Roundtable Forum
Our 23rd Year
May 2020

In this issue.

Roundtable Opening Remarks
The Silver Waterfall
Hammann Roster
US Aircraft Designations
The B-26 on Midway
Picture of SBD's in Flight
78th Anniversary

Announcements and Questions
The Battle of Midway Roundtable Opening Remarks

Seventy Eight years ago today the early morning hours of June 4th, 1942 the US Pacific Fleet waited North West of an atoll in the middle of the Pacific at a Latitude and Longitude optimistically designated as Point Luck.  They were waiting for an enemy they new were coming.  Admiral Fletcher and Admiral Spruance were operating under the instructions given to them by Chester Nimitz.

"you will be governed by the principle of calculated risk, which you shall interpret to mean the avoidance of exposure of your force to attack by superior enemy forces without good prospect of inflicting, as a result of such exposure, greater damage to the enemy."

I often think how these words influenced the battle.  The plan was to approach the Japanese fleet from the flank and attack while the Japanese carriers were recovering aircraft from the early morning strike on Midway.  But it was not without risk.  If the US fleet was spotted before they spotted the Japanese fleet what was the alternate plan?  In all the reading I've done I am not sure I ever found one.  I'm sure Nimitz left it up to the Commanders in the field but did they have one?

As it turns out that question never need be answered.  The plan, simple as it was, worked nearly perfectly.  Only the Hornet's Dive bombers and fighters missing the target prevented the complete destruction of the air power of the Japanese fleet.

Every June 4th we celebrate the battle and honor the men that fought it.  Now 78 years removed it fades further and further from the minds of each new generation.  I can't tell you how many people asked me after the 2019 Midway movie came out 'did all those things really happen?'  So even if the movie was not what we all wanted at least it introduced a few people to the history.  And if they as a result become more interested and maybe reach another person as a result then I'm fine with it, faults and all.

And so on this 78th year anniversary we have another new book coming out that Mr. Ron Russell has kindly reviewed for us.  I never quite know what to call these types of books.  They are a novel but the characters and places are real.  The fictionalized part of the book is the conversations or thoughts of the characters.  But a good work relies on the characters staying true to their real life personalities.  To this end from what I know of the book this seems to be one of the strong points.

We also have some new information on the picture submitted last month as to whether or not it was taken during the battle.  It was not of course due to the red circle inside the star but Mr. Tom Doll has some interesting information on the picture, when it was taken, and who is in one of those SBD's.

One of the things I always get this time of year is requests for any veterans that can attend Battle of Midway celebrations.  I'm sure with the current environment many of these have been cancelled so the requests were exactly zero this year.  I had not thought of this till just now but it is unfortunate that many of us cannot get together and celebrate.  So we'll have to do it here.

To everyone reading this take a moment today to reflect a bit and maybe silently thank and honor the men that were there.  We all as a group and individually celebrate men such as Wade McClusky, Dick Best, Earl Gallaher, Max Leslie, "Jimmy" Thach, "Wally" Short, "Lem" Massey, Eugene Lindsey, John Waldren, "Dusty" Kleiss, Howard Ady, Lyoyd Childers, Clayton Fisher, "Bert" Earnest, Ed Fox, John Miniclier and many others too numerous to name.  But I'm sure you all have a name to add to the list.  Mentally add one of your own.


The Silver Waterfall

From Ron Russell
May 18, 2020

Book review: The Silver Waterfall

Early in May I was contacted by author Kevin Miller for help with a proposed new BOM book, which immediately launched my oft-repeated doubt: why does anyone think that there’s more to be said about Midway at this late date? But as it happened with several other recent books that turned out quite well, this one meets that challenge and pretty much blows it away.

If that sounds over the top, Miller really does have something new here: the BOM story delivered with spot-on factual accuracy, but in first-person real time, like a novel (which it is) rather than a history book. The author draws upon his own background as a Navy carrier pilot in placing the reader in the cockpits at Midway, thus sharing the same drama and terror experienced by the incredibly brave aircrews of both sides. Even better, his dialogue is authentic and true to the battle’s known facts—it’s the BOM as if you were there at the time, and without any made-up nonsense like in the recent movie. (Too bad Miller wasn’t the screenwriter.)

That said, one of the book’s subplots will give most Roundtable members pause: it has the HAG on course 240 true rather than 265. Although fully cognizant of the extensive support for 265, Miller was heavily influenced by Clay Fisher, whose VB-8 experience, if taken literally, indeed puts the HAG on 240. And of course, unlike you, me, or Miller, Fisher was actually there at the time. If you want, review all that here: (scroll down).

