April 1942, she received her old squadron (VF-2) back, but retained a number of VF-3s aircraft to bring the squadron up to full strength. Lexington's crew did not have time to repaint the aircraft prior to the Battle of Coral Sea. The plane with markings F5 still sported the markings of 3F5 from VF-3. The kill markers have been attributed to various pilots, but the best explanation I saw was that when VF-3 was aboard, the pilots flew whatever aircraft they were assigned for a given day, and did not fly a dedicated aircraft. The kill markings have been attributed to either Albert Vorse or Noel Gaylor.

Chuck Wohlrab

Editors Note:  I have also confirmed with Hellcat pilot Don McPherson that pilots rarely flew the same aircraft.  He said that the Hellcat he is most associated with the nose art 'Death and Destruction' he only flew 2 or 3 times.

Don Kirkpatrick VS-8

From Steve Kovacs
April 10, 2018

Attached is an article that appeared in the July 2004 edition of Fox Tales, the newsletter of “Two-Block-Fox”, an organization of Navy/Marine aviators that was formed by Howard Packard back in 1982. According to the donor of the article, Tom Doll, there were about 40 Plankowners, mostly WWII veterans. The group still exists although, understandably, in reduced numbers thanks to Father Time. Perhaps fellow members of the Roundtable will find it of interest.

-Steve Kovacs

Editors Note:  Last month several members indicated they could not print the PDF articles I posted.  So to help them out I have two links for each article now.  The links on the left you can read the files in the website page as normal.  There is a print icon in the upper right hand part of the page but it seems some browsers don't show that or it doesn't work.  Trying to figure out why that does not work.  The links on the right are more traditional read and download links.  The file will open in your web browsers PDF reader and you can print it from there.  Hope that helps.  If not let me know and I'll force a download in a link.  Not the best way to do it and some browsers don't support it but it can be done.  If you just can't download the files email and I'll email the files to you.

To Read Articles Click on links below To download and print articles click below
Kirkpatrick article Part 1 Kirkpatrick article Part 1
Kirkpatrick article Part 2 Kirkpatrick article Part 2
Kirkpatrick article Part 3 Kirkpatrick article Part 3
Kirkpatrick article Part 4 Kirkpatrick article Part 4
Kirkpatrick article Part 5 Kirkpatrick article Part 5
Kirkpatrick article Part 6 Kirkpatrick article Part 6

Mitscher Report

From Steve Kovacs
April 15, 2018

The Mitscher Report.  I’ve no idea who made the various notations within, whether it was Tom Doll or Don Kirkpatrick.  Nevertheless, they don’t detract from the report at all.  Enclosures to follow.

-Steve Kovacs

To Read Articles Click on links below To download and print articles click below
Mitscher Report Part 1 Mitscher Report Part 1
Mitscher Report Part 2 Mitscher Report Part 2
Mitscher Report Part 3 Mitscher Report Part 3
Mitscher Report Part 4 Mitscher Report Part 4
Mitscher Report Part 5 Mitscher Report Part 5
Mitscher Report Part 6 Mitscher Report Part 6
Mitscher Report Part 7 Mitscher Report Part 7
Mitscher Report Part 8 Mitscher Report Part 8

Check Out Midway's Legacy Week Line-Up

From Ron Russell
April 27, 2018

Honor Your Hero this Memorial Day Weekend.

Join us for our annual Legacy Week commemoration from May 26 - May 28 onboard the USS Midway Museum. This year features a full line-up of activities ranging from a Wreath Ceremony, Freedom Benefit Concert, family activities, blood drive, an interactive Remembrance Wall and more. 

Each element of Midway’s Legacy Week commemoration is designed to honor and remember our heroes and celebrate our military heritage together.  

Click here to go to the USS Midway Museum Page describing the events.

Announcements and Questions

VT-8 Vet Charles E. Monroe

From Tiffany Martel
April 26, 2018

My name is Tiffany Martel, Granddaughter to Charles E. Monroe. Steve Moore wrote the below about my Grandfather to M. Riggs. My husband and I have been looking through the internet for photos of USS Enterprise VT-8 with no luck. Hoping the Midway Round Table can help!

Tiffany Martel
From Steve Moore:

I was reading through the August issue of the Roundtable and noticed the question from Margaret Riggs regarding VT-8 veteran Charles E. Monroe. Since I have quite a bit of material on men who flew with the Cactus Air Force at Guadalcanal, I thought I'd drop a belated answer to the question.

ARM2c Charles E. Monroe flew with Torpedo Eight on the USS Saratoga during the Guadalcanal campaign and then went ashore with the detachment that served with the Cactus Air Force. On August 24, 1942, Monroe flew in T-7 with Ens. Robert A. Divine during the attack on the carrier Ryujo at the Battle of the Eastern Solomons.

