May 25, 1942.

From: The Commanding Officer.  
To: The Commander-in-Chief, U.S. PACIFIC FLEET.  
Via: The Commander, Task Force SEVENTEEN.
Subject: Report of Action of Yorktown and Yorktown Air Group on May 8, 1942.  
Reference: (A) Article 874, U.S. Navy Regulations.
Enclosures: (A) Photographs of Attack on Japanese Carrier on May 8, 1942.
  (B) Diagram of Approximate Disposition and Movements of Forces during Attack of May 8, 1942.
  (C) RADAR Plot of Contacts of May 8, 1942.
  (D) Executive Officer's Report of Action dated May 19, 1942, and addendum dated May 25, 1942.
  (E) Track Chart of U.S.S. Yorktown on May 8, 1942.
  (F) Yorktown Air Defense Doctrine.
  (G) Copy of Information on Damage Control, dated May 20, 1942.
  (H) Copy of War Damage Report, dated May 20, 1942.
  (I) List of Pertinent Dispatches Received and Transmitted by this Vessel on May 8, 1942.
  (J) Photographs of Personnel Burned by Bomb Explosion.
  (K) Diagram of Boiler Feed Line.

  1. In accordance with the requirements of reference (a), the subject report is forwarded herewith. In order that the submission of this report may not be unduly delayed, it is being forwarded direct to Commander Task Force SEVENTEEN, with a copy to Commander Task Group 17.5, Yorktown's immediate superior in command during the action.

    This report has been compiled from information received from many persons. In an endeavor to give a true picture of these data are given as received without changing them to read exactly alike. For this reason apparent inaccuracies will be found, such as the number of planes attacking, and the number of near bomb misses.

    In the case of the Air Group each pilot and machine gunner was interrogated separately and his story was recorded immediately on his return from the attack. This was done before he had an opportunity to talk with anyone else, and perhaps inadvertently have his story colored by others. The report was then compiled from these records.



    1. At 0000 (minus 11 zone time) on May 8,1942, this ship was a part of Pacific Fleet Task Force SEVENTEEN commanded by Rear Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher, U.S. Navy. The composition of the Task Force was as prescribed in Commander Task Force SEVENTEEN Operation Order Number 9-48 of May 1, 1942. At mid-night the force was on course 180°T, speed 20. It was known that enemy forces were at sea, operating to the northward of this force.

    2. At 0116 course was changed to 270. At 0625 Lexington launched scouting group to search for and locate the enemy. At 0800 the ship's position was: Latitude 14°-25S, Longitude 154°-31E. At this time the wind was from 112° T, 19 knots. Sea was smooth, visibility 30 miles. These conditions held with slight variations, throughout the entire day.

    3. At 0828 was informed by Lexington that one of her scouting planes had sighted 2 carriers, 4 heavy cruisers, and 3 destroyers; that the position of the scout was unknown, and that Lexington was trying to get radio contact with him. At 0835 intercepted a contact report from a Lexington scouting plane: "Contact- 2 carriers, 4 cruisers, many destroyers bearing 006 - 120 miles, speed 15 at 0820" The position given was from Lexington's "Point Zed." At 0847 a message was received from the Lexington: "Enemy bearing 028°-175 miles."

    4. The ship went to General Quarters at 0545 and remained at General Quarters until after dark that evening. The ship control party in the island structure was composed as follows: The Captain at the Conn on the navigation bridge and in the pilot house, assisted by three officers, one checking to see that orders to the engine main control and wheel were carried out, and one on each wing of the bridge outside of the pilot house to assist in reporting the approach of enemy planes and torpedoes. The Navigator was in the Conning Tower with steering, main engine, and whistle controls. The Captain gave his orders regarding rudder and main engines to the Navigator through the Conning Tower slits, duplicating these orders by talker on the J.V. battle telephone circuit. The Executive Officer was in Battle II which, in this ship, is at the after end of the bridge level platform, distance about 120 feet from the pilot house.


    1. The chronological sequence of the major events leading up to, during, and immediately following the action is as follows:

      G.C.T. LWT/LCT  

      1355(7th) 0055 Monaghan left formation to proceed on duty assigned.
      1416 0116 Changed fleet course to 270, speed 20.
      1840 0540 Flight Quarters.
      1845 0545 General Quarters.
      1925 0625 Lexington launched search group.
        0655 Sunrise.
      2024-32 0724-32 Launched first Combat Air Patrol and 8 VS Anti-torpedo patrol.
      2032 0732 Changed fleet course to 125, speed 14.
      2100 0800 Position: Latitude 14°-25S, Longitude 154°-31E.
      2120 0820 Lexington plane made contact.
      2147 0847 Contact report received from Lexington: "2 carriers, 4 cruisers, many destroyers bearing 028, distance 175 miles."
      2148 0848 Message received from Commander Air, Rear Admiral A.W. Fitch in Lexington to launch entire group including torpedo planes. The Commanding Officer recommended a change in Point Option so that the fighters, when launched, would have a shorter distance to go to escort VT. Point Option was changed.
      2200-15 0900-15 Launched attack group, armed as follows:
      6 VF - MG's.
      17 VB - 1 - 1000 lb. bomb each.
      7 VS - 1 - 1000 lb. bomb each.
      9 VT - 1 - Torpedo each.
      2208 0908 Rear Admiral A.W. Fitch was designated as Officer in Tactical Command.
      2208-30 0908-30 Lexington launched attack group.
      2223 0923 Set Material Condition Afirm. Changed speed to 23 knots.


      G.C.T. LWT/LCT  

      2230 0930 Changed course to 125.
      2241-43 0941-43 Launched 4 VF - second Combat Air Patrol.
      2244-45 0944-45 Landed first Combat Air Patrol.
      2248 0948 Radar contact, shadower 335, 25 miles.
      2304 1004 Speed 15.
      2307 1007 Changed course to 115.
      2308 1008 Signal was made - Enemy aircraft bearing 060. Drained gasoline system above tanks.
      2315 1015 Shadower shot down by Yorktown VF.
      2330 1030 Changed course to 028.
      2339 1039 Yorktown Attack Group sighted enemy CV on course 020.
      2340 1040 Position was adjusted on Lexington so that she would not be in the sun from Yorktown and interfere with fire against enemy planes coming in out of the sun.
      2355 1055 Radar contact, large group of enemy planes bearing 020 - 68 miles.
      2357 1057 Eased Condition Afirm sufficiently to start ventilation blowers and air ship as air below was becoming very foul. Men standing by any openings.
      2358 1058 Radar bearing of enemy planes 020 - 40 miles.
      2400 1100 Stopped blowers and reset Condition Afirm.
      May 8
      1102-04 Launched 4 VF. All serviceable planes are in the air.
      0006 1106 Radar reports large group of enemy planes 20 miles from ship.
      0011 1111 Enemy torpedo planes, distance 15.
      0012 1112 Changed fleet course to 125, speed 20 knots.
      0013 1113 Flank speed, 25 knots.


      From this point it is impossible to give an accurate chronological record. The quartermaster and Captain's writer on the bridge performed their duties in an excellent manner under fire, but part of the time they were avoiding bomb fragments.

      When the action opened at 1118, the wind was 085, 18 - 20 knots. The sea was smooth, visibility 30 miles. These conditions prevailed during the action.

      Torpedo planes indicated that they would use this ship for a target when about 8,000 to 10,000 yards away. It was evident then that the enemy would engage both carriers simultaneously with VT and dive bombers. No high altitude horizontal bombers appeared. Own SBD anti-torpedo patrol planes made an earnest effort to break up the torpedo attack, but were immediately attacked by escorting VF. Four out of eight planes were lost almost at once. When it was apparent that the attack would get in, A.A., fire was opened at 1118. By this time, the VT had separated into attack groups outside effective range of anything but 5". Three planes dropped torpedoes from the port quarter, followed closely by four on the port beam (this was the direction from which they had come from their own CV.) When the first three torpedoes struck the water, full right rudder was applied, and the engine room given orders for emergency flank speed. About this time the two carriers commenced drawing apart due to maneuvering. The Astoria, Portland, Chester, and four destroyers, Russell, Hammann, Aylwin and probably Dewey remained with this ship and formed a circular AA screen at 2000 yards. Their AA fire was accurate and heavy at the critical times, and they made the enemy planes' approaches difficult. It is not possible to praise too highly the anti-aircraft fire and magnificent ship handling of these cruisers and destroyers. Although an irregular zig zag employing full rudder was used these ships kept excellent station and in an endeavor to protect the carrier made no effort to avoid torpedo attacks.


      The ship was steadied on a course parallel to the second three torpedoes sufficiently long to allow them to run past the port side close aboard. The planes in these groups had been under continuous fire by all ships in their vicinity. Four were seen shot down from the first group, but three drops were completed. Of the planes which had been on the port beam, one plane was set afire and crashed after dropping torpedo and another dove into the water before dropping. The torpedoes of the first group were not observed close to the ship.

      The remaining VT had rounded the stern about 8000 to 10,000 yards out. The next drop was made on the starboard quarter, the ship being about 90° right of the original course. A left turn was made to present the stern and the ship steadied stern to dropping point. These planes were under heavy fire and dropped well out. Two of their torpedoes were observed to run down the starboard side. One plane crashed.

      One VT made an approach parallel to the starboard side from stern to a point forward of the beam. 5" bursts were kept between him and the ship and he was under heavy 1.1 fire. His speed, with a torpedo aboard was remarkable, appearing to be at least 200 knots. When he turned toward the ship, he was blanketed by all guns and dropped at about 2000 yards but escaped in a violent left chandelle. The ship had been turned right when he turned toward the ship and the torpedo ran across the bow.

      At 1124 the dive bombing attack commenced. All dives were made across the deck generally from port to starboard at first, commencing out of the sun. The point of aim appeared to be mainly the bridge or island structure. All planes were held under heavy fire. The course was changed with hard over rudder, generally under the dive or toward the direction from which it started; only one bomb hit was received. There were six near misses on the starboard side between the bow and the bridge - two very close; one hit at 1127; at least two very near misses on port quarter and two or three on starboard quarter. These latter lifted the ship and raised the screws clear of the water. One of the near


      misses on the starboard bow touched the edge of the catwalk, just abaft #3 5" gun, and fragments from another near the starboard bow pierced the side in many places above the water line.

      During the latter part of the dive bombing attack, several reports were received of torpedo planes attacking on both quarters and astern. It is believed that some of these reports were made on planes rendezvousing after dropping.

      The bomb hit was on the flight deck, near frame 106, about 23 feet forward of #2 elevator and about 15 feet from the island. Recovered fragments indicate that the bomb was probably a 12" projectile. It pierced the flight deck making a hole about 14" in diameter, which was immediately covered by a metal plate. It went down through #5 Ready Room, the hangar deck, and second deck on an angle toward the starboard side. It then hit a beam and stanchion and angled back to port piercing the third deck. A description of the damage is appended as enclosure (H).

      When this bomb exploded, fire was reported in #9 fireroom. It was later found out that this report was caused by dense smoke, gas fumes and a flareback in the burners due to concussion. All lights were extinguished. Boilers #8 and #9 were secured and, because personnel were being overcome by gasses, firerooms were abandoned. Distant controls were operated to secure blowers. Number 7 boiler was secured by order of the Engineer Officer since, in the existing condition, superheat could not be used. Two condensers were reported salted. To a question by the Commanding Officer as to speed available, Main Control replied 24 knots. When asked if the ship should slow, the answer was, "Hell no! We'll make it!" and at no time did the speed drop below 24 knots until signalled from the bridge.


      G.C.T. LWT/LCT  

      0031 1131 Radar out of commision. Attempted to inform Lexington on Fighter Circuit; no answer. Notified Lexington by visual signal and TBS radio. Since Lexington's Fighter Circuit radio transmitter was apparently dead, broadcast to all fighters, "Radar out. Protect the Fleet."
      0033 1133 Steadied on course 250.
      0034 1134 Came right to 035, into the wind.
      0040 1140 Speed 18. About this time the attack was completed although some guns were still firing at planes rendezvousing within range.
      0041 1141 Heard Lexington again on Fighter Circuit. Returned control of fighters to Lexington.
      0041 1141 Landed 1 VF (Lexington plane).
      0050 1150 YE homing transmitter out of commission due to carrying away of upper bearing of antenna shaft.
      0055 1155 Landed 4 VF from Combat Air Patrol.
      0100 1200 Position: Latitude 14°-47S, Longitude 155°-09E.
      0115 1215 Landed 8 VF from Combat Air Patrol.
      0122 1222 Radar back in commission. Notified Lexington. (At 0500, May 9, 1942, the Radar antenna was blown off its base by the wind. On examination it was found that the rivets holding the antenna yoke to its pedestal had been sheared during the action.


      G.C.T. LWT/LCT  

          When this occurred, the Radar yoke had apparently settled back into normal position and, when repairs had been made to the antenna, it continued to function until the wind took it off its pedestal.)
      0130 1230 Launched 3 VF for Combat Air Patrol.
      0131 1231 Landed 1 VF from Combat Air Patrol. Commenced landing attack group. During landing an SBD-3 airplane, Lieutenant(jg) F.B.Moan, U.S.N., pilot, R.J. Hodgens, Sea2c, U.S.N., passenger, hit the island structure in full flight. Flaps would not work and both pilot and passenger had been wounded. They will both recover. This plane had 22 bullet holes in fuel tanks. It was a total wreck and was later pushed over the side.
      0200 1300 Completed landings; took course 060, speed 20, to close Lexington. Throughout the rest of the day, Combat Air Patrols were maintained over the formation.
      0200 1300 Number 7 and 8 boilers back on the main steam line.
      0212 1312 Number 9 boiler back on the main steam line.
      0300 1400 Seven unidentified VT planes heading directly toward the ship on starboard beam, altitude 4,000 feet. Planes were on correct return bearing but did not make recognition signal in answer to 20 challenges.
      0303-04 1403-04 Opened fire on planes for a short time until they were identified as Lexington planes. It was ascertained later that no recognition signal was made because of lack of fuel.
      0310 1410 Directed by Lexington to take over Fighter Director as his Radar was out of commission.


      G.C.T. LWT/LCT  

      0318 1418 Course 200, speed 25. All ships in position except Dewey recovering plane personnel from Yorktown plane which had landed in water ahead of her. Damage to plane during attack prevented landing aboard.
      0325 1425 Lexington reported YE homing transmitter inoperative.
      0330 1430 Set Material Condition Baker.
      0345 1445 Lexington broke Five Flag. Lexington - "There has been a serious explosion."
      It had been known that during the action that the Lexington had sustained two or more torpedo hits and several bomb hits. However, she had appeared to be steaming easily and having no apparent trouble. Smoke seen issuing from Lexington under flight deck.
      Lexington - "This ship needs help."
      Lexington - "Standby."
      0347 1447 Lost all radio communications with Lexington. Took control of all Lexington aircraft radio circuits.
      0435 1535 Commenced landing Lexington planes still in air, 6 VP and 10 SBD's.
      0500 1600 Temporary repairs effected to YE antenna. Changed speed to 20 knots.
      0511 1611 Lexington, "Fire is not under control."
      0522 1622 Lexington seen to be abandoning ship. Cruisers and destroyers picking up personnel in the water. This ship with two cruisers and two destroyers maneuvered in vicinity until sundown.
      0600 1700 Launched 7 VF for Combat Air Patrol.
      0626 1726 Dewey rejoined formation.
      0718 1818 Sunset.
      0720 1820 Landed all aircraft.
      0747 1847 Course 225, speed 14.
      0805 1905 Set Condition of Readiness III.


      G.C.T. LWT/LCT  

        2000 Position: Latitude 15°-S, Longitude 155°-22E.
        2027 Rescue ships rejoined formation.
        2037 Course 185, speed 20.


      1. By Air Group

        1. One large CV hit with three torpedoes and six 1,000 lb. bombs. (Probable additional hits: 1 torpedo; 3 - 1,000 lb. bombs.)

        2. Planes shot down:
          22 VF, Type 00 and 97.
          3 VB, believed to be type 99 Navy dive bombers.
          1 VT, type 97.
          1 VP, four engine patrol plane, type 97.
          2 VP; 1 VSB.

        3. Enemy planes damaged:

          20 VF, Type 00 and 97.
          1 VS, Type 99, Navy dive bomber.

          NOTE: There may be some duplication in planes shot down and planes damaged.

      2. By AA Gun Fire by Yorktown and Screening Vessels

        Planes observed to crash near Yorktown:

        8 - VT; 5 - VB; 0 - VP.

        It was impossible for personnel of this vessel, all being busily engaged in fighting, to make a definite statement as to the number of enemy planes shot down. It is believed, however, that Yorktown and her Screen shot down at least half the enemy planes which attacked this vessel.


    1. AIR

      1. Air Group

        1. Task Organization of Air Group

          Air Group Commander, Lt.Comdr. Oscar Pederson, USN.

          VT-5 - 9 TBD's - Lt.Comdr. J. Taylor, USN.
          VS-5 - 13 SBD's - Lt.Comdr. W.O. Burch, jr., USN.
          VF-42 - 14 F4F-3's - Lt.Comdr. C.R. Fenton, USN.
          VB-5 - 17 SBD's - Lieut. W.C. Short, jr., USN.

        2. Weather

            Yorktown was operating to the south of a frontal zone in an area of light haze with one to three tenths cumulus, base 1500 feet and top 6000 feet, visibility was 12 - 17 miles, winds were E. to ESE. 17 - 23 knots.

            At the enemy position, a frontal area, which had been in our vicinity the day before, gave squally weather. The visibility varied from 2 to 15 miles. Winds were ESE, 15 - 20 knots. Cumulus, Alto-cumulus, and Cirrus clouds covered the area. The cloud cover and squally weather aided one CV to avoid attack but it also helped our planes to escape enemy fighters.

        3. Attack Group

            At 0828, on May 8, received word that a Lexington scout had made contact with an enemy force consisting of 2 CV's, 4 CA's, and many DD's. At 0847, received message from Lexington stating enemy bearing 028°, distance 175 miles. At 0848 received orders from Commander Air to launch the Attack Group. Commenced launching at 0900, completed launching at 0915. The Attack Group consisted of 6 VF, 7 VS, 17 VB, and 9 VT. The VS and VB planes were armed with Mark 13 - 1,000 lb. bombs, fuses Mark 21 and 23, and the torpedo


            planes with Mark 13 Mod. 1 torpedoes set to run at 10 feet. The VS and VB planes, escorted by 2 VF, proceeded toward the contact, climbing to 17,000 feet enroute. The dive bombers sighted the enemy force at about 1032. It consisted of 1 BB (Ise class), 2 CV's, 3 CA's, and 4 CL's or DD's on course 190°, speed 20 knots, disposition as shown in enclosure (B). The weather was unsettled with some rain squalls and a broken lower layer of clouds at 2000 to 3000 feet.

            At 1049 the planes were near the enemy ships and commenced circling waiting for the torpedo planes to arrive and take position for the attack. While the planes were circling 1 CV headed for a large rain squall; the other turned into the wind and commenced launching planes, and some of the ships commenced firing their AA guns. At 1058 the torpedo planes were in position and a coordinated attack by dive bombers and torpedo planes was commenced. The dive bombing attack was made from 17,000 feet, down wind, altitude of release 2,500 feet. The CV maneuvered violently to avoid the attack. It was observed that 6 certain bomb hits, and a probablity of 5 more and many near misses were made. The planes encountered considerable AA fire and were attacked by Zero fighters, both in the dive and on the pull out. It was noted that the fighters would attack until the planes joined up, then would desist. The numerous low clouds in the vicinity were used to good advantage to furnish protection when pursued by enemy fighters. In the ensuing action after the attack, VS-5 shot down 4 fighters and damaged 4; VB-5 shot down 7 and damaged 5. The dive bombers were again seriously handicapped by the fogging of their telescopes and windshields; unless the weather is clear, the telescopes and windshields will invariably fog during a dive from high altitude. It is imperative that some action be taken on this as it greatly reduces the bombing efficiency of the SBD's.


            The Torpedo Squadron proceeded to the contact point and commenced their approach from a SE direction. As the dive bombers commenced the attack the carrier commenced turning to the left and then reversed the turn sharply to the right; it was during this turn that the torpedo planes dropped. The torpedo planes approached in a close echelon of divisions, with the planes in each division in column; on reaching the attack point the planes of the division turned simultaneously towards the CV and from this point on each pilot made an individual run. The AA fire from the CV and other ships was very heavy during the approach and attack. The retirement, to avoid enemy aircraft, was made to the eastward into a large cumulus cloud. Of the nine torpedoes dropped, three or possibly four hit the objective, and three others were seen to make erratic runs.

            The last two pilots of the Torpedo Squadron to attack, stated that the first torpedo struck the port bow and laid it open from the waterline to the flight deck. The second and third torpedoes hit between the bow and the midships section. The area on the port side from the bow aft for about 50 to 100 feet was one mass of flames from the waterline to the flight deck. The flame was exceptionally intense. It looked like that from an acetylene torch, and appeared to be coming from inside the ship. Another small fire was burning at the starboard quarter. When the carrier was last seen, about 15 minutes after the attack, the fires were burning fiercely. It is believed probable that this carrier was so badly damaged that it finally sank.

            It is estimated that the enemy had a Combat Air Patrol of at least 15 to 18 Zero fighters over the two CV's. A major factor in keeping our losses to a minimum was the close proximity of two large cumulus clouds into which our planes flew as soon as they completed their attack.

            The escort fighters for the torpedo planes drove off an attack of six Zero fighters during the approach,


            and permitted the torpedo planes to make their drops unmolested by enemy aircraft. During the attack the escort fighters shot down three Zero fighters and probably one VSB. One enemy VTB was shot down while returning from the attack. The VSB escort fighters were greatly hampered in carrying out their mission by the necessity of conserving fuel, having had to climb to altitude with the bombers. On the return trip, the fighters attacked two enemy dive bombers, one of which gave out a puff of smoke and commenced gliding towards the water, leaving a small trail of vapor. It is not known whether or not this plane crashed.

