Roundtable Forum
Our 23rd Year
November 2019

In this issue.

Roundtable Opening Remarks
Midway the True Story
Midway with Craig Symonds
Responses to Various Subjects
Army Air Corps at Midway
Howard Ady post Midway
Yorktown damage control
VT-8 Personal Question
Questions and Announcements
The Battle of Midway Roundtable Opening Remarks

First of all a big thank you to everyone that sent in submissions this month.  Some did not make it into this newsletter as I just had to get this out but I will include it next month.

December 7th is always an interesting day for me.  Years ago when I was growing up I remember it being a big deal.  When I was old enough to understand my surroundings I remember people saying to each other when they met, 'Remember Pearl Harbor'.  Course my father was in the Navy during the war and almost everyone on every farm around served during the war in some capacity or another so it might have been a bit more personal to them.  But mind you this was in the mid to late 50's.  When I first went to school I remember we would say the same thing to each other for no other reason that we were mimicking our parents I'm sure.  But this too went on till well into the 60's.

As the years passed I heard it less and less.   And eventually, some year, don't remember exactly when, the day passed without hearing anyone acknowledging it.  It just sort of faded away.  I suppose this is inevitable.  But it kind of saddens me in a way.

This year as I started my Saturday morning on December 7th I reflected on it just a little more than usual.   Perhaps this was due to the Midway movie opening the month prior.  Don't know.  But I had a meeting in the morning.  Did that.  Nobody brought up what day it was.  Then I headed off to work.  Didn't expect anyone there as its normally pretty quiet on Saturday but it lets me get a lot of work done so don't mind.  I knocked off around 3 or 4 and went to do a bit of shopping and there was nothing about that day anywhere.  How soon we forget.

This month there are a lot of views or reviews on the Midway movie as can be expected.  We have a great video of Craig Symonds explaining the Battle of Midway.  Don't skip that.  It's worth the time.  We also have some interesting facts on Howard Ady and more.

Everyone have a great holiday with family and friends.  Hope you all get that one great book or whatever you've been looking for this year.

Enjoy the newsletter.

New TV documentary - "Battle of Midway: the True Story"

From Ron Russell
November 12, 2019

In the midst of the long-awaited new Midway movie, a cable TV channel has separately released a brand new documentary, "Battle of Midway: the True Story." The Smithsonian Channel rolled it out on November 11th, and it's the latest in a long succession of TV productions that purport to accurately tell you the whole story of the BOM. This one is loosely based on the experiences of Dusty Kleiss, with extensive commentary provided by Timothy and Laura Orr, co-authors of Dusty's autobiography, "Never Call me a Hero."

Sadly, there's far too much about "Battle of Midway: the True Story" that isn't true. You get the feeling how things are going to go in the first minute when the narrator describes Midway as a single island, then later makes the outrageous claim that Dusty was the most important pilot in the entire battle. Dusty was exceptionally brave and tremendously skilled, but his importance in the battle certainly ranks behind both Dick Best and John Waldron, as just about anyone who's read something other than the Orrs' book ought to know.

Our narrator follows that flub by describing what he says would happen if the Japanese took Midway and, ultimately, Hawaii: "In that event, the U.S. has NO chance of winning the war in the Pacific." Again, the producers are ignorant of what would befall the Japanese if they'd been saddled with holding and defending Hawaii, as articulated by John Stephan in "Hawaii Under the Rising Sun." Short version: it would've been their Bridge Too Far.

As for the video behind the narration, it was the same old worn-out story: Essex class carriers, Avengers, Helldivers, and Hellcats. There were several shots of SBDs, but most of them had roundels placing them in 1943 or later (one was clearly off the USS Ranger, in the Atlantic Fleet!). The only authentic film was a few clips from the John Ford movie and some stock Japanese footage.

On the plus side, Roundtable member Ian Toll ("Pacific Crucible," "The Conquering Tide") filled in a lot of the basic details about the battle. Another member from the Roundtable's earliest days, Hill Goodspeed at the National Museum of Naval Aviation provided some good show-and-tell on the SBD and the Zero. Beyond that, this production has absolutely nothing to merit an hour of your time.

Ron Russell

Editors Note:  Link added.

How did the US Navy win the Battle of Midway?

From Barrett Tillman
November 13, 2019

EXCELLENT detailed description of the Battle of Midway...entertaining and understandable.

