Roundtable Forum
Our 23rd Year
June 2020

In this issue.

Roundtable Opening Remarks
Memories of Midway
78th BOM Anniversary Commemorated Online
Tom Doll and Dale Hilton
Waldron tribute video
US Cruiser Scout Planes and Medals of Honor
Passing of VADM Ralph Weymouth, USN (Ret.)
Torpedo 8
Announcements and Questions
The Battle of Midway Roundtable Opening Remarks

Good summer to everyone.  Hope all are well and taking care.  This month we have a some memories Col John F. Miniclier has graciously provided.  I am always glad to get his emails and will share.

Ron Russell provides some thoughts on the 78th BOM Online presentation.  If you have not watched it there is a link to the YouTube video.  It is very good.  I had the good fortune to be able to tune in and watch it live and enjoyed every minute. 

We have a number of other good articles and one on VADM Ralph Weymouth who passed away recently.  He was with VS-3 during the battle.  VS-3 was the one squadron retained by Saratoga when she returned to the west coast for repairs after the torpedo damage in January.  VS-3, VB-3, and VT-3 were all off loaded at Pearl Harbor and would later replace Yorktown's depleted squadrons after Coral Sea.  So he did not diretly participate in the battle but departed Pearl Harbor with Saratoga on June 7th to reinforce the two carriers still on station.  Close enough.  I think you'll find his life and contribution to the Navy and the battles in the Pacific worth the read.

As always stay safe and enjoy.

Memories of Midway

From Col John F. Miniclier
July 1, 2020

I have written before about the TIME I was on Midway and how I got there in September 1941. I joined the United States Marine Corp during October 1940, as a Private with 21 dollars a month, as pay. Went thru boot camp at MCRD, San Diego, California. Assigned to the the 2nd Defense Battalion, and it changed to the 6th Defense Battalion which Sailed to Honolulu, Territory of Hawaii, during late 1941, on the USS Wharton. The same ship took us to Midway Island and we arrived there September 1941 and relived the 3rd Defense Battalion. We continued to work on installing equipment which required many sand bags to be filled for their protection. Civilian contractors were busy building barracks and other facilities on Sand Island. Midway Atoll is made up of two major islands, the larger Sand Island and smaller, Eastern Island. Most pictures of the atoll make Eastern as the bigger island.

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor we went under ground wherever possible. On December 7th two Japanese ships fired on us later in that day but reaction by the island gunners drove them off with little, if any, damage to either island. Recently, ANOTHER HISTORIAN wrote that the Sand Island Hangers were shelled by the two ships.  That, to me, is a false report. The Sand Island sea plane hangers were destroyed on 4 June 1942 by one high flight of 30 Japanese planes.

On or about 4 JUNE, 1942 Eastern Island was crowded with about 150 planes and all true PBY amphibians used the lagoon and seaplane ramp near the hangers for repairs and refueling. The S/L control tower that I and another Marine were on during all of 4 June 1942 was reported by Ron Russell from my early report and is still valid. Our powerful mounted binoculars gave us a fair view of all air planes activity. Going to and from Eastern Island and they stayed clear of Sand Island at take off and return because the mix of our planes and that of the enemy planes..

The best reports came from our pilots who had made knee pad entries. We were to learn that Eastern Island had poor coordination and communication control of all the different air planes, Navy, Army Air Corps, Marines.

As a sergeant I moved to Eastern Island in late 1942 and was in charge of two positions.

I will say a little about John Ford but point out that he lived with us in the Sand Island power plant the short time he was on the Atoll and never visited Easter Island and posed all pictures he took.

To me the million dollar picture was FLOP.

In a few days I will be 99 years old and the next day my wife of 74 years, will be 98. So this OLD Colonel will say THANKS for all you do and keep up the BOM, I am part of IT. My daughter Peggy helped me make it to, two wonderful reunions on MIDWAY>>


Editors Note:  Col. Miniclier I am always happy to hear from you.  Thanks again for taking the time to write.  It is always appreciated.  And each time I learn a little more about the battle and how things were.  I know you took the time to supply the movie people with an accurate account of John Fords time on the island and it is a pity they didn't think the accurate portrait of him was what they wanted to shoot.  But that goes for some of my recommendations as well.  I'm just glad they actually did take quite a few of my corrections and fix the script in places.

