Just after dawn broke over the Central Pacific atoll known as Midway Island, six brand new Grumman TBF Avengers rolled down the runway, took flight and headed northwest to find four Japanese Aircraft Carriers that had already launched their own strike against the island. These six planes were a part of a larger attack group from the island, made up of Marine Vindicator Dive Bombers and USAAC B-26’s and B-17’s. It was a mix and match force, scraped together and with little training on how to attack ships at sea.
The TBF’s were also brand new. Lt. Langdon Fieberling had stayed behind with a half of VT-8 (Torpedo Bomber Squadron 8) assigned to USS Hornet (CV-8) when the ship left Norfolk for the Pacific Ocean. He and the other pilots took possession of the new bombers, and began to train with them as they crossed the Country and later the Pacific, to meet up with the ship at Pearl Harbor. By the time they got to Hawaii, Hornet had already left to face to Japanese Fleet at Midway. Read the rest of this entry