Roundtable Forum
Our 22nd Year
December 2018

In this issue.

Roundtable Opening Remarks
SBD Photo No Right to Win
Dan Iverson
Surviving SDB-2's
Veteran Obituaries
The Air Zoo SBD-2 restoration
Midway Movie
USS Arizona Ceremony
Announcements and Questions
Yorktown Survivor Story
The Battle of Midway Roundtable Opening Remarks

Welcome to the last newsletter of 2018.  This issue has a lot so lets dive right in.  Some information from Ron Russell to start us off about the Photo on the front of No Right to Win. A number of submissions on the surviving SBD-2's as well as a few questions.

I'd like to wish everyone a Very Happy New Year.

SBD Photo in both No Right to Win and Midway Dauntless Victory
From Ron Russell,
December 27, 2018

There's a bit of a story involved in that dramatic shot of a diving SBD on the cover of No Right to Win. Many who first saw it on the book’s cover were surprised to read in the Acknowledgements that the realistic photo actually shows a flying scale model, built by Kent Walters and expertly photographed in action by Ben Lanterman at a model plane airshow in Arizona. The first photo attached here is the original that I received from Lanterman, and note the two-bladed prop that's dictated by the scale model's engine. Walter’s detailed craftsmanship is striking, even to the yellow stripe around its bomb to mark it as a practice round. 

I had sent a copy of the image to VB-8 pilot Clay Fisher for his comments, which helped me decide that I had to have it on the cover of my book. But the two-bladed prop was less than authentic, so I forwarded the file to John Greaves who ably Photoshopped it into a real looking 3-bladed prop on a Midway Dauntless. (In fact, the model is a spot-on replica of Ens. George Goldsmith's 6-B-15 at the BOM.) John also thinned out the antenna wires a bit, since increasing their size to full scale made them look too thick. The end result was the stunning scene that you see on the book's cover; an attacking SBD at the instant of bomb release. Greave’s modified image with the 3-bladed prop and adjusted antenna wire is also attached here so you can compare it to the original.

Then, Peter Smith’s Midway Dauntless Victory was released in 2007, and I was aghast to see that it had "my" cover photo next to page 269 and also on the book’s jacket, cited as a U.S. Navy shot of a real SBD. That's obviously not the case, as Smith's version clearly shows the 2-bladed prop of a model airplane motor. Fisher had given Smith the unmodified image that I'd sent him for review, along with numerous pictures of real SBDs, without explaining where the file I’d sent him had come from. Smith mistakenly assumed it to be a USN photo like the others, and cited it as such. His book is rife with errors but I can't blame him for that one—he was simply taken in by the realism the picture seemed to convey and made a reasonable assumption.

I had thought the image was exclusively mine, but beyond getting permission to use it, there were no contractual agreements. Conceivably, Lanterman might have had an issue with the photo mysteriously showing up in Smith's book, but that would’ve been for them to sort out.

Given that it was an innocent mistake on my part in not securing exclusive rights to the photo, on Fisher's part in not identifying its source for Smith, and on Smith's part in failing to spot a clue that the plane couldn't possibly be the real thing (the 2-bladed prop), I did a deep shoulder-shrug and let it go. In the end, the cover of No Right to Win remains as a fine tribute to the skills of Walters and Lanterman, as well as to the subject matter that it's intended to represent.

--Ron Russell

Dan Iverson

From Bill Vickrey
December 8, 2018

I was interested in the history of the SBD that Iverson flew at Midway. Commander Clay Fisher was a close friend of Iverson when Dan was killed and may have been flying with him at the time.

Over the years my wife and I got very well acquainted with Iverson’s sister and her husband who lived in Knoxville, TN. We live in North Carolina and our roots are in Western Tennessee. All of our family have passed on but we used to go to West Tennessee at least once a year and stopped to see them several times (she made some wonderful pound cakes!!). We were also with them at Pensacola when this SBD was “re-christened.”

I think I have a copy of Dan’s flight log of June, 1942.

