Home
Airshow & Event Schedule
2017 Map
Upcoming
Past
Tour Overview
Our CAF Wing's Aircraft
Grumman TBM Avenger
Overview
History
Battle of Midway
VT-84 Squadron
George H. W. Bush
Paul Newman
Our Own Avenger's History
Yehudi Stealth
Mk-13 Torpedo
Photos
Piper J-3 Grasshopper
Overview
Photos
Visiting and Member's Aircraft
North American SNJ
Overview
Photos
Meeting Facility
Overview
Planning
Information Request Form
How to Find Us
Donations
Overview
WWII Artifacts
Cash is Good
Estate Planning
Wing History
Overview
Membership Information
Overview
FAQ
CAF Cadet Program
Wing Application & Renewal Form
NHQ Application
Wing Staff Information
Mess Sargent
  Sandra CASKEY

Facilities Manager
  Jerry C. McDONOUGH

Wing Leader
  Kent TAYLOR

Executive Officer
  Richard CONNOR

Adjutant
  Rebecca Walters

Operations, TBM Aircraft Coordinator
  Robert (Bob) THOMPSON

Safety Officer
  Robert M. OWEN

MX, PX, Recruiting Officer
  Dick MADDOCK

Finance Officer
  Robert G. (Gabe) TOTH

Newsletter Editor
  Tom HOWE

Public Information Officer
  Thomas Dennis Jr

Grants Officer
  David SHEPARD

Cub Aircraft Coordinator
  Charlie HUFF

Museum and Mess Sergeant
  Dorothy DUTTON

Webmaster
  Rob (Dunc) DUNCAN

Photo Albums
Overview
View Albums
Contact Albummaster
Other Websites
Contact Our Staff
Communications
Overview
Email List
Instructions
FAQ
Blocked Email
Newsletters
Members Only
Search Roster
By Name
By State
By Email Address
By Owned Aircraft
Print Wing Roster
E-mail by State/Prov
Log On

Website Contents
© 1995-2017
All Rights Reserved
Website Design and Hosting
Donated by
AIRbase One
Aviation's Yellow Pages+™
"Cybernautical Services for
Aeronautical Businesses"

Over 250 Aviation websites done since 1995!
 

The TBF/TBM Avenger Role During the Battle of Midway

The 1942 battle of Midway found American forces struggling to hold onto their island airbase as they looked into the growing Japanese supremacy in the Pacific.

On June 4h the U.S. Navy used six of their newest aircraft in their effort to defend Midway Island from a Japanese invasion.

Torpedo Squadron Eight, VT-8, aboard USS Hornet (CV-8) consisted of 15 TBD Devastators, obsolete 1930's vintage torpedo bombers with two crewmen. On Midway Island there were 6 brand new TBF Avengers. These were assigned to VT-8 as a detachment and were to join the main unit aboard USS Hornet.

When the U.S. fleet found the Japanese fleet, VT-8 was told to arm and launch every aircraft they had. The six TBF Avenger crews on Midway Island were told to "meet us over the target". The Avenger's first very mission was going to be a baptism by fire.

Both TBF Avenger and TBD Devastator detachments of VT-8 arrived over the enemy fleet without any fighter coverage. They attacked the Japanese carriers alone, pitting their slow bombers against the nimble Zero fighter. All 15 TBD Devastators from VT-8 and the carrier USS Hornet were shot down, only one crewman surviving this being Ensign George Gay who witnessed the remaining battle afloat in his life preserver. An additional 22 TBD Devastators were lost from VT-3 and VT-6. No damage was done to the Japanese fleets by any torpedo bombers, however the fact that they arrived first brought the Japanese fighter cover down to the deck while shooting down the American torpedo planes. This left the skies open for the late arriving American Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bombers arriving at high altitude. Unopposed, they sank three Japanese carriers and damaged the fourth. These were irrecoverable losses for the Japanese. The tide of battle in the Pacific turned with this battle and the United States had begun the long fight back.

Of the six TBF Avengers from Midway, only one returned, badly damaged beyond repair. Its turret gunner Jay Manning was dead, radioman Harry Ferrier, and pilot Ensign Earnest were both wounded. In reality VT-8 lost 45 men and 21 aircraft in this battle.

Click here to read Ferrier's own words and see YouTube.

A tribute to Torpedo Squadron Eight is seen at www.torpedoeight.com which has Ensign Gay's grandson as webmaster.

This TBF-1, marked as 8-T-1, is the sole surviving aircraft from Torpedo Squadron 8's (VT-8) attack on the Japanese fleet at the Battle of Midway on June 4, 1942. It was flown by Ensign Bert Ernest VT-8 was comprised of the older Douglas TBD Devastators, that were launched from the carrier USS Hornet, and the brand new TBF Avenger that were simultaneously launched from Midway island's airfield. This was the first battle for both the squadron crew and the TBF Avengers. The carrier USS Hornet Flying the vulnerable Douglas TBD Devastators, Commander John C. Waldron's 15 planes were all shot down during their unescorted torpedo attack on four Japanese aircraft carriers.

Source: U.S. Navy Naval Aviation News August 1979, official U.S. Navy photo 80-G-11637

Harry Ferrier receiving the American Airman Combat Medal at CAF in Midland, TX on October 2, 1998 on behalf of the air crew of Avenger 8-T-1. This was first air crew to be inducted. Harry was the radio operator on the sole returning TBF Avenger during the Battle of Midway in June, 1942. He was the only enlisted air crewman from Torpedo Squadron 8 to survive the battle. The other survivors were officers Bert Ernest, the pilot of Harry's aircraft that flew from Midway, and Ensign George Gay who flew his TBD Devastator aircraft from the carrier USS Hornet.


Rocky Mountain Wing of the Commemorative Air Force
Hangar Location
780 Heritage Way
Grand Junction, CO 81506
970-256-0693
Mailing Address
P.O. Box 4125
Grand Junction, CO 81501
Copyright © Commemorative Air Force Inc.