        1. Anti-Torpedo Plane Patrol

            At 0730, on May 8, 1942, on orders of Commander Air, launched 8 SBD's of VS-5 to form an Anti-Torpedo Plane Patrol. This patrol attempted to intercept the enemy torpedo planes, but they were too fast for them as the VT planes were making their diving approach when sighted. The patrol was then attacked by a large number of Type 97 and Zero fighters. In the melee that followed, they shot down 4 fighters confirmed, 4 more probable and damaged 7 others. In the engagement, four of the SBD's were shot down by enemy aircraft and the remainder returned badly damaged by enemy fighter gunfire. This was a splendid example of courage and devotion to duty; although outnumbered, and opposed by faster and more maneuverable aircraft, they were not outfought.

        2. Combat Air Patrol

            Fighter Director control was in Lexington. At 0724 launched the first Combat Air Patrol. At 0804 an unidentified plane was picked up on the Radar screen bearing 320°, distance 18 miles. Fighters were vectored out but did not make contact (see enclosure (C)) and it disappeared off the screen at 0811. At 0831, another unidentified plane was picked up coming in from bearing 083°, distance


            30 miles. Fighters were vectored out but did not make contact. This plane disappeared off the screen at 15 miles, it is believed that it may have been a friendly plane as it never was picked up going away. At 0941 launched a relief Combat Air Patrol and landed the first group. At 1008 an enemy four engine patrol bomber was sighted by the Yorktown lookouts bearing 040° and flying at a low altitude. A section of Yorktown fighters was vectored out and shot it down.

            Enclosure (C) shows the track of the enemy attack group. The account below is that of how the enemy attack was met by the Combat Air Patrol insofar as it could be compiled from radio logs, Radar Plot, and the accounts of Lexington and Yorktown pilots. At 1055, the Radar screen showed a very large group of enemy planes approaching the formation, bearing 020°, distance 68 miles. At 1059 all planes on Combat Patrol were recalled to the vicinity of the carriers. At 1102 launched four additional VF, making a total of 8 VF from the Yorktown and 9 VF from the Lexington on Combat Air Patrol. The designation of each of the two-plane sections was as follows:

            Lexington - Agnes Red (3 planes) and White, Doris Red and White.

            Yorktown - Wildcat Red, Blue, Orange and Brown.

            At 1102, 5 VF (Agnes Red and White) were vectored out on 020°, distance 30 miles, Angels 10. Later, Agnes White was told to go low to intercept torpedo planes. Agnes Red made contact with the enemy force about 20 miles out, being 1000 to 2000 feet below the enemy. One of these pilots stated that there were about 50 - 60 planes, stacked in layers extending from about 10,000 to 13,000 feet, approximately one third of them being fighters. At the lowest level were the torpedo planes, then fighters, then dive bombers, then fighters. Agnes Red attacked


            the enemy formation while they were about 15 to 20 miles from the Fleet. Agnes White, as shown from the radio log, attacked torpedo planes at 1116 about 4 to 5 miles from the Fleet. At 1108, 4 VF (Wildcat Red and Blue) were vectored out on 020°, distance 15 miles and Angels 1. Upon reaching this position and not sighting anything, instructions were requested. They were informed by Lexington Fighter Director that the force was being attacked, and were ordered to return, climbing to 10,000 feet.

            They returned after the attack was over, but were able to attack some enemy planes in the vicinity, shooting down one Zero fighter. One of the two remaining Lexington sections (Doris Red) was told to orbit overhead; he climbed to 12,000 feet and attacked the tail end of the enemy formation. Wildcat Brown and Orange were kept over the ship at about 8000 to 10,000 feet. The Orange section was not able to intercept the enemy before they attacked, but did shoot down one Zero fighter, and one dive bomber who had already released his bomb. The Brown section attacked a formation of dive bombers as they commenced their dive, and went down with them, shooting down one dive bomber before it dropped its bomb and another after release.

            A resume of the above shows that only three of the Combat Air Patrol intercepted the enemy prior to delivery of the attack, at about 15 to 20 miles from our carriers. The others were not in position to attack until after the enemy had commenced or finished his attack. The Yorktown Combat Air Patrol shot down 4 Zero fighters and three dive bombers, and damaged 4 fighters and 2 VSB. A Combat Air Patrol and Anti-Torpedo Plane Patrol was maintained for the remainder of the day.

        1. Lexington Planes

            Due to the breakdown of the Lexington, the following Lexington planes landed on board this ship:


            6 F4F-3's and 13 SBD's. They have been retained on board.

        1. Summary of Damage Done by Air group

          Damage Inflicted on Enemy

          1. One large CV damaged, and possibly sunk, by three torpedo hits, six 1000 lb. bomb hits, a probability of three more hits, many near misses, and one additional probable torpedo hit.

          2. Shot down the following number of planes:

            22 VF - Type 00 and 97.
            3 VB - Believed to be Type 99 Navy dive bombers.
            1 VP - Four engine patrol plane, Type 97.
            1 VT - Believed to be Type 97.

            NOTE: 2 additional fighters and 1 VSB were probably shot down but were not seen to crash.

          3. Damaged the following number of planes:

            20 VF - Type 00 and 97.
            1 VB - Type 99, Navy dive bomber.

            NOTE: There may be some duplication between the number of planes shot down and the planes damaged.

        2. Damage Suffered by Air Group

          1. Personnel missing in Air Action:

            6 Pilots.
            6 Rear Seat Gunners.


          1. Personnel Wounded in Air Action:

            4 Pilots.
            3 Rear Seat Gunners.

          2. Planes Missing in Action:

            2 F4F-3's (Pilots recovered)
            7 SBD's (One pilot and gunner recovered)

          3. Planes damaged in Action:

            1 TBD - Bullet hole in right wing.

            3 VF - One had about 10 holes in fuselage, five of which passed through the emergency fuel tank and were stopped by the armor. One bullet hole in main fuel tank. One through the vacuum tank and one along left side which hit the instrument panel. This plane will require a major overhaul.

            One had about 30 small caliber hits in tail and fuselage. Required major overhaul.

            One had one small caliber hole in left wing.

            18 VSB - One was so badly damaged that it crashed on landing and was a total wreck.

            Three require major overhaul, due to numerous 20MM and 7.7 MM hits.

            The remainder of the planes had anywhere from 1 to 26 hits in the fuselage, empenage, wings, gas tanks, and armor.


              Leak Proof Gas Tanks:

            A total of 20 self-sealing tanks was hit:

            Three by one hit.
            Eight by two hits.
            Four by three hits.
            Four by four hits.
            One riddled by a direct hit on wing by a 20 MM explosive shell.

            The only tank to develop a leak in the air was the last mentioned, which leaked badly. Two others developed leaks later in the day.


            The armor in six planes was struck with one to three small caliber bullets. In no case was the armor pierced.

        1. Ammunition Expended:

          VS-5 dropped 7 1000 lb. bombs, Mk. 13; fuses Mk. 21 and 23.
          VB-5 dropped 17 1000 lb. bombs, Mk. 13; fuses Mk. 21 and 23.
          VT-5 dropped 9 torpedoes, Mark 13, Mod. 1, set to run at 10 feet.

          Expended 32,610 rounds of .50 caliber ammunition.
          Expended 4,660 rounds of .30 caliber ammunition.

          NOTE: Three torpedoes made erratic runs.

        2. General Comments

          1. The conduct of the Air Group personnel can not be praised too highly. In the space of


            five days they made five attacks on enemy forces, three on May 4th, and one each on May 7th and 8th. Despite the many hardships and dangers involved, the pilots and other personnel lost none of their enthusiasm, high morale, or aggressive spirit. Their performance was an outstanding exhibition of courage, determination, and will to victory.

          1. Enemy Tactics

            1. Ships
              The enemy ships repeated their tactics of May 4th and 7th. The ships of the formation scattered to obtain plenty of sea room, and attempted to avoid the attack with individual AA fire and violent maneuvers.

            2. Aircraft
              The Japanese fighter planes invariably make a high side or high rear approach when attacking our planes. They then try either to get on the tail or pull sharply away to regain altitude for another attack. They seem reluctant to attack a formation of VSB, especially if it has completed its attack and is well closed up.

          2. Own Fighter Tactics

            1. Against 00 Fighters

              The Japanese Zero fighters are equal to the F4F-3's in speed and climbing ability and can outmaneuver them. It is therefore imperative that our fighters maintain an altitude advantage from which they can dive, attack, and zoom back to altitude to launch another attack.


              It is believed that the Zero fighter has neither armor nor self-sealing fuel tanks, nor is it as rugged as our planes. Most pilots were amazed at the quickness with which the Zero fighters caught on fire when given a short burst in a vital area.

              The lesson that impressed itself most on the fighter pilots on May 8th was, "Do not become separated from your formation." The planes that did become separated were so busy maneuvering to get Jap fighters off their tails that they had time for nothing else. The Japanese seem much more eager to attack strays than formations. It can not be repeated too often that planes must stay together and furnish mutual protection, for the stray plane is a lost plane.

            1. VF Escort for VT

              The following method of protecting VT planes during their approach, attack, and retirement is recommended. At least 4 to 8 VF, depending on the opposition expected, should be assigned as escorts. They should take position up sun from, and at least 5000 to 6000 feet above the torpedo planes. From this position they can readily observe any attack coming in and can dive down and break it up before it develops sufficiently to interfere with the VT. It is essential that the escort maintain a good altitude differential otherwise they are helpless in breaking up an attack that starts from above.

            2. VF Escort for VSB

              For the dive bombers, the crucial points in a dive bombing attack are just before the push over, and the short period


              between the time of pull out and rendezvous. The VF should take position 2000 to 4000 feet above the dive bombers, up sun, where a good view can be had. As the dive bombers approach the push over point, some of the escort fighters should commence a steep spiral descent around the dive path and down to 4000 to 5000 feet to protect the pull out. The number of fighters staying up or going down depends entirely on the situation. It is essential, if maximum protection is to be given, that the fighters know the direction of pull out and rendezvous point.

        1. Fighter Aircraft

          In the engagement of May 8th, the fighter escorts were seriously hampered by their lack of range. It is essential that a long range fighter be provided as escort for Torpedo and Dive Bombing planes. An escort fighter cannot do his best, nor perform his mission successfully if he must worry continuously about his gasoline supply and thus be afraid to use full throttle while engaging the enemy. It is hoped that additional tanks for the F4F-3's will alleviate this situation.

          It is believed that the proportion of fighters to other types assigned to a carrier should be greatly increased. Each carrier should have a minimum of 27 fighters; 36 would be none too many if we are to engage Japanese carriers on equal terms. It seems probable that about 50% of the planes on the Japanese carriers were fighters. The lack of fighters was felt keenly on May 8th, when some 30 to 35 fighters had to be divided up to protect two Attack Groups and two carriers simultaneously. As a consequence, they were outnumbered at both places, and at neither place were they able successfully to accomplish their mission. While the 6 fighters sent in with the Yorktown Attack Group did an excellent job, it is felt that the main factor that prevented heavy losses to our planes was the close proximity of a large number of low cloud formations which afforded ideal coverage after


          the attack.

          It is estimated that the enemy had 15 to 18 fighters on Combat Air Patrol over his carriers, and about 24 to 30 escorting his attack groups. The above figures are approximations made from pilot estimates. Due to the fact that the Lexington and Yorktown Air Groups attacked at different times, the escort fighters for each group were outnumbered at least 2 to 1.

          It is understood that the VF Squadron on the Yorktown class is to be increased to 27. Two carriers in company, each with this number of planes, will allow enough for both an escort for the attack group and a Combat Air Patrol, but the number on board should not be allowed to fall below 27. The best defense against an air group attack is a vigorous fighter offensive before the attackers are in sight of the carrier.

        1. Fighter Direction

          It is believed that fighters should be vectored out at least 30 miles to meet the enemy, and if no Radar altitude reading is available, and the day be clear with unlimited ceiling, they should be sent out at about 20,000 feet.

          The fighters making the first contact must broadcast immediately the enemy's altitude and the composition of his force. It is imperative that all fighter pilots be indoctrinated to report contacts with enemy planes before attacking; this is of the utmost importance if the enemy group is large.

        2. Anti-Torpedo Patrol

          Not having sufficient fighters for an Anti-Torpedo Patrol, SBD's were used as an expedient.


          The Japanese torpedo planes passed high over this patrol and at such high speed as to preclude interception.

        1. Torpedo Planes

          From the experience gained by VT-5 in the attacks of May 4th, 7th, and 8th, certain factors became apparent insofar as Material, Personnel, and Tactics are concerned:

          1. Material

            As previously stated in the report on the engagement of the 7th, it is essential that a torpedo plane must be fast, have a long range, the ability to dive, and sufficient gun power to defend itself. In connection with this, a torpedo must be developed that can be dropped at high speed and from a height of 200 feet.

          2. Personnel

            Torpedo plane pilots must be given every opportunity to make practice drops against a maneuvering target, and to observe the torpedo run. This will bring out clearly to the pilot: (a) the relative slowness of the torpedo after striking the water, (b) the great amount of lead necessary for a beam or close to beam shot, and (c) the large effect of small errors in target course and speed if torpedo is dropped at long range. The practice of carrying and dropping dummy torpedoes is considered useless and a waste of time except for brand new pilots.

          3. Tactics

            In the recent engagements the Japanese screen has scattered instead of closing in to support the ship being attacked. This is, however, no indication that their screen will not close in on future attacks. Closing-in tactics would be an excellent counter to our


            system of attack. Due to the slow speed and low altitude of drop required for the Mk. 13 torpedoes, our planes are forced to come in low and slow. In the event that the Japanese change their system and put a heavy cordon of ships around their large vessels, it is doubtful that a successful torpedo attack could be launched by TBD's without the loss of the major part of the squadron.

            In order to inflict the maximum damage on a maneuvering ship it is essential that the torpedo and dive bombing attacks be coordinated so that the dive bombing attack starts just before and continues through the torpedo attack. This has the following advantages:

            1. It provides mutual support and forces the enemy to divide his fire.

            2. The spray and smoke from close misses will partially obscure the torpedo planes from the target, and the concussion will reduce the accuracy of the AA fire.

            With the present type of torpedo planes it is essential that they be furnished with fighter protection. It is considered that on the attack of May 8th VT-5 would have suffered severe losses from enemy aircraft if the TBD's had been unescorted. While it is understood that TBF's are being provided, and that the present type torpedo is being modified to allow for dropping at higher altitudes and greater speeds, the need for these has been so clearly emphasized by the Battle of the Coral Sea that it is again urgently recommended that immediate steps be taken to replace the TBD's with TBF's.


        1. Torpedoes

          In recent operations against enemy forces, VT-5 has had occasion to drop 41 torpedoes; of these, 32 were Mark 13, and 9 were Mark 13 Mod 1. All of the Mark 13 Mod 1 made erratic runs. The reason for this is unknown. They were inspected carefully before use and apparently were in perfect condition. Photoghraph No. 9 of enclosure (A) shows what may be two erratic torpedo tracks.

        2. Anti-Aircraft Fire

          The anti-aircraft fire encountered by the dive bombers has been relatively light; the Japanese ships seem to devote their main efforts aganst the torpedo planes.

          The Japanese method of scattering when attacked from the air works against them insofar as AA fire is concerned. The ships spread too far apart to furnish mutual support. As a consequence, although the volume of AA fire is large, the range is too great to be effective. This was shown in the torpedo attack on the 8th, when the torpedo planes were subjected to heavy fire from 4 CA's and the CV, yet all planes returned.

      1. Air Department Activities in the Carrier

        The principal activities of the Air Department have been covered in the narrative.

        In order to present a picture of aircraft attrition which may be expected during continuous active operations, the following tabulation of losses incurred during the period 4 - 9 May, 1942, including additions to the strength of the Air Group by aircraft on which repairs had been completed up to May 13, is here included:


        1. When orders were received at about 2100, May 3, 1942, that the Yorktown Air Group would attack the enemy at Tulagi on May 4, there were the following aircraft and spares available for operation:

          VB - 15 operative 3 spares (SBD's)
          VF - 17 operative 2 spares (F4F-3's)
          VS - 15 operative 2 spares (SBD's)
          VT - 12 operative 1 spare (TBD's)

        2. During the three attacks on Tulagi on May 4, no spares were used. Aircraft were lost or damaged as listed:

          VB - Lost - none.
          Damaged, - no longer serviceable - none.
          Damaged, - 1. Repairs made.

          VF - Lost - 2.
          Damaged, - no longer serviceable - none.
          Damaged, - none.

          VS - Lost - none.
          Damaged, - no longer serviceable - none.
          Damaged, - 2. Repairs made.

          VT - Lost - 1, landed in water.
          Damaged, - no longer serviceable - none.
          Damaged, - 1. Repairs made.

        3. After repairs during the day and night of May 4, the following aircraft were available:

          VB - 18 operative (SBD's) - no spares.
          VF - 16 operative (F4F-3's) - 1 spare.
          VS - 17 operative (SBD's) - no spares.
          VT - 11 operative (TBD's) - 1 spare.


        1. During the period 5 - 6 May, aircraft were damaged as follows:

          VB - none (SBD)
          VF - none (F4F-3)
          VS - none (SBD)
          VT - 1 (TBD)

        2. On the morning of May 7, the following aircraft were available:

          VB - 18 operative.
          VF - 17 operative.
          VS - 17 operative.
          VT - 10 operative.

        3. During the attack on an enemy carrier and other operations on May 7, aircraft were damaged or lost as follows:

          VB - Lost - 1.
          Damaged, - no longer serviceable - none.
          Damaged, - none.

          VF - Lost - 2.
          Damaged, - no longer serviceable - 1.
          Damaged, - 2. Repairs made.

          VS - Lost - none.
          Damaged, - no longer serviceable - 2.
          Damaged, - 2. Repairs made.

          VT - Lost - none.
          Damaged, - no longer serviceable - 1.
          Damaged, - 3. Repairs made.

        4. On the morning of May 8, the following aircraft were available:

          VB - 17 operative.
          VF - 14 operative.
          VS - 15 operative.
          VT - 9 operative.


        1. During the attack on enemy carriers and other operations on May 8, aircraft were damaged or lost as follows:

          VB - Lost - 2.
          Damaged, - no longer serviceable - 4.
          Damaged, - 4. Repairs made.

          VF - Lost - 2.
          Damaged, - no longer serviceable - 3.
          Damaged, - 2. Repairs made.

          VS - Lost - 5.
          Damaged, - no longer serviceable - 1.
          Damaged, - 4. Repairs made.

          VT - Lost - none.
          Damaged, - no longer serviceable - 1.
          Damaged, - 2. Repairs made.

        2. The following is a summary of aircraft damaged or lost during the attacks and other operations on 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 May, 1942.

          VB - Lost - 3.
          Damaged, - no longer serviceable - 4.
          Damaged, - 5. Repairs made.

          VF - Lost - 6.*
          Damaged, - no longer serviceable - 4.
          Damaged, - 3. Repairs made.

          *Includes 1 VF landed on Lexington.

          VS - Lost - 5.
          Damaged, - no longer serviceable - 4.
          Damaged, - 8. Repairs made.

          VT - Lost - 1.
          Damaged, - no longer serviceable - 3.
          Damaged, - 6. Repairs made.


        1. Upon completion of attacks on May 8, the following aircraft were available:

          VB - 10 operative.
          VF- 7 operative.
          VS- 5 operative.
          VT - 8 operative.

        2. The losses in percentage of planes is as follows:

          VB - 44.4% losses.
          VF - 63.1% losses.
          VS - 70.6% losses.
          VT - 23.0% losses.

        3. On May 13, upon completion of extensive repairs, engine changes and exchanges, fuel tank changes, surface changes, etc., the following listed aircraft were available:

          VB - 11 operative.
          VF - 9 operative.
          *VS - 8 operative.
          VT - 9 operative.

          *(Plus one in Australia)

        4. In addition to planes listed above, the following Lexington planes landed on board this ship on May 8 while the Lexington was in distress:

          VF - 5.
          *VS - 8.
          *VB - 6.

          * Included are one VS and one VB plane both of which have since been damaged and are no longer serviceable.



      1. Summary of Observations and Comment - Air.

        1. Bombs and Bomb Fuses.

          1. During both attacks on Japanese carriers 1000 lb. heavy case bombs were carried by all dive bombers, fused with Mark 21 and Mark 23 one-hundredth second fuses. During both attacks aircraft were on the flight deck, and were seen to take off, by the bombing group while awaiting the arrival of the torpedo planes. It is recommended that consideration be given to the launching of a division of bombers, equipped with light case 1000 lb. bombs with Mark 19 fuses, to precede the coordinated attack at highest possible speed, with the objective of rendering the enemy flight deck inoperative; or to arm the first division of the striking force with light case 1000 lb. bombs with instantaneous fuses, with the object of launching a partial attack ahead of the coordinated attack.

          2. It is believed that greater effect would be obtained from the 1000 lb. heavy case bomb if a fuse were available which would permit penetration of three to four unarmored decks before detonation. This fuse would be desirable for use against all Japanese vessels except Battleships. It is presumed that the heavy case bomb will not break up during such penetration, and in view of the destructive effect of a 12" projectile as observed in this vessel, it is considered that our bomb with such a fuse would be extremely effective.

          3. Pending the development of an AP bomb for dive bombers, it is believed that our present heavy case bombs will destroy any type of ship, other than a heavily armored ship, if given a delayed fuse as recommended above. It is believed also, that either light case bombs with instantaneous fuses or heavy case with one-hundredth second fuses will assist greatly in permitting the relatively unopposed approach of our torpedo planes in case of attack on a heavily armed and armored ship. It is open to question whether or not an AP bomb dropped from a dive


            bomber will penetrate a heavily armored deck, since the bomb will have a relatively low velocity on impact. It is possible that heavy AP bombs are primarily a weapon of the horizontal bomber.

        1. Tactics of Enemy Aircraft

          1. It is apparent that the enemy uses land-based aircraft (four-engine patrol seaplanes) for the majority of his scouting. Based on information available on May 8, 1942, our force is believed to have been located by a four-engine VP who sent MG's until shot down. No other contacts are known to have been sent.

          2. The enemy attack group appeared on the Radar screen at a distance of 68 miles and came directly on without changing course or use of evasive tactics of any sort. The group flew in a stack formation consisting of VT, VF, VB and VF, at an altitude between 11,000 to 15,000 feet. The VT group with their VF commenced their high speed glide approach from about 10 miles, the VB continuing on at altitude. The VT attack was completed before the dive bombers commenced their attack. Torpedoes were dropped at high speed (estimated 200 knots) after breaking a 30° glide at varying altitudes of from 150 to 350 feet or higher. Range at dropping 700 to 1000 yards.