10:30 the F4F is Jim Swett's MoH bird. Just FWIW. Includes the Flight to Nowhere and The Four (etc) Minutes.


Latest Newsletter - Responses to Various Subjects

From Chuck Wohlrab
November 18,2019

Here are a number of comments on the latest newsletter. Greatly enjoyed, as always.

Howard Ady

I am always reading and re-reading the various Midway and Wake Island works in my library. In either a recent history, or in Last Man off Wake by MAJ Walter Bayler (I don’t remember which) I learned that Howard Ady was also the co-pilot of the PBY that snuck into Wake on 20 Dec 1941, and carried MAJ Bayler back to Midway. It was Wake’s last contact with the outside world before it was captured.

MAJ Bayler was one of those people who really got around. He was a rare type, being a Signal Officer in the Marines, who spent a long time in the Pacific. He was on Wake when the war started, coordinating aircraft communications. He was the last man to leave Wake, carrying out the Action Reports from MAJ Devereux and CDR Cunningham on 20 Dec 1941. He was carried to Midway, where he continued his duties there, and stayed through the Battle. He then returned to Hawaii, only to be added to the Signals detachment earmarked for the Cactus operation at Guadalcanal, and stayed there through to the securing of the island. One helluva witness to history!

War in The Pacific by Matrix

I have both versions of the game (the basic game and the Admiral’s Edition), and have to admit I’ve only the Admiral’s Edition once or twice as it is rather intimidating because of all the additional information the player is bombarded with during the game. Also, while the former does not include some information for simplification and game playability, the latter seems to add more into the game. Also, the older edition no longer plays on Windows 7 or 10, but the Admiral’s Edition has been adapted for use on both.

Midway the New Movie

First and foremost, I liked it. I was willing to forgive even some of the more egregious errors, like kluging together the B-17 and B-26 attacks on the morning of the 4th, probably for the sake of time. I've given up on Hollywood ever presenting a really accurate war movie and forsaking what I call Hollywood license. I saw the movie with my adult son, who agreed that some of the scenes felt incomplete, and that there was likely footage on the cutting room floor that would have enhanced the movie. We both thought that if it was the case there ought to be a Director’s Cut made including it.

Navigating over the Pacific.

One important piece of equipment was the ZB/YE sets (also known as the AN/ARC-5) you alluded to in your comments. It was just coming into use when the war began, and proved very useful at Midway. The problem was that many of the fliers, particularly the fighter pilots of VF-8 who accompanied the Hornet Dive Bombers on the “flight to nowhere,” were not familiar enough with the equipment to use it, to their sad loss. There is a very detailed article on the sets and their use on Wikipedia, found here:

Buried WWII Aircraft in Hawaii

I would think that some of the larger aviation preservation and restoration organizations, like Commemorative Air Force, Planes of Fame, The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery or even Experimental Aircraft Association would be very interested in those locations.

Chuck Wohlrab

Army Air Corps at Midway

From Bill Vickrey
November 18, 2019

Over the years I have had contact with many Army Air Corps pilots and crew men who flew from Midway during the Battle including the two senior pilots of the two B-26’s which survived. None of the ones I contacted ever claimed a hit. However the B-17 pilots got back to Pearl early on – well before most Navy people and seem to have claimed a lot of hits. These claims seem to have been well circulated and may have been endorsed by some high level brass…my guess.

Many years ago I went to Midway with a historical research team and one of the men who went with us was a turret gunner on a B-17 at Midway.


Howard Ady post Midway

From Barrett Tillman
November 19, 2019

A quick comment for Capt. Ady. His Dad was CO of VF(AW)-3 (not 4) at NAS North Island. The exec was a leading ace, Cdr. Gene Valencia who, contrary to internet legend, did not fleet up to CO. I often wondered why, and only recently learned it was because of vision.

About VF(AW)-3: it's been misreported that the squadron won "the NORAD trophy" two or three years running because it was op-conned to the air defense command rather than deploying at sea. Not quite true. During the Ady-Valencia timeframe the squadron earned the NORAD "E" for Excellence in its assigned mission. I am not aware of a "William Tell" type competition such as the AF used to hold.

Mainly the squadron flew the sensational Douglas F4D Skyray with rocket-like rate of climb, just the ticket for an interceptor. Armament was 20mm cannon and two Sidewinder heat-seeking missiles. However, the unit was perhaps best known for the dy-no-mite color scheme (you can google it) of dark blue fin and fuselage top with yellow stars and lightning flash. IIRC Valencia and one or two others devised it.

