Friday, September 1, 2017

Fw: TheList 4537

The List 4537

To All,
I hope you all have a great long weekend.
This Day In Naval History - September 1
1781 - French fleet traps British fleet at Yorktown, VA
1800: During the Quasi-War with France, the schooner, USS Experiment, commanded by Lt. Charles Stewart, captures the French privateer Deux Amix off Barbuda, West Indies.
1814: The sloop-of-war, USS Wasp, commanded by Johnston Blakely, sinks the British brig sloop, HMS Avon, south of Ireland.
1925 - Cmdr. John Rodgers and a crew of four in a PN-9 aircraft run out of fuel on the first San Francisco to Hawaii flight. Landing at sea, they rig a sail and set sail for Hawaii. On Sept. 10, they are rescued by the submarine USS R-4, 10 miles from Kaui, then Territory of Hawaii.
1941 - U.S. assumes responsibility for trans-Atlantic convoys from Argentia, Canada to the meridian of Iceland
1942 - Establishment of Air Force, Pacific Fleet, VADM Aubrey W. Fitch, USN
1942 - First Seabee unit to serve in a combat area, 6th Naval Construction Battalion, arrives on Guadalcanal.
1945 - USS Benevolence (AH-13) evacuates civilian internees from 2 internment camps near Tokyo, Japan
This Day In Naval History - September 2
1918 - Navy ships and crews assist earthquake victims of Yokohama and Tokyo, Japan
1940 - Destroyer-for-Bases agreement between U.S. and United Kingdom
1944: USS Finback (SS 230) rescues Lt. j.g. George H.W. Bush, who is shot down while attacking Chi Chi Jima. During this time, Lt. j.g. Bush serves with Torpedo Squadron Fifty One (VT 51) based on board USS San Jacinto (CVL 30). Lt. j.g. Bush later becomes the 41st President of the United States.
1945 - Japan signs surrender documents on board USS Missouri (BB-63) at anchor in Tokyo Bay. FADM Chester W. Nimitz, USN, signs for the U.S. In different ceremonies, Japanese forces on Palau Islands, Truk, and on Pagan Island and Rota in the Marianas surrender.
This Day In Naval History - September 3
1782 - As a token of gratitude for French aid during American Revolution, the U.S. gives America (first ship-of-the-line built by U.S.) to France to replace a French ship lost in Boston.
1783 - Signing of Treaty of Paris ends American Revolution
1885 - First classes at U.S. Naval War College begin
1925 - Crash of rigid airship Shenandoah near Byesville, OH
1943 - American landings on Lae and Salamaua
1943 The allies begin the invasion of mainland Italy under British General Sir Bernard Montgomery.
1944 - First combat employment of a missile guided by radio and television takes place when Navy drone Liberator, controlled by Ensign James M.
Simpson in a PV, flew to attack German submarine pens on Helgoland Island.
1945 - Japanese surrender Wake Island in ceremony on board USS Levy (DE-162)
Today in History
September 1
Nathaniel Bacon leads an uprising against English Governor William Berkeley at Jamestown, Virginia, resulting in the settlement being burned to the ground. Bacon's Rebellion came in response to the governor's repeated refusal to defend the colonists against the Indians.
Phillis Wheatley, a slave from Boston, publishes a collection of poetry, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, in London.
Aaron Burr is arrested in Mississippi for complicity in a plot to establish a Southern empire in Louisiana and Mexico.
William Becknell leads a group of traders from Independence, Mo., toward Santa Fe on what would become the Santa Fe Trail.
Protestant missionary Dr. Marcus Whitman leads a party to Oregon. His wife, Narcissa, is one of the first white women to travel the Oregon Trail. The Oregon Trail emigrants who chose to follow Stephen Meek thought his shortcut would save weeks of hard travel. Instead, it brought them even greater misery.
Confederate forces under General John Bell Hood evacuate Atlanta in anticipation of the arrival of Union General William T. Sherman's troops.
The Prussian army crushes the French at Sedan, the last battle of the Franco-Prussian War.
