It is 0700 hours, the fourth day of June, 1942 on the deck of the carrier, Hornet (CV-8). This is the carrier made famous less than two months prior, when B-25s led by Jimmy Doolittle were launched from her deck in the daring, first surprise bombing raid on Japan. The atmosphere is tense, as the Douglas TBD Devastator torpedo bombers of Torpedo Squadron Eight are poised for takeoff. The pilots' orders are to attack the entire might of the Japanese fleet off Midway Island. Squadron leader, LCdr John C. Waldron and his aircrews are well aware that their chances of survival from this fateful mission are minimal at best.
At the time of its introduction in 1937, the Devastator was in the technological forefront of aircraft design. However, five short years later, it was hopelessly obsolete against a powerful, formidable enemy. Flying low and slow against the Japanese armada, all fifteen torpedo bombers were shot out of the sky with only one survivor, Ensign George Gay. However, this action forced the defending Zero fighters down to wave-top level and exhausted much of their fuel, leaving their carriers virtually unprotected. Soon after, SBD Dauntless dive bombers hit and sank three carriers, the pride of the Japanese fleet (the Akagi, the Kaga, the Soryu, and the next day, the Hiryu.)
This action was the turning point of World War II in the Pacific. From that point on, Japan would be fighting a defensive war against increasingly powerful American forces.
This historically significant, emotionally inspiring print is dedicated to the brave men of Torpedo Squadron Eight who sacrificed their lives and, in doing so, enabled America to gain the offensive and pursue victory in the Second World War.Signature:Bill TUNSTILL - Petty Officer 2nd Class in charge of maintenance of Devastator torpedo bombers aboard the USS Hornet (CV8) during the Battle of Midway.