As for me the movie was highly disappointing, not so much from the script because I read it before I saw the movie, but rather from the visuals and CGI which as I've said before was possibly the easiest thing to get right because you are litterly drawing the airplanes.  But the movie really wasn't about Midway.  It just happened to be the ending.

78th BOM Anniversary Commemorated Online

From Ron Russell
June 7, 2020

With the confounding conditions we must endure this year, it was necessary to cancel or scale down the usual BOM anniversary commemorations. But the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum still pulled off a remarkably good event by hosting an online webinar on June 5th that featured two of the Roundtable’s primary author/historians, plus a USN admiral who may be familiar to our long-term members. He is Brian Fort, whom we first learned of in 2006 when he became champion for a maximizing the Navy’s annual Midway observances. He was the CO of a destroyer then, and joined us shortly thereafter—one of his contributions to the Roundtable Forum can be found here (scroll down):

Today Rear Admiral Fort is the commander of U.S. Naval Forces, Japan, and is arguably one of the very best military spokesmen for the BOM. His participation on the webinar was outstanding, demonstrating a knowledge of the subject at a level well above what we often see from guest speakers at such events. The Aviation Museum could hardly have made a better choice for the task.

Unless it was for the other two guys, Craig Symonds and Jon Parshall, who together are responsible for the BOM’s two top references. For anyone new to the Roundtable who may not already know this, read Craig’s The Battle of Midway first, then Shattered Sword by Jon and his coauthor Tony Tully, and you’ll have the most accurate understanding of both sides of the BOM that can you can get in print. (For more on the books, click the References link at the top of our home page, then The Midway Library.)

With those three experts to draw from, the webinar was exceptionally successful, a very respectable substitute for the in-person celebration we would have preferred. You can watch it on Youtube here:

It runs rather long, about an hour and a half, but should be of high interest to our members due to the three principals’ connection to the Roundtable. The attached photo set is from a screenshot during the program.

From Dennis Reilly
June 10, 2020

Thank you for sending the youtube link. I watched the entire 1.5-hour video and consider it to be time well spent. Three cheers to RADM Fort and to all of the presenters. Craig Symonds' and Jon Parshall's well prepared segments were outstanding, as were their responses to Q & A. As we know, they have made significant contributions to the record. I look forward to reading the new Nimitz bio.

Over the years, Fletcher has had more than his share of detractors and back-shooters. Thanks to Dr. Symonds, for pointing out that Nimitz suggested the morning fan search by Yorktown's VS squadron. Thanks, also, for indicating that Ring (CHAG) was likely directed by Mitscher to fly course 265-T. The "flight to nowhere" is a compelling issue.

Minor Nit Pics:

For the benefit of our newer members: McClusky was Commander Enterprise Air Group (CEAG) at the time.

I thought it was Bowen Weisheit (THE LAST FLIGHT OF ENSIGN C. MARKLAND KELLY) who first suggested a 265-deg. course for the HAG. My apologies to John Lundstrom, whom I hold in very high regard, if I got that one wrong.

Re Q&A:

LANGLEY (AV-3) was no longer a carrier (CV-1) when lost. She had been converted to a Seaplane Tender. She may have also performed some Sub Tender chores, but now I'm just speculating.

Along with the 6-5-20 PH Aviation Museum's webinar was a recommend reading list. I would add " `A GLORIOUS PAGE IN OUR HISTORY,' The Battle of MIDWAY 4-6 June 1942," by: Robt. Cressman, Steve Ewing, Barrett Tillman, Mark Horan, Clark Reynolds and Stan Cohen.  First published in 1990 by Pictorial Histories Publishing Co. of Missoula, MT, it has many captioned photos. It is very well written, as one might guess after a glance at the list of contributing authors.


Best Regards,

Editors Note:  This was one of the best presentations on the Battle of Midway.  If you have the time, or can make the time, it is well worth watching.  I was fortunate enough to be able to watch the whole presentation live.  Think they had quite a few tune in.

Tom Doll and Dale Hilton

From Richard Douglass
June 7, 2020

Long time Roundtable reader here . . .

Read with interest Tom Doll's comments on the Enterprise SBD photo and Dale Hilton. I knew Mr. Hilton back in the 1990s. I must say he was an inspiring man to know, and fit the classic definition of a perfect gentleman. This is a little off topic for the Midway group, but may be of interest to many group members.