The Ottomans inflict a decisive defeat on the Serbs at Aleksinac.
The first Labor Day is observed in New York City by the Carpenters and Joiners Union.
By an act of Congress, Labor Day is declared a national holiday.
The Austro-Hungarian army is called into the city of Agram to restore the peace as Serbs and Croats clash.
Helen Keller graduates with honors from Radcliffe College.
Alberta and Saskatchewan become Canadian provinces.
Bulgaria declares war on Romania as the First World War expands.
An earthquake levels the Japanese cities of Tokyo and Yokohama, killing 300,000.
Germany invades Poland, beginning World War II in Europe.
A federal judge in Sacramento, Cal., upholds the government's detention of Japanese-Americans and Japanese nationals as a war measure.
Australia, New Zealand and the United States sign the ANZUS Treaty, a mutual defense pact.
Colonel Muammar Gaddafi seizes power in Libya following a coup.
Dr. Hugh Scott of Washington, D.C. becomes the first African-American superintendent of schools in a major U.S. city.
America's Bobby Fischer beats Russia's Boris Spassky in Reykjavik, Iceland, to become world chess champion.
US spacecraft Pioneer 11 makes the first-ever flyby of Saturn.
The wreck of the Titanic found by Dr. Robert Ballard and Jean Louis Michel in a joint U.S. and French expedition.
On National Day, Vietnam releases 5,000 prisoners, including political dissidents.
Armed terrorists take children and adults hostage in the Beslan school hostage crisis in North Ossetia, Russia.
Thanks To Bill
• A Sailor will walk 10 miles in a freezing rain to get a beer but complain about standing a 4 hour quarterdeck watch on a beautiful, balmy spring day.
• A Sailor will lie, cheat and scam to get off the ship early and then will have no idea where he wants to go.
• Sailors are territorial. They have their assigned spaces to clean and maintain. Woe betide the shipmate who tracks through a freshly swabbed deck.
• Sailors constantly complain about the food on the mess decks while concurrently going back for second or even third helpings.
• After a cruise, a Sailor will realize how much he misses being at sea. And after retiring from the Navy considers going on a cruise and visiting some of our past favorite ports. Of course we'll have to pony up better than $5,000 for the privilege. Just to think, Uncle Sam actually use to pay us to visit those same ports years ago.
• You can spend three years on a ship and never visit every nook and cranny or even every major space aboard. Yet, you can name all your shipmates and every liberty port.
• Campari and soda taken in the warm Spanish sun is an excellent hangover remedy.
• PO2 / E-5 is almost the perfect military pay grade. Too senior to catch the crap details, too junior to be blamed if things go awry.
• Never be first, never be last, and never volunteer for anything.
• Almost every port has a "gut." An area teeming with cheap bars, easy women and partiers, which is usually the "Off-limits" area.
• Contrary to popular belief, Master Chief Petty Officers do not walk on water. They walk just above it.
• Sad but true, when visiting even the most exotic ports of call, some Sailors only see the inside of the nearest bars/clubs.
• Also under the category of sad but true, that lithe, sultry Mediterranean or Asian beauty you spent those wonderful three days with and have dreamed about ever since, is almost certainly a grandmother now.
• A Sailor can, and will, sleep anywhere, anytime.
• Yes, it's true, it does flow downhill.
• In the traditional "crackerjack" uniform you were recognized as a member of United States Navy, no matter what port or part of the world you were in. Damn all who want to eliminate or change that uniform.
• The Marine dress blue uniform is, by far, the sharpest of all the armed forces.
• Most Sailors won't disrespect a shipmate's mother. On the other hand, it's not entirely wise to tell them they have a good looking sister either.
• Sailors and Marines will generally fight one another, and fight together against all comers.
• If you can at all help it, never tell anyone that you are seasick.
• Check the rear dungaree pockets of a Sailor. Right pocket a wallet. Left pocket a wheel book.
• The guys who seemed to get away with doing the least, always seemed to be first in the pay line and the chow line.
• General Quarters drills and the need to evacuate one's bowels often seem to coincide.