          3. All dive bombers came in from up sun, and released at extremely low altitudes of from 1000 to 500 feet. The ship at this time was maneuvering with the wind on the port bow. It is possible that the bombers used, as a point of aim, either the bridge or the anti-aircraft control director, since four bombs passed within a few feet of that point and exploded just clear of the ship in the water to starboard. All dives were noted to be relatively shallow, angles varying from 50° to 60°.

        2. Armor and Self-Sealing Tanks

          1. The effectiveness of the armor and self-sealing tanks in the SBD is all and more than was expected.


            VTB and VF received relatively few hits. Many VSB planes on being landed aboard were found to be completely riddled. One SBD plane landed with 22 bullet holes in his self-sealing tanks. The armor showed numerous hits including a 20 MM explosive bullet hit. The remainder of this airplane was similarly riddled, and both pilot and passenger had received arm and leg wounds from machine gun bullets.

          1. An item of extreme importance was noted in connection with the self-sealing fuel tanks. SBD's with bullet holes in the fuel tanks, when put in the hangar and drained, will not thereafter hold gasoline. Tanks with bullet holes in them must be kept filled. Tanks with several holes in them, when maintained full and in service, did not leak throughout several days' further operation.

        1. Ship and Air Group Notes

          1. Flexibility of handling returning planes, with the object of launching repeated attacks rapidly would be increased if a doctrine for diverting planes from one carrier to another for reservicing should be placed in effect. This would be particularly valuable where one of the two carriers operating together is damaged. A further feature could include a signal for all damaged planes to land on one carrier and serviceable planes on another.

          2. Shortly after the attack several planes were successfully landed aboard while turning sharply, and with a strong wind (20 to 25 knots) as much as 45° on the bow.

    1. GUNNERY

      1. The Gunnery Officer exercised control of the anti-aircraft batteries from "Air Defense" on top of the pilot house. The system of control used departs somewhat from


        the conventional, and it is considered excellent. A copy of the Air Defense Doctrine is appended herewith as enclosure (F).

      1. At 1118 Japanese torpedo planes were sighted on port beam and quarter at a range of about 7,000 yards. Opened fire immediately with four 5" guns of port battery. About 30 seconds later opened fire with all automatic guns that were able to bear, consisting of three 1.1 mounts, twelve 20 MM guns and four .50 caliber guns. This attack continued until 1121 and apparently consisted of nine planes. Seven were observed to drop torpedoes at distances varying between 500 and 3000 yards. Four of these planes were observed to crash in the water near the ship, but three of the four dropped torpedoes. One was in flames several seconds before the torpedo drop.

        At 1123 another torpedo attack commenced from port beam and quarter with the same guns firing as on the previous attack. This attack continued until 1128 and apparently consisted of nine planes. During this period the ship was changing course radically and the relative bearing of the approach shifted from the port quarter to the starboard quarter. All guns that were able to bear were firing continuously. Nine planes were observed to drop torpedoes during this period but it is believed at least three of these torpedoes were from planes attacking the Lexington. These torpedoes were dropped from ranges varying between 1500 and 4000 yards. Four of these planes were observed to crash in the water near the ship, but three of the four dropped torpedoes.

        At 1128 a dive bomber was sighted diving at the ship from the sun sector on port beam. Four 5" guns, three 1.1 mounts, twelve 20 MM guns and fourteen .50 caliber guns started firing immediately. The diving attack continued from same general direction until 1132 and apparently consisted of 18 planes. Two of these planes were observed to make a dive on Lexington, climb to about 2000 feet and dive on Yorktown. Fourteen planes from the diving attack dropped bombs. There was one direct hit, twelve near misses and one which fell about 300 yards on port beam, from a plane whose wing had been shot off.


        Five planes from this attack were observed to crash in the water.

        The angle of dive of these planes was about 50° to 60°. Bombs were released at altitudes varying from 500 to 1500 feet. The planes seemed to continue in the dive after releasing the bomb and pulled out close to the water.

        All bombs dropped except two appeared to be of the same size, probably the same type that struck the ship. One near miss on port beam and another near miss on starboard quarter appeared to be about the size of our own 1000 lb. bomb.

        The 5" guns were fired at torpedo planes in automatic, director controlled. Against the dive bombers the intention was to fire in local control with 2 second fuse setting. Two of the four guns remained in automatic and director control because of faulty communications. However, the controlling director was trained on the dive bombers with fuse knob locked at a 2 second fuse. The barrage effect should have been approximately the same in either case.

        The 1.1 mounts opened fire on torpedo planes with sight control using sight angle setting of 1050. The pointers and trainers had been drilled to shift to tracer control when smoke obscured target through the sight, and to lean outward from the pointer's and trainer's seats in order to see around the smoke of gun blasts. This system of firing was used throughout the torpedo attacks. The same method of firing was employed against dive bombers except an initial sight angle setting of 1015 was used.

        The 20 MM guns used sight control throughout the torpedo and diving attacks with a 50 knot lead against torpedo planes and a zero lead against dive bombers.

        The .50 caliber guns used tracer control throughout the attacks,


        1. Ammunition expended during the Combined Torpedo and Diving Attacks was as follows:

          Eight 5"/38 cal. guns 404 rounds.
          Four 1.1 Mounts 2906 rounds.
          Twenty-four 20 MM guns 7900 rounds.
          Eighteen .50 cal. guns 15600 rounds.

        2. Material Casualities to Armament during Action were as follows:

          The 5" Battery
          Gun Casualty Action Taken

          1 Plug failed to close. Plug was closed with rawhide mallet.
          3 Plug failed to close on many shots. Plug was closed with rawhide mallet.
          5 Rammer failed to retract completely. Retracted by hand.
            Several firing circuit failures. Fired by percussion.
            The window of deflection dial was broken by gun blast from adjacent gun. Renewed window glass after attack.
            Powder case ruptured by bomb fragments. Thrown overboard.
          6 Powder case loaded without projectile. Plug opened by hand and gun reloaded.
          8 Failure of all electrical power to rammer motor on second salvo due to broken fuse on rammer motor panel. Gun was loaded using hand rammer.


          The 1.1 Mounts
          Gun Casualty Action Taken

          Mt. I Broken recocking lever on #4 gun. Renewed recocking lever after battle.
            Several misfires. Recocked gun and continued firing.
          Mt. II Stoppage due to improperly clipped ammunition. Replaced clip and continued to fire.
            Several misfires. Recocked gun and continued the fire.
          Mt. III Six misfires. Recocked gun and continued the fire.
            Three repeated misfires. Gun was unloaded immediately.
            The breach mechanism locked in rear position. The magazine out-out was forced to "Down" position by leg of first loader. The out-out was released.
          Mt. IV Broken extractor spring. Retracted with screw driver. Replaced breech block and continued firing.
            Broken recocking lever. Recocked by forcing firing out-out to rear with thumb pressure. Continued firing.
            Several misfires. Recocked guns and continued firing.
            Guns jammed when foamite extinguishers were turned on to fight bomb fire and sprayed mount and clips. Cleaned out foamite and continued firing.


          Gun Casualty Action Taken

          All Mounts Numerous minor stoppages that were corrected immediately. Necessary action taken.
          The 20 MM Guns
          19 Ruptured cartridge. Renewed barrel and continued firing.
          28 Broken hammer. Renewed hammer and continued firing.
          All Numerous minor stoppages that were corrected immediately. Necessary action taken.
          The .50 Caliber Guns
          All Numerous minor stoppages that were corrected immediately. Necessary action taken.

        1. There were a few minor wounds to personnel at gunnery stations from bomb splinters and burns from gun blasts of adjacent guns. In no case was battery performance affected.

          The gunnery personnel functioned smoothly and efficiently on every station. There was no sign of confusion or "Buck Fever." Apparently the only fear among the personnel was a fear that there would not be enough Japanese planes to go around.

      1. That this ship came through a concentrated torpedo and bombing attack, receiving only one direct hit, was due in great measure to the accurately directed and smothering volume of gun fire from our screen and our own AA batteries. It would appear to be a conservative estimate that approximately half of the total number of aircraft which attacked this vessel were destroyed in that manner.


        During the operations of the past four months no opportunity has presented itself for conducting formal gunnery practices, and "All Hands" gunnery drills, as such, have been reduced to a minimum. The Gunnery Department has stood continuous condition watches, and the watch has been exercised in the repelling of simulated air attacks several times daily, every possible opportunity being taken to allow guns' crews actually to fire the guns either at balloon targets or on "Burst" practices. These drills contributed greatly toward alertness and toward the building up of the high state of morale and proficiency which were evidenced by the guns' crews in battle.


      1. The Engineering Department both in material and personnel functioned in an exemplary manner throughout the action.

        The chronological sequence of events in the Engineer Department follows:

          0545 General Quarters. Manned all engineering battle stations, all boilers on the line; main steam cross connections closed in superheater firerooms.

          0555 Set Condition Afirm.

          0600 #1 and #2 main generators paralleled forward, #3 and #4 generators paralleled aft, "Loop" split.

          1112 Ahead full speed 20 knots, 183 rpm. Maneuvering to avoid approaching enemy torpedo planes.

          1113 Ahead flank speed 25 knots, 231 rpm.


          1122 All engines ahead emergency full speed, cut in all burners, opened throttle wide, ship reached speed of over 30 knots, 285 rpm within two minutes. Maneuvering with hard right and hard left rudder during torpedo attack, average speed of all shafts checked at 285 rpm.

          1128 Bomb exploded at fourth deck starboard side over forward engine room at frame 107. Main steam lines vibrated excessively for a few seconds then steadied, and held without leaks. Overhead insulation, two 200 watt lamps and reflectors torn loose from sockets, dirt and dust dropped on control platform, starboard side. Salinity indicators #1 and #4 condensers showed 3 grains salt when water carried over from superheater boilers. Salt started to clear within a few minutes - held speed.

          From bomb explosion #7, #8, and #9 firerooms incurred heavy shock and concussion that extinguished fires in #8, and #9, and filled these firerooms with smoke and gas; lighting was out, and crews were forced to abandon firerooms, partially overcome. Fuel oil cutout valves and feed stop check valves were secured in firerooms before vacating. Blowers were secured from remote control station. #9 fireroom erroneously reported fire when crew noted explosive flash pass blower duct.

          1130 Firerooms #8 and #9 secured.

          1131 Secured #7 boiler. Speed reduced to 25 knots, 231 rpm. Lost vacuum on #3 generator, #4 generator took over electric load aft. Investigation disclosed stop button on #3 main generator circulating pump was jarred open by shock from explosion.

          1135 Paralleled #3 and #4 generators.


            During this period main engine control was unable to establish communication with Repair V (Engineering Repair Party). Bomb had passed through and exploded under space in which repair party was stationed, killing 37 men, and wounding and stunning the remainder of this group. All light, power, and I.C. circuits were destroyed in this area. Lieutenant M.E. Ricketts, U.S. Navy, Officer-in-Charge of Party, turned on valve of fire plug, partially led out hose, and directed water into compartment below, where fire was raging, before he died.

          1145 Attack completed. Slowed to 20 knots. Boiler repair party investigated superheated firerooms and cleared them of smoke and gas. Reported no damage. Lighted off #7, #8, and #9 boilers.

          1245 Cut superheater boilers in on main line.


      1. All communications, both visual and radio, functioned smoothly and uninterruptedly throughout the action.

        The Communication Officer exercised communication control from Air Plot, maintaining communications with the Captain via battle telephone, messenger, and "Talk-Bak" between Air Plot and Pilot House. This departure from the standard system of having the Communication Officer with the Captain is made because it is felt that by having the Communication Officer in Air Plot, in direct supervision of the vital aircraft circuits, he is in a better position to see the development of the air tactical situation and to maintain intelligent control over all external communications than he could be if he were in the Pilot House.


        The following circuits were manned throughout the day:

        1. Task Group Commander's Circuit.
        2. Task Unit Commander's Circuit.
        3. Warning Net.
        4. Yorktown Air Group Search and Attack Circuits.
        5. Lexington Air Group Search and Attack Circuits.
        6. Combat Patrol (Fighter Director) Circuits.
        7. T.B.S. (75.5 Mc) Circuits.
        8. Primary and high frequency Fox Schedules.
        9. Wellington - Suva intercept.
        10. Two circuits on Allied shore based aircraft.
        11. Several circuits on enemy intercepts.

        All our own aircraft circuits were controlled from Air Plot and were backed up by additional operators in Main Radio. The warning net was manned in Air Plot and had loudspeaker outlets to the Pilot house and the Signal Bridge. The T.B.S. super-frequency circuit was manned in Flag Plot and in the Signal Shelter, and had a receiver manned in Air Plot (Radar Plot).

        To provide emergency communications with aircraft, two aircraft transmitters and receivers, powered from storage batteries, were set up; one in Air Plot and the other in the ex-direction finder station aft on the port side.

      1. The principal damage suffered during the battle was the failure of the CXAM Radar due to the breaking loose of antenna elements from frame, and the Radar's complete breakdown later in the day because of the earlier shearing of rivets which hold the antenna yoke down to the pedestal. Until the wind blew the antenna off the pedestal on the morning of May 9, it was not known that this latter casualty had been suffered.

        The only other serious casualty was the putting out of commission of the YE homing transmitter, due to the breaking of the upper bearing of the antenna shaft. This casualty had been given jury-rig repairs by mid-afternoon.

        There were no radio receiver casualties.


        Three receiving antenna on the forward part of the island structure carried away and were repaired immediately. In both transmitter rooms there were frequent openings of relays and inter-locks, and several tubes were jarred out of their sockets due to the shock of bombs, but these were adjusted immediately.

        A tube in the transmitter in use on the Fighter Director circiut failed due to the shock of own gun fire. While repairs were being effected the aircraft transmitter installed in Air Plot was used on this circuit.

      1. The super-frequency (T.B.S.) circuit was invaluable for rapid communications in action. Radar reports were broadcast on this circuit and were paralleled by flag hoist.

      2. At 1400, as noted in the chronological narrative, seven Lexington VT planes approached the ship in bombing formation, at 4000 feet altitude, on the starboard beam. Although challenged repeatedly they did not make the recognition maneuver. (It was found out later that these planes were almost out of fuel, and their leader felt that he could not afford to waste fuel in maneuvering.) This failure in communications with friendly aircraft which were acting suspiciously, caused them to be fired on by our own guns. They identified themselves by radio, and were identified visually as they turned away.


      1. In aviation storeroom C-402-A, which was wrecked and flooded as a result of the bomb hit, the following materials in general were destroyed or damaged:

        1. Plungers and Cylinders for Modifying Arresting Gear.
          At least 2 cylinders are damaged. All were immersed in salt water. Even if judged fit for use by visual examination, all will require machine shop check to insure that they are so.


        1. Aviation Expeditionary Gear
          A large amount of this is damaged beyond repair.

        2. New Sound Powered Telephones.
          Probably all damaged beyond repair.

        3. Spare Cables and Parts for Arresting Gear and Barrier Catapult Bridles.
          A large amount damaged beyond repairs.

        4. Various General Items
          Mostly damaged beyond salvage. None require immediate replacement.


      1. During the battle of May 8, casualties sustained on board were as follows: 40 killed, 26 seriously injured, 3 of whom have died since the battle; 40 minor injuries not requiring admission to the sick list; and 1 officially listed as "Missing in Action."

      2. When the battle was imminent and the enemy planes approaching 60 miles away, all preparations were made for receiving the injured. All hands at dressing stations were instructed to lie down on the deck, with faces covered, until their services were needed. Added to the regular equipment at the dressing stations were the following time-saving and valuable items:

        1. Tannic acid powder in a gallon jug, with a gallon jug of distilled water for preparing a fresh 5% solution of tannic acid.
        2. "Flit Guns" for spraying burns.
        3. Cocaine in castor-oil for eye burns.
        4. Powdered sulfanilamide.
        5. 300 sterile dressings packed in 1 gallon tin cans.
        6. Wooden ply-wood splints for fractures, 5 feet long and 4 inches wide.
        7. 8 zipper-type stretchers.
        8. Blood plasma.


        The main dressing station in the sick bay was nearest to the scene of the explosion and received the majority of the injured. Almost all of the serious cases brought to the dressing stations had already received ½ grain of morphine; this was indicated by a tag tied to the man's wrist. To expedite the work, definite corpsmen were designated to do definite things, such as preparing the burned surfaces for treatment, spraying with the solution of tannic acid, giving patients water, etc.

        At the main dressing station 17 cases were treated for shock and burns; 4 cases of wounds, multiple; 6 cases of wound, gunshot; 1 compound fracture, left leg, and possible fracture of lumbar vertebra; 1 simple fracture, rt. femur, and gunshot wound; 1 wound, eye; 2 fractures, simple, calcaneus. The fracture cases suffered also from burns. Two cases required surgical operations but as there was no extreme emergency it was decided to delay the operations until after dark when there was less danger of another bombing attack. These operations were performed that night.

        At the other battle dressing stations the following listed numbers of cases were treated:

        #1 30 cases for minor injuries.
        #2 8 cases, including a splinter wound of the abdomen, and a compound fracture of the leg.
        #4 6 cases of severe burns.
        #5 15 cases, including 7 serious burns and 3 seriously wounded.

        Those seriously burned and otherwise seriously wounded were evacuated to the sick bay as soon as the firing had ceased.

        The Junior Medical Officer went to the scene of the explosion but was unable immediately to gain entrance on account of fire and smoke. As soon as he was able to get


        in he supervised the rescue of those who showed evidence of life.

      1. Of the 66 killed and seriously injured all except 14 were severely burned, and the majority of those killed were mutilated. The dead were evacuated to the propeller repair room on the 01 deck, on the stern. Due to the mutilated condition of the bodies, to the fact that we expected to be engaged in battle on the following day, and for reasons of morale, it was decided to bury the dead at sea that night. The work of identifying, finger printing, and preparing the dead for burial at sea was finished at 0200, May 9. Of the 40 dead, 21 were immediately identified by means of identification tags; the tags of the remaining 19 could not be found.

        Funeral services were conducted by the Ship's Chaplain and the burial at sea was completed at 0240.

      2. Eight zipper stretchers, designed by Yorktown Senior Medical Officer, and manufactured on board, were used continuously in preference to the Army or Stokes stretcher. These stretchers are light, can be passed through escape hatches easily, and the zipper feature saves time in securing a patient or a body in the stretcher.

      3. Most of the injured men were in damage control station #5 where the bomb exploded. They were either sitting or standing on the deck. Those behind a small partition received only minor injuries. One man fully clothed, with a long sleeved jumper, was sitting with his arms folded on his knees and his head resting on his arms, and with trousers rolled up. His only burns were around his ankles. His hair was singed but the skin was not burned. Those that wore jumpers buttoned up, with short sleeves, were burned on the face and arms. Most of the men had on regulation blue chambray shirts with short sleeves, and received second and third degree burns on the arms and face. There were no burns below the waist line


        except where the trousers were rolled up, or where the skin was not protected by hair. Photographs of men seriously burned, showing the effect of having areas of skin expoesd, are appended as enclosure (J).

      1. During the battle several of the seriously shocked and wounded men became hysterical. The calm and reassuring attitude of the trained medical personnel had a soothing effect on these injured men.


        The issue of short sleeved shirts for wear on board ships should be discontinued for the duration of the war. Likewise, the wearing of shorts should be definitely banned in all ships when in a zone of active operations. The uniform, "undershirts" should never be allowed when action is probable. All surface vessels should be provided with light weight flash-proof clothing in sufficient quantities to outfit the entire ship's company. It should be mandatory that these be worn, together with cotton gloves, and with socks pulled up over trouser legs, when action is imminent.

        Repair parties and dressing station personnel should be dispersed as much as possible consistent with their duties, this dispersal to include placing them on various deck levels. When delayed action fuses are employed, explosions are apt to occur in compartments normally occupied by engineering repair parties.

        When men are required to remain at battle stations over long periods of time, as on this occasion during the entire day, it is mandatory that drinking water be available throughout the ship. It is recommended that portable drinking fountains, equipped with hand operated pressure pumps to produce water "fountain", be procured and provided to all ships.



    Deficiencies which appeared or which have made a sore pronounced impression as a result of the action of May 8 are here summarized:

    1. AIR

      1. Insufficient number of fighters. In view of the large numbers of fighters in Japanese carriers, and in order that a carrier air group may deliver an attack protected by own fighters, while leaving sufficient fighters with the carrier to protect the force of which he is a part, it is imperative that the fighter complement of carriers be increased immediately to at least 27. Due to the limited availability of carrier deck space, and to simplify administration, it is recommended that all VSB planes be included in one squadron. A suitable and recommended complement of squadrons, pilots and aircraft for the Yorktown type carrier is as follows:

        a. Complement pilots VF

        b. Spare pilots
        Total pilots

        c. Complement planes 27 27 12

        d. Spare planes in overhead
        Total planes

          Grand total planes - 88.      

        e. After receipt of TBF planes and a certain amount of operating experience it may be deemed advisable to increase the operating allowance of TBF to eighteen.

      2. All haste should be made in delivery to carrier groups of torpedo planes capable of high speed, long range, ability to dive, and sufficient gun power for their own defense.


        Torpedoes must be capable of being dropped at high speed and from and altitude of at least two hundred feet.

        Torpedoes themselves should be high speed and should be equipped with magnetic exploders if such exploders can withstand the shock of dropping.

      1. Means must be developed and incorporated into all dive bombers to prevent fogging of sights and windshields.

      2. While the rearming of SBD's with 1,000 pound bombs and machine gun ammunition was accomplished expeditiously, the rearming of planes with torpedoes was entirely too slow. Additional hydraulic lift trucks are essential for more rapid handling of torpedoes. The rearming of fighters is somewhat slow. The doors require about 5 minutes to open. Decrease in the time necessary to rearm the VF is desirable. The rearming of the F4F-3 airplane requires the opening of 78 Dzus fasteners. If the guns are to be inspected an additional 62 fasteners must be opened.

      3. No method existed in Yorktown prior to this engagement for putting a CO2 pressure test on the gasoline distribution system after action.

        Such a system has subsequently been installed by ship's force, and it is recommended that a like system be installed in other carriers if not already provided.