"All Weather Three" also had two-seat, twin-engine Douglas F3D Skyknights plus some cats & dogs for admin use.


From Howard Ady III
November 26, 2019

Did not know this!

A friend ran across this book and the passage about my dad! I recall he did mention Wake Island to us once, but not the detail in this excerpt.

From Howard Ady III
November 26, 2019

Wake Island Update

More about “Given Up For Dead.”

I dId not know about my dad’s visit to Wake Island just 2 weeks after Pearl Harbor:

I have a digital copy of this very detailed book!

More from Chapter 10:


Yorktown damage control

From Barrett Tillman
November 20, 2019

On the small chance some ain't seen this yet.

Editors Note:  If anyone does not pick up Naval History magazine I highly recommend it.  Every month there are interesting articles, not unlike this one.  Worth the read about how the loss of the Yorktown influenced damage control during the rest of the war.

VT-8 Personal Question

From William Longton
November 23, 2019

Does anyone know anything about these two (supposed) VT-8 people?

(1) AMM1 William L. Coffey Jr. He flew out to Midway with the 6 TBF's in AMM1 Woosides plane (8-T-5: BuNo 00384) and was replaced by AOM3 Lyonal J. Orgeron from VP44 after landing. So, who was Coffey, why was he replaced after reaching Midway and what happened to him afterwards?

(2) AOM3 Carniero. He is listed as "missing" from the photograph taken of VT-8 rear seat gunners a few days before (or even the morning of) the torpedo strike in John Lundstrum's book "The First Team". Same questions: who is/was he, why is he not listed in the official rosters of the squadron aboard ship and what happened to him afterwards?

These two individuals make me wonder whether or not they are "lost" men of Torpedo Squadron 8. Just something to think about, but any help would be appreciated.

Also, is there a listing somewhere of the radiomen/gunners who were assigned to the VT-8 detachment who did NOT go to Midway in their TBF's and whose aircraft they were assigned to, as well as the squadron numbers on the other TBF's? Thanks

Bill Longton

Editors Note:  Interesting questions to be sure.  I do not have much information on either but will see what I can find.  As for the aircraft and crew of those who did not make the trip to Midway I do not know if I have that info but again will look.

Announcements and Questions

USS Yorktown CV5

From Denny Bolinger
November 15, 2019

My dad served on the uss yorktown cv5. He was survivor.

BOLINGER, Lloyd Foster

I was unable to save the uss fulton Yorktown muster pdf file. Can you send it to me?

Denny Bolinger

Editors Note:  File sent.  Hope you can get this.  I could not condense the files.  But I can send this one file with your fathers name on it.  If you need the others let me know.

The New Midway Movie

From John FInley
November 18, 2019

I just saw the new Midway film (after reading Symonds’ book) and thought it was extremely well done. Do you know if the film was based on Symonds’ book, because it had many incidents he wrote about (such as the important role of the Nautilus)? Will you be posting member reviews of the film to the website?

Best regards,
John Finley

Editors Note: The script seemed to be taken from several books.  Many of the scenes it was pretty easy to pick out the source.  So short answer, yes the book was definately used as a reference.  Below are some reviews from members.

Midway movie review

From Stefano Pagiola
November 21, 2019

Overall, this was a much better movie than the 1976 one (not a high bar to clear, I know). But I do wonder how people who are unfamiliar with the battle were able to follow it. The movie is mostly from the perspective of the Enterprise and its air group, but occasionally covers other aspects (eg attack on Midway, attack on Kido Butai by Midway-based aircraft) but does not do so comprehensively (the attacks on Yorktown are mentioned in passing in a single line, and VT-8’s attack is passed over so quickly you’ll miss it if you blink). They should would have been better off either taking a wholly Enterprise-centric approach, accepting that this would have meant omitting many important aspects of the battle, or fully taken on a broad view of the battle, including the patrol work by the PBYs (the one thing the 1976 movie did reasonably well), the actions of the other CVs (Hornet’s flight to nowhere, VT-8’s attack, attacks on Yorktown and its eventual sinking, etc).

I thought the CGI was generally good, except for (a) the completely avoidable detail problems that have already been noted (eg wrong roundels in the early part of the movie) and (b) clustering way more aircraft in close proximity to each other and to things like their targets than you would ever have — although this latter problem will be no surprise to those who have seen the director’s previous movies.