• Speaking of which, when the need arises, the nearest head is always the one which is secured for cleaning.
• Four people you never screw with: the doc, the DK, PC, and the ship's barber.
• In the summer, all deck seamen wanted to be signalmen. In the winter they wanted to be radiomen.
• Do snipes ever get the grease and oil off their hands?
• Never play a drinking game which involves the loser paying for all the drinks.
• There are only two good ships: the one you came from and the one you're going to.
• Whites, coming from the cleaners, clean, pressed and starched, last that way about 30 microseconds after donning them. The Navy dress white uniform is a natural dirt magnet.
• Sweat pumps operate in direct proportion to the seniority of the official visiting.
• The shrill call of a bosun's pipe still puts a chill down my spine.
• Three biggest lies in the Navy: We're happy to be here; this is not an inspection; we're here to help.
• Everything goes in the log.
• Rule 1: The Chief is always right. Rule 2: When in doubt refer to Rule 1.
• A wet napkin under your tray keeps the tray from sliding on the mess deck table in rough seas, keeping at least one hand free to hold on to your beverage.
• Never walk between the projector and the movie screen after movie call and the flick has started.
• A guy who doesn't share a care package from home is no shipmate.
• When transiting the ocean, the ship's chronometer is always advanced at 0200 which makes for a short night. When going in the opposite direction, the chronometer is retarded at 1400 which extends the work day.
• When I sleep, I often dream I am back at sea.
• If I had to do it all over again, I would. TWICE!
Some oldies and some new ones!
"Gentlemen,  it is better to have died a small boy than to fumble the football" -  John Heisman
"I  make my practices real hard because if a player is a quitter, I want him to  quit in practice, not in a game." –  Bear Bryant / Alabama
"It  isn't necessary to see a good tackle, you can hear it!" -  Knute Rockne / Notre Dame  
"At  Georgia Southern, we don't cheat. That costs money, and we don't have  any." –  Erik Russell / Georgia Southern 
"The  man who complains about the way the ball bounces is likely to be the one who  dropped it." -    Lou Holtz / Arkansas - Notre Dame 
"When  you win, nothing hurts."    -  Joe Namath / Alabama
"A  school without football is in danger of deteriorating into a medieval study  hall."    -  Frank Leahy / Notre Dame 
"There's  nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of  you."    -  Woody Hayes / Ohio State
"I  don't expect to win enough games to be put on NCAA probation.  I just want to win enough to warrant an investigation."    -  Bob Devaney / Nebraska  
"In  Alabama, an atheist is someone who doesn't believe in Bear Bryant."    -  Wally Butts / Georgia
"I  never graduated from Iowa.  But I was only there for two terms - Truman's and Eisenhower's."    –  Alex Karras / Iowa 
"My advice to defensive players is to take the shortest route to the ball, and arrive in a bad humor."    -  Bowden Wyatt / Tennessee 
"I  could have been a Rhodes Scholar except for my  grades."    -  Duffy Daugherty / Michigan State
"Always  remember Goliath was a 40 point favorite over David."    -    Shug Jordan / Auburn 
"I  asked Darrell Royal, the coach of the Texas Longhorns, why he didn't recruit  me ."    He  said, "Well, Walt, we took a look at you, and you weren't any good."    -  Walt  Garrison / Oklahoma State 
"Son,  you've got a good engine, but your hands aren't on the steering wheel."    -    Bobby Bowden / Florida State
"Football is NOT a contact sport, it is a collision sport.  Dancing IS a contact  sport." -    Duffy Daugherty / Michigan State
After  USC lost 51-0 to Notre Dame, his post-game message to his team was, "All those who need showers, take them."    -    John McKay / USC
"If  lessons are learned in defeat, our team is getting a great education."    -  Murray Warmath / Minnesota 
"The only qualifications for a lineman are to be big and dumb.  To be a back, you only have to be dumb."    -  Knute Rockne / Notre Dame
"We  live one day at a time and scratch where it itches."    -  Darrell Royal / Texas 
"We  didn't tackle well today, but we made up for it by not blocking."    -  John McKay / USC 
"I've found that prayers work best when you have big players."    -  Knute Rockne / Notre Dame
Ohio State's Urban Meyer on one of his players: "He doesn't know the meaning of the word fear.  In fact, I just saw his  grades and he doesn't know the meaning of a lot of words."