I had no knowledge of Captain Hilton's background when I went to visit him for the first time around 1997. He was the second CO of VP-4, (Patrol Squadron 4) during May 1949-October 1950, and I was putting together the story of the squadron for our 1998 reunion. I noticed a model of an SBD sitting on a table and asked him about it. He proceeded to tell me, as if it was no big deal, how he was in the air on December 7th, flying an SBD in from the Enterprise to Pearl Harbor, and flew right into the attack. He said he and the other pilots had no radio warning, and no clue until seeing the meatball on Japanese planes. Needless to say I was thrilled to hear the story directly from him. He referred me to Robert J. Cressman's fine book Steady Nerves and Stout Hearts: The Enterprise CVG Air Group and PearlHarbor, 7 December, 1941, which I highly recommend.

Even further off topic is the story of Captain Tom Pollock, who was the first CO of VP-4. In our first conversation I cluelessly asked him if he had been in other patrol squadrons before coming to VP-4. He proceeded to tell me about flying PBY-4s in the Philippines when the Japanese attacked. He made it out to Australia on a submarine, but in early 1942 was asked to fly a rescue mission back to the Manilla area as it was falling to the Japanese. He successfully completed the 3,000 mile round trip mission, mostly in enemy held territories, and brought his passengers to safety. If I recall correctly, MacArthur himself gave Pollock his Silver Star. This story and many others is told in the book, In the Hands of Fate: The Story of Patrol Wing Ten, 8 December 1941-11 May 1942 by Dwight R. Messier. A great read, and again highly recommended.

It was a great privilege to know these two men, and I was blessed to hear of their experiences first hand. Perhaps Roundtable readers will not mind being led astray a bit to read about these two fine pilots.

Richard Douglass

Editors Note:  Not at all.  We can stray a bit now and then to recount some other pilots who although may not be directly involved in the Battle of Midway nonetheless were just as important.

Waldron tribute video

From Barrett Tillman
June 7, 2020

Filmed this 3 years ago, just released. I contributed because the program benefited S Dakota veterans.

OGTA #11 - South Dakota Warrior: the John Waldron Story

Editors Note:  John Mollison is an artist and film maker dedicated to Old Guys and Their Airplanes which is also the name of his website .

First of all his drawings are superb.  He gets details on each drawing as close to the real aircraft as humanly possible.  But each aircraft drawing has a story behind it and the pilot.  And in many cases a short film about the pilot and his airplane.  This film was done some years ago and I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Mollison for lunch one afternoon just prior to shooting this film.  If you have never watched this short film on John Waldron I recommend you take the time.  Only about 20 minutes.  Here is Mr. Mollison's drawing of John Waldron's aircraft on the morning of June 4, 1942.

US Cruiser Scout Planes and Medals of Honor

From Thomas Rychlik
June 9, 2020

Due to my retirement in September 2018 and Covid I was finally able to finish a number of home improvement projects so I turned my attention to rereading both Lundstrom books on the First Team and reading Hone’s book. Having read every other book on Midway that appears on the website, I feel I have a good understanding of why and how the Japanese used their battleship and cruiser float planes: They were so committed to using all their carrier bombers for strikes that they consistently relied upon their cruiser float planes for scouting, even if these resources were insufficient in number or incapable of performing this mission as well as their Kate’s or Judy’s. This bit them on the butt a few times. However, I cannot think of any author who has talked about the use of US cruiser float planes as scouts for the carriers. Routinely Fletcher and other US admirals devoted significant numbers of SBDs for this mission, which reduced the number of aircraft they could use for strikes.

The Seagull SOC only had a range of 675 miles but since the SBDs were usually only sent out 200 miles, that should have been sufficient. It’s not clear to me as to when the Navy switched to SO3C Seamews but many of the float planes on the cruisers at Midway were SO3Cs which had a range of 1150 miles and an endurance of 8 hours! Seems to me integrating the float planes unto the searches would have helped reduce the amount of attack planes used for scouting and increased the numbers of attack planes used for strike. My expectation is that the float planes were used for close in antisubmarine patrols but if they were, why were additional SBDs and TBDs used for this mission? I’ll admit that I have not read many books on carrier battles post Santa Cruz so maybe the US Navy figured this out and made changes later on.

Returning to my initial sentence I finally have the time to devote my attention to a new project. I have long felt that the Commanding Officers of the torpedo squadrons (Waldron, Massey, Lindsey, Henderson) and the Officers in Charge of the B26s (Collins) and TBFs (Fieberling) that attacked the Kido Butai without significant or ANY fighter support should have been awarded Medals of Honor instead of Navy Crosses (NC). I believe that every bomber pilot that participated in any of the strikes against the Japanese at Midway received the NC but without the leadership displayed by their commanders before and during the battle, these attacks would not have been pressed to their limit. Consequently these commanders are worthy of a higher award.

