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VT-8

From Academic Kids

Torpedo Squadron 8 (VT-8) was a United States Navy squadron of torpedo bombers assigned to the Hornet Air Group operating from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet (CV-8). The squadron joined the ship shortly after commissioning in October 1941 and remained in the Pacific following her sinking in the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands in October 1942.

VT-8's first combat was the Battle of Midway (4 June 1942). Flying Douglas TBD Devastators, Commander John C. Waldron's 15 planes were all shot down executing an unescorted torpedo attack against four Japanese aircraft carriers. They did not destroy any enemy aircraft with their rear-facing .30-caliber machine guns or any enemy carriers with their torpedoes during this battle.

All members of Torpedo 8 involved in the action perished with the exception of Ensign George Gay. Torpedo 8 was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation.

A list of the fallen:

  • Lt. Commander John C. Waldron
  • Lt. Raymond A. Moore
  • Lt. James C. Owens
  • 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
  • Aswell 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

Failure of the Hornet's captain and air group commander to provide proper coordination led to the disaster, though in fairness, VT-3 from Yorktown (CV-5) and VT-6 from Enterprise (CV-6) fared little better. Of all 41 torpedo planes which sortied that day, only 5 survived. However, it is believed that the act of drawing away the Japanese Zero fighters allowed a subsequent wave of dive bombers to seriously harm three enemy carriers.

Torpedo 8 was the first squadron equipped with Grumman's new TBF-1 Avenger, a bigger, faster, longer-ranged replacement for the TBD. Six Avengers flew from Midway during the Battle of Midway, but only one returned to base.

Subsequently VT-8 fully re-equipped with TBFs and flew in the Solomon Islands campaign before being disestablished.

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