Why do Tennessee fans wear orange?    So they can dress that way for the game on Saturday, go hunting on Sunday, and pick up trash on Monday.
What does the average Alabama player get on his SATs? Drool.
How many Michigan State freshmen football players does it take to change a light bulb? None.  That's a sophomore course.
Why did the Auburn football player die from drinking milk?    The cow fell on him.
Two Texas A&M football players were walking in the woods.  One of them  said, "Look, a dead bird."The other looked up at the sky and said,"Where?"
What do you say to a Florida State University football player dressed in a three-piece suit?  "Will  the defendant please rise."
If three Rutgers football players are in the same car, who is driving?  The police officer.
How can you tell if a Clemson football player has a girlfriend?    There's tobacco juice on both sides of the pickup truck.
What do you get when you put 32 Arkansas cheerleaders in one room?    A full set of teeth.
University of Michigan Coach Jim Harbaugh is only going to dress half of his players for the game this week; the other half will have to dress themselves.
How is the Kansas football team like an opossum?    They play dead at home and get killed on the road.
Why did the Tennessee linebacker steal a police car?  He saw "911" on the side and thought it was a Porsche.
How do you get a former Ohio State football player off your porch?    Pay him for the pizza.
Another WWI input form RADM Cox
S.J. Cox
4 Apr 17
"We are Ready Now, Sir!" (sort of)
Actually, despite what my 1976 Naval Academy "Reef Points" says, Lieutenant Commander Joe Taussig, USN never said it, at least according to his own diary.  Taussig led the first contingent of six U.S. Navy destroyers to Europe after the U.S. declaration of war against Germany, arriving in Queenstown, Ireland (Ireland was not yet independent from Britain) on 4 May 1917 to assist the British in protecting merchant shipping then being sunk by German U-boats at an alarming rate in the Western Approaches.  In response to the British Commander-in-Chief of the Western Approaches, Vice Admiral Sir Lewis Bayly's question about when the newly arrived U.S. destroyers would be ready to commence operations, Taussig replied something like "as soon as we can get to the fuel pier" according to Taussig's recollection.  This exchange was initially reported in U.S. newspapers as "We can start at once" and in British newspapers as "We are ready now" resulting in a big boost to British morale at a very dark time.  The "We are ready now" quote was then widely reported in the U.S., and used unabashedly by the U.S. Navy as a public relations and recruiting rallying cry, and became the most famous U.S. Navy quote of the war.  What Taussig did actually say, on the record before Congress several years later, was that "the Navy was far from being ready for war," a (arguably true) statement that made him a lifelong enemy of the then Assistant Secretary of the Navy (and future President) Franklin D. Roosevelt.
As a result of the German's resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare, the United States declared war on Germany (but not German allies, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Ottoman Empire, or Bulgaria) on 6 Apr 1917. This set off a scramble amongst the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy, neither of which was really ready to go to war.  Although a major naval buildup had been authorized by Congress in 1916 at the request of President Woodrow Wilson, none of those new ships were completed (or in most cases even begun) before the outbreak of war.  Nevertheless, the U.S. Navy was one of the largest and best-equipped navies in the world, but its most recent combat experience against an enemy fleet was in the Spanish-American War of 1898 (which actually wasn't much of a contest) although there were some minor combat actions related to the Philippine Insurrection and U.S. Intervention in Mexico, particularly at Vera Cruz in 1914 (these of course, weren't minor for those involved.)