Even so, if the book was being promoted as history, Miller and I would still be talking about the HAG’s course. But it isn’t, and that gives the author license to color it as he sees fit, as long as he does so with plausible substance. Miller has done that here, so for those who wince at the thought of denying 265, my advice is just let it go; it’s only a minor element in the big picture. Enjoy everything else you find in the book because there really is a whole lot to like, starting with its original cover painting showing Best, Weber, and Kroeger en route to the Akagi.

The Silver Waterfall is slated for release on June 4th, during the 78th anniversary of the BOM. Highly recommended to the Roundtable.

From Ed Beakley
May 13, 2020

If you're going to read some historical fiction THIS IS THE BOOK.

If you follow me on rememberedsky at all you're aware I've been working on a series 1942 - the Year of the Carrier which includes 4 separate pieces to the Battle of Midway story. I'm certainly no historian or real author but that event has captured my imagination since I was a kid and while I'm sure I don't own or have read everything, I've got a pretty good library.

In addition, my first boss at Pt Mugu was Adm Lew Hopkins who was awarded a Navy Cross as an Ensign in Bombing Six and my direct ops boss (LCDR aviator then) was 3/c radioman/gunner Pat Patterson who was in the last Dauntless down the tube on Akagi.

Made contact with Kevin few years ago and found out he's a legitimate expert - lectures at the museum in Pensacola.  I was really honored to be asked to read an early draft and comment - it's just outstanding. He follows the format of the highly acclaimed The Killer Angels in that nothing in the facts of the story is fiction, but what he does do is give thoughts and words to players at multiple layers as in the soldiers at Little Round Top battle at Gettysburg.

You've all been there in the readyroom, flight deck and in the air, and I'm pretty certain you won't find a thought you haven't had throughout your careers. Kindle available to pre-order now, hardcopy next week.

For those who might not know, Kevin's first squadron (A-7) was when '72-73 Champ Bob 'Sandy' Sanderson was his CO.

From Barrett Tillman
May 13, 2020

Just received from Ed Beakley. I am not acquainted with Kevin Miller but saw Wade Meyers' cover illustration as it progressed on Facebook.

The fictional literature of BOM is of course limited

A reviewer asked me how long it took to write Dauntless: The Novel. I said about 20 years, including 4 months to type it!

Barrett sends

From Ed Beakley
May 21, 2020

As per past practice, this is an announcement for the latest post on

I'll begin by hoping this finds you healthy, safe, AND sane.

My latest post provides a excerpt from Kevin Miller's new book THE SILVER WATERFALL: A Novel of the Battle of Midway - CHAPTER 13 - Torpedo Eight, North of Midway, 0825 June 4, 1942.

Kevin is a retired naval aviator Captain who started his career in an A-7 Corsair squadron commanded by Bob Sanderson who was in VA-56 with me in 1972-73 during Linebacker I and II. He went on to command an F/A-18 squadron. He has three previous fiction books centered on flying Hornets - the Raven One series. The last, Fight Fight centers on fictional conflict with China in the South China Sea, All highly recommended.

I was really honored to be asked by Kevin to read an early draft and comment. I’ve been fascinated with Midway for years and If you check my website at all you know that there are multiple posts focused on the battle's history on the site in the '42 - Year of the Carrier series.

Kevin’s telling was just outstanding!

In telling the story of the men and events of Midway, his approach follows that of the highly acclaimed – 1975 Pulitzer Prize for fiction – The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara. Nothing in the events of the story is fiction; rather his approach gives human feelings, thoughts, and words to players at multiple levels during the June 1942 battle, as Shaara did for Lee, Longstreet, and Joshua Chamberlain and the soldiers at the Little Round Top battle at Gettysburg. As a former A-7 Corsair attack aviator and commanding officer of a F/A-18 strike fighter squadron, he knows well the human internal and external context of the combat pilot – with the not so common ability to express in an exceptional manner.

Testimony of Pilot: The Silver Waterfall

You won't be disappointed if you buy the book.

Be safe

Roster of USS Hammann DD412

From Bill Vickrey
May 14, 2020

Here is an Officers’ Roster of HAMMANN which is a copy of her Deck Log.

I have a short list of the enlisted casualties which is not official as I copied it from a book listing the Navy casualties but – somehow – I could not scan it. The list included: MM1/c Albrecht, Sea 1/c Ballard, CMM Carlson, BM2 Jason, Cox Kapp, TM1 Kimbrell, STM 1 Raby and WT 2 Smith.

This is the best I can do.


Hammann Roster

From Marty
May 21, 2020

As for Barrett Tillmans question about Hammann, Im kind of a Hammann Buff.. The book “Screened her going down” by Norman Shaw is the main read on the Hammann. I have a website dedicated to the Hammann and have a few family members of Hammann survivors and non survivors. I posted a Hammann survivors interview a few years ago here from Joe Sannes.