    1. RADAR

      1. The casualty to this vessel's CXAM Radar might have been disastrous had there not been another carrier present whose Radar was still functioning. Although Fighter Direction can be taken over by other Radar equipped vessels, or the carrier can still direct fighters, (with a considerable reduction in effectiveness), by utilizing reports from other Radar equipped vessels, it is obvious that neither of these alternate systems can be as effective as is Fighter Direction from a carrier utilizing own Radar information. It is vital that all carriers be equipped with two search Radars.


      1. The makeshift Radar plot in this vessel, wherein all functions of Radar Plot are attempted to be accomplished in a corner of Air Plot, again showed itself, during the air attack of May 8, to be woefully inadequate to enable complete use to be made of all the information which the combined Radars of own and other ships are capable of furnishing, or even to use with full effectiveness information which can be furnished by this vessel's one Radar. In order that Radar Plot may properly perform its function it must:

        1. Be, in itself, a complete unit.

        2. Have sufficient room to allow the Fighter Director and his plotting and communication assistants to perform their functions without mutual interference.

        3. Be so isolated as to be relatively free from spectator interference and from noise interference from other activities. Both spectator and noise interference are unacceptably great with Radar installed in a corner of Air Plot.

        4. Have its own radio communications, capable of transmitting or receiving on any aircraft circuit, and on a superfrequency circuit with other search Radar equipped vessels and with other Fighter Directors.

        5. Be provided with interior communication channels connecting to Signal Bridge, look-outs, Flag, and important ship and fire-control stations.

        6. Be contiguous to Air Plot and have means for actual physical, conversational communications with Air Plot.

        7. Be provided with plotting facilities sufficient to allow two simultaneous Radar plots to be run: one search plot, and a Fighter Director (tracking) Plot.

        8. Have sufficient blackboard and extra chartboard space to allow a complete picture to be maintained of the situation of our own aircraft and of the general and immediate tactical situation.


        It must be recognized that the importance of Radar Plot in carriers is comparable to that of the Plotting Room in battleships.

        It is of the utmost urgency that this vessel be afforded the first available opportunity for alteration of the island structure to provide an adequate Radar Plot served by adequate interior and radio communications.


      1. In order for Fighter Direction to be effective, free use must be made of radio communications between the Fighter Director and the Combat Patrol. In order that the Fighter Director may have complete Radar information at his disposal, it is mandatory that Radar information be supplied him instantly and unreservedly from Radar Plots in other ships as well as from his own Radar. Both these necessities make it vital that there be developed and made available to the Fleet immediately, superfrequency voice radio equipment for use on a Radar information circuit and between the Fighter Director and the Combat Patrol. The aircraft equipment should be capable of reliable communications, both reception and transmission, up to a distance of at least 50 miles, provided the plane is at sufficient altitude.

        Such radio equipment would be extremely useful in all types of ship-based aircraft, (1) for rapid and secure communication with the inner air patrol, (2) to provide an additional means of aircraft identification, and (3) to provide a means of communication which is urgently necessary for the conduct of training exercises at sea.

      2. Due to the disabling of Yorktown's YE antenna and, later, to the complete loss of communications in Lexington, there was a period of several hours on May 8, when homing by means of YE was not available to the air groups.

        The delivery of YG homing transmitters to carriers and cruisers should be expedited.


      1. On the night of May 7, 2 enemy carriers were heard communicating with their aircraft in the air by means of high frequency (CW) radio. The aircraft were in the immediate vicinity of this Task Force. It appears probable that the carriers were within 150 miles of our own force but, because of the frequency being used, no bearings could be taken of the transmissions by any vessel of this force. In order to remedy this serious defect in our means of obtaining radio intelligence of the enemy, every effort should be bent toward developing and making available at the earliest moment reliable high-frequency radio direction finders capable of being installed and operated on board ship.

      2. The present aircraft recognition system, as set forth in paragraph 5231, PAC 70, is cumbersome, inadequate, and easily compromised. The Fleet System should, while retaining the approach bearing and recognition-by-maneuver feature of PAC 70 for the use of single seat fighters, have incorporated into it the basic principles of the effective British-U.S. system:

        1. That the burden of effecting recognition of aircraft is on the aircraft.

        2. That, until the recognition of friendly identity of the aircraft is acknowledged by a surface vessel, the aircraft may not come within gun range without subjecting itself to gunfire.

        3. That an approaching aircraft should identify itself to the nearest surface war vessel in a disposition.

        4. That that vessel, prior to making the signal to an aircraft acknowledging its friendly identity (a come-on signal), must make flag hoist (paralleled by TBS broadcast, if equipped with TBS) notifying all ships present that the aircraft on true bearing _____ is friendly.

        5. That aircraft must not, under any circumstances, approach a formation of friendly vessels in a threatening formation or at a threatening altitude.


        All aircraft except single-seat fighters should be equipped with effective Aldis lamps, and it is recommended that all aircraft be provided with Mark VII (smoke) recognition signals for use in an emergency, also that the use of these signals be incorporated into the aircraft recognition system.


      1. The explosion of an armor piercing bomb immediately above the forward engine room emphasizes the urgent necessity for the accomplishment, at the first available opportunity, of the below listed authorized engineering alterations which are designed to increase engineering damage control effectiveness:

        1. Yorktown Alteration CV112K34.
          "Modify Boiler Feed System by Installation of 6 Gate Valves."

          For brevity, this modification is shown in sketch, enclosure (K). If the bomb hit had ruptured boiler feed lines in number 9 fireroom the only available remaining source of feed water would have been cold water suction from the forward surge tank by means of emergency feed pumps, thus reducing the ship's speed to a maximum of 15 knots.

        2. Yorktown Alteration MCV46B
          "Install 4" Cross-Connection with Cutout Valve between #3 and #5 fireroom."

          From an inspection of the auxiliary steam line it is evident that a bomb hit in #4 fireroom would disable all engine room steam auxillaries and thus "Kill" the ship.

        3. Yorktown Alteration MCV46E
          "Install Quick-Closing Remote Control Valves for Main Steam Line Cross-Connection in Forward Engine Room."


        1. The following additional alterations, which are being requested, are likewise considered to be of vital importance, and are here recommended:

          1. Install remote control operating gear to boiler feed stop and check valves to permit securing boiler feed water from third deck.

          2. Install in all center firerooms individual fuel oil cutout valves to the adjacent wing firerooms. This would permit securing individual wing boilers from the center firerooms, an additional safety feature to that now installed which permits the securing of an athwartships row of 3 boilers with a quick closing valve.

      1. The killing or stunning of the entire engineers' repair party in the compartment above which the bomb exploded demonstrated conclusively that even if any personnel were left alive in an engineering space in which a bomb exploded they could not be relied upon to control the damage within the space, but that all correctional operations must be handled from adjacent spaces which are intact. It is therefore mandatory that provision be made for securing engineering machinery by remote control whenever possible.

    1. GUNNERY

      1. The number of magazines available for 20 millimeter guns (10 per gun at present) was inadequate. This deficiency would have caused a considerable reduction in the volume of fire if the action had lasted a few minutes longer. Each 20 millimeter gun should be supplied with 24 magazines.


    The conduct in battle of the entire ship's Company of the Yorktown and her Air Group was worthy of the highest traditions of the Naval Service.


    With full realization that we were but beginning a long and arduous task, every Officer and Enlisted Man, with tireless energy, unquenchable enthusiasm, grim determination, and high courage, gave of himself in full measure to the successful accomplishment of our mission.

    I can have no higher honor than to have commanded them in battle.



    CC to: CTG 17.5 (Less enclosure (A))


Enclosure D

U.S.S. YORKTOWN May 19, 1942.

From: The Executive Officer.  
To: The Commanding Officer.  
Subject: Noteworthy Incidents Occurring During Engagement on May 8, 1942, and in the Operations Leading up Thereto Involving Individual Instances of Personnel Deserving Praise - Report of.  
Reference: (a) Article 948, U.S. Navy Regulations, 1920.

  1. In accordance with reference (a), the following report of noteworthy incidents and conduct of personnel is furnished:

    1. The conduct of the crew of this vessel during the torpedo and bombing attack of May 8, 1942, was exemplary. Every member of the crew remained at his battle station during the engagement and functioned as at a normal drill. In some instances where officers and men were not needed at their assigned stations, they voluntarily assisted at nearby stations where their services were badly needed.

    2. The efficient manner in which all departments functioned showed the results of many months of training.

    3. The conduct of the flying personnel in the squadrons was exemplary. Recommendations for awards in special cases will be made direct to the Commanding Officer, U.S.S. Yorktown, by the Squadron Commanders.

    4. The action of the following named officers and men are to be especially commended:


      Commander W. D. Davis, (MC), U.S. Navy
      Senior Medical Officer
      The test of battle showed that Commander Davis (MC), by his appreciation of the special problems of the Medical Department in action, had organized his department to be able to handle these problems with great efficiency. During and after the battle, he not only demonstrated his personal skill and knowledge as a physician and surgeon, but, by vigorous and intelligent direction of his entire department was responsible for the saving of many lives and for the alleviation of suffering of numerous wounded men.
      Commander Davis (MC) should be recommended for the Navy Cross.

      Commander I. D. Wiltsie, U.S. Navy
      Commander Wiltsie, the Navigator, distinguished himself not only by his calm and expert handling of the ship in battle under your direction, but by constant and expert application of his ability as a navigator contributed greatly to the success of the three attacks made by the Air Group on enemy forces at Tulagi May 4th and the attacks on enemy carriers on May 7th and 8th, 1942.
      Commander Wiltsie should be recommended for the Navy Cross.


      Commander C. E. Aldrich, U.S. Navy
      Commander Aldrich, by his sound judgement in planning, training, and organizing, brought his Damage Control Organization and Material into the crucial test of battle in a high state of readiness. During and after the battle he, by his calm, thorough, and expert direction of damage control, was directly responsible for the early isolation and extinguishing of a raging fire and for the reduction to an absolute minimum of other damage resulting from a bomb explosion and for immediate and complete control of underwater damage resulting from many near misses.
      Commander Aldrich should be recommended for the Navy Cross.

      Commander R. J. Arnold, (SC), U.S. Navy
      The ability of the Yorktown and her Air Group to maintain the state of material readiness necessary to the successful accomplishment of the Air Group attacks against the enemy on May 4th, 7th, and 8th, and to the ship's ability to so successfully meet the enemy's intense air attack on May 8th, was due in no little respect to Commander Arnold's foresight, specialized knowledge of aircraft material, and the application of that knowledge to the procurement of necessary supplies and spare parts and to the organization of his department so as to make the supplies and spares readily available under all conditions. In battle, Commander Arnold, not being required at his regular station in the armored coding room, due to the presence of several coding officers attached to the staff of Rear Admiral Fletcher, took station in an exposed position on a machine gun battery where he served throughout the action as a member of the ammunition loading party.
      For his distinguished service in the line of his profession as Supply Officer, and for his conspicuous gallantry in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty, I recommend that Commander Arnold be recommended for the Navy Cross.

      Commander M. E. Arnold, U.S. Navy
      Commander Murr E. Arnold, U.S. Navy, the Air Officer, by his careful planning and organization, untiring energy, and by the sound application of his expert knowledge not only to the administration of the Air Department but to the operations of the Air Group as well, was largely responsible for the success of the Air Group's operations at Tulagi on May 4th and against enemy carriers and enemy aircraft on May 7th and 8th. As you know, Commander Arnold personally made the detailed plans of the air operations against Tulagi on May 4th as a result of which, by three repeated attacks, at least eight enemy vessels including one heavy cruiser or seaplane carrier, one light cruiser, two transports, one destroyer, and three patrol gun boats were sunk.


      In battle on May 8th, under heavy bombing and torpedo attack, Commander Arnold calmly attended to his business of supervising the servicing of aircraft on board and maintaining the flight deck and arming crews in readiness for receiving and rearming the ship's Air Group.
      Commander Arnold should be recommended for the Navy Cross.

      Lieutenant Commander C. C. Ray, U.S. Navy
      Lieutenant Commander Ray, the Communication Officer, by his understanding of the peculiar communication problems of carriers and carrier aircraft and by his careful planning and organization of the Communication Department to the end that those problems should be solved, was directly responsible for the establishment and maintenance of many lines of communication vitally essential to the success of the operations of the Air Group and ship during the engagements with the enemy on May 4th, 7th, and 8th. In battle on May 8th, he calmly supervised the all-important "Fighter Director" and "Search and Attack" radio circuits, supervised the immediate repair of the damaged Radar and various transmitting circuits, and by his example inspired the men of his department to carry out their duties calmly and efficiently.
      Lieutenant Commander Ray should be recommended for the Navy Cross.

      Lieutenant Commander Oscar Pederson, U.S. Navy,
      Commander, Yorktown Air Group
      Lieutenant Commander Pederson, the Air Group Commander, because of his previous training and experience, was kept on board during the Air Group's actions on May 4th, 7th, and 8th to act as Fighter Director. In that capacity, he successfully directed our fighters to intercept and shoot down an enemy four-engined patrol bomber on the morning of May 8th. Shortly thereafter, Lexington assumed the duties of Fighter Director, and Lieutenant Commander Pederson served in the capacity of relief Fighter Director until Lexington Radar and radio communications became inoperative on May 8th, at which time he again resumed direction of the fighters. Prior to the date of Lieutenant Commander Pederson's assuming the duties of Commander Yorktown Air Group on April 25, 1942, he was Commander, Fighting Squadron FORTY-TWO. The brilliant performance of that fighter squadron in action during the strenuous period of 4 - 8 May, 1942, reflects great credit on Lieutenant Commander Pederson's training and leadership as Squadron Commander.
      I recommend that for these demonstrations of outstanding performance of duty, Lieutenant Commander Pederson be awarded a letter of commendation by the Secretary of the Navy.


      Lieutenant Commander J. F. Delaney, U.S. Navy
      Lieutenant Commander John F. Delaney, U.S. Navy, Engineer Officer of this vessel, by his thorough knowledge of engineering and his sound and thorough training of the Engineer's Force brought his plant and force into battle in a high state of readiness; by his calm judgement and superb leadership in action, when the explosion of an aerial bomb in the compartment directly over his head had killed the majority of his Engineer's Repair Party, put three boilers out of commission, and salted two condensers, he was able to keep the ship's speed sufficiently high (never less than twenty-four knots) to enable the Captain successfully to maneuver to avoid continued aerial bombing and torpedo attacks. One hour and forty-five minutes after the bomb hit, he reported the engineering plant back in full commission and ready to make full power.
      Lieutenant Commander Delaney should be recommended for the Navy Cross.

      Lieutenant Commander Ernest J. Davis, U.S. Navy
      Lieutenant Commander Ernest J. Davis, Gunnery Officer of this vessel, by his clear thinking, sound judgement, thorough understanding of the problems of anti-aircraft gunnery, and his knowledge of his men and his extraordinary ability to instill into them an aggressive, fighting spirit, brought his gunnery department into battle in a high state of readiness. In battle, when heavily attacked by enemy carrier dive-bombers, torpedo planes, and fighters, he directed the ship's batteries against the enemy attack so that every attacking plane was vigorously opposed by gunfire, and many were destroyed. His intrepidity, in directing the batteries, by means of the flight deck loud speaking system, from his exposed position on top of the pilot house, in a calm, clear voice, no different from his normal manner of speaking during gunnery drills, was not only an inspiration to the guns' crews and to all who heard him, but was a great aid to the Captain in maneuvering the ship to avoid bombs and torpedoes.
      Lieutenant Commander Davis should be recommended for the Navy Cross.

      Lieutenant Ralph E. Patterson, U.S. Navy
      Lieutenant Ralph E. Patterson, U.S. Navy, was the senior officer of the Repair Parties. Through his direction, the parties were organized at the scene of the damage and the work was coordinated. His orderly reports to Central Station kept the Damage Control Officer constantly in touch with the whole situation. Lieutenant Patterson personally helped care for the dead and injured. Without thought for his personal safety, he entered the damaged compartment which was filled with smoke and fire and directed the work of extinguishing the blaze and repairing the damage. It is strongly recommended that he be promoted to Lieutenant Commander for temporary service and that he be given a letter of commendation by the Secretary of the Navy.


      Lieutenant N. A. Campbell, U.S. Navy
      Lieutenant N. A. Campbell, performed his duties in an outstanding manner during the period 4 - 8 May, 1942 while this vessel and her Air Group were engaged in intermittent action with the enemy. As Landing Signal Officer, he executed his duties in a very cool deliberate manner under extreme conditions of stress in bringing damaged planes on board safely, landing planes while the ship was heeled over and turning sharply, and, landing several VF planes on board at night with pilots who had never qualified at night on a carrier or had any night field training. His performance of duty reduced to a minimum the damage to planes incident to carrier landings and thus he contributed greatly toward maintaining the efficiency of the Air Group.
      It is recommended that he be awarded a letter of commendation by the Secretary of the Navy for his outstanding performance of duty in the line of his profession.

      Lieutenant A. N. Wilson, Jr., U.S. Navy
      Lieutenant A. N. Wilson, Jr., performed his duties in an outstanding manner during the period 4 - 8 May, 1942, while this vessel and her Air Group were engaged in intermittent action with the enemy. As Flight Deck Officer, he executed his duties so efficiently that he greatly contributed to the effectiveness of the striking power of the Air Group. His initiative and leadership during this prolonged period of stress is to be highly commended.
      It is recommended that he be awarded a letter of commendation by the Secretary of the Navy for his outstanding performance of duty in the line of his profession.

      Lieutenant Milton E. Ricketts, U.S. Navy (Deceased)
      It is recommended that Lieutenant Milton E. Ricketts, U.S. Navy (Deceased), be post-humously cited for the Navy Cross for his heroic action in endeavoring to extinguish the fire when a bomb passed through and exploded just beneath the space in which his battle station was located. Lieutenant Ricketts, in charge of the Engineering Repair Party, his men all killed, wounded, or stunned, himself mortally wounded, opened the valve on nearby fire plug, partially led out the fire hose and directed a heavy stream of water into the fire before dropping dead. This was the first hose put on a critical fire, and Lieutenant Ricketts' prompt and heroic action undoubtedly prevented its rapid progress to that of more serious proportions.


      Lieutenant A. C. Emerson, U.S. Navy
      Lieutenant A. C. Emerson, performed his duties in an outstanding manner during the period 4 - 8 May, 1942, while this vessel and her Air Group were engaged in intermittent action with the enemy. As Hangar Deck Officer, he executed his duties so efficiently that he greatly contributed to the effectiveness of the striking power of the Air Group. His prompt action in rendering necessary assistance on May 8th when an enemy bomb struck the ship and exploded below decks is particularly commendable. His initiative and leadership during this prolonged period of stress is to be highly commended.
      It is recommended that he be awarded a letter of commendation by the Secretary of the Navy for outstanding performance of duty in the line of his profession.

      Lieutenant (jg) J. E. Ferree, U.S. Navy
      Although Lieutenant (jg) J. E. Ferree, was on the sick list at the time of the action, and had been for a period of several days preceeding it, he, as Radio Material Officer of this vessel was directly responsible for the ship's going into battle with the radio material in such excellent condition that it was able to stand the effects of a bomb hit, several near misses, and of heavy gunfire with negligible failures.
      It is recommended that he be awarded a letter of commendation by the Secretary of the Navy for outstanding performance of duty in the line of his profession.

      Lieutenant (jg) H. O. Vogel, U.S. Navy
      Lieutenant (jg) H. O. Vogel, by his leadership, energy, example, and expert knowledge of visual communications, was able to go through the strenuous operations of the four (4) days preceeding and through the action of May 8th with a flawless performance in the handling of the visual signals of this ship and of the Task Force Commander.
      It is recommended that he be awarded a letter of commendation by the Secretary of the Navy for outstanding performance of duty in the line of his profession.

      Lieutenant (jg) John E. Greenbacker, U.S. Navy
      Lieutenant (jg) John E. Greenbacker's performance of duty as Officer-of-the-Deck during the strenuous operations which reached a climax in the battle on May 8, 1942, was of the highest order. On May 8th, at general quarters, he alternated with the Assistant Navigator as relief Officer-of-the-Deck when it became necessary for the Navigator to be relieved. During the battle, he assisted the Captain in conning the ship by keeping him informed, from his station on the starboard wing of the bridge, of approaching bomb and torpedo attacks on the starboard side of the ship and of the position of the ship


      in relation to the torpedoes which had been dropped. His assistance to the Captain was invaluable.
      He is recommended for award of a letter of commendation by the Secretary of the Navy for outstanding performance of duty in the line of his profession.

      Lieutenant (jg) C. E. Gill, U.S. Navy
      Lieutenant (jg) C. E. Gill's performance of duty as Officer-of-the-Deck during the strenuous operations which reached a climax in the battle on May 8, 1942, was of the highest order. On May 8th, at general quarters, he alternated with Lieutenant (jg) J. E. Greenbacker as relief Officer-of-the-Deck when it became necessary for the Navigator to be relieved. During the battle, he assisted the Captain in conning the ship by keeping him informed, from his station on the port wing of the bridge, of approaching bomb and torpedo attacks on the port side of the ship and of the position of the ship in relation to the torpedoes which had been dropped. His assistance to the Captain was invaluable.
      He is recommended for award of a letter of commendation by the Secretary of the Navy for outstanding performance of duty in the line of his profession.

      Ensign N. L. Tate, U.S. Navy
      During the action of May 8th, Ensign N. L. Tate, was stationed at the alidade on the starboard wing of the bridge for the purpose of reporting to the Captain true bearings of attacking aircraft and approaching torpedoes. He performed his duties under fire in a calm and capable manner, rendering invaluable assistance to the Captain in avoiding enemy aerial bombs and torpedoes.
      He is recommended for award of a letter of commendation by the Secretary of the Navy for outstanding performance of duty in the line of his profession.

      PARTON, Earnest Edison, 267-94-92, CQM(AA), U.S. Navy
      During the action on May 8th, PARTON, Earnest Edison, CQM(AA), was stationed at the alidade on the port wing of the bridge for the purpose of reporting to the Captain true bearings of attacking aircraft and approaching torpedoes. He performed his duties under fire in a calm and capable manner, rendering invaluable assistance to the Captain in avoiding enemy aerial bombs and torpedoes.
      He is recommended for award of a letter of commendation by the Secretary of the Navy for outstanding performance of duty in the line of his profession and it is recommended that he be advanced to the rating of Chief Quartermaster, Permanent Appointment.