In anticipation of an imminent outbreak of war, the President of the Naval War College, newly-promoted Rear Admiral William S. Sims, was ordered by Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels  to travel incognito (leaving uniforms behind) to Great Britain to serve as a discrete liaison officer with the British Royal Navy Admiralty.  (The incognito thing didn't work; Sims was recognized by the U.S. Navy gun crew that had recently been provided to the U.S. merchant ship SS New York for defense against U-boats).  When receiving his orders from CNO William Benson, Sims later said that Benson told him not to get too close to the British, since "we would just as soon fight them (the British) as the Germans."  Although Benson later denied he said that, at least one other witness said he did, and there certainly had been no love lost between the U.S. and the Royal Navy since the Revolution and the War of 1812.  In the early days of WWI, U.S. anger was often directed as much toward the British blockade of Germany, which interfered with U.S. trade, as with German actions.  Sims had actually been reprimanded, and relieved of command, in 1910 for publically expressing strong pro-British sympathies.  Sims was in fact, very pro-British, and was a close friend of First Sea Lord Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, senior officer in the British Navy in 1917, since both had served closely together in the Boxer Rebellion in China in 1900, where both had been wounded (as had Taussig for that matter,) during the international expedition to rescue besieged Western embassy personnel in the Chinese capital.
War was declared shortly before Sims arrived in England (after the SS New York hit a mine, but did not sink), so all pretenses were immediately dropped.  The British were eager to let bygones be bygones, and Sims' special relationship with Jellicoe was an added bonus, so Sims was immediately brought into the Royal Navy's inner circle and given access to the Royal Navy's most sensitive intelligence.  There Sims learned that the situation was far more desperate than was publically known, especially in the United States, as the German U-boats were now far more effective than they had been during the first attempt at unrestricted submarine warfare in 1915 (which resulted in, among other things, the loss of the liner Lusitania with 1,198 civilians, including 128 of 139 Americans citizens on board, and a huge diplomatic outcry that ended the first attempt at unrestricted submarine warfare).  To stay ahead of the Germans during the hugely expensive pre-war naval arms race, the British had concentrated on building battleships, and now were desperately short of destroyers, which were needed to escort convoys, which the British were coming to believe would be the only way to keep an excessive number of merchant ships from being sunk by U-boats and prevent possible resulting starvation in the United Kingdom.
Sims sent back word to Washington that what the British needed most was not the U.S. battle fleet, but as many destroyers as we could send as fast as we could send them.  On 13 April, LCDR Joseph Taussig, commander of Destroyer Division Eight, on his flagship USS Wadsworth (DD60), received orders to depart what was then known as "Base 2" (Yorktown, VA) and with his destroyers and proceed immediately on 14 April to New York, which he did, only to find the Navy Yard's piers closed for the weekend.  Taussig's diary is a hoot.  Anyone who has made a short-notice deployment will recognize all the hurry-up-and-wait, contradictory directions, uncertainty, scramble for gear, shortage of people, family issues, etc. and reach the historic lesson that "some things never change."   (Taussig was notified on 25 May 17 that he had been promoted to Commander backdated 29 Aug 16.  However Taussig had already "self-promoted" himself during the transit and was wearing Commander rank when he arrived in Queenstown.  Those were the days…)
DESDIV 8, (consisting of Wadsworth (DD-60), Porter (DD-59), Davis (DD-65), Conyngham (DD-58), McDougal (DD-54) and Wainwright (DD-62) – the order they appear in the famous painting "Return of the Mayflower,") departed from Boston on 24 April for the first trans-Atlantic crossing by U.S. destroyers since a previous squadron transited via the Mediterranean in 1905 to be stationed in the Philippines (one of which was run aground in the Philippines by Ensign Chester Nimitz, but that is another story.)  After a slow transit due to weather conditions, mechanical breakdowns, and the need to conserve fuel, DESDIV 8 arrived in Queenstown (now Cobh, Ireland) on 4 May 1917, representing the first U.S. combat forces to arrive in the European Theater during WWI.  (American pilots had already been flying combat missions as part of the Lafayette Escadrille (originally Americaine Escadrille) but they were wearing French uniforms, under French command, in a French unit, although the Germans were not amused and claimed it was a violation of U.S. neutrality.)  The arrival of the U.S. destroyers received enormous attention from the British press and was a huge boost to British morale.