Would it be possible for you to query the members of the BOM website for any information or resources on previous attempts to upgrade these awards and for other volunteers who might want to participate? From what I can tell from other upgraded awards I don’t believe there is a statute of limitations for something like this.

Major Thomas Rychlik USMC (Ret)

Edit: A little further research. Apparently the Kingfisher OS2U was the actual replacement for the SOC. It still had a range of 900 miles.

Editors Note: This might bring some interesting discussion but from what I've read there were several factors. Remember when the aircraft carrier was introduced to the fleet its main duty was to scout for the fleet. In that regard they needed a carrier borne scout. The Navy designed and had build purpose build scout bombers. So much of the late 20's and all of the 30's that was the primary role of the aircraft carrier. I don't know if the Navy ever seriously considered using the float planes from the support ships as scouts. But interesting topic.

Passing of VADM Ralph Weymouth, USN (Ret.)

From Clark Whelton
June 11, 2020


Fellow Flag Officers,

It is with deep regret I inform you of the passing of Vice Admiral Ralph Weymouth, U.S. Navy (Retired) on 22 January 2020 at age 102. He was the oldest living graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, graduating in 1938, and serving as an aviator until his retirement in 1973 as the Director of Research, Development, Test and Evaluation in the Office of the CNO. He was awarded the Navy Cross and five Distinguished Flying Crosses as an SBD Dauntless dive-bomber pilot and skipper of Bombing SIXTEEN (VB-16) in twelve major combat operations in World War II, including the “Flight Beyond Darkness” in the Battle of the Philippine Sea. He was also the commander of VF-112 and CVG-11, embarked on USS PHILIPPINE SEA (CVA-47) during the critical defense of the Pusan Perimeter and the Inchon landings in the early days of Korean War. He later held command of seaplane tender DUXBURY BAY (AVP-38) and ASW carrier LAKE CHAMPLAIN (CVS-39,) including the recovery of the first U.S. Mercury program space flight. He also commanded Iceland Defense Force, ASW Group ONE/THREE, and Fleet Air Wing FIVE.

Ralph Weymouth entered the U.S. Naval Academy in 1934. He graduated and was commissioned an ensign on 2 June 1938. Ensign Weymouth then went to sea, transiting the Atlantic on an oiler and then serving first as Catapult Officer on the light cruiser OMAHA (CL-4) deployed to the Mediterranean in Squadron 37-T. In June 1939, Ensign Weymouth served successively on the destroyer JACOB JONES (DD-130) and light cruiser TRENTON (CL-11) serving as part of Squadron 40-T, standing by to evacuate U.S. citizens from Spain during the Spanish Civil War, operating out of French ports until the German invasion. He was commended for his part in evacuating U.S. citizens and foreign refugees from Barcelona, Spain. TRENTON returned to the U.S. in August 1940 with the royal family of Luxembourg embarked after their country had been overrun by the Nazis. Having completed his required two years at sea in the surface fleet, Lieutenant (junior grade) Weymouth transferred to aviation, commencing flight training at NAS Pensacola and then at Opa Locka, Florida. He was designated a Naval Aviator in February 1941.

In March 1941, Lieutenant (junior grade) Weymouth reported to Scouting Squadron THREE (VS-3) as it transitioned to the new Douglas SBD Dauntless dive-bomber and awaited carrier SARATOGA (CV-3) to complete a modernization. SARATOGA got underway from San Diego upon news of the 7 December 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, with Carrier Air Group THREE (CVG-3) embarked (VF-3, VB-3, VS-3 and VT-3.) LTJG Weymouth flew into Ford Island only three days after the attack and witnessed the destruction. He was aboard SARATOGA during the aborted attempt to rescue the U.S. Marine garrison on Wake Island in late December 1941, and when SARATOGA was subsequently hit and damaged by a torpedo from Japanese submarine I-6 on 11 January 1942. VS-3 remained on SARATOGA as she returned to the west coast for repair. The other SARATOGA squadrons went ashore and would ultimately fill out YORKTOWN’s air group due to losses in the Battle of the Coral Sea and would fight in the Battle of Midway. The repaired SARATOGA, with VS-3 embarked, arrived in Pearl Harbor the day after the Battle of Midway.