      Carpenter Boyd M. McKensie, U.S. Navy
      Carpenter Boyd M. McKensie, in charge of a repair party, was the first man to go into the darkened, smoke-filled compartment which had been wrecked by the explosion of an aerial bomb and where fire was raging. With no thought for his personal safety, he personally cared for the dead and injured, fought fire, directed his men, and made repairs far into the night. Carpenter McKensie's ability and knowledge of his profession and ship were of inestimable value in making repairs so that the ship could function normally under adverse conditions. His periodic reports to the Damage Control Officer served to keep him informed of the situation and enabled the whole department to function more efficiently.
      Carpenter McKensie is strongly recommended for the award of a letter of commendation by the Secretary of the Navy and for promotion to the rank of Chief Carpenter for temporary service.

      Boatswain Edmund R. Crosby, U.S. Navy
      Boatswain Edmund R. Crosby, was the Officer-in Charge of a repair party. He proceeded with his party to the smoke-filled compartment which had been wrecked by the explosion of an aerial bomb and where fire was raging and directed them in extinguishing the fire and caring for the dead and injured. He made tours of the ship, reporting damage and casualties. He procured equipment and directed his men in using it. He assisted in making emergency repairs far into the night.
      Boatswain Crosby is recommended for the award of a letter of commendation by the Secretary of the Navy and for promotion to the rank of Chief Boatswain for temporary service.

      Radio Electrician Vane M. Bennett, U.S. Navy
      Radio Electrician Vane M. Bennett, as aircraft radio material officer, radio material officer for special super-frequency equipment, radar material officer, and radar operator in action, performed his duties in an outstanding manner in the strenuous days leading up to and culminating in the battle on May 8, 1942. When at 11:31 on May 8, the CXAM radar became inoperative, he immediately and correctly diagnosed the trouble as being located at the antenna array, and unhesitatingly proceeded to the exposed radar platform on the foremast where, during the height of the attack by dive bombers, fighters,


      and torpedo planes, exposed to machine gun fire and fragments from own anti-aircraft fire, he successfully effected repairs to the radar antenna.
      Radio Electrician Bennett is recommended for the award of a letter of commendation by the Secretary of the Navy and for promotion to the rank of Chief Radio Electrician for temporary service.

      TINDELL, James Rush, 271-62-48, CRM(PA), U.S. Navy
      During the strenuous operations immediately preceeding and culminating in the battle of May 8, 1942, TINDELL, due to the illness of the Radio Material Officer, acted as Radio Material Officer of this vessel. During the actions, the Communication Officer had occasion to call him by telephone on numerous occasions. He was completely calm and, by his keeping the main transmitters of the ship in continuous state of readiness to operate, demonstrated technical knowledge and leadership to a high degree.
      TINDELL is recommended for the award of a letter of commendation by the Secretary of the Navy and that recommendation be made to the Navy Department for a waiver of his physical disability (defective vision) and that, on the strength of his superb performance in battle, he be again recommended for promotion to the rank of Chief Radio Electrician for temporary services.

      BROOKS, Loyn Russell, 368-22-61, EM1c, U.S. Navy
      BROOKS was stationed with the Engineer Repair Party in the space through which the bomb passed and under which the explosion occurred. Although suffering from severe shock and light burns, he refused to go to the Sick Bay for examination, but carried on with the Electrical Repair Party and was instrumental in effecting temporary repairs to electric circuits in the damaged area.
      BROOKS is recommended for the award of a letter of commendation from the Secretary of the Navy for outstanding performance of duty in the line of his profession and it is recommended that he be advanced to the rating of Chief Electrician's Mate, Acting Appointment.

      DAVIS, Raymond Clarkinstin, 375-39-46, WT1c, U.S. Navy
      DAVIS, a member of the Boiler Repair Party, at the risk of his own personal safety, entered smoke and gas filled boiler rooms eight and nine to investigate the extent of damage, and largely through his efforts the super-heater boilers were back on the line approximately one hour after the bomb hit.
      He is recommended for the award of a letter of commendation from the Secretary of the Navy for outstanding performance of duty in the line of his profession and it is recommended that he be advanced to the rating of Chief Watertender, Acting Appointment.


      NEILSON, George Robert Jr., 337-36-27, F1c, U.S. Navy
      NEILSON, with disregard for his own personal safety leaped into the space where a fire was gaining headway, had fire hose passed to him, and arrested the progress of the fire for sufficient time to allow Boiler Repair Crews to pass through the area for investigation of boiler damage and to re-man eight and nine firerooms.
      He is recommended for award of a letter of commendation from the Secretary of the Navy for outstanding performance of duty and it is further recommended that he be advanced to the rating of Watertender Second Class.

      STOWE, Thomas Edward, 504-06-50, Sea2c, V-6, U.S. Naval Reserve
      STOWE was in Sick Bay as an ambulatory post-operative appendectomy patient. Disregarding the fact that he had been out of bed only a few days, he worked until 0200 the morning after the attack in the Sick Bay.
      He is recommended for award of a letter of commendation from the Commanding Officer for outstanding performance of duty and it is further recommended that he be advanced to the rating of Seaman first Class.

      ADAMS, Leo Ronald Joseph, 201-55-76, MM2c, U.S. Navy
      ADAMS was admitted to the Sick Bay with mild burns of the legs. Seeing others more seriously injured, he rendered valuable assistance in the Sick Bay during and after the engagement disregarding for the time his own injuries.
      He is recommended for award of a letter of commendation from the Commanding Officer for outstanding performance of duty and it is further recommended that he be advanced to the rating of Machinist's Mate First Class.

      FOSTER, Raymond Scott, 385-69-56, RM1c, U.S. Navy
      FOSTER's station in battle is radioman in charge of Radio III (Emergency Transmitter Room). In that room are located two (2) of the transmitters used for aircraft circuits. During the action of May 8, 1942, FOSTER demonstrated by keeping the equipment on his station in operation at all times, a thorough knowledge of his profession as well as leadership in a high degree.
      He is recommended for award of a letter of commendation from the Commanding Officer for outstanding performance of duty in the line of his profession and it is recommended that he be advanced to the rating of Chief Radioman, Acting Appointment.


      ATTAWAY, Alvin Austin, 283-29-84, RM1c, U.S. Navy
      During the battle of May 8, 1942, ATTAWAY, whose battle station is in the Radar Control Room, when the Radar became inoperative at 11:31, proceeded voluntarily and without hesitation to the exposed Radar Platform with Radio Electrician Bennett where by his skill and cool calm performance of duty under fire was of great assistance in placing the Radar back in commission.
      He is recommended for award of a letter of commendation from the Commanding Officer for outstanding performance of duty in the line of his profession and it is recommended that he be advanced to the rating of Chief Radioman, Acting Appointment.

      DESPOSITO, Harry Joseph, 380-13-94, RM1c, U.S. Navy
      DESPOSITO, as radioman in charge of the aircraft radio repair shop, during the battle on May 8, 1942, and during the strenuous operations leading up thereto, performed his duties in an outstanding manner in keeping the aircraft radio material of the Yorktown Air Group in perfect operating condition. He demonstrated an excellent knowledge of his specialty and a calm performance of duty in action, during which time he continued to make adjustments and repairs on aircraft radio equipment.
      He is recommended for award of a letter of commendation from the Commanding Officer for outstanding performance of duty in the line of his profession and it is recommended that he be advanced to the rating of Chief Radioman, Acting Appointment.

      RINEHART, Jack Kay, 393-29-22, RM3c, U.S. Navy, and,
      WRIGHT, Francis Bill, 400-23-87, RM3c, U. S. Navy.
      RINEHART and WRIGHT, during the battle of May 8, 1942, and the operations preceding were stationed in Air Plot as primary voice radio operators on aircraft circuits. For a sterling performance of duty in control of these difficult and fast moving circuits, they are recommended for awards of letters of commendation from the Commanding Officer for outstanding performance of duty in the line of their profession, and it is recommended that they be advanced to the rating of Radioman, Second Class.

      ROTUNNO, Joseph Michael, Jr., 223-78-39, RM2c, U.S. Navy, and,
      LEWIS, Raymond Osborn, 279-71-27, RM3c, U. S. Navy.
      ROTUNNO and LEWIS, during the battle on May 8, 1942, and the action leading up thereto, were stationed in Air Plot in control of Aircraft Voice and Key Radio Circuits. For their sterling performance of duty on these important and difficult circuits, they are recommended for awards of letters of commendation from the Commanding Officer for outstanding performance of duty in the line of their profession.




Addendum to Enclosure D

U.S.S. YORKTOWN May 25, 1942.

From: The Executive Officer.  
To: The Commanding Officer.  
Subject: Noteworthy Incidents Occurring During Engagement on May 8, 1942, and in the Operations Leading up Thereto Involving Individual Instances of Personnel Deserving Praise - Report of.  
References: (a) Article 948, U.S. Navy Regulations, 1920.
  (b) Executive Officer, U.S.S. Yorktown, Confidential letter CV5/A9-8/A16-3 DK(11-Bt) of May 19,1942.

  1. Reference (b), my report to you of incidents occurring during the engagement of May 8, 1942, was made somewhat hurriedly, in order that you might submit your lists of recommendations for awards to Commander Task Group 17.5 (Rear Admiral Aubrey W. Fitch) prior to his leaving this Task Force. It appears now that there were some names of officers and men who performed their duties in an outstanding manner which were inadvertently left off my original report to you; and there are some additional cases which, as a result of the completion of Heads of Departments' investigations, have been reported to me since the submission of my original report. It is requested, therefore, that this report be appended to my report dated May 19, 1942, to make my official report to you complete.

  2. The actions of the following named officers and men are considered to be especially praiseworthy, and are recommended for awards as indicated below:

    1. The following named officers are recommended for the award of a letter of commendation from the Secretary of the Navy:

      Lieutenant John D. HUNTLEY, U.S. Navy, Assistant Gunnery Officer and Control Officer, Forward 5" Director.

      Lieutenant Huntley, during the battle of May 8, 1942, as Control Officer of the forward 5" director, through his coolness and presence of mind under fire, maintained an effective anti-aircraft fire against various Japanese torpedo and dive bombing attacks. The guns controlled by this director shot down at least three (3) torpedo planes.

      Lieutenant John R. WADLEIGH, U.S. Navy, Control Officer, After 5" Director.


      Lieutenant Wadleigh, during the battle of May 8, 1942, as Control Officer of the after 5" director, through his coolness and presence of mind under fire, maintained an effective anti-aircraft fire against various Japanese torpedo and dive bombing attacks. The guns controlled by this director shot down at least four (4) torpedo planes.

      Lieutenant, junior grade, Edward A. KEARNEY, Medical Corps, U.S. Navy, Junior Medical Officer.

      Upon the explosion of the bomb which hit this ship during battle on May 8, 1942, Dr. Kearney went immediately to the scene of the explosion and tried to enter the burning compartment. As soon as he could enter, while the compartment was still blazing and full of smoke, he did enter and, under difficult conditions, made immediate examinations to determine which of the men were still alive. He personally directed the rescue of those who showed any signs of life, and immediately rendered medical attention which undoubtedly resulted in saving the lives of several men who were seriously burned or otherwise seriously wounded.

      Gunner Maurice E. WITTING, U.S. Navy, Ship's Gunner, and Aviation Ordnance Gunner.

      During the past seven (7) months, Gunner Witting has performed the combined duties of Ship's Gunner and Aviation Ordnance Gunner. He was responsible for the high state of readiness for action of the ship's armament, as witnessed by the performance during the battle of May 8, 1942. Gunner Witting supervised the preparation for firing of 41 torpedoes and 125 1,000 pound bombs dropped on Japanese ships from 4 to 8 May, 1942. As far as can be determined each bomb and torpedo functioned perfectly. During the battle on May 8, 1942, Gunner Witting received a leg wound from a bomb splinter and in spite of this painful injury remained at his station throughout the battle.

    1. It is recommended that the following named enlisted men be awarded a letter of commendation by the Commanding Officer, and be advanced to the next higher rating:



      BESHORE, Edward Arthur 283 06 10 AM2c U.S.N.
      BOOTEN, John Donnelly 337 57 11 AM2c U.S.N.
      COLLIER, Horace Laster 346 57 11 BM2c U.S.N.
      LEWIS, Joseph Pierce 261 99 22 Cox U.S.N.
      MANKEDECK, John William 328 73 91 Sea1c U.S.N.
      VANACORE, Anthony James 402 61 30 Sea1c U.S.N.
      PETTIPAS, Edward James, Jr 400 91 67 Sea1c U.S.N.R.

      The above named men, by their outstanding performance of duty in their ratings in connection with the handling, upkeep, and repair of the airplanes of the Yorktown Air Group during the past six (6) months and, particularly, during the period of intermittent action with the enemy on May 4 - 8 May, 1942, have contributed greatly to the ability of the Air Group and the Airplane handling group to maintain themselves in the high state of readiness which was evinced by the success of their operations.


      MILHOLIN, Robert Blair 321 43 79 SK3c U.S.N.

      Milholin's battle station is in the Radar Control Room as first relief Radar operator. As such, he actually operated the Radar for many hours during the periods of action with the enemy, May 4 - 8, 1942, while the fighters were being directed against the enemy by means of Radar observation. By his skill and his devotion to duty, he contributed much to the defense of this force and to the detection and destruction of enemy aircraft.


      ROLFE, Raymond Arthur
      first powderman on 5" gun #5.
      207 27 61 Sea1c U.S.N.

      During the battle on May 8, 1942, the first shellman of this gun injured his hand and had to leave the gun platform. The gun captain was knocked down by a bomb explosion before he could reach the gun platform. During this period Rolfe, with remarkable presence of mind and coolness in action continued to load both powder and shell, thereby maintaining an uninterrupted fire from the gun.


      VODICKA, Charles Frank
      rammerman on 5" Gun #5.
      316 60 69 Cox U.S.N.

      During one period during the battle on May 8, 1942, while this gun was firing in local control at torpedo planes an order was received to shift the gun into director control. The first shellman attempted to remove the shell with a fixed fuse setting from the loading tray. At the same instant Vodicka started to ram the load. The first shellman's hand was caught between the rammer spade and shell. Vodicka, with great alertness and coolness of mind, retracted the spade instantly, preventing serious injury to the first shellman's hand and possible material casualty to the gun.

      NEWMAN, William Henry
      Gunner's Mate at 5" Group IV.
      325 02 98 GM1c U.S.N.

      All electrical power failed to rammer motor on gun #8 after the second shot with a shell seated in the gun, thus making it impossible to load a powder case by hand. Newman, with great presence of mind, immediately realized the situation. He trained and elevated the muzzle of the gun up to the edge of flight deck and, by means of section handle, was able to unseat and remove the projectile. He thereafter supervised the loading and ramming by hand of this gun, keeping it in operation.

      MOORE, Wilford (n)
      trainer on 5" Gun #8
      279 71 83 Sea1c U.S.N.

      Moore, in spite of the fact that he had been burned and knocked from his seat three times by blast of the adjacent gun, refused to leave his station and would allow no one to relieve him of his duties.

      NERBY, Theodore Bernhardt
      rammerman on 5" Gun #8.
      328 74 03 Sea1c U.S.N.
      SPEARS, David Owen
      second powderman on 5" Gun #8.
      659 06 80 Sea2c U.S.N.R.

      Nerby and Spears displayed unusual coolness and presence of mind under fire. They were of invaluable assistance to the Gunner's Mate in repairing a serious casualty to the gun and thereafter ramming the gun loads by hand.



      CARPENTER, William (n) 342 27 13 Ptr3c U.S.N.

      Carpenter was a member of No. 4 Repair Party and was on patrol in the living compartments during the action. He was in the Marine Compartment when the bomb struck the ship. After the explosion he grasped the situation quickly and proceeded to the third deck and entered the damaged compartment which was dark and filled with smoke. He guided two injured men to safety and returned to the compartment to fight fire and repair damage. He was severely burned but continued his efforts until ordered to sick bay by his superior officer.

      UPCHURCH, Clyde Davis 261 81 45 SF1c U.S.N.

      Upchurch was a member of No. 4 Repair Party. Immediately after the ship was bombed he proceeded to the damaged compartment, fought fire, assisted in the care of the injured and dead, and made emergency repairs. The compartment was dark and full of smoke, live electrical cables were hanging about, and debris made progress exceedingly difficult. Later Upchurch worked about eighteen hours, sometimes in four feet of water, making repairs and keeping submersible pumps in operation.

      HOOK, Norris Keanon 261 98 08 SF1c U.S.N.

      Hook was a member of No. 2 Repair Party who, when directed by superior authority, led his men to the scene of damage and fought fire, cared for the injured and dead, and made emergency repairs. He was called upon to proceed to various parts of the ship to effect emergency repairs and his knowledge of the ship and his skill in his work kept countless items of machinery, ventilation, plumbing, and drainage functioning normally during an extremely difficult period. His ability as a welder served to make permanent repairs in the shortest possible time.

      OAKLEY, Edgar Litchfield 380 37 81 1st Mus U.S.N.

      Oakley was a member of No. 1 Dressing Station Party and senior stretcher bearer of the ship. During action when hospital corpsmen were occupied with care of injured personnel, Oakley personally supervised the removal of the dead to the after mess hall and later to the after partial deck. He has been commended by the Senior Medical Officer for his valuable assistance in a task which required intelligence and courage. He continued his assistance until


      far into the night. It is believed that his conduct and efforts were beyond the call of duty.

      VANDER, Paul Edward 234 02 66 SF1c U.S.N.

      Vander was a member of No. 3 Repair Party. When directed by his superior he led his men to the scene of damage and fought fire and made repairs in a dark compartment filled with smoke. He assisted in removing the injured and dead and worked far into the night effecting emergency repairs.


      HARNED, Robert Wilford 368 27 97 PhM1c U.S.N.
      EDWARDS, Charles William 265 72 35 PhM1c U.S.N.
      DE LISLE, Paul Francis 403 87 07 PhM2c U.S.N.R.
      HELLER, Warren (n) 403 67 90 PhM2c U.S.N.R.
      ABARR, Joe Waugh 321 28 26 PhM2c U.S.N.

      These pharmicist's mates during and after battle on May 8, 1942, by their expert technical knowledge and ability, their complete devotion to duty, and their untiring labor, greatly assisted the Medical Officer in their treatment of the many burned and otherwise wounded men, and, later in preparation of the dead for burial. Each of them, at some one of the several battle dressing stations, on his own initiative, when the Medical Officer in charge of his station was occupied with the more extreme cases, took charge and directed the administering of first aid and thus aided greatly in succor to wounded and suffering men.

  1. It is recommended that each of the following listed officers and enlisted men be awarded a letter of commendation from the Commanding Officer:

      Lieutenant (jg) Donald S. SCHEU, U.S. Navy.

      Lieutenant (jg) Scheu was stationed in central station as Assistant Damage Control Officer during action with the enemy. He had played a prominent part in the organization and instruction of the Damage Control Party and by his thorough knowledge of the entire damage control organization of the ship, was able to take immediate and intelligent action which undoubtedly did much to prevent further damage and spread of the fire which resulted from explosion of the bomb which struck the ship.


      Ensign Ralph B. CONLEE, U.S. Naval Reserve.

      Ensign Conlee, serving as Stability and List Control Officer in Central Station, performed his duties in a highly commendatory manner. After the action, he was detailed by the Damage Control Officer to proceed to the scene of the damage and there was of great assistance in making repairs and caring for the dead and wounded.

      Ensign Marvin O. SLATER, U.S. Naval Reserve.

      Ensign Slater, serving as assistant to Damage Control Officer and First Lieutenant in Central Station, performed his duties in a highly commendatory manner. After the action, he was detailed by the Damage Control Officer to proceed to the scene of the damage and there was of great assistance in making repairs and caring for the dead and wounded.


      The following listed men, comprising your ship control party in the Pilot House and in the Conning Tower, as you know, performed their respective duties in an outstanding manner:

      BURGER, Joseph John
      B.M. of the Watch.
      350 85 56 CBM(AA) U.S.N.
      BENNETT, Floyd Harvey
      J.X. talker (Bridge).
      392 94 23 CY(PA) U.S.N.
      STATCHEN, Henry John,
      Captain's Writer.
      207 05 06 CY(AA) U.S.N.
      SCOTT, William Stanley
      J.X. talker (Conning Tower).
      287 20 10 Y1c U.S.N.
      KISER, Howard Kenton
      Helmsman (Conning Tower).
      265 90 54 QM2c U.S.N.
      SHINE, James Henry
      Q.M. of the Watch (Bridge).
      238 66 69 QM3c U.S.N.
      ROY, William Glen
      268 37 40 P2c U.S.N.
      HARBERT, Martin Winfred
      J.A. talker (Bridge).
      355 92 93 Y2c U.S.N.
      MEYERS, Arthur Elbert
      J.A. talker (Conning Tower).
      382 08 13 Sea1c U.S.N.


      CHARTIER, Joseph George
      J.L. talker.
      300 14 32 Sea1c U.S.N.
      OGDEN, Nathan Herman
      J.V. talker.
      385 86 37 Sea1c U.S.N.
      BAGINSKI, Theodore John
      Captain's Orderly.
      No. 298827 PFC U.S.M.C.


      WILSON, James Eli 243 31 61 CPhM(PA) U.S.N.
      BARBARICK, Lewis Victor, Jr. 356 00 54 PhM1c U.S.N.

      These two men have been praised highly by the Senior Medical Officer for their devotion to duty and their technical skill in attending the wounded.




Enclosure F



  1. The Gunnery Officer is the Air Defense Officer of the ship. The primary firecontrol station is the top of the pilot house and this station is known as "Air Defense". Six sky lookouts will stand watch in Air Defense during daylight.

  2. The Gunnery Officer will maintain an officer watch in Air Defense during condition watches. This officer is the Air Defense Officer of the watch and in the absence of the Gunnery Officer, will perform all duties of the Air Defense Officer as hereafter listed in this doctrine.

  3. The Air Defense Officer will exercise control of all manned armament and lookouts on watch.

  4. To identify aircraft he has several means:

    1. Bearing and altitude of approach designated for this period.
    2. Visual recognition signals.
    3. Color, shape, type and silhouettes.
    4. Radar identification.

  5. Before opening fire the Air Defense Officer should ask permission of the Commanding Officer or Officer-of-the-Deck unless planes are obviously enemy and approaching ship in an attack formation.