Taussig's  destroyers did commence operations very quickly, after a crash course in Royal Navy communications, security, and operating procedures, and were integrated into the Royal Navy command structure, the first time U.S. navy ships had ever operated under foreign command.  At one point, RADM Sims temporarily relieved the British commander of the Western Approaches, the first time an American admiral had exercised command of foreign ships.
The U.S. Navy quickly realized that sending destroyers across the Atlantic without refueling, arriving in the U.K. almost empty was a bad idea.  So the Fleet Engineer on the staff of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, newly promoted Commander Ernest J. King, went up to Boston and met with the Executive Officer of the new oiler USS Maumee (AO-2), LCDR Chester Nimitz (the CO was off the ship), and the two of them figured out a way to refuel destroyers underway from the Maumee and then rigged the ship to do so. (NAVSEA was nowhere to be found, yet.)  The Royal Navy had previously experimented with underway replenishment with coal, but those efforts largely failed and were abandoned.  The use of oil for fuel made the idea more practical, but the U.S. Navy was the first to do it.  The Maumee successfully refueled the second squadron of U.S. destroyers midway across the Atlantic, using the newly devised alongside method, as well as subsequent squadrons in May and June.  As anyone in the Navy should know, underway refueling (and later, replenishment) was a profound revolution in naval warfare that cannot be overstated.  In the early days of the Second World War, the U.S. Navy still wasn't very good at underway refueling, especially in rougher seas, but we were far better than any other navy, including the Japanese (even the Soviet Navy continued to use a less-efficient bow-to-stern method into the 1980's.)
Another U.S. technological innovation that would have profound effect on World War I, was the use of new radio-telephones (significantly better than what the British had developed to that point.)  The CW936 first went to sea in January 1917, and over 1,000 were produced and used during the war on destroyers and sub-chasers.  The use of voice communications, via radio-telephone, (although vulnerable to German interception, which was why the British were slower to develop it,) significantly improved the ability of convey escorts to rapidly react to U-boat sightings and coordinate attacks, thereby making convoys far more effective in minimizing losses to U-boats.  I will describe the WWI U-boat war in greater detail in future H-grams, but the key point is that of the approximately two million U.S. troops that were shipped across the Atlantic to Europe in 1917 and 1918, none were lost in convoys escorted by U.S. ships.  (About 75 U.S. troops were lost on a ship returning from Europe.  Only one troop ship, the SS Tuscania, was sunk by U-boat under British escort; about 200 U.S. troops were lost, although British destroyers heroically saved about 1800 U.S. troops from that ship.) 
(My thanks to Dr. David Kohnen, Executive Director, NHHC Naval war College Museum, for his ground-breaking research on "UNREP" with a great article soon to follow, and his work on VADM Sims.) 
Another piece relating to the Battle of Midway
S.J. Cox
29 Mar 17
Aviation Machinist Mate First Class (AMM1/C) Bruno Peter Gaido
    On 1 Feb  1942, five Japanese twin-engine bombers made it through the USS Enterprise (CV-6) combat air patrol (fighters) defenses following the U.S. carrier raid on the Japanese-held Marshall Islands.  All the bombers missed and turned away, except the badly-damaged lead plane, piloted by LT Kazuo Nakai, which turned back in an attempt to crash on the Enterprise.  As the aircraft neared the ship and anti-aircraft fire seemed ineffective, Aviation Machinist Mate Third Class (AMM3/C) Bruno Gaido leaped out of the catwalk, climbed into the back seat of a parked SBD Dauntless dive bomber (his normal position as radioman-gunner when the plane was airborne), and swiveled the plane's aft twin .30 cal machine guns and opened fire, standing while pouring accurate fire down into the low-flying bomber's cockpit, causing it to lose control.  The bomber barely missed the flight deck, its wingtip cutting the tail off the SBD Gaido was in and spinning the SBD.  Gaido continued firing on the bomber throughout, until it crashed in the water on the opposite side of the ship.  Gaido then calmly grabbed the fire bottle from the SBD and extinguished a pool of flaming gasoline on the flight deck left over from the crashed bomber.  Gaido then disappeared into the ship, worried that he would get in trouble for leaving his watch station.  VADM William F. Halsey, the task group commander, ordered that the unidentified gunner be found.  A search party eventually located Gaido and brought him to the bridge, whereupon Halsey spot promoted him to First Class, as everyone who observed the event credited Gaido with keeping the Enterprise from being hit in the extremely close call.