From James Sanes
May23, 2020

Hi This is regarding a person’s request about the Hammann’s roster at the end of the most recent newsletter.

My father, Joseph Sanes, served on the USS Hammann during both Coral Sea and Midway.

He passed away five years ago and I now have many of his papers.

Included in those are the “Muster Roll of Officers and Crew” June 10, 1942. It’s a copy of a micro fiche so at some point when Covid is under control, I can get you a copy.

Feel free to contact me if you are looking for a specific name or names.

Jay Sanes

Editors Note:  Yes when time and opportunity permits it might be nice to add that to the documents on the RoundTable.  Appreciate the offer.

US Aircraft Designations

From Paul O. Sanchez
May 14, 2020

Thank you sir for these great emails from the BOM Round Table. Can’t help but read every word. Not being an aviator, some the acronyms used puzzle me. Wonder if there is a source I can look to for clarification. Such as TBD and VFX SB2U, etc.

As I mention before, my father was part of PBY crew during the War and was stationed at Pearl Harbor. He passed recently at 99 years of age. I once brought him a picture of the red and white tower at Ford Island taken when I was visiting. It brought him into deep thought and remembrance of his time there.

And as I mentioned before, I would be happy to contribute to any fund to further your publication and notices.

I have read Rendezvous at Midway, and Shattered Sword. I have a couple more to read. I ordered books that Mitsuo Fuchida wrote to see what was in their minds during the entire war.

This battle was fascinating and pivotal.

Thank you

Editors Note:  Glad you like it and are finding it interesting. Yes some of the acronyms are jargon used to abbreviate. Most of us know the reference but don't realize others may not. TB for instance is the Navy designation for Torpedo Bomber, i.e. TBD1. Basically labeled TBD1's because there was only one production run of 129 aircraft before the war and none subsequently ordered.  It was replaced by the TBF Avenger just coming into service during the battle when 6 of them flew from Hawaii to Midway and took part in the battle. All were lost, 5 over the Japanese fleet, and one a total loss when it returned to Midway. SB2U is again the Navy designation for the Vindicator. It was the dive bomber in service in the 1930's and replaced by the Dauntless during the summer of 1941 although some were still on carriers when the war broke out. I believe Ranger carried them for a couple months after war broke out.  The SB in its designation is for Scout Bomber similar to the SBD but designed and deployed somewhat earlier and was being replaced by the SBD when the war broke out.

As for books I would highly recommend 'Incredible Victory' by Walther Lord. Published in the late 60's right around the time ' Rendezvous at Midway' was published it was the first book that I read on Midway and after that Midway became my life long study. Lords wife was Japanese and he traveled to Japan to interview Japanese pilots and personnel so had a traveling translater with him at all times. The book also reads more like a novel which is much more engaging than some of the dry histories that were forced upon us as kids in history class. He was also the first one to put forth the notion that the Yorktown attacked the Soryu, not the Kaga, as she was credited with for many years with some analysis at the end of the book. It was highly controversial as none of the Yorktown airmen wanted to be known for attacking a small second line carrier. Soryu was far from that but the pre war Japanese classification as well as the perception and still classified documents somewhat hid what really happend at Midway for many years.

Your story about your father reminds me of mine. Many years ago I had a free trip to Hawaii for two. Long story but the companies my stores purchase goods from had giveaways for selling so much of their products. At any rate I couldn't find anyone that wanted the extra ticket (between girlfriends or something back then) so I asked my father if he'd like to go with me. My mother had passed away a few years prior and I thought it would be a nice trip. He politely turned me down saying 'Thanks for the offer but I'll decline. Last time I was there they were shooting at me.'

Yes sometimes we forget but they never do.

The B-26 on Midway

From Santiago A Flores
May 15, 2020

A question about the USAAC Martin B-26's that were flown during the battle of Midway, need to locate and confirm the aircraft serial numbers,

Capt. James F Collins B-26 69thBS      
Lt. Watson B-26 69thBS 41-17570   shot-down
Lt. Mayes B-26 18th RS 40-1424 Satan playmante shot-down
Lt. Muri B-26 18th RS 40-1391 Suzy-Q  

Reportedly Lt. Muri and Capt. Collins aircraft were badly shot up and both aircraft written off, and probably dumped in Midway Lagoon.

Santiago A Flores.

Editors Note:  From what I gather you have all the information correct but are missing the serial number for the B-26 flown by Capt. Collins.  I know I have the serial number for that aircraft somewhere but just can't locate it.  Maybe someone else has the number handy.