Divine's crew flew into Cactus on September 28 to join those serving at Henderson Field. His crew was forced to ditch in the ocean on October 1, but all were recovered. Monroe also flew with Lt. (jg) Jack Barnum from Henderson Field, but was flying with Lt. (jg) Divine again on November 7, when he was credited with possibly shooting down a Japanese aircraft. Divine, Monroe and AOM3c Wiley Bartlett also participated in the strikes against the Japanese battleship Hiei on November 13.

I have quite a bit on VT-8 going back to my research on VT-10 from by "Buzzard Brigade" book. Hope this helps, even if it is a couple months late. 

Steve Moore

Editors Note:  I'm not sure VT-8 ever operated from Enterprise. They were originally part of Hornets air group up until Midway. But the squadron was split before Midway and the second group was being outfitted with the New Avenger torpedo plane but did not make it to Hawaii before Hornet sailed for Midway. Six of the TBF-1's from the squadron did fly to Midway and participated in the battle. The rest of the squadron was loaded on to Saratoga when she briefly stopped at Hawaii to pick up reinforcements before heading to Midway but arrived after the battle had concluded. The remainder of VT-8 then transferred to Hornet. Later in the summer a detachment of VT-8 was transferred to Saratoga again for operations around Guadalcanal. The rest of VT-8 was deployed to Hornet and arrived after the invasion of Guadalcanal and operated with Hornet till she was lost in October.

VT-8 to the best of my knowledge never operated from Enterprise except possibly briefly when Hornet was lost and Enterprise had to recover some of Hornets aircraft. However since Enterprise was also damaged during the battle as well as having decks full of aircraft she retired and off loaded the extra aircraft from Hornet a couple days later.

So maybe the photo you're looking for might be when VT-8 was deployed to Saratoga? Please advise. I might have some photos.

Here is one I have although not much was the best I could find from my files this morning at work. This is a TBF-1 of VT-8 where the tailhook missed the arresting gear when landing on Saratoga during the battle of Eastern Solomons August 24th, 1942.

Thank you for your quick response! I know I am confused on some of the details which has made it difficult to search the web. I appreciate any information you are able to share with us. I have attached two photos of him and a news paper article. I know he was aboard the USS Lexington, Saratoga, Hornet, and The Enterprise. He was recognized for torpedo sq. 8 … but that doesn’t really narrow it down. Please read the attached article and let me know your thoughts. I have searched torpedo sq. 8 for all but no luck.

I appreciate your help!!

Tiffany Martel

Editors Note:  Okay, I got it now. You really don't care about what squadron he was in during any particular deployment, just a little history of his service on any carrier. The newspaper article is a bit inaccurate but that's only due to the fact it was printed during the war. I will see what I can track down. Some of our Authors on the RoundTable surely interviewed him for a book or two. They might have more info.

As for his deployment on the Enterprise he served onboard from December 7th and was transferred off the ship sometime in the spring of 1942, from what I can tell, and sent to form the second detachment of VT-8 outfitting with TBF-1's which flew out to Hawaii. He deployed on the Saratoga with what was left of the detachment ( the six TBF-1's that flew to Midway to fight in the battle were all lost although one did make it back to Midway but was a constructive loss ). From there he stayed with the detachment during the invasion of Guadalcanal and the Battle of Eastern Solomons on Saratoga till she was torpedoed in September. From there he departed with his squadron to the airfield on Guadalcanal. About all I have on him at the moment. But will keep looking.

From Tiffany Martel
April 27, 2018

I am interested in what squadron’s he was in per deployment. While I was searching photos online I found multiple group photos from many squadrons. I figured there must be something out there with my Grandfather in it, but maybe I did know enough to search it properly.

I know he was in the second to last chapter of the book Torpedo 8, The attack and vengeance of Swede Larsen’s bomber squadron, written by Ira Wolfert.

Thank you for your help!

Tiffany Martel

George Gay Family Info

From Glenn Cunningham
April 7, 2018

The full name, postal address and telephone number for George Gay’s daughter, Sandra, is provided at the end of this message for distribution at your discretion.  She would be about 75 years old now.

Thirty years ago she and her husband operated a men and boys specialty shop in Tulsa, OK. In 1990 George came to Tulsa for a week or so over the Memorial Day weekend and signed copies of his book at her store. He was not busy when I visited, so we had a very pleasant conversation. When I left, I placed a copy of her business card in the book and used it as a bookmark.

When I saw Mr. Rakiecz’s query in the last newsletter I opened my copy of Sole Survivor, and her card was still in it, 28 years after I first read the book. I no longer live in Oklahoma, so I contacted a friend there who was able to obtain the information below.