I also had a good bit of contact with Mrs. Barbara Sorenson who was the widow of PFC Wallace Jordon Reid who was Iverson’s rear sea man at Midway. Along the way, Reid did a lot of flying around in the Pacific. He won a Silver Star, 3 DFC’s, 8 Air Medals and 3 Purple Hearts. Near the start of the Korean War he was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant (infantry) in the Marine Corps and was Killed in Action on 8 August 1950.

Dan’s father was a minister as was his brother. I believe his brother as a Naval Officer in the Chaplin Corps.

I have a copy of the MIAMI HERALD having to do with Iverson’s Midway SBD being restored and prof read the article in the before it was printed.

I also had some limited contact with Iverson’s daughter who was a Medical Doctor but she really did not want to talk much.

Attached is the earliest picture I have of Dan...sorry about the quality of the scan. The picture is very good...I’m not sure this is bad scanning equipment or a bad scanner (me).


Surviving SBD-2's

From Ed Fox
December 8, 2018

I believe in a past RT issue you had mentioned of only 2 SBD were located in the discussion. I think there is one suspended over the BOM Memorial within the Chicago Midway Airport. Attached is a recent photo from Midway in remembrance of 7 Dec.

Editors Note:  Mr. Fox I believe you are correct.  There is one hanging over the Midway display at the Midway Airport in Chicago.  Fortunately just after you sent me that note I happened to be flying through Chicago Midway Airport so stopped by to take some pictures.  Unfortunately after getting a close up look it is an SBD-4 that is just painted like they were in 1942 at Midway. Here are a few pictures I took of the aircraft.  The display and tribute to Midway is good and quite interesting.  You have to be able to get inside the terminal to see the display as its in concourse A so you can't just go to the airport and take a look.  Which is unfortunate.  But for the people walking by it is something to see if you have time.  It was a slow Saturday evening when I was flying through and there was nobody actually looking at the display.  Suppose it's not all that interesting to the majority of the people passing through.

Veteran Obituaries

From Ron Russell
December 9, 2018

The message from Ken Richards in the November newsletter concerning obits for our veterans members caused me an hour of deep digging into my old Roundtable files, seeking a web page that did exactly that. It was a 2011 version of the "Veterans Roster" page that appears on the site now, under "The Roundtable" on the blue toolbar.

In the original version of that page, around 2004, I had our vets who were then with us listed in the top section, followed by a "Remembrance" section that included those who had passed on. The Remembrance list grew over time, and in 2011 I decided to add a link beside each name, taking the reader to the vet's obituary in the Roundtable Forum newsletter, which often included a further link or quote from a public obituary. You can read about that new feature in issue 2011-15, under "Archives" on the toolbar.

But by then the "Remembrance" list had grown to point where it took up far too much of the page. Instead of focusing on our participating veterans of the battle--the core of the Roundtable's validity as a primary BOM resource--readers were instead drawn to a list of the departed, and that's pretty much the opposite of what I had intended.

Consequently, at some point I decided that all of our participating vets, both living and not, deserved the same credit on a page having the headline, "Veterans of the Battle on our Roster." Accordingly, I melded the two lists into one and removed the separate "Remembrance" section. Did the obituary links survive that change? I think they did, but alas, my diligent archive digging didn't produce the answer--I couldn't find a file with all of those obit links intact, each of which had involved a separate search into ten years worth of the Roundtable Forum.

So, the bottom line for Ken Richards and anyone with a similar interest is, yes those obits are all on the website, but it will take some work to find them. If there's a particular name that interests you, the search technique described under "Archives" on the toolbar, will find everything about that vet on our site, including any obituary that we published. It's what I did.

Good luck,
--Ron Russell

Editors Note:  Thank you very much.  Mr. Russell sent me quite a bit of information on the old site he did with some of the obituaries that he still had.  I will try to get the information gathered up in one place.  I'll also look through the web pages I downloaded from the old site and see what I can find.  There may still be some information that I missed when transferring them to the new pages.