Picture of SBD's in Flight

From Tom Doll
May 17, 2020

I noticed on page 9/9 of the April 2020 newsletter a comment regarding a photo of some VS- 6 SBD's in flight. The exact date was unknown. You will notice an SBD that, in the photo, appears just beneath the starboard wing of another SBD, this SBD was being flown by Lt. Hart Dale Hilton with Jack Leaming in the rear seat. Dale Hilton was a 30 year friend of mine. We were both members of a Navy organization called "Two-Block Fox". On the day that photo was taken VS-6 was on a routine formation flying session. There were many photos taken that day according to Dale. Those photos were shot of 27 October 1941.  I believe that's when we used to celebrate what was called "Navy Day.' If my old memory is right then I would assume the flight of the VS-6 SBD's had something to do with that day.  He was flying "6-S-7" that day. I always looked forward to seeing Dale each month at our meetings. I still miss him. He and Jack were shot down on the Marcus Island raid of 4 March 1942 and were POW's the rest of the war.

I have been good friends in the past who were there during the battle. Marion Carl and I were good friends as were Howard Packard (VF-6) and Don Kirkpatrick (VS-8). " Pack", myself and four others started Two Block Fox with about 40 members. Also knew Hamilton Lawrence, Bruce Porter and John Thach. I once interviewed "Pappy" Boyington at his home but his wife would not allow a tape recorder in the house so I had to have him answer my questions, etc, on a piece of paper. I was then working at Flying Tiger Lines in Burbank and knew a lot of the pilots who knew him in China. Great group of men.

I had the pleasure of meeting Jack at the Planes of Fame USS ENTERPRISE building dedication at Ed Maloney;s museum in 2002 in Ontario, CA. Both men were outstanding people to know. I'm proud to have had the privilege to be called their friend. Re "Two Block Fox"... I have the honor of being one of the "plankowners" of the squadron. there are only 2 of us left. At one time I had the honor of being TBF's Chaplain.

I look forward to seeing the newsletter each month.

Tom Doll

From Den Reilly
May 14, 2020

Regarding Mr. Whelton's question: I believe that the squadron number was also removed from the aircraft side, in accordance with the same directive that removed the red roundel and rudder stripes. I'll look for a document to confirm that.

Editors Note:  Yes according to one of the most famous pictures from the battle the squadron number was painted out.  But I believe the squadron numbers were removed when the war started so the Japanese would not be able to tell what carrier the aircraft were operating from.  So they were long gone by the time the red circles and rudder stripes were painted out.

78th Anniversary info from the Navy

From Al de Lachica
June 4, 2020

Was searching for info about the 78th anniversary of the BOM and was directed to the Navy page about it. Interesting to see how the Navy is treating the battle after all these years…

78th Anniversary info from the Navy

Al de Lachica

Editors Note:  Certainly some interesting information here for communications from the Navy regarding the battle.

Announcements and Questions

Launch times of Enterprise and Hornet

From Pat
May 17, 2020

Attack on Hiryu carrier afternoon; Enterprise launched 1530; Hornet launched 1612. Why the difference?? Spruance said launch. I can not find a reason for the difference. Any knowledge?

Editors Note:  The reason is a little more complicated than just launching when the commander of the task for says so.  Hornet had a lot of problems with air operations during the battle and this was no exception.  First of all she had few aircraft left.  All the Torpedo Bombers were gone, half her dive bombers diverted to Midway after the failied search and 10 of her fighters ditched after failing to locate Hornet when returning.  A number of her Scouting 8 dive bombers were all she had left and they had returned somewhat disorganized after a long and frustrating morning.  This was also the first chance she had in a battle and lack of experience showed.  It took a little longer to ready her strike than Enterprise was willing to wait.

Also remember for the most part a good number of SBD's made it back to Enterprise and she also had 14 of Yorktown's SBD's from the morning strike onboard that diverted to Enterprise when they found Yorktown under attack.  The Enterprise and Yorktown aircraft were in much better shape and experience wise the aircraft handling crew on Enterprise had been doing this for 6 months.  They were just faster.

Midway 2019 - chewing gum

From John Mattson
May 14, 2020

My father, LtC Edward Duran Mattson USN ret VF3/42 Annapolis 1939, mentioned a lot about chewing gum when I was young. Basically all flight crews chewed gum to help "popping" the ears, AND because you could not smoke. He hated Juicy Fruit because there was one airplane with a strong odor to its fluids and Juicy Fruit was the only thing that would cover the smell. I can remember traveling in DC-3's in the '50s and -60s and right after take-off the stewardess would come thru with Chiclets for everyone. So, yes, diving from andels 20 your ears would need all the help they could get.

PS remember Chuck Yeager asking for a stick of Beemans before getting into the Bell X-1 in the movie "The Right Stuff".

-John Mattson