Roundtable Forum
Our 21st Year
September 2018

In this issue.

Roundtable Opening Remarks
SBD's 100-lb bombs
Japanese film footage from the BOM
CDR. Robert Keith Campbell
Alvin Kernan
Battle of Midway Revetments
Raymond Scott Foster
Squadron Insignias
Announcements and Questions
The Battle of Midway Roundtable Opening Remarks

Hope everyone had a great summer.  First I want to appologize for the newsletter being a bit tardy this month.  Last week when I went to post the newsletter the password for the web host site would not work.  Finally got them to fix it today.  So again my appologies.

This month I received news that Alvin Kernan passed away in May of this year.  I had not received notice previously so didn't post anything.  Fortunately one of our members who was his good friend sent news.  For those who don't know Alvin Kernan served aboard Enterprise during the battle as part of VT-6.  He did not fly during the battle, not yet having become an airman, but served the aircraft of the squadron.  He went on to become a back seat man and served in the battles around Guadalcanal and throughout the war on various carriers in the pacific.  After the war he studied at several colleges going on to teach at Princeton.  He also was a fairly prolific writer having published many books, both fiction and non-fiction.   The Unknown Battle of Midway: The Destruction of the American Torpedo Squadrons was his first work I was aware of having picked it up in 2005 when it first came out.  This book in a roundabout way led me to discover the Battle of Midway Roundtable.  A few months later I was looking for other books he had written on the internet and came across Crossing the Line: A Bluejacket's World War II Odyssey but also ran across a site about Midway.  I spent several hours on the site reading everything offered and thus here we are.    He also published many other books including some fictional works about the war in the pacific from the perspective of one character as well as some more literary works.  I recommend his books if one gets the chance to read them.

His page on the RoundTable can be found here Alvin Kernan  and states he joined the RoundTable when Mr. Russell was writing No Right to Win.

Many times in the past few years I have relied on him to answer specific questions on the SBD's or really anything about the air operations on Enterprise, or at least those he was privy to.  He always replied quickly and always had an answer.  I will miss your wealth of knowledge Mr. Kernan, truely I will.

This month the new Movie on Midway has taken quite a bit of time as they continue to send questions about details in the battle or equipment used.  There are a number of people who have helped out quite a bit, Col. John Miniclier and Ed Fox being two that have given excellent accounts of events on Midway during the battle.  Number of others have been helpful as well.  Wish I could say more about the Movie but again NDA.  There have been some interesting questions asked by the movie company that has led to some details and discussions that I had to leave out of the newsletter, at least for the immediate future, till I get an okay from them that it is okay for me to publish.  I understand the need to keep some of the movie script secret so am not partucularly put off.  But there were a few details where my research revealed something I had not known previously and I suspect would be information new to some here as well.

One thing I do want to comment on is the Movie poster that came out this last month that was to say politely very poorly done.  I contacted the production staff about the poster and they were not aware of it yet.  One thing they did say is that nobody associated with the movie had the poster made or even authorized anyone else to do it.  They are chasing down who did it.  Since the artist did not identify himself by signing the painting they asked me if I knew who did it.  I don't.  If anyone does send me an email and I'll forward to them.

Also this month CDR. Robert Campbell passed away at 101.  He was one of the last of the Pilots still with us that flew in the battle if not the last.

Several other interesting articles from our members.  Enjoy.

SBD's 100-lb bombs

From Mark Horan
September 6, 2018

In the most recent Newsletter, the following was posted under the heading SBD's 100 pound bombs by Tom Wildenberg (in part):
The after action reports posted on the Midway Round Table site for midway indicate that on the morning of 4 June 1942 the VB and VS squadrons that attacked the Japanese carriers were armed as follows:
VB-3 17 aircraft each with 1,000-lb bombs (4 lost before attack)
 VB-5 aka VS-5 7 each with aircraft each armed with a 1,000-lb bomb
 VB-6 15 aircraft each with 1,000-lb bomb each
 VS-6 16 aircraft each with one 500-lb bomb and two 100-lb bombs
 This information contains a couple of errors.