The Air Zoo SBD-2 restoration

From John Seward
December 9, 2018

Here are a few current pictures of the restoration:

Midway Movie

From Alvin Simons
December 9, 2018

Greetings, I’m a long time member of the BOMRT & have enjoyed it. I’ve been busy this year & have not kept up with the monthly newsletter as well as I’d like to do. The mention about the new Battle of Midway movie caught my eye this month & it raised a concern. One of the real blessings I received from joining the BOMRT from Mr. Ron Russell & Mr. Bill Vickery was getting to know the late Mr. Donald Hoff. Mr. Hoff was a veteran of the battle. He was a rear-seat gunner in an SBD. Sadly, he was taken from us several years ago & the time I shared with him was short. This new movie, however, reminded me of the first time we exchanged emails. When I explained I was doing research for a book, I did a poor job. He became very upset. He felt like I was going to rewrite history to meet my agenda. Thank goodness Mr. Vickery intervened & explained to Mr. Hoff my intentions. Mr. Hoff accepted my emails & a very warm friendship evolved. He was a wonderful man & I miss him still. The leads to my concern about the new Midway movie. Mr. Hoff had a deep resentment toward the original Battle of Midway movie. He did not like the way it chose to promote the fictional aspects, particularly Charleston Heston’s role & his son’s romance with the Japanese-American girl. His belief was the true story about the battle, its participants, and their sacrifice was incredible enough for the movie to focus on. I share his belief. It also made me wonder how many other veterans & their families might share this view. I hope Hollywood gets it right this time. Mr. Hoff, all who served, do serve, & will choose to serve deserve it.

Thank you & best wishes,
G. Alvin Simons

Editors Note:  First of all I have to let you know I signed and NDA so can't talk specifics about the movie. That said they sent me the script and the director and I talked for over an hour one afternoon about the movie. He and all his group wants to get the history correct, right down to the equipment and aircraft and uniforms, etc. This project is a personal interest the director has on Midway. There was not a book I mentioned to him that he hadn't read. I probably answered 50 to 100 emails from the wonderful woman in the prop department helping her track down various items for one scene or another. It was the reason the director wanted to talk to me because she casually mentioned one day in a meeting that I was helping her with props. The script has only real participants, no fictional characters at all, and stays true to the history. I sent many pages of corrections to the script. But this was at the directors insistence to correct any historical errors in the script no matter how small and some were pretty small. I don't know the script writer at all other than what he has done but I could tell what books he read by the script. The fortunate thing about it is that the books are widely regarded in the Midway history as pretty darn accurate. So we'll see how it goes.

 I'm sure many here on the RoundTable share your concerns for the movie.  Everything depicted did happen.  No rewriting of history whatsoever.  He even sent me his personal email to make sure the info got to him unedited by staff.

How is the movie going to come out and did they heed all my corrections.  No idea.  But I have hopes that it will be enjoyable and everyone that goes learns a little about our greatest Naval Victory.  About all I can do at this time.  When the movie comes out and I can talk freely about the process I'll detail everything in the RoundTable.

From Alvin Simons
December 15, 2018

Thank you, Like you said, "We'll see how it goes." The fact you've been so involved does bring me some comfort. I thought a long time before I sent you the email but I felt like in honor of Mr. Hoff's memory, I just couldn't stay silent. I can't begin to relate how upset he was about the first Midway movie. It nearly cost me making a wonderful friend. Thankfully, Mr. Vickery interceded on my behalf. You do an incredible, thankless job maintaining the BOMRT just like Mr. Russell before you. It's important we never forget the sacrifice. Thank you again for answering. I wish you & your loved ones a very merry Christmas & great new year.


USS Arizona Ceremony

From Don Boyer
December 9, 2018

Although not directly related to Midway, I thought you and the readership might want to know the following related to the attack on Pearl Harbor, especially any members planning a Hawaii trip in the next six months or so. This year's Memorial for those lost on December 7, 1941 was the first time in 74 years that no survivors of the USS Arizona attended the ceremonies. There are now only five men alive who were on board the Arizona that morning, although I believe that there are a few Arizona crew members who were not on board the ship that morning that are still alive, although I cannot track them since the Pearl Harbor Survivor's Association has disbanded. I'm sure the same numbers apply to those who participated in the Battle of Midway. We are rapidly losing these fine men who stood tall when we needed them the most. There like will not be seen again in our lifetimes.