  6. The Air Defense Officer will notify all guns and stations connected with Firecontrol and Aircraft Detection of the bearing of approaoh and maneuvers that may be expected from friendly planes. He shall also advise personnel of above stations of the character, enemy or friendly, of all approaching aircraft.

  7. Ship's guns are divided into four (4) defense sectors as follows:

    Stbd. Bow
    0° - 90°
    Port Bow
    270° - 360°
    Stbd. Quarter
    90° - 180°
    Port Quarter
    180° - 270°
    5" Guns #1&3 5" Guns #2&4 5" Guns #5&7 5" Guns #6&8
    1.1 Mt. II 1.1 Mt. III 1.1 Mt. IV 1.1 Mt. I
    20 MM Gun#2 20 MM Gun#4 20 MM Gun#40 20 MM Gun#38
    .50 Cal. Gun#1 .50 Cal. Gun#6 .50 Cal. Gun#24 .50 Cal. Gun#22
    .50 Cal. Gun#20 .50 Cal. Gun#18 .50 Cal. Gun#39 .50 Cal. Gun#36
    M.G.Batt. III M.G.Batt. IV M.G.Batt. IX M.G.Batt. X
    .50 Cal. Gun#2A .50 Cal. Gun#4A    


  1. It is the individual responsibility of every gunner that enemy planes do not approach in his sector unfired upon. However, if there are no targets in a sector, the guns of that sector may fire at enemy planes in any sector. This includes firing across the flight deck. Great responsibility is imposed on the individual gunners and batteries. Air Defense will broadcast such information as is available concerning enemy planes. The guns and gunners will do the shooting.

  2. These simple rules for firing will be complied with:

    1. Concentrate fire on enemy planes headed toward the ship.
    2. Do not fire at enemy planes out of range. Effective range of guns is as follows:

      Yards Horizontal.
      Slant Range of High
      Angles of Elevation.

      5" Guns 18,000 Maximum Visibility
      1.1 Guns 4,000 2,000
      20 MM Guns 2,000 1,000
      .50 Cal. Guns 2,000 1,000

    3. Open fire immediately on enemy planes diving or gliding toward the ship regardless of range.
    4. If firing in a sector, not your own, shift to your own sector immediately when enemy planes appear in it or when word is received that enemy planes are expected in it.
    5. Lead the target and never let your tracer stream get behind. Unless your tracer stream appears at least one plane length ahead of the plane the bullets are going behind it.
    6. When an enemy plane is shot down, falls off radically, or drops bomb or torpedo, shift immediately to the next plane.

  3. Unless more definite information is obtained concerning specific enemy planes the following lead will be used by automatic guns in opening fire:

    Diving None.  
    Slant and Strafing 20 MM Guns - 100 knots.
      1.1 Guns - 100 knots.
      .50 Cal Guns - 6 Plane lengths.


    Torpedo 20 MM Guns - 50 knots.
      1.1 Guns - 50 knots.
      .50 Cal Guns - 3 Plane lengths.

  1. When an attack is sighted, Air Defense will announce over the 5 MC loud speaker and telephone circuits the type of attack and sector. Control stations and guns will take the following action:

    1. The 5" directors, if not otherwise occupied, train on the attack and start firing, provided enemy is within range. Whichever director can best control the fire in that sector (depending on bearing, changes of course and smoke gases) will order switchboard to shift the set-up as necessary. This shift of set-up can be made at any time after firing has commenced and should not prevent either director from starting to fire immediately, with whatever guns the director is controlling on that side.

    2. All guns, not otherwise occupied, and can bear in that sector, train on the target. Open fire whenever target is within range. The 5" guns will use local control provided neither director has shifted them into automatic or given other orders.

  2. All 5" Groups, 1".1 Mounts and Machine Gun batteries will maintain a special lookout in their sector whenever the guns are firing in a sector other than their own. The Battery Officers will use a police whistle as a signal for guns to shift into their own sector.

  3. The following recognition and identification procedure is hereby established as standard for this vessel:


      1. Radar Operator will transmit contact bearing to Radar Plot on XJF phone and simultaneously press buzzer to indicate contact bearing on Radar Indicator in Radar Plot and Air Defense.

      2. Radar Plot Officer will plot contact and transmit relative bearing and other data to Air Defense on the JL phone.


      1. Pilot House, 5" Directors, Surface and Horizon Lookouts will listen in on the JL circuit. Pilot House talker will pass to the Officer-of-the-Deck orally all information on this circuit.

      2. The Radar Plot Officer will inform Air Plot orally of Radar Contacts.

      3. The Air Defense Officer will notify signal searchlight on 1JX phone of relative bearing of contact.

      4. Radar Plot Officer will, by day, transmit by messenger to the Signal Bridge immediately the true bearing and distance in miles of Radar Contacts of unidentified aircraft of a suspicious nature. This information will be broadcast instantly by TBS Radio paralleled by flag-hoist signal.


      1. Lookout station sighting object will transmit contact over JL phone giving relative bearing and elevation in degrees (airplane). Air Defense, Radar Plot and Pilot House will acknowledge for these reports, in that order.

      2. If an airplane, the Air Defense Officer will order the signal searchlight watch to challenge, using 1JX phone to transmit this order. Identify plane by relative bearing and elevation.

      3. The Air Defense Officer will order 5" directors and guns to prepare to open fire.

      4. A signalman will check challenge procedure with binoculars and report results of challenge to Air Defense Officer. Air Defense Officer will report results of challenge over JL phone immediately giving identifying bearing and elevation of plane(s). Pilot House and Radar Plot will acknowledge for this report.

      5. If an aircraft is definitely identified as friendly the Air Defense Officer will transmit this information over JL phones giving relative bearing of plane(s) in question. The Signal Officer will immediately make appropriate flag hoist signal and parallel this signal by TBS broadcast. After an interval sufficient to allow ships present to have received this signal, he will make the proper searchlight signal to the aircraft acknowledging his friendly identity. Signal searchlight operator will notify Air Defense when this


        signal has been made.


      1. Radar reports from other ships may be received on the Signal Bridge either by TBS radio, by visual signal, or by warning net broadcast. The signal officer will immediately relay such reports to Pilot House, Flag Plot, Air Defense and Radar Plot.

      2. The Signal Officer will assure himself that all subsequent reports are received by those four control centers using JX phone, Talk-Bak or voice tube as appropriate.


      1. The Talk-Bak system will be used as a secondary means of communication between Pilot House, Radar Plot and Air Defense.

      2. Relative bearings only will be transmitted over JL phone.

      3. Standard phraseology as determined by the Communication Officer and posted at each station will be used.

      4. The Air Defense Officer will use the 5 MC loudspeaker circuit to transmit orders for opening fire if conditions warrant.

      5. Surface Vessels will not be challenged unless ordered by the Officer-of-the-Deck.





Captain, U.S. Navy,



Enclosure G

U.S.S. YORKTOWN May 20, 1942.

c/o Postmaster,
San Francisco, Calif.

From: The Commanding Officer.  
To: The Chief of Naval Operations.  
Subject: Information on Damage Control.  
Reference: (a) C.N.O. Conf. ltr. Op-22-1 (SC) S88 Serial 0144022 of December 18, 1941.

  1. On May 8, 1942 this vessel received one direct bomb hit while under attack by enemy carrier based aircraft. As requested in reference (a) information is listed below regarding condition during and after attack. Paragraphs in the report are lettered to correspond with the subparagraph questions listed in reference (a).

    1. This vessel is a two condition ship.

    2. Material Condition Afirm was set at time of attack.

    3. The only modification to the standard Material Condition Afirm on this vessel was that all hangar roller curtains were left open.

    4. No additional closures were made after the attack began.

    5. Since the ship was in Condition Afirm there were no additional closures to secure after the attack began.

    6. Progressive flooding did not occur. The exterior boundaries of compartments next to the shell were neither pierced nor ruptured. Four compartments on the fourth deck were flooded internally to a depth of four feet by water from the firemain used to extinguished fire in these compartments. The transverse bulkheads and doors joining these compartments were blown out completely by the bomb blast, resulting in the flooding of these four compartments as a unit.


      These four compartments are B-411-E, B-9-5AT, C-402-A, and C-402-LA. The fore and aft length of this fourth deck flooding extended from frame 94 to frame 152, 152 feet.

    1. The internal flooding of the four compartments listed in the preceding paragraph was stopped immediately after the fire had been extinguished and all fire plugs secured. Since it was probable that any one or all of five risers, two firemain, and three damage control main, located in the storeroom C-402-L had been ruptured the riser cutouts below were closed. The reach rods for the five riser cutouts were jammed open, but closure was accomplished by the crew in the forward engine room disconnecting the reach rods at each valve and closing the valve by operating the wheel at the valve.

    2. Fires did result from the bomb explosion. The fires were of a minor degree, however, consisting mainly of smoldering rags and crated expedtionary stores in the fourth deck storeroom C-402-A, location bomb detonation. A minor bedding fire in the Marine living compartment resulted from the heat and flash of the explosion.

    3. The bomb explosion emitted a large quantity of dense black smoke. The fourth deck storeroom, C-402-A, third deck soda fountain, space C-301-L, and Marine living compartment C-201-L were immediately filled with the dense black smoke. The smoke slowly vented.

    4. Resulting fires from the bomb explosion were fought with salt water from fire plugs in the ship's fire main system. From the hangar, where a large number of fireplugs and foam generators are located, a total of eleven hoses under pressure were led to the bomb hole or number 2 elevator pit and used to extinguish the fire in the three decks below. Two of these hoses supplied foam. The immediate action in leading these hoses quickly brought the fire under control. The sprinkling system installed in the fourth deck aviation storeroom, location of bomb detonation, started automatically and effectively extinguished the fire in the storeroom though the sprinkling lines were pierced and shattered in many places. All provided fire fighting facilities were as effective as previously assumed.


    1. Pressure was available on the firemain system.

    2. There was no damage to the firemain or to the risers. The one riser in the damaged area was not pierced though splinters had pierced the lagging. This one riser, however, was believed at the time to be ruptured and internally flooding the damaged fourth deck storeroom. The riser was cut out in the forward engine room and isolated.

    3. For the fire parties this was the first actual use of the new type A rescue breather. The advantages of this new type were very evident and it materially aided the efficiency of the fire parties. It is recommended that rubber boots be supplied to the Repair Station Fire Parties to allow immediate access to the scene of the fire, effectively resisting electric shock from short circuits that fail to be cutout immediately.

    4. The bomb on impact with the second deck pierced the general lighting and battle lighting circuits and power circuits for the damaged area of the ship. The shorted circuits in the damaged compartments caused the members of fire parties to receive shocks until the circuits were effectively cutout at the distribution board. None of the shocks were of serious nature. In one instance a shorted power circuit strangely aided in fighting the fire. The electric sprinkling control valve for the damaged aviation storeroom opened by its power circuits being shorted. This started the automatic damage control pump, thus sprinkling the burning storeroom and also supplying an abundance of pressure at the fire plugs. Regarding power outlets for submersible pumps, it is recommended that more submersible pump 440 volt outlets be distributed along the third deck. Since the power outlets in the area of the damaged compartments were carried away, the leads for the pumps had to be led far forward and aft to obtain power requiring considerable time to splice the leads covering the distance.

    5. Lighting circuits in the damaged smoke filled compartments had been shorted out. All members of repair parties had flashlights on their person, but the flashlight beam could not effectively pierce the smoke until about twenty minutes later when the smoke had dispersed appreciably.


      Electricians immediately rigged the portable 120 volt 500 watt floodlights from the repair lockers in the smoke filled compartments. The powerful searchlight beam was of immediate help in cleaning wreckage, personnel casualties, and fire fighting.

    1. Flash proof clothing was worn by all personnel topside during the attack. Personnel below decks wore a full suit of regular dungarees, but the members of Repair Five at their station in the third deck compartment, hit directly by the bomb, were badly burned on the face and arm. It is believed all personnel below decks should also wear anti-flash clothing.

  1. It is hereby certified that the originator considers it to be impracticable to phrase this document in such a manner as will permit a classification other than secret.

    The urgency of delivery of document is such that it will not reach the addressee in time by the next available officer courier. The originator, therefore, authorizes the transmission of this document by registered trans-Pacific mail and by registered mail within the continental limits of the United States.




Copy to:




Enclosure H

CV5/S88/A9/(CEA-50-swg) U.S.S. YORKTOWN May 20, 1942.

c/o Postmaster,
San Francisco, Calif.

From: The Commanding Officer.  
To: The Chief of the Bureau of Ships.  
Subject: War Damage Report.  
Reference: (A) BuShips Conf. Ltr. C-EF13/A9(374) C-S81-3 C-EN28/A2-11 dated October 28, 1941.
Enclosures: (A) Report of Damage from Direct Bomb Hit.
  (B) Diagrammatic Sketches Showing Path of Bomb and Compartments Damaged.
  (C) Photographs of Direct Bomb Hit.
  (D) Report of Damage from Near Bomb Misses.

  1. In compliance with reference (a) the report on damage sustained by this vessel in action on May 8. 1942, is submitted.

  2. Enclosure (A) lists informaton regarding the only direct hit sustained. Paragraphs and subparagraphs are lettered and numbered to correspond with reference (a).

  3. Enclosure (B) consists of sketches showing the path of the bomb and compartments damaged by the direct hit.

  4. Enclosure (C) consists of photographs taken the following day of the damage sustained by the direct hit. Area included in each photograph and positiion of photographer are indicated in each photo.

  5. Enclosure (D) lists information regarding damage to the vessel from near bomb misses. A supplementary report covering in more complete detail the damage sustained by near misses will be forwarded as soon as the vessel is drydocked and a careful inspection of the hull below the waterline can be made.


  1. It is hereby certified that the originator considers it to be impractical to phrase this document in such a manner as will permit a classification other than secret.

    The urgency of delivery of document is such that it will not reach the addressee in time by the next available officer courier. The originator, therefore, authorizes the transmission of this document by registered trans-Pacific mail and by registered mail within the continental limits of the United States.




    Copy to:



Enclosure A


  1. The bomb was a delayed action, armor-piercing type. Estimated weight: 800 lbs., estimated diameter: 12 inches. From an examination of the bomb fragments, the bomb appears to have been of the projectile type.

  2. The bomb was released by a dive bomber. Altitude of release: 1500 ft., angle of dive: 60° from the horizontal.

  3. The location of bomb impact was on the flight deck at frame 108, 6 feet, 7 inches to the starboard of the centerline.

  4. After impact the bomb passed through the flight deck and gallery deck leaving a hole 14 inches in diameter in both decks. It passed throught the gallery deck two feet abaft the door 02-107-1, access to No. 3 Ready Room. It continued to pass through the hangar and pierced the first, second, and third decks exploding mid-way between the third and fourth decks at frame 107 in compartment C-402-A, aviation storeroom. As the bomb passed through the second deck it hit the corner of the inboard and after vertical bulkheads of the forward engine room access trunk. This deflected the bomb inboard about four feet from the vertical, through the second deck hole considerably breaking its fall. Previously the bomb was traveling forward and outboard.

  5. The thickness of deck pierced by the falling bomb was:
    1. flight deck - 3" pine plus 0.1" steel plate (4 lb.),
    2. gallery deck - 0.23" steel (9 lb.),
    3. main or hangar deck and stringer 1.1" (45 lb.),
    4. second deck - 0.25" (10 lb.), and
    5. third deck - 0.25" steel (10 lb.).

    A total thickness of 1.68" of steel deck plating.

  6. From the point of first impact to the point of detonation the bomb dropped a vertical distance of 50 feet. The point of detonation was estimated to be about 3 feet above the fourth deck, forward engine room overhead.

  7. The detonation was of "high order".

  8. When the ship received this direct hit all compartments were in material condition "Afirm".

    1. Effect of Impact - A clean hole with plating bent downward was left in the flight and gallery decks. The impact on hangar and second decks left jagged holes measuring 15 inches fore and aft and 2 feet thwartships. After passing through the second deck the after inboard corner of forward engine room access trunk was dished in approximately two feet and ruptured for a vertical distance of five feet.


    1. Blast Effect - Since the fourth deck was dished down yet showed no marks on paint or plating of actual bomb contact, it is assumed the detonation occurred between the third and fourth decks. The blast caused the following damage to decks:

      1. Fourth deck - The armored deck, 1½" S.T.S. was dished downward for an area of 40 square feet but not ruptured. This area of the deck is the forward engine room overhead.

      2. Third deck - A hole 6 feet in diameter was blown out completely. Around this hole the deck was turned and peeled upward for an area of 35 square feet. The entire third deck in compartment C-301-1L was bulged upward. This bulge extends along the third deck forward to frame 98 and aft to frame 130.

      3. Second deck - One hole 4 feet in diameter was blown up at frame 107, 8 feet inboard of bomb impact hole. The entire deck in C-201-L was bulged upward with the bulge extending forward to frame 103 and aft to frame 115. Hatch 2-107 remained securely held by its dogs but the scuttle was blown up and the top forward was blown off.

      4. First or hangar deck - The deck was not ruptured by the blast. Hatch 1-107 was blown out of its dogs and thrown up one foot, remaining in that position. The deck was bulged across the entire breadth from frame 100 to frame 115.

      5. The flight and gallery decks were not affected by the blast.

      The blast caused the following damage to vertical bulkheads on fourth deck:

      1. The inboard bulkhead of forward engine room access trunk, 30 lb. plate, shattered and completely blown outboard.

      2. After bulkhead of laundry storeroom B-9-5AT, 7.5 lb. plate, shattered and completely blown forward.

      3. Watertight door 4-101, access to Disinfector Room B-411-K blown inboard completely of its dogs and hinges.

      4. Large watertight door 4-118-1 access from C-402-A to C-408-1A blown completely out and aft.

      5. The pressure passing further aft and into C-408-1A blew the large hatch 2-119 up out of its dogs and hinges and was thrown about 15 feet up into No. 2 elevator pit.


      1. The transverse bulkheads in C-201-L and C-301-L at frame 106 and 112 were badly bulged forward and aft respectively but were not ruptured. All doors in these bulkheads though badly warped, remained secured by their dogs and were not jammed. The after transverse bulkhead of the forward engine room ventilation trunk was ruptured at junction of bulkhead with the third deck.

      The blast wrecked the ship's service store, soda fountain equipment, laundry issue room, ship's service office, and engineer's office, all located in C-301-1L. Bunks, lockers, and drinking fountain were wrecked by the blast in the Marine Compartment, C-201-L.

    1. Splinter Effect - An estimated 80 percent of the bomb fragments covered the area between the third and fourth decks with a major portion piercing the laundry storeroom, B-9-5AT after bulkhead - 3/16" thick, after bulkhead of B-417-T 3/16" thick, inboard bulkhead of C-401-T 3/4" thick, and inboard and forward bulkheads of B-9-1 air intake. Four fragments pierced the after bulkhead of B-413-1E, 20 feet forward of detonation point. The starboard bulkhead 3/4" thick of forward engine room vent trunk was pierced by one splinter. In C-402-A the starboard and port bulkheads 25 lb. S.T.S., defeated all splinters. The only transverse bulkheads pierced abaft the point of detonation were the forward bulkhead 1/4" thick of the cold storage space, pierced by one splinter 44 feet from the detonation point, and the forward bulkhead 3/4" thick of trunk C-407-T. The hangar deck of .41" plate defeated all fragments passing up with the bomb blast, a vertical distance of 22 feet. Of the splinters that did not pass up the second deck blast hole but traveled upward, an estimated 80 percent were defeated by the second deck 1/4" plating 13 feet from the detonation point. The transverse bulkhead at frame 112 in C-301-L was not hit by any splinters, but the forward bulkhead of this space, number 8 fireroom intake trunk .16" plate, was pierced by several splinters. Two splinters piercing number 8 fireroom intake trunk traveled forward through number 7 fireroom intake trunk into passage B-413-3L, 20 feet from detonation point. The shell plating on the second and third decks was not pierced by any splinters. Several drain lines in C-402-A and B-9-5AT were pierced. Two firemain risers and three damage control risers in C-402-A were not pierced or ruptured although their lagging was pierced.

    2. Incendiary Effect - In the storeroom C-402-A where the bomb burst, a fire was immediately started among the crated stores, consisting of expeditionary gear, rags, and target sleeves. This fire was brought under control quickly. The flash upward passed up to the hangar overhead causing a small paint fire directly above the bomb impact hole. This was quickly extinguished. The flash failed to ignite the paint in C-402-A, C-301-L and C-201-L. Although a very dense smoke resulted from the explosion, the fire started was of minor nature and quickly extinguished.


  1. The bomb explosion produced a dense black smoke and noxious gases. The major portion of smoke and gas were confined to the compartments pierced by the bomb. All doors in surrounding transverse bulkheads remained intact and closed preventing spread of smoke through the second and third decks. All the smoke vented up the bomb hole and the Number 2 elevator pit into the hangar. Since all hangar roller curtains had been left open for the attack the smoke vented freely from the hangar. Since the air intakes for number 7, 8, and 9 firerooms had been ruptured, these three firerooms were filled with dense black smoke and explosion gases and men were forced to abandon the firerooms.

  2. Action taken to localize effects - Since the ship's shell had not been pierced nor ruptured by the explosion, fire and internal flooding were the major effects to immediately control. Prompt action by the hangar repair party in quickly using fire hoses down through the bomb hole in the hangar and No. 2 elevator pit quickly brought the fire below decks under control. The Engineer Repair Party, Repair 5, located in C-301-L was completely wiped out with the exception of several wounded men. The Midship Repair Party, Repair 4, sent a fire party with rescue breathers into the smoke filled damaged compartment, C-301-L, cleared the wreckage and personnel casualties, then sent a man through the bomb hole down into C-402-A where he extinguished the smoldering stores. The sprinkler damage control system in C-402-A though badly twisted and ruptured by splinters assisted in quenching the storeroom fire.

    The bomb pierced the general and battle lighting and power cables for the damaged compartment, so that the damaged area was in darkness. Searchlights were rigged with long leads to provide necessary lighting. The damaged circuits caused several repairmen to suffer slight shocks until the circuits were cut at the Distribution Board.

    Three damage control risers and one firemain riser running through C-402-A, were cutout in the forward engine room since distant control reach rods from the third deck were jammed.

    After fire hoses were secured, water to a depth of four feet covered the fourth deck in B-411-E, B-9-5AT, C-402-A, and C-408-1A, a fore and aft distance of 152 feet along the fourth deck. Using six submersible pumps the water was drained out in 10 hours.



