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Ensign George H. Gay After the Battle of Midway

Image Information
United States 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 First 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 United States 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.
Image Filename wwii1290.jpg
Image Size 152.45 KB
Image Dimensions 580 x 743
Photographer Unknown
Photographer Title
Caption Author Jason McDonald
Date Photographed June 07, 1942
Location Naval Hospital
City Pearl Harbor
State or Province Hawaii
Country United States
Archive United States Naval Historical Center
Record Number
Status Caption ©2007, ©2024 MFA Productions LLC
Image in the Public Domain

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