That aside, I also thought the membership would like to be aware that the USS Arizona Memorial itself is closed to visitation through at least March of 2019. The connecting gangway between the boat dock and the Memorial itself showed signs of deteriorating and was causing cracks to appear in the base of the Memorial itself. The ramp has been removed and the National Park Service and the Navy are working on the necessary repairs, money being the big issue, as usual (The NPS is always underfunded these days, as are most agencies not part of DoD or Homeland Security, unfortunately -- and in my mind, unnecessarily). Although the normal access to the Memorial by boat will not be operating until the ramp is repaired, visitors are taken by boat as close to the USS Arizona and the Memorial as possible. All the shore side facilities of course remain open to the public.

I've noted over the course of this situation that the Park Service and Navy have been exceptionally vague as to the cause of this situation on the Memorial itself, they will do anything except discuss the very light tap that floating boat landing got from a 60,000 ton hospital ship trying to un-moor for some reason back a year or so ago. "No damage was evident at that time" sayeth the navy PR gurus. They are probably right, but they are also not making the obvious connection, as is usual in the delicate relationship between the navy (who "own" the USS Arizona) and the National Park Service who manage the Memorial.

Best Regards to all our membership, and I hope you all had wonderful holidays.

Don Boyer

PS Here is a photo of the very first memorial ceremony for the USS Arizona, December 7, 1942.

Announcements and Questions

Hornet Launch Sequence

From Dennis LaPlante
December 20, 2018

I am currently building a 1/350 model of the USS Hornet CV-8 as she appeared in the battle of Midway. I would like to honor those brave men of Torpedo 8 and show the 15 planes of that unit as they began to take off from the deck of the Hornet.  My question is this – was there other plane types behind them in the launch sequence?  I read somewhere that the F4F fighters launched after Torpedo 8 but am not sure if this was the case.  If this is so, were they spotted behind Torpedo 8 on the flight deck as Torpedo 8 started their flight? Thank you so much for considering my question.


Editors Note:  No Torpedo 8 was the last off the carrier as they had the shortest fuel window and also the heavy torpedo required as much deck as possible for takeoff.  I believe the fighters were in front of them but I'll look for the launch sequence for you.  (Edit) The launch sequense for the Hornet was the Dive Bomber squadrons spotted on the deck and launched.  Then the Torpedo was spotted on the aft part of the flight deck and the 10 fighters in front of them.  The fighters were launched and then the Torpedo squadron.

From Dennis LaPlante
December 20, 2018

Thanks so much for getting back to me with your answer. Makes a lot of sense given the weight of the torpedo. On another note, do you know what the sequence of planes taking off were? I have come across one photo on the internet showing the last plane as T16 but that's about it. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Best regards,

Editors Note:  I'll probably have to dig a little to find the exact order they were launched.

Torpedo Squadron 8

From D. K. Buchanan
December 27, 2018

Constructing large scale model of U.S.S. Hornet and trying to find out the plane numbers for Torpedo 8 and the launch order. Also plane numbers for Bombing 8, Scouting 8, and Fighting 8. Please provide any information if possible


What It's Like to Survive an Aircraft Carrier Being Sunk

Editors Note:  I had to pull this link and article due to the fact that I could not confirm the people in the account as being in the places and time stated.  I'd like to thank John Lundstrom for pointing out that he could not use the book because according to his research the account is not confirmed despite the book being published by St. Martin's Press which is a pretty reputable book publishing company.

Sorry to all that came here looking for a good story to read.  If you do look it up on the internet just be warned that although published by a reputable book company allegedly it might not be accurate.

I am sending some requests for verification on the story and book.

Let all know what I find out.