Torpedo 8

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On June 4, 1942, the 30 members of VT-8, also called Torpedo Squadron 8 or just Torpedo 8, flying from USS Hornet (CV-8) launched a low-level attack against Japanese aircraft carriers at the Battle of Midway. They did not have any fighter escort.

Only Ensign George Gay returned from that attack.

But the actions of Torpedo 8, along with the other torpedo squadrons, VT-6 and VT-3, drew the Japanese Combat Air Patrol out of positions and expended much of their ammunition and fuel. When squadrons of American dive bombers appeared over the Japanese carriers, they were virtually unopposed. And they sank three of the carriers as a result.

Torpedo 8

Lt. Commander John C. Waldron
Lt. Raymond A. Moore
Lt. James C. Owens, Jr.
Lt.(jg) George M. Campbell
Lt.(jg) John P. Gray
Lt.(jg) Jeff D. Woodson
Ens. William W. Abercrombie
Ens. William W. Creamer
Ens. Harold J. Ellison
Ens. William R. Evans
Ens. Henry R. Kenyon
Ens. Ulvert M. Moore
Ens. Grant W. Teats
Robert B. Miles, Aviation Pilot 1c
Horace F. Dobbs, Chief Radioman
Amelio Maffei, Radioman 1
Tom H. Pettry, Radioman 1
Otway D. Creasy, Jr. Radioman 2
Ross H. Bibb, Jr., Radioman 2
Darwin L. Clark, Radioman 2
Ronald J. Fisher, Radioman 2
Hollis Martin, Radioman 2
Bernerd P. Phelps Radioman 2
As well L. Picou, Seaman 2
Francis S. Polston, Seaman 2
Max A. Calkins, Radioman 3
George A. Field, Radioman 3
Robert K. Huntington, Radioman 3
William F. Sawhill, Radioman 3

A very few remaining survivors of the Battle of Midway returned there for the anniversary. One of those men, William Tunstall, served on the USS Hornet as an aviation machinist mate 2nd class.

MIDWAY ATOLL – Holding their hands over their hearts, six veterans of the Battle of Midway stood as a Navy band played the national anthem to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the fight that marked a turning point in World War II.

About 1,800 people ventured to this remote atoll Monday to honor those who served in the U.S. victory on the atoll 1,300 miles northwest of Honolulu, including other veterans and relatives of those who died.

"We salute the fallen warriors of the Battle of Midway. We remember their great victory and tremendous sacrifice," said Adm. Robert F. Willard, the U.S. Pacific Fleet commander. "We honor them with our eternal vigilance and combat readiness."

William Tunstall, 87, an aviation machinist mate 2nd class on the USS Hornet on June 4, 1942, said he felt lonesome as he remembered those who died.

"I lost a lot of good friends," said Tunstall, of Portland, Ore.

The observance drew World War II veterans and their families, who sailed to Midway on a Princess Cruise Lines ship from Los Angeles. Another 100 or so were flying on a chartered plane from Honolulu.

Only a few dozen people live on the island now — mostly wildlife researchers and support staff at the U.S. Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. Endangered Hawaiian monk seals and threatened green sea turtles frequent the clear, blue waters of the atoll's lagoon, and hundreds of thousands of Laysan albatross nest where bombs once fell.

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One Response to Torpedo 8

  1. Chris says:

    Good to know someone remembers. Let’s not forget the Marines, flying their obsolete Brewster Buffaloes against the Japanese attack on the island, or the Air Corps bombers that caused no damage to Nagumo’s fleet, yet made him vacillate between equipping his aircraft for another attack on Midway or readying them for the as yet undiscovered American fleet.

    All those bombs, torpedoes, and fuel went up nicely when the Dauntlesses arrived.

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