I noted two particularly flagrant errors:

  -  There are more than 4 B-26s attacking from Midway and they’re dropping bombs rather than torpedoes.

  -  Lindsey’s VT-6 attacks before Waldron’s VT-8 !!!!!!!!

A question to which I do not know the answer. Would it have been common for pilots like Best to refer to the CAG, when talking to him, as “McCluskey” rather than by his rank or as “CAG”?

Midway Movie Review

From Scott Kair
November 25, 2019

Overall the movie was worthwhile, although I only saw it once, with no remote in order to rewind and watch scenes again. We caught it on a second-weekend matinee, and were pleasantly surprised that the theater was about half full, this in a small city in southern Indiana.

It might be helpful to consider that the level of knowledge about the battle among Roundtable members far exceeds that of average moviegoers. We’re familiar with the historiography of the battle, and capable of evaluating what was presented, rather than absorbing “artistic license” and “solely for visual effect” as fact. We’re also a very small market segment.

As previously noted, a director’s cut dvd will be quite welcome. Editing was the conspicuous issue; entire subplots and characters were left hanging, and there were multiple sins of complete omission. That’s illustrative of trying to portray something as complex and intricate as the battle, and to condense it into a two hour package that, most importantly, will turn a profit.

How to present the torpedo squadrons seemed to elude the writer and director. SBDs are shown laying smoke prior to the Pearl Harbor scenes, but explanation of why smoke generators were exchanged for bombs was absent. Richard Best and Gene Lindsay are shown in an intense discussion of their respective roles; Lindsay asserts that torpedoes are the ship killers, and Best replies that no one even knows whether the torpedoes work because they’ve never been tested. Interesting catch, but it would be interesting to dig into what was known at the time about what grew into The Torpedo Scandal.

Even though the TBDs were obviously mockups and computer generated images, the representations were a giant step forward. Naturally, someone felt compelled to undo that by depicting them with under wing bombs, getting the order of the squadrons attacking wrong, and so on. The impact of those errors was to minimize their contribution to the incredible victory.

There were financial backers to satisfy. My son in law caught that a Chinese production company was associated with the film. That explained the inclusion of Bruno Gaido’s murder and the retaliatory atrocities for the Doolittle raid, neither of which were mentioned in earlier presentations. Wall Street Journal picked up on that aspect of the movie, although without the Roundtable’s expertise:   (if the paywall workaround holds):

I wasn’t expecting much, as cinema is entertainment. If Hollywood can get history wrong, it will, and much has previously been gotten wrong about Midway. Overall I was pleasantly surprised at the result, though. Previously noted accuracy issues notwithstanding, the cgi itself by and large was well done and not cartoonish. The most pleasant surprise was Woody Harrrelson as Adm. Nimitz. I cringed when I read that he got the part; it was too easy to envision a phone photo of him in dress whites smoking weed. He portrayed Adm. Nimitz, rather than playing Henry Fonda portraying Adm. Nimitz, and clearly showed a Nimitz who apprehended the full gravity of his assignment. He deserves credit for his performance.

I’m glad we saw it, appreciated it in spite of its flaws, and plan on buying the director’s cut dvd as soon as it comes out.

Editors Note:  Thanks for the notes. I think you summed up quite a bit about how we all received the movie. One of the things that stunned me was the inaccuracies in the CGI. I can understand real world compromises on some of the things that had to be shot with real objects, like the mock ups, but the CGI was literately created from scratch. It was when I was in a conversation with a  friend of mine that I began to understand some of the CGI failings. He recognized some the the Chinese companies and said that for the most part it seemed to him that the CGI was in large part done in China. Makes sense. They throw in a bunch of money, they want to have a part in it.

At this point it became fairly clear to me on several levels just how I was not able to get them to even give me a hint or some stills of the CGI. They didn't have it. When the trailer came out and I pointed out that they used a 50 star flag rather than a 48 star flag, among other things, the response was something in the neighborhood of 'Good Grief' although maybe with a few more expletives thrown in.

From Scott Kair
November 26, 2019

Thanks for the note, and for sharing your inside insights on it. We may be looking at the Hollywood axiom that there's no such thing as bad publicity- although we were the only people left in the theater by the time the credits scrolled past the catering assistants to you, the Roundtable, and Ed Fox.

Hopefully we'll get some new members, and our heads won't explode from correcting induced misapprehensions. Should the dvd release include a historical background leaflet, a plug for BOMRT might be worth lobbying for, although I can see hazards to that.