On 7 August 1942, Lieutenant Weymouth dropped the first bomb in SARATOGA’s surprise dawn attack on the Japanese airfield under construction on Guadalcanal, just prior to the U.S. amphibious landings, for which he earned his first of five Distinguished Flying Crosses (DFC.) In late August he participated in the third major carrier versus carrier engagement of the war, the Battle of the Eastern Solomons. LT Weymouth’s long-range search for the Japanese carrier RYUJO was unsuccessful and he had to land at Guadalcanal due to low fuel and awful weather, meanwhile other SARATOGA aircraft found and sank RYUJO. He received an Air Medal for his role in the battle. LT Weymouth was on SARATOGA when she was torpedoed by Japanese submarine I-26 on 29 August 1942 and put out of action for the second time in the war. However, LT Weymouth was part of a detachment of VS-3 that operated for the next six weeks in extremely austere and dangerous conditions from Henderson Airfield on Guadalcanal, including surviving “All Hell’s Eve,” the bombardment of Henderson Field by Japanese battleships KONGO and HARUNA on 13 October 1942. He earned his second DFC in action against two Japanese light cruisers, 14 destroyers and six transports during the Japanese attempt to resupply their forces on Guadalcanal, coincident with the Battle of Santa Cruz in late October 1942. He was also entitled to wear the Presidential Unit Citation awarded to the First Marine Division on Guadalcanal.

Leaving Guadalcanal many pounds lighter in November 1942, LT Weymouth returned to the States to become Executive Officer of Bombing Squadron SIXTEEN (VB-16) which would end up as one of the last two squadrons flying the SBD Dauntless from fleet carriers in the war, and embarked on the second USS LEXINGTON (CV-16,) a new Essex-class carrier. Lieutenant Commander Weymouth was awarded his third DFC during strikes on Wake Island in September 1943 and Tarawa on October 1943, and he fleeted up to command of VB-16 in October 1943. He earned his second Air Medal for strikes on Kwajalein and was aboard LEXINGTON when she was hit by a torpedo during a Japanese night counter air attack on 4 December 1943 and put out of action. Following repairs, LEXINGTON returned to operations in the Central Pacific. LCDR Weymouth earned his fourth DFC during strikes on Palau and Wolaei on 30 March/1 April 1944. He earned his fifth DFC as the strike leader for a multi-carrier 300-plus plane strike on the Japanese stronghold at Truk on 29 April 1944 (the second major carrier raid on Truk.)

On the first day of the Battle of the Philippine Sea (19 June 1944) all bombers were launched from the U.S. carriers to clear the decks as the Hellcat fighters engaged in the “Great Marianas Turkey Shoot,” and LCDR Weymouth led his squadron in strikes on Guam. Late the next afternoon, VADM Mitscher (Commander of the Fast Carrier Task Force – TF-58) ordered a very long-range strike against the retreating Japanese carriers, knowing the recovery would be after nightfall, for which almost none of the aircrews were trained. LCDR Weymouth led the LEXINGTON group of about 18 SBD dive-bombers, 6 TBF torpedo-bombers, and 15 fighters on what would become known as the “Mission Beyond Darkness.” Weymouth passed up attacking the Japanese oiler force and led his group in a twilight strike on the Japanese carrier force, with most of his planes attacking the carrier HIYO. Although his bomb missed by about 15-feet, causing damage, another bomb from LEXINGTON aircraft wiped out HIYO’s bridge and she was shortly thereafter fatally hit by torpedoes from another carrier air group.

Due to the long range and critical fuel state, LCDR Weymouth had to lead his group back through the intense anti-aircraft fire of the Japanese carrier force and fight off Japanese fighter aircraft. VADM Mitscher famously ordered the lights of the U.S. carriers turned on to aid the returning strike. Almost all the SBD’s made it back, while many of the newer SB2C Helldivers in other carrier air groups were forced to ditch. LCDR Weymouth and most of LEXINGTON’s air group recovered on LEXINGTON, although some were forced to recover on other carriers; LEXINGTON’s air group lost three aircraft and one crew on the mission. LCDR Weymouth was awarded the Navy Cross, and in August 1944 was returned to the States to train more dive-bomber pilots, having fought in 12 major combat engagements. VB-16 was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation.