  1. The new type A Rescue Breather assisted materially in aiding the quick work of the fire parties below deck.

  2. The light portable electric submersible pumps, Northern Pump Company, operated very well.

  3. A 2-1/2" air driven portable pump, the only one on board was used to assist the electric submersible pumps, and was discovered to be much more efficient than the latter. It is recommended that 10 of the pumps be added to the allowance list and distributed to the lower deck repair stations.

  4. Anti-Flash clothing should be worn during battle by all personnel below decks as well as topside.

  5. Rubber Boots should be furnished fire parties to prevent electric shocks.

  6. Compartment lighting switch panels should be painted a color distinctive from that of the surrounding bulkheads.


  1. Time and date: 1127, May 8,1942.

  2. Geographic Position: Coral Sea

      Latitude: 14° 45' S
      Longitude: 155° 10' E

  3. Course: Various courses to dodge bombs and torpedoes.

    Speed: 30 knots before damage
                25 knots after damage

  4. Drafts: Forward - 24'8"
                 Aft - 29'9"

  5. State of sea: Moderate swell.

  6. Weather: Blue sky with detached clouds.

    Visibility: 30 miles.


Damage Sustained by Machinery and Equipment Under
Cognizance of the Engineering Department.


BLAST EFFECT: Paragraph 3-B(8-b) of reference (a).

  1. No. 2 elevator control drive shafting was sprung and gear boxes damaged.

  2. The foundation stiffening brackets on No. 7 and No. 8 forced draft blowers were cracked or broken loose from bulkhead.

  3. Numerous small leaks and weeps developed in economizer tubes of No. 7, 8, and 9 superheater boilers. This condition previously existed but has been considerably aggravated as a result of bomb hit.

  4. The distant control operating gears to main steam stop valves in forward engine room were damaged as follows:

    1. Starboard stop - out of line but still operative.

    2. Center stop - demolished above 4th deck, including shafting, gears, gear boxes, pedestal and wheel.

    3. Port stop - sprung out of line, wheel shattered, gear box pedestal bent.

  5. All overhead insulation and light fixtures were broken loose and hangar supports from main and auxiliary steam lines were sprung, from frames 106-112 starboard side forward engine room.

SPLINTER EFFECT AND FIRE: Paragraph 3-B(8-c and d)


  1. Lighting system 4th deck was destroyed from frames 106 to 130. Print #CV5-S64-022.

  2. Lighting system 3rd deck was destroyed from frames 106 to 130. Print #CV5-S64-025.

  3. Lighting 2nd deck - all lighting circuits in compartment C-201-L including feeders to hangar deck circuits amidships were destroyed. Print #CV5-S64-028.



  1. 3rd and 4th decks:
    Circuits 13-F-437; 14-F-437; 15-F-437; 16-F-437 forward from panel #31. Print #CV-S62-01572 and 01575. Circuit F-452 and F-154 print #CV-S62-01575.

  2. 2nd deck:
    All power cable was badly damaged in compartment C-201-L, Print #CV5-S62-01578.

    Interior Communications

  3. 2nd deck:
    FC-14 and 15. Print #CV5-S65-0432.
    C-FW-11. Print #CV-S65-0430.

  4. 3rd and 4th deck:
    All 1-MC wiring C-402-A. Print #CV-S65-0328.
    Circuits 1-MC-159-157-188 and 1-MC2. Print #CV5-S65-0328.


SHOCK EFFECTS: Paragraph 3-C(8) of reference (a). (Near Misses)

Gyro Compasses

  1. Both the forward and after compasses started to oscillate erratically but soon settled on bearings that varied 3°. In approximately 3 hours the forward compass settled to normal operation though the north-south level showed slight unbalance. The after compass developed bearing trouble in the south rotor indicated by excessive heating, high rotor current, and high frequency hum. The south rotor assembly was replaced by a reconditioned spare rotor which draws excessive current in one phase. The transmitter assembly on after compass has two short circuited segments to bridge an open circuit in the winding. Rotor bearings in both compasses have approximately 20,000 operating hours and though constant attention was required prior to May 8, 1942 to insure reliable operation, their reliability is now questionable until completely overhauled and balanced in the laboratory.


  2. Fifty fuel oil tank pneumercators on the port side were shattered and rendered inoperative.


FRAGMENTATION: Paragraph 3-C(14) of reference (a)

Degaussing Coils
  1. M-Coil (M-1-2-3) severed at frame 18.
    F-Coil (Group 1) severed at frame 5.
    F-Coil (Group 2) severed at frames 16 and 17.
    Print #CV5-S62/2-4


Enclosure B

Transverse Sectional View

Second Deck

Third Deck

Fourth Deck

Damage to Shell Plating Below Waterline


Enclosure D

    It is estimated that there were eight bomb explosions in the water very close to the vessel during the same attack the direct hit was made. Though the ship was considerably shaken by each "near miss" only in the case of two "near misses" has there been any visual determination of damage to the ship. This is noted below:

    1. One "near miss" from a bomb of weight estimated between 500 and 1000 lbs. released by a dive bomber exploded below the surface about 20 feet outboard of the hull abreast frame 110, port side. The three outboard fuel tanks, B-30-F, C-4-F, and C-16-F, extending from frame 99 to frame 117, and filled with fuel, developed leaks to the sea. Investigation by a diver revealed that the outer plating had been sprung and pushed in at the first riveted lap joint below the armor belt. The major damaged area of this 25 lb. shell plating extends from frame 109 to frame 115, a fore and aft length of 24 feet. Rivets in the lap joint in the damaged area are either sheared or blown completely out. The detonation wave from this explosion broke the oil tight seal in the manhole plate for C-4-F causing slight oil leakage to the fourth deck at frame 106, where the manhole is located. A sketch of damage to the shell, view from outboard below the waterline, is attached to this enclosure.

    2. One "near miss" from another bomb released by a dive bomber exploded instantaneously on contact with the surface, 50 feet outboard abreast frame 20, starboard. The vessel suffered no damage below the waterline from this near miss but bomb splinters struck the ship's starboard side in the area of frame 20. The splinters caused the following damage:

      1. The ship's shell was pierced by one splinter leaving a three inch hole five feet above the waterline at frame 22, compartment A-403-A, electrical storeroom. The thickness of the shell plating pierced was 5/8". The result was minor flooding, 4 inches of water on the compartment's deck.

      2. The ship's shell, 5/8" thick, was pierced once by a splinter at frame 15, 21 feet above the waterline.

      3. One splinter pierced the gallery walkway and severed the adjacent gasoline line at frame 20, 48 feet above the waterline. No gasoline fire resulted since the line had already been drained.

      4. One splinter pierced the M coil of the exterior degaussing cable severing several wires at frame 18 starboard, 44 feet above the waterline.


U.S.S. Yorktown



7 May 8 May  

1325 0025 Rec'd CTG 17.5 071245 action CTG 17, infor YORKTOWN: "Agree own mission destruction carrier X Possibly 2 carriers in this area one definitely immediate area X Propose earliest dawn search 360 degrees X 200 miles radius northern semicircle X Average 125 miles radius southern semicircle X Attack Groups condition one X Fighter and anti torpedo patrols in air at 15 minutes before sunrise".

1340 0040 Rec'd CTF 17s 071339 addressed CTG 17.5 info YORKTOWN: "As usual I agree with you thoroughly X I will change course to west X Set your own course and speed point option".

1855 0555 Rec'd from CTG 17.5 addressed CTF 17 info YORKTOWN: "Urdis 071339 Course of point option 125 speed of option 15".

1950 0650 Rec'd LEXINGTONs 071917 action YORKTOWN, info CTF 17, CTG 17.5: "Combat patrol sunrise Agnes Red White standby Doris Red White".

1951 0651 CTG 17.5 Directed cruisers to launch and maintain inner air patrol.

1952 0652 CTG 17.5 Directed Yorktown to launch and maintain 4 plane combat patrol and 8 scouts as anti-torpedo plane patrol.

2020 0720 CTG 17.5 to YORKTOWN infor LEXINGTON "Why have you not launched combat and anti-torpedo patrol".

2027 0727 YORKTOWN to CTG 17.5 info LEXINGTON: "Did not know whether attack group or anti-torpedo plane patrol was to be launched first X Slight delay for respotting required".

2030 0730 Rec'd LEXINGTON's 072007: "Launched 12 scouts search northern semicircle X Option course 125 speed 15 X 4 fighters combat patrol".



7 May 8 May  

2045 0745 YORKTOWN to CTG 17.5 info LEXINGTON, CTF 17: "Launched 4 VF Red Blue X 8 VS anti-torpedo plane patrol".

2047 0747 CTG 17.5 to YORKTOWN: "What frequency anti-torpedo patrol".

2100 0800 YORKTOWN to CTG 17.5: "Anti-torpedo patrol planes on 6425 kcs".

2110 0810 YORKTOWN to CTG 17.5 info CTF 17: "Plane availability 13 VF 17 VS 9 VT X One additional VF may be in commission later".

2128 0828 LEXINGTON to YORKTOWN: "Following received from 1 Scout X Contact 2 CV 4 CA 3 DD X Position of Scout unknown X Am trying to contact now".

2133 0833 Intercepted contact report from LEXINGTON plane 2VS2: "Contact 2 carriers 4 cruisers many destroyers bearing 006 dist 120 speed 15 at 0820".

2133 0833 CTF 17 to LEXINGTON: "We have intercepted enemy position X Have you (Answered "Negative")".

2134 0834 CTF 17 to LEXINGTON: "By contact from your plane enemy bears 006 distance 120".

2137 0837 Transmitted CTF 17s 072137 to CTG 17.5 info CTG 17.2: "Believe we have been sighted by enemy carrier plane".

2138 0838 CTG 17.5 to YORKTOWN: "Launch striking group". (Acknowledged).

CTG 17.5 to YORKTOWN: "Launch striking group less torpedo planes". (Acknowledged).

LEXINGTON to YORKTOWN: "Do you have our point Zed". (Answered "Negative")".

YORKTOWN to LEXINGTON: "What is bearing and distance of enemy from Fleet Center".

LEXINGTON to YORKTOWN: "Wait. Was that from point Zed".



7 May 8 May  

2138 0838 YORKTOWN to LEXINGTON: "Is bearing 006 distance 120 from Fleet Center?"

LEXINGTON to YORKTOWN: "We cannot tell unless we know if the pilot said from point Zed".


CTG 17.5 to YORKTOWN: "Here is the dope. Correct bearing 028 distance 175. (repeated)

YORKTOWN to CTG 17.5: "Is this correct bearing 028 distance 175 miles from Fleet Center".

CTG 17.5 to YORKTOWN: "Correct".

CTG 17.5 to YORKTOWN: "Launch entire striking group including torpedo planes X Acknowledge".

2147 0847 YORKTOWN to CTG 17.5: "Wilco".

CTF 17 to CTG 17.5: "Change Point Zed in order shorten distance for fighters and torpedo planes".

2151 0851 Made flag-hoist signal from CTF 17 to TF 17: "2 enemy carriers bearing 028 distance 175 miles".

2152 0852 CTG 17.5 to CTF 17: "Your last transmission affirmative X After recovery Olive (Lexington) Scouts head toward enemy to shorten distance flown by VF and VT". (Acknowledged).

2157 0857 From CTF 17 to CTG 17.5: "Enemy received contact report on us at 0822".

2202 0902 YORKTOWN to CTG 17.5: "Pilots given following information X At 1000 Pt Option 028 degrees 15 knots".

2208 0908 CTF 17 to TF 17 (Flag Hoist) "CTG 17.5 assume tactical command of the Fleet".

2217 0917 YORKTOWN to LEXINGTON: "What is your point Zed".

2219 0919 CTG 17.5 to YORKTOWN: "Your 2217 X 14S 156E".



7 May 8 May  

2224 0924 YORKTOWN to CTG 17.5 & LEXINGTON, info CTF 17: "Launched 24 VSB 6 VF 9 VT striking force at 0915".

2225 0925 YORKTOWN to CTG 17.5, info LEXINGTON: "Total 8 VF available combat air patrol".

2232 0932 From LEXINGTON: "Warning - 1 aircraft 020 39 miles".

2245 0945 From LEXINGTON: "Warning - 1 aircraft 340 34 miles".

2249 0949 YORKTOWN to CTG 17.5 info LEXINGTON: "Launched 4 VF Brown Orange X Landed 4 VF Red Blue".

2255 0955 YORKTOWN to CTG 17.5: "Olive (Lexington) directly in sun from us X Suggest change of bearing".

2302 1002 WILDCAT to ROMEO: "Have you 3 planes coming in on bearing 015 dist 15" (Answered "Negative").

2303 1003 WILDCAT to ROMEO: "These planes sighted by lookouts headed for formation distance 15".

2304 1004 ROMEO to WILDCAT BROWN LEADER: "Investigate 3 planes on 015".

WILDCAT to ROMEO: "Those planes now bear 035 paralleling ships course X Distance 14 miles".

2305 1005 ROMEO to WILDCAT ORANGE LEADER: "Vector 040 Angels 10 look for 3 planes parallel our course low".

2306 1006 WILDCAT to ROMEO: "Planes previous altitude 500 ft".

2307 1007 ROMEO to WILDCAT BROWN LEADER: "Vector 040 look for planes at 500 feet X Orbit at 10 (Miles) X If you don't see anything remain on station".

2308 1008 WILDCAT to ROMEO: "Bogey 310 distance 12".

From ROMEO: "Roger X Should be our returning scouts".

2309 1009 ROMEO to ORANGE & BROWN LEADERS: "Orbit at 10 miles X Keep formation in sight".



7 May 8 May  

2310 1010 ROMEO to WILDCAT: "We have launched anti-torpedo patrol X That may be the plane you saw X We have friendly torpedo planes returning 020 distant 22 right now".

2311 1011 YORKTOWN to ANTI TORPEDO PLANE PATROL: "Air attack expected shortly X Alert".

2312 1012 WILDCAT BROWN to ROMEO: "Bogey ahead looks like bandit seagull". (Seaplane)

"All stations Jap bomber bearing 270 true".

2313 1013 From WILDCAT BROWN: "Tallyho".

ROMEO to DORIS RED: "Bandit reported 270 true X Investigate X Do not get out of sight of formation".

2314 1014 ROMEO to BROWN LEADER: "How many -- -- ".

From BROWN LEADER: "Whoops! Whoops!" (Shot him down) "Bandit was a seagull".

From LEXINGTON: "Warning one patrol plane sighted bearing 050 true".

From LEXINGTON: "0 type fighter bear 025 reported by our fighters". (Lexington misunderstood transmission; it was seagull)

2315 1015 YORKTOWN to LEXINGTON: "We are ready to launch additional fighters if needed".

2317 1017 WILDCAT to ROMEO: "Do you desire additional fighters launched".

ROMEO to WILDCAT: "Standby X Don't launch additional combat patrol yet".

  NOTE: From 1017 to 1600 practically the entire Fighter Director circuit log is quoted (Acknowledgements and receipts are not included). The times of the most important transmissions on it are underscored. Important messages transmitted or received via other circuits (including visual) during that time, are each marked with an asterisk.



7 May 8 May  

2318 1018 BROWN LEADER to ROMEO: "Bogey friendly".

2319 1019 WHITE to ROMEO: On station".

From WHITE: "Radio was out a little while ago. OK now".

ROMEO to WILDCAT BROWN: "Return on station".

2320 1020 DORIS RED: "Don't get too far from formation. You are now fourteen".

2322 1022 ROMEO to AGNES WHITE: "Vector 350 distance fifteen orbit Angels one".

2323 1023 ROMEO to DORIS WHITE: "Vector 350 fifteen Angels one orbit acknowledge".


2325 1025 BROWN LEADER to ROMEO: "On station".

2329 1029 ROMEO to DORIS RED LEADER: "Vector 100 distance 25 Angels 6 orbit".

From DORIS RED: "Vector 110 25 Angels 6 Wilco".

2330 1030 ROMEO to DORIS WHITE: "Are you orbiting 15 miles from ship? I do not have you on screen".

From DORIS WHITE: "Affirmative. I am 15 miles 2000 315".

From ROMEO: "You should be Angels 1".

From DORIS WHITE: 'Roger. I am dropping down to 1".

*2330  1030 LEXINGTON to CTF 17 info CTG 17.5: "Launched 10 bombers anti-torpedo plane patrol X Frequency 6645 X 1015 Call V53".

CTG 17.5 to TF 17 (Flag-Hoist) "Ships left to true course 028, steam at 15 knots".

2331 1031 From DORIS WHITE: "On station Angels 1".



7 May 8 May  

*2332 1032 From LEXINGTON: "Warning unidentified aircraft on screen as follows bearing 335 distance 82 miles, 335 - 27, 000 - 26, 110 - 40".

2334 1034 ORANGE LEADER to ROMEO: "Have 3 planes in sight bearing 030. Will investigate".

*2335 1035 From LEXINGTON: "Fighter section will investigate bogey bearing 110 40 miles".

From LEXINGTON: "Warning have following on screen bearing 140 distance 15 bearing 035 27 bearing 310 20 bearing 310 83".

2335 1035 ORANGE LEADER to ROMEO: "Bogey friendly. Flying in Vee formation".

2336 1036 ROMEO to DORIS WHITE: "Return on station".


2337 1037 ROMEO to DORIS WHITE: "Are you on station and do you see me?"

2338 1038 From DORIS WHITE: "Negative I see a carrier".

*2338 1038 From LEXINGTON: "Disregard bogey 035 distance 27 friendly".

2339 1039 DORIS RED: "Do you have us in sight".

From DORIS RED: "Affirmative".

From ROMEO: "OK. Don't lose us".

2340 1040 From DORIS WHITE: "On station Angels one".

*2342 1042 From YORKTOWN: "Warning aircraft 305 86 miles".

From LEXINGTON: "Last contact believed friendly".

YORKTOWN to LEXINGTON: "Was last transmission in regard to contact from ORANGE (Yorktown) (Answer - "Roger)".



7 May 8 May  

*2343 1043 YORKTOWN to LEXINGTON: "Was our last contact the one you reported as friendly".

CTG 17.5 to TF 17: (Flag-Hoist) "Form cruising disposition Victor".

*2345 1045 YORKTOWN to LEXINGTON: Repeated above message.

LEXINGTON to YORKTOWN: "Your last contact was reported as friendly by me - acknowledge". (Acknowledged by Yorktown).

YORKTOWN to LEXINGTON: "In answering questions suggest you use affirmative and negative rather that Roger".

From LEXINGTON: "Roger".

*2353 1053 From YORKTOWN: "Warning aircraft bearing 135 dist 47".

From LEXINGTON: "Warning 1 aircraft bearing 135 dist 45".

2355 1055 WILDCAT to ROMEO: "Many bogeys aircraft bearing 020 distance 68. Have you got them?"

From ROMEO: "Affirmative. We have it".

*2356 1056 From YORKTOWN: "Warning many aircraft bearing 020 distance 68". (repeated)

*2357 1057 COM VT5 to COM VS5: "OK Bill I'm starting in". (Refers to attack on enemy CV)

2358 1058 ROMEO to WILDCAT: "Launch combat patrol. Additional patrol".


*2358 1058 LEXINGTON to YORKTOWN: "We are launching remainder of our combat patrol".



7 May 8 May  

2359 1059 From ROMEO: "Hey Rube" (All combat patrol return over carrier immediately).

From DORIS WHITE: "On station".

From ORANGE LEADER: "Returning on station".

*2359 1059 YORKTOWN to ANTI TORPEDO PLANE PATROL: "Alert X Large attack 45 miles away bearing 020 true".


8 May 8 May  

0000 1100 From DORIS RED: "On station".

From ORANGE LEADER: "On station".

0001 1101 AGNES RED LEADER: "Answer".

From AGNES: "Go ahead".

ROMEO to AGNES RED: "Have you rendezvoused? Vector 020 distance 30 orbit Angels 10".

From AGNES: "Roger".

0003 1103 ROMEO to AGNES RED LEADER: "Buster". (Use maximum speed)

WILDCAT to ROMEO: "Red and Blue sections are air-borne".

From ROMEO: "Roger".


AGNES: "Answer, Buster".


From ROMEO: "Large group now distance 35 bearing 020 from us".



8 May 8 May  

0005 1105 WILDCAT RED: "Let's go".

From WILDCAT RED: "What altitude, Romeo?"

From ROMEO: "Angels 10 standby Red and Blue until we see what develops".



From AGNES WHITE: "Go ahead".

0007 1107 From ROMEO: "Will tell Agnes Red remain at low altitude to chase bogey bandits down low".

AGNES RED: "Bogey now 020 25".

From AGNES: "Roger. 020 20 miles".

*0007 1107 YORKTOWN to ANTI TORPEDO PLANE PATROL: "Nearest enemy planes now 22 miles out still bearing 020".

0008 1108 AGNES: "Bogeys are now 22 miles from us coming straight in".

ROMEO to WILDCAT LEADER: "Vector 020 Angels 1 Buster".

WILDCAT RED LEADER: "Vector 020 Angels 1 fifteen".

0009 1109 WILDCAT RED LEADER to ROMEO: "Angels 1,000 or 10,000".

From ROMEO: "Sorry, Angels 1 distance 15".

*0009 1109 From LEXINGTON: "Warning large group torpedo planes 020 dist 35 miles".

0010 1110 SKIPPER: "Eleven o'clock right up from you. Can't you see them straight up from you?"

WILDCAT PLANES: "Keep your eyes open".

SKIPPER: "Go back up. 1 o'clock. Right behind you".



8 May 8 May  

*0010 1110 YORKTOWN to ANTI TORPEDO PATROL: "Torpedo planes coming straight in bearing 020".

From LEXINGTON: "Torpedo planes now 22 miles coming straight in".

0011 1111 WILDCAT RED: "How'm I doing Romeo? This is Wildcat Red I ought to be there. Yeah I see them. Eight of them. In formation. There is a whole bunch of them.

From ROMEO: "Keep a sharp look-out. Agnes Red is attacking now".

*0011 1111 CTG 17.5 to TF 17 (Flag-Hoist): "Ships right to 125° true steam at 25 knots".

0012 1112 AGNES: "What is Angels of Bogey?"

From ROMEO: "What is Angels of Bandits?"