1.) VB-5 aka VS-5 did not participate in an attack on the Japanese at any time on 4 June. Ten (10) planes (not seven) were launched on a search mission in the mid morning wherein Hiryu was discovered. Each was armed with a single 1,000 pound bomb though not executed an attack. These subsequently landed on USS Enterprise (8) and USS Hornet (2). The squadron's remaining seven (7) planes remained on USS Yorktown and were lost with her.
2.) Of the sixteen (16) VS-6 SBDs launched (two (2) others were struck for mechanical reasons), six (6) were armed with a single 500 pound bomb, and ten (10) were armed with one 500 pound and two 100 pound bombs.

Additionally, you might want to inform Mr. Carlson that Commander Ring's name was Stanhope Cotton Ring, not Stanford

Mark Horan

From Ron Russell
September 7, 2018

Regarding Mark Carlson's request for a good photo of Stanhope Ring in the August newsletter, alas, I had a great one sent to me by his daughter when I was writing No Right to Win, but it didn't survive the publisher's cut nor my file storage method, sorry to say. But since he's preparing a presentation for the fine Planes of Fame air museum in southern California, let's get a couple of the minor details right: there was no "Air Wing 8" on the Hornet at Midway, nor at any time. Numbered air groups didn't come about until later in the war and "wing" for a carrier's air group is even more modern and less accurate.

Ring was the commander of the "Hornet Air Group (HAG)" at Midway, and that's how it should be presented. He was commonly referred to as the "CHAG" (commander, Hornet Air Group). Similarly, there was a "CEAG" on the Enterprise and a "CYAG" on the Yorktown.

The other correction is Ring's somewhat unusual first name: Stanhope, not Standford.

Ron Russell

From Steve Kovacs
September 7, 2018

With respect to the request for a photo of Stanford Ring in the latest issue of the RoundTable, I must report that I experienced none of the difficulty that Mr. Carlson did in locating one on the internet. Upon doing an ordinary Google search and looking under “Images”, I was immediately presented with 8 different portraits of the officer. But then, I typed in Stanhope Ring, not Stanford.

-Steve Kovacs

From Mark Carlson
September 7, 2018

I appreciate your help on this. I’ll manage with what I have. Yes, I did catch my boo-boo about his name after I sent the e-mail. Thanks for beating the bushes for me.

Best regards,
Mark Carlson

Japanese film footage from the BOM

From Jon Parshall
September 7, 2018

Regarding film footage, and the below:

There actually is no grainy picture showing Akagi burning—it’s an internet forgery using smoke and flame from an American carrier, and a small shot of Akagi, or a model thereof. As for the camera footage taken on board Akagi of Kaga, the Japanese photographer was a guy named Makeshima, and the footage actually never made it off the ship. The motion camera was immediately abaft the bridge, and would have been among the first things to burn.

I have also heard of photos taken from one of the SBDs during the attack on Kaga that apparently survived to make it back to Enterprise, only to be scooped up by an intel officer after they were developed, and then disappearing forever. There are no extant photos of Kaga taken during the battle—only the B-17 shots taken of Sōryū, Hiryū, and Akagi (and, as you noted, the shots of Hiryū launching on Yorktown, and the two taken of her burning by Hōshō’s plane.) Among those B-17 shots, incidentally, there’s a very rare low oblique shot of Sōryū taken from astern that I’ve only seen published once.

on Parshall

Editors Note:  Reply to Eric Carra: Well the photo does exist but it is hard telling whether it's a fake or real. I've seen the photo, someone sent me a number of photos of the Japanese carriers under attack during the battle and asked me to verify them. I know no photos existed from the Japanese side other than the shots of the Hiryu taken on June 5th by the Hosho plane and possibly the shot of the Hiryu launching a strike on the Yorktown, although that one could have been taken anytime. The one that I could not definitively discount was the shot of the Akagi burning. But all it shows is a plume of smoke on the horizon. Hard to verify a plume of smoke as legit or fake. Jon Parshall says that it is definitely a fake so I'll go with him. I should have put a note with the article stating the questionable authenticity of the picture. I'll do that tonight.  I had not heard of the photos taken by the SBD of the Kaga disappearing after being developed.  I always thought they didn't show anything so were discarded.

From Eric Carra
September 7, 2018

Thank you for clarifying that for me. But at least the one you've described is within the realms of possibility... I was afraid you were talking about a photoshop I've seen of the AKAGI from the side, with a large explosion in progress. It's really the explosion from the USS ESSEX's kamikaze hit edited onto a pic of the Japanese carrier. It's fairly well done, but... *shrug*

Anyway, thank you again, and thank you for keeping the RoundTable going!