Between August 1944 and June 1946, LCDR Weymouth served as Training Officer in VSB-1 and Dive Bombing Training Officer on the staff of Commander Naval Operational Training. In June 1946 he reported to the Naval Post-graduate School in Monterey as a student, followed by additional study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he was awarded a Master of Science in Aeronautical Engineering in September 1949. He then reported as Navigator on the carrier KEARSARGE (CV-33) for a Mediterranean Deployment and then a transfer from her homeport of Quonset Point to Puget Sound where she commenced a major modification.

In April 1950, Commander Weymouth assumed command of Fighter Squadron ONE ONE TWO (VF-112,) just as it transitioned to the new F9F Panther straight-wing jet fighter. Carrier PHILIPPINE SEA (CV-47) was scheduled to deploy to the Western Pacific in October 1950, but with the North Korean invasion of South Korea in late June 1950, her departure was accelerated to 5 July, and she became the third carrier (after VALLEY FORGE (CV-45) and HMS TRIUMPH) to arrived off Korea. VF-112 completed transition training en route and engaged in combat on 5 August 1950, supporting the desperate battle of the Pusan Perimeter in which North Korean forces nearly pushed the remaining South Korean Army and the U.S. Army into the sea. On 7 August, CDR Weymouth’s damaged Panther crashed into the sea off the bow of PHILIPPINE SEA (and there is a famous photo of him standing on the cockpit of his still floating jet awaiting rescue. NARA 80-G-420687)

CDR Weymouth then fleeted up to command of Carrier Air Group ELEVEN (CVG-11) on PHILIPPINE SEA for the major amphibious assault at Inchon, the first engagement with North Korean MiG-15 jet fighters (flying from Communist China, a MiG-15 was damaged by a VF-112 fighter,) and the massive Chinese invasion that routed the U.S. Army and led to the U.S. Marines’ fighting retreat at Chosin Reservoir and evacuation from Hungnam, and finally stopping the Chinese advance into South Korea. PHILIPPINE SEA returned to the U.S. in April 1951 and was awarded a Naval Unit Commendation and CDR Weymouth was awarded a Bronze Star.

Commencing in June 1951, CDR Weymouth served as the Weapons Officer on the staff of Commander Air Force Pacific and as the Navy liaison officer to the Joint Operations Center for the 5th Air Force and 8th Army. In January 1952 he reported as a student to the Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk, VA and then to the Bureau of Navy Weapons in the Navy Department, Washington DC as VF (Fighter) Design Branch Head. In July 1954, he reported to the staff of Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet as Aviation Readiness Officer. He then returned to the U.S. Naval Academy as Head of the Department of Aviation, with additional duty as Sail Training Officer.

In June 1959, Captain Weymouth assumed command of the seaplane tender DUXBURY BAY (AVP-38,) deploying to the Persian Gulf as the command ship for U.S. Middle East Force, including a port visit to Karachi, Pakistan in December 1959 in conjunction with a visit by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. In August 1960, he assumed command of the ASW carrier LAKE CHAMPLAIN (CVS-39,) an Essex-class carrier that had not been converted to angle-deck configuration. LAKE CHAMPLAIN was selected as the primary recovery ship for the first Mercury Program manned space launch, a sub-orbital flight by Commander Alan B. Shepard, Jr., USN, on 5 May 1961 in “Freedom 7;” he and the capsule were picked up by LAKE CHAMPLAIN-embarked helicopters.

Between July 1961 and June 1962, Captain Weymouth was a student at the National War College in Washington D.C., before assuming duty as the Northern NATO Desk Officer in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs. In February 1964 he was assigned to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations as Assistant for Advanced Technology.

In January 1965, Rear Admiral Weymouth assumed command of the Iceland Defense Force, with additional duty as Commander Barrier Force Atlantic and Commander Fleet Air Keflavik, where he was awarded a Legion of Merit for innovative ASW operations against early Soviet ballistic nuclear missile submarines transiting the Greenland-Iceland-United Kingdom Gap en route operations in the Western Atlantic.

In February 1967, RADM Weymouth assumed command of Anti-Submarine Group ONE, embarked on ASW carrier YORKTOWN (CVS-10). While en route to the Gulf of Tonkin, the YORKTOWN Group was diverted on short notice to the Sea of Japan, in reaction to the North Korean seizure of the intelligence collection ship PUEBLO (AGER-2,) providing ASW and search and rescue (SAR) support to the large U.S. naval force in the Sea of Japan, for which he was awarded his second Legion of Merit. The YORTOWN Group then proceeded to the Gulf of Tonkin providing ASW and SAR support to U.S. carriers at Yankee Station and U.S. ships on the gunline and in Operation Market Time until YORKTOWN departed for the States in June 1968. He then shifted his flag to ASW carrier BENNINGTON (CVS-20) as Commander ASW Group THREE, continuing operations in the Gulf of Tonkin/South China Sea. RADM Weymouth then assumed command of Fleet Air Wing FIVE, based in Norfolk but flying P-3 Orion detachments out of Sangley Point, Philippines in support of U.S. Navy operations off Vietnam, and where he earned a third Legion of Merit.