Remembering the RT discussion regarding Gay’s signature a couple of months ago, here’s how he signed my copy:

Shortly after moving back to South Dakota I had the privilege of meeting another “BOM daughter”. In 2002 I attended the ceremony at which the Missouri River bridge between Ft. Pierre (John Waldron’s home town) and Pierre (state capital) was dedicated as the Lt. Cmdr. John C. Waldron Memorial Bridge. Waldron’s daughter, Mrs. Nancy LeDew, and her son Christopher took part in the dedication.

Editors Note:  I do not print personal information on the RoundTable newsletter because it is open to anyone.  From the information provided I do note that she is still living in the same town although at a different address.  Waiting to get a response back from her if it's okay to pass her information on to the interested party.

From Barrett Tillman
April 5, 2018

Ref. Gay's relations: considering the extensive doubts about his accuracy/veracity, I'd not want to see the cause of history served by perpetuating his various accounts. But FWIW, his grandson zealously guards the Wikipedia entry, both in the text and in the Talk section. Or at least he used to--I've not looked in a few years.

As ever,

Editors Note:  Although I cannot exactly determine how often from looking at the pages it appears it is still maintained on a somewhat regular basis.

USS Helena

From Kate Doolan
April 11, 2018

Paul Allen and his team are really on a roll in the South Pacific! Just announced, the finding of USS Helena. He really does need to go off Midway to find those four Japanese carriers! I wish he would do a big coffee table book on his recent discoveries-Indianapolis, Musashi, Lexington and Juneau. I would have to cover the pages in plastic to stop drooling!

Battle of Midway 76th Commemoration Ceremony Invitation

From John Bond
May 2, 2018

On June 2, 2018, American Veterans “AMVETS” Hawaii and the Barbers Point Riding Club will be hosting the 76th Anniversary of the Battle of Midway. The Battle of Midway was a major turning point in World War II.

Please accept and share this invitation to commemorate the incredible victory at Midway made possible because of the immense skill and bravery of the men who fought in the skies, on land, and in and under the sea. The outcome of the battle was truly built on their heroism and sacrifice. And on this day and every day, we honor the service of our heroes.

Battle of Midway 76th Commemoration Ceremony Invitation

Guest Speaker(s) includes:

Colonel Gregory D. Gadson (US Army, Retired), former US Army Wounded Warrior Director, Garrison Commander of the U.S. Army Fort Belvoir. He is also a bilateral above-the-knee amputee, actor, and motivational speaker. He served in the U.S. Army for more than 25 years as a field artillery officer and served on active duty for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Operation Joint Forge, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Benjamin Resnick is a historical archaeologist and a senior director/assistant vice president with GAI Consultants, Inc., a full-service engineering and environmental consulting firm. Ben specializes in the study of historic-period resources focusing on military sites, urban sites, farmsteads, and GIS-based applications to archaeological predictive modeling. He has authored or coauthored numerous reports and publications over the last 30 years including articles in the SAA Archaeological Record, Interpreting Space: GIS in Archaeology, The Archeology of Landscape and Geographic Information Systems: Predictive Maps, Settlement Dynamics, and Space and Territory in Prehistory, South Carolina Antiquities, Industrial Archaeology, and a public monograph entitled, For the Sake of the Living: A Civil War Battlefield Burial, Gettysburg National Military Park.

Daniel A. Martinez is Chief Historian for the WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument. His areas of responsibility include the USS Arizona Memorial and Visitors Center, the USS Utah Memorial, the USS Oklahoma Memorial, and the other Historic Sites along Battleship Row.

Senator Mike Gabbard, Hawaii District 20

The theme for this year’s ceremony is: “Honor The Service”

What: Battle of Midway 76th Commemoration Ceremony

When: Saturday, 2 June 2018 (0900-1100)

Where: Ewa Field World War II Revetment District, Historic Barbers Point Stables, Kalaeloa, Hawaii 96707

Why: To honor all our veterans of Midway and all ​those who've given their lives in service to our country

Reserved parking will be provided.

Ewa Field World War II Revetments District, Historic Barbers Point Stables, formerly known Barbers Point Naval Air Station (NAS) and Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Ewa

Located inside the Barbers Point Golf Course, a Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH) MWR facility

Directions: Passing the golf course entrance continue until seeing Barbers Point Riding Club sign, turn right - go all the way to the gated entrance by the solar PV farm.

Guests Attending: We are expecting over 500 guests in attendance including: Elected Officials, Senior Military Leaders, NPS Superintendent, Community Leaders, World War II Veterans, Wounded Warriors, Military, Veterans, and Gold Star Families

Again, we look forward to seeing you all at this worthy event to honor our heroes of World War II, Battle of Midway. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at or 808-382-6835. Mahalo nui loa!

With great appreciation,

Commander, COO American Veterans Hawaii
Phone: (808) 382-6835

Mailing Address: American Veterans Hawaii
4725 Bougainville Drive, 323
Honolulu, Hawaii 96818

Ewa Field Revertments Flyer
Battle of Midway 76th Anniversary Commemorative Invitation