Ensign George H. Gay After the Battle of Midway

US Navy Ensign George H. Gay (March 8, 1917 - October 21, 1994) at Pearl Harbor Naval Hospital talks with a nurse while reading an account of his unit in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Gay was only survivor of 30 men of Torpedo Squadron 8 (VT-8) in fifteen Douglas TBD-1 Devastators that flew from USS Hornet (CV-8) on June 4, 1942 to attack Kido Butai (Japanese carriers of the 1st Air Fleet) during the Battle of Midway. In an uncoordinated attack without fighter cover, Lt. Commander John C. Waldron successfully guided his force to the Japanese fleet. The Japanese A6M2 Zero-Sen (Allied code name "Zeke") fighters had to lower their landing gear to keep up with the slow Devastators, but shot them all down. Waldron was last seen attempting to leave his plane as it crashed. Gay claimed to have launched his torpedo, as did others, but no hits were scored. Gay bailed out after a water landing and his radioman/gunner went down with the plane. Gay watched as Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bombers inflicted mortal wounds on three carriers. He dodged Japanese ships and was picked up on June 5 by a Consolidated PBY Catalina seaplane. After meeting with US Navy Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Gay toured the United States. He later saw combat with Torpedo Squadron 11 (VT-11) at Guadalcanal. The other two torpedo squadrons faired just as badly. VT-6 from USS Enterprise (CV-6) lost ten of fourteen planes; VT-3 from USS Yorktown (CV-5) lost ten of twelve. TBDs were pulled from combat after Midway.
Caption Written By: 
Jason McDonald
United States Naval Historical C
Date Photographed: 
Sunday, June 7, 1942
Pearl Harbor
United States