In December 1970, RADM Weymouth assumed duty as Director, Navy Program Planning in the Office of the CNO. In January 1971, he was promoted to Vice Admiral and subsequently became the Director of Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) for the CNO until his retirement on 1 January 1973.

Vice Admiral Weymouth’s awards include, the Navy Cross, Legion of Merit (3,) Distinguished Flying Cross (5,) Air Medal (two gold stars,) Bronze Star, Presidential Unit Citation, Navy Unit Commendation, American Defense Service medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (with two 2 silver and two bronze stars,) American Campaign Medal, WWII victory Medal, National Defense Service Medal (2,) Korean Service Medal (with three stars,) United Nations Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Vietnam Service Medal (with two stars,) as well as French Legion of Honor and French Naval Aviation Wings, the Icelandic Order of the Falcon of the Degree Commander with star (the “White Falcon”,) National Order of Vietnam Fifth Class, Gallantry Cross with Palm (Vietnam) and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with Device.

Navy Cross: “The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Lieutenant Commander Ralph Weymouth, United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as a Pilot of a carrier-based Navy dive-bomber and Commanding Officer of Bombing Squadron SIXTEEN (VB-16,) attached to the USS LEXINGTON (CV-16,) in action against the enemy fleet in the vicinity of the East Philippine Sea on 20 June 1944. Lieutenant Commander Weymouth led a large strike group of planes from Air Group SIXTEEN in an attack on Japanese carrier forces which were beyond the safe range limits of his planes. His flight of dive-bombers scored seven direct hits on a large carrier not previously damaged and two direct hits on another. The torpedo bombers scored nine direct bomb hits on the carrier not previously damaged. He personally made a direct hit on the undamaged carrier. His attack resulted in the sinking of one carrier and the burning and probably sinking of another. The flight was under continuous aerial attack (even in the dives) for 25 minutes resulting in three planes shot down by enemy aircraft while his flight shot down four enemy planes. The return flight was made at night with the additional hazard of a night carrier landing, low on fuel and several damaged planes. His courage and disregard for his own safety were at all times keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.” (It should be noted that award citations are based on the best information available at the time but are not necessarily completely historically accurate.)

After his retirement in 1973, VADM Weymouth charted a very different path. Profoundly moved by his visits to Nagasaki during the Korean War, he became an ardent and vocal anti-nuclear weapons activist, as well as a strong proponent of environmental conservation. He was an early leader in Veterans for Peace (not the same as the Veterans for Peace in Vietnam in 1967) founded in 1984 for the purpose of advocating for alternatives to war. He also devoted considerable time to his sailboat in Maine, and to his very large extended family.

Ralph Weymouth joined the U.S. Navy at age 17 to help his family through the Great Depression, not knowing he would be called upon to risk his life time and time again to defeat Fascist aggression. For three consecutive years and 12 major combat operations he demonstrated extraordinary valor in intense battle conditions. His calm leadership on the “Mission Beyond Darkness” contributed directly to the survival of so many of LEXINGTON’s Air Group, after having sunk a Japanese carrier. His role in the Korean War was critical, as the prompt arrival of the U.S. aircraft carriers was vital in halting the rapid North Korean advance in the first months of the war (Air Force fields in Korea were overrun and those in Japan were at extreme range.) He became a leader in U.S. anti-submarine warfare at a critical time of the expansion of the Soviet submarine fleet, both in numbers and operating areas, and a leader in developing advanced technologies that ultimately contributed to winning the Cold War. In his later years, his anti-war views were sometimes in opposition to U.S. policy, but after his experience in World War II and Korea, no one could claim he didn’t know what he was talking about, and he demonstrated the courage of his convictions. He was described by those who knew him as “an inspiration to all with his example of thoughtful, gentle and patient ways” and as someone who “left everything better than he found it.” I would argue that includes the U.S. Navy and our nation.

Rest in Peace Admiral Weymouth.