CDR. Robert Keith Campbell

From Larry Wahl CDR., USN(Ret)
September 11, 2018

I regret to inform you that CDR. Robert Campbell died this past Saturday at the age of 101. He was believed to be the last surviving carrier pilot from the Battle of Midway Is. His wife Elizabeth, two years younger, plans to remain in their 1929 farm house where they have lived for 50 years. He was a guest of Tailhook in 2017 where he was honored for his longevity, having received his wings in April, 1941, and 166 straight deck traps during WW2. There will be no service at the request of CDR. Campbell. If I can be of any assistance please call or email.

Larry Wahl CDR., USN(Ret)

Robert K. (Soupy) Campbell, CDR., USN (ret)
DOB: August 18, 1917 Mildred, KS

Cdr. Campbell graduated from Paseo High School, Kansas City, KS in 1934. He became enthralled with aviation flying with his cousin who was a TWA pilot. He joined the Missouri National Guard in 1936 and spent time mapping KS, OK, MO and TX bases used in WW1. So as not to be sent to the Army he transferred to the U.S. Navy in 1940 and to Flight School in September 1940.

Bob earned his Wings and a commission as an Ensign in April 1941 having flown the N3N “Yellow Peril” and N2N Stearman. He then joined VB-3, Commanded by then Cdr Max Leslie, aboard the USS Saratoga (CV-3) flying the SBD Douglas Dauntless. Arriving at Pearl Harbor December 11, 1941 they refueled and took on stores and proceeded toward Gilbert and Marshall Islands. After taking a Japanese torpedo the Saratoga off-loaded the air wing and Ensign Campbell sailed on the USS Enterprise (CV-6) attacking Wake and Marcus Islands.

The Enterprise next joined the USS Hornet (CV-8) as escort for the Doolittle Raid on Japan. Ensign Campbell, while on a scouting mission encountered one of the picket ships and bombed it before returning to the Enterprise. Returning to Pearl Harbor VB-3 stood down then transferred to the USS Yorktown (CV-5) and sailed for Midway where he flew a bombing mission against Japanese Carrier Soryu on June 4. The Soryu was badly damaged and later scuttled. As the flight was returning to the Yorktown, she was hit by Japanese bombers and his flight was diverted to the Enterprise. That same day VB-3 including Ensign Campbell flew another sortie from the Enterprise against the Japanese Carrier Hiryu disabling her. On June 5th and 6th he flew 2 more bombing missions attacking Japanese Cruisers. For his actions at the Battle of Midway Ensign Campbell was awarded the NAVY CROSS.

Following Midway, still flying the SBD Dauntless he participated in the Battles of Guadalcanal and Soloman Islands where he shot down 2 Japanese Aichi dive bombers. Later that month he was part of the force that attacked the Carrier Ryujo resulting in its sinking. He flew against Japanese forces in the Battle of Santa Cruz attacking ships supporting Japanese resupply of Guadalcanal. Against his wishes Campbell was reassigned back to the states to become a flight instructor. He had accumulated over 1000 hours and 140 carrier landings, mostly in combat.

After his tours as a flight instructor Campbell assumed command of VB-14, flying the SB2C Curtis Dive Bomber (affectionately known as “The Beast”). VB-14 was assigned to the USS Intrepid (CV-11). They were to be in the early part of the invasion of Japan but arrived just in time for the Surrender so they were given Occupation duty which included flying throughout Japan.

Over the next 12 months Campbell flew all over the world including China, Egypt, Algiers, Italy, Hong Kong, Singapore, Suez Canal and back to Norfolk Va. Late in 1946 Campbell was assigned to “Operation High Jump”, the Adm. Byrd expedition to the Antarctic where Campbell and crew did surveying of the coastline. His next duty was at NAS Patuxent River as a Test pilot in the Service Test Unit. Then he was off to Monterey, Ca to the Naval Post Graduate School for Navy Line School.