Thanks again,
Scott Kair
Editors Note:  There is going to be a documentary on the DVD about the Battle of Midway. I don't know much about it. They contacted me about getting some veterans on tape for it so I expect it to be a combination of interviews and narration.   Apparently it is going to be an extra on the DVD when it comes out.
From Scott Kair
November 26, 2019

Perhaps they'll see the documentary as a chance at redemption and will go for accuracy.

The movie could be quite an opportunity to introduce yet another generation to the battle, and how it shaped the world we all live in; a companion documentary even more so. It's really heartening that the movie has done as well as it has. There's obviously some interest in those times.

Take care,
Scott Kair

Midway Movie

From Gary LaForge
November 26, 2019

Another review of the movie is not necessary. I too was disappointed that so much was left out. But the commercial realities have to be acknowledged. I toyed with writing a screenplay (no experience whatsoever) but stalled when I couldn't come up with a good central character story line. One thing I was pretty sure of though, was that the story could be best told as a TV mini series - at least 3 2-hour episodes.

WW II Museum review of Midway

From Barrett Tillman
November 26, 2019

From Seth Paridon

From Rich Frank
November 26, 2019

I know Seth very well. He is a key under sung member of the museum staff. If you ever have a chance to watch one of his ora; histories with a Midway veteran, you will see he really knows his stuff. He also is a film archivist who found amazing footage at the National Archives and hauled copies back to the museum. He was invaluable when we did Road to Tokyo.

I pretty much agree with all of this assessment. I would be more severe about the excesses in the battle sequences of AA and falling planes (TBDs excepted). He is dead on about Dick Best which to me was perhaps the biggest single disappointment in the film (in terms of what the film showed and excepting what it did not show like the almost total absence of Yorktown and Fletcher). It is incomparably better than the 1976 version, but again that is a low bar.

Yorktown and FJ Fletcher will have to wait for the follow on film: Midway, The Sequel.

Rich Sends

Miles Browning

From Skipper Steely
November 18, 2019

Did anyone notice that Halsey turned to Captain Miles Browning at one point? That is Chevy Chase's grandfather. Wish a movie was in the works on that guy!

Skipper Steely

Editors Note:   The reference is to part of the new Midway Movie on the bridge of the Enterprise.  I'm sure all are familiar with the fact that Spruance kept Halsey's staff for the battle and Miles Browning was chief of staff.  The fact that he was Chevy Chase's grandfather is an interesting bit of trivia.  Mr. Steely is the author of an interesting book on Admiral James O. Richardson called Pearl Harbor Countdown.

CBN News story on the movie, MIDWAY

From Tom Rychlik
November 19, 2019

Here is something I got from one of my fellow Vestry members at my church.

My wife and I went to see Midway on Sunday afternoon It was a rainy weekend in Virginia Beach and it was competing with the NFL games. The theater was about 1/4 full. We stayed to watch most of the credits and most people were still sitting there when we left. So it seemed to leave an impression. This months roundtable hit many of the imperfections I saw. Still going through all the links. I was glad they showed how LCDR Lindsey was still hurting from his ditching on the trip out but led his men out anyhow. So many heroes, not enough time to honor more than a few.

A few years ago I exchanged a few emails with Lem Massey's son who was in the same class at Annapolis as Gene Lindsey's son. LCDR Lindsey's son made it to Captain and was also an aviator like his father but passed away several years ago.

An interesting aside. I wasn't able to start regularly attending Navy football games until several years after I retired from the Marine Corps. In 2005 we became season ticket holders. One of the 4 seats I was assigned was one of atleast 2 dedicated to LCDR Waldron. Although all of the torpedo squadron pilots are my heroes, Waldron has always be my hero of heroes because of how he was not afraid to buck CHAG and do what he thought he needed to do on June 4th. A few years ago I took pictures of all the seats in Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium that memorialized USNA graduates killed at Midway.

Thanks for all you do with the Roundtable!

Tom Rychlik forums

From Tom Matlosz

Does anyone on the Roundtable know how to get in touch with the administrator for the forums? I’ve been trying to re-register to no avail. Maybe you can include a note in the next issue of the Roundtable for me.

Tom Matlosz

Editors Note: I think I tried to contact them years ago and never got a response. Looks like the web site has not been updated for 10 years. Unsure how it's even online any longer.