Very respectfully

I regret the late notice, but I only just learned of his passing. USNA Shipmate Magazine (April-May) got the word before anyone else did. My thanks to Shipmate.

Samuel J. Cox (SES)
Director of Naval History
Curator for the Navy
Director Naval History and Heritage Command

Editors Note:  While Mr. Weymouth did not directly participate in the Battle of Midway the other squadrons from Saratoga did.  Just so happens that VS-3 was retained on Saratoga while she returned to San Diego for repairs.  When completed on June 1st Nimitz ordered Saratoga to expediate her departure for Pearl Harbor arriving on June 6th.  She departed on June 7th with a ferry mission of 47 F4F's, 45 SBD's, 10 TBF's, and interestingly enough 5 TBD's, including her own airgroup.  Saratoga arrived north of Midway on June 8th and Fletcher came aboard and made Saratoga his flagship.  She then rendezvoused with Task Force 16 and transferred 19 SBD's, 5 TBD's, and the 10 TBF's to the other carriers.

Torpedo 8

From Bill Longton
June 17, 2020

I am wondering if someone can help me out with this. According to Robert Mrazek's book "A Dawn Like Thunder", Ensign Frederick Mears III (who was a member of VT-8) "...and two other replacement pilots who hadn't flown in the battle told them what they knew" (pp 194). Apparently, these 3 men were aboard the HORNET that day, but didn't fly the mission. Here is my question: who were the other two replacement pilots? I know that "Frenchie" Fayles was left behind when HORNET sailed from a "self-inflicted knife wound" in the leg (pp 47), who replaced him aboard ship (and consequently got killed in his place)? These are just interesting questions that keep popping up as I continue in my research, and I am hoping that a full, coplete roster of VT-8 could emerge from someplace someday. However, if you know any of the answers, it'd SURE be appreciated.

Bill Longton

(Edit) I found out it was Bob Miles who went in as Frenchy Fayles' replacement.

Editors Note:  Here you go. Spare pilots for Torpedo 8 on board Hornet during the battle.

Ensign Rudolph L. Karzmar
Ensign Robert A. Devine
Ensign Frederick C. Mears

Announcements and Questions

Action report fighting squadron three

From Brooke Blades
June 15, 2020

Thanks very much for posting numerous documents on your detailed web site. I am looking for copies of the letters prepared in June 1942 by Lt. Commander Thatch for Fighting Squadron Three on the Midway action. They are cited in contemporary sources as the squadron action report.

Best wishes,
Brooke S. Blades, Ph.D.

Lt. William J Casey

From Bill Casey
July 8, 2020

I’m looking for information about an AAC pilot named William J. Casey who ditched a two-engine plane during the Midway battle and was rescued by a sub. He went on to a storied career with the 8th Air Force.

Thank you.
Bill Casey

Torpedo 6

From Bill Longton
July 8, 2020

On 6/4/42 VT-6 was preparing to launch and at the last minute, one of the pilots TBD's had to be struck below decks and not make the mission due to mechanical issues. The 1-plane shortage caused Lt Cdr Jim Gray of VF-6 to mistakedly misidentify VT-8 as VT-6. So here is the question: do we know who that pilot and crew member/gunner was who did not make the mission with the rest of VT-6? Does anyone know his airplanes signature (even though I would assume it to be 6-T-15)? Thanks again for the help if you can find it. Looking forward to the next edition.

Bill Longton

Editors Note:  Enterprise, Hornet, and Yorktown left Pearl Harbor with 15 TBD's each.  They did not carry spares.  Yorktown had three that were unserviceable on the moring of June 4th so she only launched 12.  Hornet had all 15 on June 4th and launced all 15.  Enterprise lost one on the way to the battle when Eugene Lindsey made a bad landing on Enterprise and the TBD went over the side with Lindsey.  He and his rear seat man was rescued but the TBD was lost.  So on the morning of June 4th Enterprise only had 14 TBD's and launched all 14.

Jim Gray did follow VT-8 rather than VT-6 but it was more of a problem of knowing which formation was his.  He tried to follow both by weaving between the two but as they became further and further apart due to different courses eventually he had to pick one and chose VT-8.

VT-6 had three spare pilots on the morning of the 4th but I don't know who was left behind because Lindsey had recovered enough to fly that morning but here they are.  Maybe someone has more info.

Ensign Jamie S. Morris
Harry August Mueller
Thomas E. Schaeffer