Completing PG School Cdr Campbell received orders to take command of VU-5 in Guam allowing him to fly all over the Western Pacific as part of his job, including Korea which was at war by this time. By this time he had flown nearly every aircraft in the Navy inventory. CDR Campbell spent the next few years In the Bureau of Aeronautics (BuAir), the 14th Naval District in Barbers Point, HA, OIC of NATTC Memphis and lastly as Inspector of Naval Contracts for Industrial Security at Treasure Island, CA. This position required him to fly throughout 7 Western states performing inspections. CDR Campbell retired in 1962 having done what every Naval Aviator wishes, and that is to fly every year while in the Navy.

After the Navy, CDR Campbell worked for several large companies in corporate security and personnel management. He later sold real estate in the bay area.

In May of 1967 Bob married the former Elizabeth Von Rosseler. In 1971 they settled near Chico, Ca. They enjoyed golf, skiing and traveling over the years. Bob graduated with a Business degree from Chico State in 1973. Their home is a 1929 farm house they purchased nearly 50 years ago and where they still live today.

CDR Bob Campbell had a Naval career that any aviator would envy. He flew bi-planes, carrier based prop planes, multi-engine, sea planes, jet and helicopter aircraft. He accumulated 3586 mishap free hours. He had no bail outs, never ditched or ejected. Cdr Campbell successfully made 166 Aircraft Carrier Landings on 5 different Straight Deck Carriers.

CDR Campbell is the last known living American Carrier Pilot of the Battle of Midway.

He is a Naval Aviation Treasure as well as a National Treasure. His words to live by are:

May I deal with honor
May I act with integrity
May I achieve humility

From Barrett Tillman
September 11. 2018

Thank you for the update Larry. I cornered Soupy Campbell at Hook 17 because we wanted to know his first CV for the reunion coverage. He did not recall but otherwise seemed fairly sharp.


Alvin Kernan

From Griff Sexton
September 12, 2018

I may have missed it, but I have not seen a reference to the passing of Alvin Kernan on May 17, 2018, so I attach a couple of obits for your review.

My father was a veteran of The Battle, so when I began teaching at Princeton about 20 years ago, I was delighted to find Al, retired from teaching and living in Princeton. We became good friends and spent many lunches reviewing various aspects of The Battle (and so much else) over the past two decades. I will miss him greatly.

Al saw plenty of action and was highly decorated, including the Navy Cross, for his service in WWII, but The Battle of Midway was what held his interest. He wrote several books (“historical fiction”) about it, and although they receive no mention in his obits, reverent as they are to his many more scholarly works, they were certainly favorites of mine. Although he was loading torpedoes for VT 6 on the Enterprise during The Battle, the infamous “flight to nowhere” was a particular interest and we spent many happy hours speculating on the motivations and actions of Mitscher, Ring, Waldron, et al.

Knowing that Al had once been accused of mistakenly shooting down the legendary Butch O’Hare on a dark night in November 1943 from the aft gunner’s perch of a radar equipped TBF Avenger, I once asked him to tell me the story of that fateful night. It was, to say the least, a moving and memorable rendition, but it left open the question what he thought about the origin of the bullets that claimed O’Hare’s Hellcat. As a finale, I asked him if, on reflection, he thought he had shot Butch down. He thought for a long moment, and replied, with a slight catch in his voice, “I don’t think so, but if I did, I know that Butch will forgive me.” I could only think, then and now, how true, and how important, that is!

Al was blessed with a glittering intellect, and, after WWII, had a celebrated career in academia teaching English and Humanities at Yale and Princeton. Of course, this is what the obits dwell upon. I suspect, however, that he always considered himself a sailor first. So let us remember him as a brother in arms, a patriot, and a hero of our country. It’s my guess that is what he would prefer.

Griff Sexton
USN 1965-70



Editors Note:  Mr. Sexton, This is so unfortunate. I did not get notice of his passing and it makes me particularly sad. A couple months ago I was contacted by the people doing the new Movie on Midway. I sent Mr. Kernan several emails with questions on the TBD that I knew he would have the answer but never received a reply. He usually answered them promptly so I was a bit concerned. I now know why and again very sad. He was a great man and always ready to answer any question.

Thank you for the update. I will be sure to include it in the next newsletter.

Navy Refuses to Document, Preserve 1942 Battle of Midway Revetments

From John Bond
September 19, 2018

These have NO PROTECTIONS because they have never been OFFICIALLY documented! The attached info in the NPS Form 10 are the ONLY actual recorded documentation that these sites still exist!

