Dedicated to Torpedo Squadron EIGHT, Battle of Midway
Early in the morning of June 4th, 1942, the aircrews of Torpedo Squadron EIGHT (VT-8) assembled in their ready room. Waiting for them was a memo from Lieutenant Commander John C. Waldron, Commanding Officer of (VT-8). It read, “My greatest hope is that we encounter a favorable tactical situation, but if we don’t, and the worst comes to the worst, I want each of us to do his utmost to destroy our enemies. If there is only one plane left to make a final run-in, I want that man to go in and get a hit. May God be with us all. Good luck, happy landings and give ’em hell.”
It was a sobering message. All aircrew knew their responsibilities. They had accepted them. And all, to a man, were prepared for the consequences.
They received their briefs, donned their flight gear, then, “Pilots, man your planes,” blarred over the 1-MC. Pilots and crew assigned to that first strike, rushed to the flight deck, strapped in, and cranked up.
They flew with the throttle full forward, straight and level at almost 180 knots, without fighter cover into the roaring guns of the Imperial Japanese Navy. Fifteen obsolete Douglas TBD Devastators were destroyed, all aircrew, save one, were slain, a squadron was obliterated, and for their gallantry and sacrifices, a battle was won.
Black Lion ONE is dedicated to these brave Americans.
“We Will Strike, Regardless of the Consequences”
Lieutenant Commander John C. Waldron
Commanding Officer of (VT-8)
4 June 1942