   Gaido already had a reputation on Enterprise for his mental and physical toughness.  In June 1941, newly reported pilot Lt(j.g.) Dusty Kleiss got into his SBD to make his first carrier landing, expecting to fly solo, only to find Gaido, who identified himself as Kleiss' radioman-gunner,  sitting in the gunner's seat instead of the usual pile of sandbags for initial carrier qualification flights.  Kleiss tried to talk Gaido into getting out of the aircraft, for his own safety, but Gaido persisted, responding, "You got wings don't ya?"  Buoyed by Gaido's confidence, Kleiss made several perfect landings with Gaido as a passenger. 
    At the subsequent Battle of Midway on 4 Jun 42, Gaido was a gunner in an SBD piloted by Ensign Frank O'Flaherty, one of 28 planes that dive-bombed the Japanese carrier IJN Kaga (the bomb just missed, possibly because smoke and flames from four previous hits obscured the target.)  While returning to the Enterprise in a group of a six stragglers led by LT Charles Ware, the flight was jumped by six Japanese "Zero" fighters that broke away from Japanese carrier IJN Hiryu's dive-bomber counterstrike that was heading toward the carrier USS Yorktown (CV-5).  Ware had earlier improvised a tactic of turning into the attacking Japanese Zeros, and did so again, creating an arc with the trailing SBD's that enabled all rear seat gunners to concentrate their fire on the leading Zeros. Two Zeros were so badly shot up they had to return to Hiryu; one ditched enroute and the other barely made it to the carrier.  Although it is impossible to tell which SBD gunners did the damage, given Gaido's previous history of accuracy, it is possible he did his fair share.  The remaining four chastened Zeros broke off, but were unable to catch up with Hiryu's dive-bombers before they were intercepted by F-4F Wildcat fighters from the Yorktown, which shot down most of the undefended dive-bombers (the seven bombers that got through scored three severe direct hits and two damaging near-misses on Yorktown, so every Japanese plane lost was critical to Yorktown's survival at that point in the battle.)
   Unfortunately Gaido's plane had been holed in the wing during that or an earlier encounter with the Zeros, and was losing fuel.  O'Flaherty had to ditch in the open sea.  Of the other five SBD's, one was able to ditch near the Yorktown for rescue, but the other four, including LT Ware's, missed the U.S. carriers and disappeared without a trace into the Pacific.  O'Flaherty and Gaido were picked up by the Japanese destroyer IJN Makigumo, interrogated and probably tortured.  The Japanese claimed to have gotten useful information from them about the defenses of Midway Island, but the two provided nothing of value regarding the U.S. carriers.  However, neither had been to Midway Island so neither had any way of knowing what was on the island (Even the skipper of USS Hornet's torpedo bomber squadron did not know that a detachment from his own squadron, that had been left behind in Norfolk to transition to the new TBF Avenger, had arrived on the island.)  My assessment is that O'Flaherty and Gaido, under torture, gave up plausible but phony information.  Certainly everyone who knew Gaido adamantly believed that he would not have cracked.  However, on 15 Jun 42, the Japanese decided the two aircrewmen were no longer of use.  Weights were tied to both and they were thrown over the side to drown.  Japanese accounts state that both met their end with stoic and dignified defiance.  Gaido's fate was not known by the U.S. until after the war.  None of the responsible Japanese officers survived the war, so there was no war crime prosecution.  Gaido was subsequently posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
(My thanks to Laura Orr, NHHC Hampton Roads Naval Museum, Deputy Education Director, for much of the research on Gaido )

No comments:

Post a Comment