This is a crime against the people and history of the United States to not do archeological documentation and recordation as required under Federal Section 106, 100, State 6E.

When the 1942 Battle of Midway movie, and my book comes out, these historic site destructions will be a NATIONAL SHAME on Hawaii.

John Bond
Ewa Historian

Battle of Midway Archeology

NPS Form 10

From Anthony Tully
September 19, 2018

Very interesting. You would think the fact that they appear to appear in a diagram on AKAGI no less might lend it a certain direct historical connection and luster. Maybe they can preserve some of the revetments, or any that match the picture.

The refusal normally would be no surprise, but wasn't the Navy wanting to hype Midway to higher levels in the future -- sort of the nautical D-Day in marketing?

All best,
- Tony

From Barrett Tillman
September 19, 2018

I don't know how much tug-of-war (!) the navy and AAF played over Midway but the old wisdom "First one to the chalk board wins the fight" seemed to apply to the AAF because the surviving (!) B-26 crews were interviewed for Lowell Thomas' newsreel muy pronto.

What seems indisputable is that Halsey/McCain's avarice over the Kure tonnage in '45 was largely/semi-wholly aimed at the impeding postwar unification fight. I computed the haul in Whirlwind, something like 300,000 combatant tons for Big Navy's scoreboard v. the nascent USAF. To his credit, McCain made one try at getting The Bull to reconsider strikes against the biggest flak trap on Planet Earth. He was told Siddown & Shuddup, and of course he did. About 100 aircrew paid the interest on that debt, to just about 0.00 net benefit.

Barrett sends

Raymond Scott Foster - survivor of Yorktown?

From Connie Raezer
September 30, 2018

I am hoping you can help me. I have long been told my grandfather was a survivor of the Yorktown sinking. I did not find his name on your lists. He name was Raymond Scott Foster. How would I go about verifying if he was a survivor. I would like to know the truth and to not perpetuate something that is false.

Connie Raezer

Editors Note:  He is indeed a survivor and on the list. Here is the page where you can find his name. The list is not always in alphabetical order. You'll find his name a little further down the list after you run into the other Fosters. Thanks for contacting the RoundTable and hope this helps.

From Connie Raezer
September 30, 2018

Wow - you have no idea how much this means to me. I am in tears. I know that sounds odd. My grandfather was one of the only people who supported me.  Can you tell me what the K rate and Division CRM means?

Thank you so much,

Editors Note: Yes, CRM is a Chief Radioman. K is for Communications Division aboard a carrier.

From Connie Raezer
September 30, 2018

That makes perfect sense. I used to sit on his lap when he would operate his ham radio and tap in Morse code.

Squadron Insignias

From Scott Cruickshank
September 12, 2018

Is there a list or group of all the USN squadron insignias and is there any such thing for the IJN squadrons as well?

Scott Cruickshank

Editors Note:  I know of several listings of USN squadron insignias but they are far from complete. In a lot of cases, especially early on, it was a matter of the squadron making up their own. Plus I don't believe the Navy ever had an official policy or division to hand out squadron insignias or even authorize them. As for the IJN I'm not aware they had squadron insignias but they did have specific markings on the aircraft to designate squadrons from different groups or carriers. Sorry not more helpful. I'll look into it a little more later.

Announcements and Questions

Staying Afloat after abandoning Yorktown

From Jeffery McMeans
September 21, 2018

In a letter, Steve Adamson says his great uncle was on the Yorktown and stayed afloat while on his pants. I was a Navy seaman (1961-1963) and the reason we wore bell bottom dungarees is that if you find yourself in the water, you a take off your pants and the bell bottom aspect makes it a longer floatation device when you put an overhand knot at the bottom of each leg and zip your zipper up and with your pants behind your head, holding the top open, you pulll the top up and over your head and quickly slamming it down on the water and if you have no holes in your dungarees, air will enter them when you bring them over your head and when slammed on to the water, eureka, you have an instant flotation device which you then get between the two legs and pray for rescue. Even a sailor's hat can be used the same way. That is why, once a week, sailors get an hour to sew any holes in their uniform.

Jeffrey McMeans, USNR

Editors Note: Thank you for the note. My father was in the pacific for the last two years of the war on a Destroyer. I remember him teaching me how to stay afloat using your pants. I was too young to connect how he knew it even though he probably told me. Guess I know now. Thanks again.