AGNES: "What are Angels of Bandits? Watch those fighters on our starboard quarter. There is 7 or 8 of them".

PAUL: "Did you hear me?"

*0012 1112 From LEXINGTON: "Torpedo planes 15 miles".

0013 1113 Affirmative. There are 9 heavy bombers and fighters. We are going to chase bombers.

0014 1114 RED TWO to RED LEADER: "Bogey 2 from you". "Bogey 3 up!"

SKIPPER: "Do you see them?"

From SKIPPER: "Yes, I see them".

WILDCAT to ALL COMBAT PATROL ON STATIONS: "Bogey 040, distance 10. Bogey now 060 distance 10. 15 torpedo planes coming out of the sun toward you".

WILDCAT PLANES: "Keep a sharp look-out".



8 May 8 May  

*0014 1114 From LEXINGTON: "Our planes have sighted enemy and are going after them".

0015 1115 ROMEO: "What are Angels. High; 9 to 10. Those fighters over us now on right hand side over you on your port side".

*0015 1115 YORKTOWN to CTG 17.5 & LEXINGTON: "Launched 4 VF combat air patrol Red Blue at 1103". (this was visual signal).

0016 1116 "Come over here and join Marin and I, on our port side".

BROWN to ROMEO: "Dead ahead bearing 100".

To ROMEO: "Agnes White has a torpedo plane".

0017 1117 "Come on Wildcats. Let's get up".

0019 1119 WILDCAT PLANES: "Keep a sharp look-out for torpedo planes".

RED TWO to RED LEADER: "There is a bomber on starboard hand. Belay that Red Leader".

WILDCAT RED LEADER to ROMEO: "I am at 10,000 feet astern from ship. Give me something to do".

"Return to ship it is being attacked".

From RED LEADER: "Do you mean return over ship?"

*0019 1119 From LEXINGTON: "Warning enemy bombers protected by 9 fighters".

From LEXINGTON: "Warning aircraft bearing 130 25 miles from Orange" (Yorktown).

0020 1120 From ROMEO: "As quick as possible. We are being attacked by torpedo planes and everything".

0021 1121 BROWN LEADER to BROWN 2: "Angels 10. Join up".

*0021 1121 CO ANTI TORPEDO PATROL to YORKTOWN: "Where are the torpedo planes coming from now" (Answered: "From our port beam. There appears to be no particular concentration").



8 May 8 May  

0022 1122 "Just behind you! Just behind you!"

0023 1123 "Bandits enemy fighters down here. Let's go".

"I can't find my way. I'm tailing behind you".

0025 1125 "Bandits turning to 170 all around".

"Bandits are 000 closing in. Bandits are 000 closing in."

"Bandits 170. 5 to 10".

0027 1127 From AGNES: "Enemy dead astern 10".

"What altitude".

From AGNES: "Angels 17. I do not see the Bandits. I am at 8 miles".

0031 1131 WILDCAT to ROMEO: "Radar out".

WILDCAT to ROMEO: "Acknowledge". (Lexington did not answer)

0033 1133 RED 2 to RED LEADER: "Engine is going out. I'm going to make forced landing in water".

0034 1134 BROWN LEADER to ROMEO: "12 miles west of you. Angels 12 Request instructions".

WILDCAT to ALL PLANES IN AIR: "Wildcat radar out. Protect the force".

From RED 2: "I am making a forced landing directly ahead of you".

0035 1135 WILDCAT BROWN to ROMEO: "Pancake guns". (Want to land for ammunition)

WILDCAT to RED 2: "Good luck".

ORANGE LEADER to WILDCAT: "Request permission to land aboard. Hurt. Acknowledge".

0037 1137 From WILDCAT: "Permission granted, land aboard".



8 May 8 May  

0037 1137 BROWN to WILDCAT: "Request permission to pancake. Guns".

From WILDCAT: "Permission granted".

0038 1138 From ORANGE LEADER: "Request permission to come aboard. Hurt".

WILDCAT to ORANGE LEADER: "What is your trouble? Permission granted".

ROMEO to RED TWO: "What is your position? What is information of enemy?"

From BROWN LEADER: "Cannot see anything".

From WILDCAT: "Come directly overhead".

*0038 1138 YORKTOWN to CTG 17.5 CHESTER: "Our radar out of commission".

0039 1139 WILDCAT RED LEADER to ROMEO: "What is data of planes in the air?"

"Do not know Wildcat, we have just landed two hurt".

ORANGE to WILDCAT: "Request permission to land aboard. Pilot hurt, and plane damaged".

From WILDCAT: "Permission granted".

From BROWN: "Am now on starboard side of ship. Will make direct approach".

0040 1140 ORANGE LEADER to RED: "Please inform signal officer, my flaps will not come down".

0041 1141 ORANGE LEADER to WILDCAT: "Request permission to come aboard. Notify signal officer that my flaps will not come down".

From RED: "1 plane coming on starboard beam. Belay that it is a friendly plane".

0042 1142 From RED: "Zero fighters on me. Come on out here".

0043 1143 ROMEO to AGNES BROWN: "What is your location?"



8 May 8 May  

0043 1143 From AGNES: "I am right over the ship. Angels 17".

ROMEO to BROWN LEADER: "Angels 500".

"At 500 feet. Coming down for a landing".

From BLUE LEADER: "Repeat".

From ROMEO: "Angels 500".

WILDCAT to ROMEO: "Are you back in commission?"

From ROMEO: "Affirmative. I will take over again".

BLUE 2 to BLUE LEADER: "What is your location?"

"Turn on your hayrake". (YE homing transmitter)

0044 1144 "Enemy fighter approaching ship".

WILDCAT RED 2: "What is your position?"

WILDCAT to ROMEO: "Is your hayrake working? Ours is out".

From ROMEO: "Affirmative".

0045 1145 "What is the altitude of fighter on your tail?"

0046 1146 "Large group 040 distance 15".

"040 10".

0047 1147 BLUE LEADER to BLUE 2: "040 true".

To RED: "What is your position?"

WILDCAT RED LEADER to WILDCAT: "What is situation on deck? I am a little low on juice and ammunition. 060 distance 6 miles".

0048 1148 WILDCAT BLUE to WILDCAT RED: "What is your position?"

From BLUE LEADER: "Over Wildcat. Angels 8".

"Have you plenty of juice and guns?"



8 May 8 May  

0049 1149 WILDCAT RED LEADER: "Are you in sight of ship".

"I'm on starboard side".

ROMEO to ALL WILDCAT FIGHTERS: "If possible join up on Romeo fighters. We can find out where you are that way".

*0049 1149 LEXINGTON to YORKTOWN: "Enemy fighters bearing 120 distance 5 miles".

0050 1150 "Will you inform me if I can come in for ammunition or stay out".

0051 1151 BLUE 2 to BLUE LEADER: "What is your position?"

From BLUE LEADER: "Over Wildcat Angels 8".

WILDCAT RED LEADER to BLUE LEADER: "I am coming up to join up with you".

0052 1152 WILDCAT to ROMEO: "My hayrake is out".

WILDCAT to WILDCAT PLANES: "Use other hayrake. Ours may be out of commission".

"Affirmative. Affirmative".

0053 1153 WILDCAT to all WILDCATS: "Our hayrake is out. Join up with Romeo's combat patrol so we can find you easier. Have you a position on Red Leader?"

Agnes Red Leader is Angels 7 over base".

0054 1154 WILDCAT RED: "Angels 7 over Wildcat. Join up".

"Any fighter which does not know position of formation you are probably to the left of us".

WILDCAT BLUE to WILDCAT BLUE 2: "What is your position?"

0055 1155 PAUL to GEORGE: "Join up".

0056 1156 WILDCAT RED LEADER to ROMEO: "Isn't this a good time to get some juice?"

ROMEO to WILDCAT: "Can you take aircraft".



8 May 8 May  

0056 1156 WILDCAT to ROMEO: "Affirmative we can land aircraft. We would like to take on anti-torpedo patrol that has been out 4 ½ hours".

ROMEO to WILDCAT: "Can you furnish juice and ammunition?"

ROMEO to PLANES: "Pancake for juice and guns".

"Did you receive my last message?"

ROMEO to WILDCAT: "As soon as planes are juiced and gunned, launch them again".

0057 1157 ROMEO to WILDCAT: "If your deck is out of commission, land your planes on our deck".

WILDCAT to ROMEO: "Our deck is in commission, will land patrol".


"I am returning. Juice about 75".

From WILDCAT: "Stay on station. All planes stay on station and await instructions".

From BLUE 2: "I still have enough juice and guns to protect fleet".

0059 1159 WILDCAT to WILDCAT 2: "Any plane having sufficient juice and ammunition, report to Romeo".

From BLUE 2: "WILCO".

BLUE LEADER: "Where are you now?"

AGNES 1 to AGNES 2: "Join up on me".

0100 1200 From AGNES 1: "I am over the ship at 6000".

"Aye Aye I'll join you".

"Port bow on station with plenty of ammunition and gas. 2B" is with me acknowledge".



8 May 8 May  

0100 1200 ROMEO to AGNES RED: "How much juice do you have?"

0103 1203 Frpm AGNES RED: "I have about 50 gallons".

WILDCAT to ROMEO: "Received report from our attack group returning. They are being attacked by enemy fighters. Help them. Wildcat attack group returning. They are now being attacked by enemy fighters".

*0104 1204 CO VS5 (Returning from attack) to YORKTOWN: "Being attacked by many enemy fighters X We need help" (Acknowledged).

0105 1205 "They will need help".

ROMEO to WILDCAT: "Have you informed your attack group that your hayrake is out and that ours is OK?"

*0105 1205 CTG 17.5 to TF 17: "Ships left to true course 028".

0107 1207 From WILDCAT: "Affirmative".

"Where are you from carrier?"

"I'm south east of it".

"000 group of planes 30 miles headed towards you".

ROMEO to COMBAT PATROL AVAILABLE: "Take up position 10 miles on port bow to intercept attack group".

From AGNES: ""I'm out of shells so I can't help".


0108 1208 From MABLE: "I am being attacked by enemy fighters".

From WILDCAT: "Returning group are being attacked by enemy fighters and will need help. Bearing 000 20 and 30 miles".

0109 1209 CONTACT: "020 35 miles. 020 35 miles".

ROMEO to WILDCAT: "Will you ask your returning group to open up and inform us as soon as they have us in sight".



8 May 8 May  

0109 1209 From WILDCAT: "WILCO".

0110 1210 YORKTOWN to ATTACK GROUP: "Report as soon as you have us in sight". (Squadron Commanders acknowledge)

ROMEO to AGNES WHITE: "Approaching group now 10 and 15 miles from your position. Keep a sharp look-out".

0111 1211 WILDCAT to ROMEO: "Your Nr. 3 landed aboard here and will be launched again".

"About 15 miles ahead of me now".

ROMEO to WILDCAT: "Roger. Go ahead and land as soon as ready".


"Those planes that I've reported have now gone around and headed the other way".

"They must be the enemy. They're ducking under the clouds".

0112 1212 BLUE 2 to BLUE LEADER: "What is your location?"

WILDCAT to ROMEO: "1 section reports having ship in sight".

0115 1215 From ROMEO: "Roger".

0115 1215 WILDCAT to ROMEO: "7 of our bombers now returning".

From PAUL: "Roger".

0117 1217 WILDCAT to ROMEO: "Some of our bombers are now coming in, they said they would zig-zag".

BLUE 2 to WILDCAT: "I am at 6300 right over the fleet. Do you want me to stay here and cover these bombers coming in low or do you want me to stay up. I can stay up here another hour I believe. Do you want me to stay up here or what do you want me to do?"

BLUE 2: "Stay on station".



8 May 8 May  

0120 1220 From BLUE 2: "WILCO".

WILDCAT to ANTI TORPEDO PATROL: "Cast". (Land aboard)

*0120 1220 CTG 17.5 to CTF 17: "Lexington maximum speed 24 X 2 torpedo hits possibly more port side X Number 4 fireroom flooded X Number 2 and 6 leaking but under control X All fires out X Many casualties in both X Flight deck elevators jammed up".

0122 1222 WILDCAT to ROMEO: "Our radar back in".

From ROMEO: "Roger".

"4 aircraft on 330 distance 34 miles".

0125 1225 "4 aircraft on 330 distance 28 miles, approaching the ship".

"Friendly aircraft on 020 distance 10 miles".

Red V AGNES: "At least 2 aircraft bearing 315 distance 25 miles".

*0126 1226 YORKTOWN to CTG 17.5 info CTF 17: "Maximum speed reduced to 25 knots due to damage of 3 boilers X One bomb hit".

0131 1231 "Friendly 030 distance 10 miles".

WILDCAT LEADER to ROMEO: "Wildcat Red 1 and 2 are over Wildcat base".

0134 1234 From ROMEO: "Aircraft 320 distance 19 miles, friendly".

WILDCAT to ROMEO: "Have launched 3 fighters, Red section".

From ROMEO: "Roger".

0136 1236 "Bogey 200 distance 17 miles".

WILDCAT RED LEADER: "Vector 220 10 miles orbit. Remain on that we have friendly planes coming in which may be attacked by Jap fighters".



8 May 8 May  

*0136 1236 From ALLIED PLANE: "Tanker 5000 tons, 1 freighter 4000 tons, heading 180 magnetic, speed 10 knots, position 09° - 35' South 153° - 30' East at 0130 Z/8".

0137 1237 WILDCAT to ROMEO: "I have intercepted message --- being attacked by fighters".

*0137 1237 CTF to TG COMS: "Report damage and casualties".

0138 1238 "Those are 10 SBD's, 3 fighters returning about 10 miles from ship".

WILDCAT to ROMEO: "Your fishes are calling for help".

0139 1239 From ROMEO: "Roger".

"Friendly aircraft bearing 045 distance 15".

From AGNES WHITE: "I bear 045 distance 15".

From ROMEO: "Roger".

WILDCAT RED PLANES: "Can you find any Jap fighters?"

0140 1240 "Bogey 245 distance 40 miles".

"That last bogey was 2 aircraft".

"Looks like our fighters".

0143 1243 "2 bogey 110 distance 22 miles".

WILDCAT RED LEADER: "Take up station 10 miles 090".

WILDCAT RED LEADER: "090 10 miles".

WILDCAT RED LEADER to ROMEO: "I have reached 320, am returning to station 090, is that correct?"

0145 1245 WILDCAT RED LEADER to ROMEO: "I have reached my station am going to 090".

ROMEO to RED LEADER: "Return over station and report and I will vector you".



8 May 8 May  

0145 1245 AGNES to ROMEO: "Will have to pancake very quickly. I'm getting out of juice".

"Roger. We are launching now standby for pancake".

ALL COMBAT PATROL NEEDING JUICE: "Standby for pancake on ROMEO base".

"Get down here in front of me. I'll join up on you".

ROMEO to COMBAT PATROL: "Report when air-borne".

"Becky Blue. Air-borne".

0147 1247 ROMEO to BECKY BLUE: "How many planes with you?"

0148 1248 WILDCAT LEADER to ROMEO: "Over base".

"Roger. Remain on station now".

0152 1252 From ROMEO: "Friendly planes 040 distance 44 miles".

WILDCAT to AGNES RED: "Are you on station, and how many with you?"

"I have 2 planes with me. Join with me".

"I'm with you, below you".

0153 1253 From ROMEO: "Bogey 250 distance 45".

"Friendly 045 distance 37 it is 2 friendly groups".

0155 1255 From ROMEO: "Bogey 350 45 miles".

"Friendly 045 35 miles looks like 2 friendly groups".

ROMEO to WILDCAT: "We have Wildcat 2 on here".

From WILDCAT: "Roger".

0159 1259 From ROMEO: "Bogey 350 distance 36. Indicates 2 planes".

0200 1300 From ROMEO: "A group at 045 distance 28 friendly".

"Friendly planes 045 25".



8 May 8 May  

0200 1300 "A group at 045 distance 28 friendly. Friendly planes 045 - 25".

RED 2 to ROMEO: "Jimmy Bradley is directly over Romeo orbiting Angels 10".

RED 2 to ROMEO: "Jimmy is directly over Romeo Angels 10".

*0201 1301 CTG 17.2 to CTF 17: "Enemy bearing is 010 on 440 kcs at 1230".

0202 1302 From ROMEO: "Roger".

WILDCAT to CROMMELIN: "Acknowledge".

0203 1303 WILDCAT to BASSETT: "How much juice have you left?"

BASSETT to WILDCAT: "Getting a little low this gage works bad. I was going to mention it before when about to notify Romeo".

From WILDCAT: "Land aboard".

"Am I to land on Wildcat or Romeo".

From WILDCAT: "Land aboard Wildcat".

0204 1304 BLUE 2 to ROMEO: "I am over base altitude 7500 circling, and will land on Wildcat".

0205 1305 WILDCAT to CROMMELIN: "Acknowledge. Land aboard".

WILDCAT RED to WILDCAT LEADER: "Are those friendly planes dead ahead of you now 6 miles low altitude".

0209 1309 "Negative. Friendly planes are on port beam 15 miles a little ahead".

"Friendly aircraft now on 350 distance 18".

0210 1310 "Will cross in front of him".

"My course is 130 now".

"It looks friendly".

0211 1311 RED 2 to WILDCAT RED LEADER: "My prop is in low pitch".



8 May 8 May  

0211 1311 WILDCAT RED to RED 2: "Where is it? In high or low?"

WILDCAT RED to ROMEO: "Red 2 has prop in low pitch, would like to repair it".

"Roger. Will pick him up".

ROMEO to WILDCAT: "Can you take Red 2 aboard so he can repair prop?"

ROMEO to WILDCAT: "Can you land Red 2?"

From WILDCAT: "Will answer in a moment".

From RED 2: "I have manual control now".

From WILDCAT RED LEADER: "Roger. Is manual control satisfactory?"

From RED 2: "I think I can handle it alright".

RED 2 V RED LEADER: "Can you handle it alright".

From RED 2: "I think so, it will be hard to do though".

*0212 1312 YORKTOWN to CTG 17.5: "Will re-arm the group as before unless otherwise directed".

0215 1315 "Bogey 035 distance 35".

*0215 1315 CTF 17 to CTG 17.5: "In view enemy fighter plane superiority and undamaged carrier I propose retiring X What do you think?"

0216 1316 "Bogey 040 2 planes distance now 33".

WILDCAT to ROMEO: "We can land plane with locked prop".

"OK Wildcat".

0217 1317 "Bogey 335 distance 36 three planes".

0218 1318 AIRCRAFT: "035 31 miles friendly".



8 May 8 May  

0219 1319 RED 2: "He is just below you".

RED LEADER to RED 2: "If you want to land at base go ahead".

0220 1320 From RED 2: "I think I will go down".

From WILDCAT: "O.K."

RED 2 to WILDCAT: "Pancake".

*0220 1320 LEXINGTON to CTF 17: "5 planes unaccounted for".

0222 1322 From WILDCAT: "Negative".

"Friendly group 315 distance 40".

*0224 1324 CTG 17.5 to CTF 17: "Your 0215 affirmative".

*0225 1325 LEXINGTON to YORKTOWN: "Lex picked up Ensign Jorgensen and RM Burnetti X Burnetti shot in leg X Cared for by our doctors".

*0226 1326 PHELPS to YORKTOWN: "Lt Crommelin picked up condition excellent, plane sank".

*0228 1328 CTF 17 to CTG 17.5: "Tomorrow may re-arm this ship with your planes and re-new attack".

*0234 1334 CTF 17 to CTG 17.5: "As soon as all planes are recovered or hope given up head south-southwest at best practicable speed".

*0235 1335 YORKTOWN to CTG 17.5: "We can now make maximum speed X Boilers previously reported out of commission now in commission".

0237 1337 ROMEO to WILDCAT: "We have 5 in air on station over base".

WILDCAT: "These are Red with 2 and White with 3 planes".

"Jimmy, steer 250 for 5 minutes. Acknowledge".




8 May 8 May  

0237 1337 RED to ROMEO: "Did you call me?"

From ROMEO: "Negative".

*0241 1341 CTG 17.5 to CTF 17: "I am heading 354 to close our returning planes".

*0244 1344 CTF 17 to COMSOWESTPACFOR: "Damaged enemy carrier Latitude 12° - 00' Longitude 155° - 50' at 00 Z May 8".

CTF 17 to CTG 17.5: "Yorktown reports all planes returned or hope given up".

0245 1345 "BG 335 43".

*0247 1347 CTF 17 to CTG 17.5: "When do you propose to head to the Southward?"

Answered - "Your 0250 as soon as aircraft recovered".

0250 1350 "BG 340 15"

From ROMEO: "Vector 335 20 miles".

RED to ROMEO: "Repeat".

"Vector 335 Angels low 20 miles".

0252 1352 From DORIS RED: "WILCO".

0253 1353 ROMEO to BECKY RED: "Return on station".


"Friendly 335.... and return to base". Distance 15 miles now".

*0255 1355 LEXINGTON to YORKTOWN: "In a previous dispatch Orange (Yorktown) was told that fires were out on Olive (Lexington) That is not correct fires are not out".

*0258 1358 CTG 17.5 to TF 17: "Steam at 25 knots".

0300 1400 From RED: "Roger".



8 May 8 May  

0300 1400 ROMEO to DORIS RED: "Vector 000 10 miles orbit, Angels 1".

0301 1401 V DORIS RED: "220?"


From DORIS RED: "000 WILCO".

"Friendly planes on starboard beam".

0304 1404 ROMEO to DORIS RED: "Orbit 10 miles out and do not lose sight of us".


0305 1405 ROMEO: "Destroyer is firing at me".


ROMEO to WILDCAT: "Answer".

V WILDCAT: "Roger".

ROMEO to WILDCAT: "Answer".

From WILDCAT: "Go ahead".

ROMEO to WILDCAT: "Answer".

WILDCAT to ROMEO: "Go ahead".

*0306 1406 LEXINGTON to YORKTOWN: "We cannot train our radar but it is operating X Take over fighter director". (Answered "WILCO".)

0309 1409 ROMEO to WILDCAT: "Answer".

From WILDCAT: "Go ahead".

ROMEO to WILDCAT: "You are very weak our radar is out, take over fighter director".




8 May 8 May  

0309 1409 DORIS RED: "Return on station".


ALL COMBAT PLANES: "Wildcat now has fighter director".

From WILDCAT RED: "Roger".

From WILDCAT: "Report juice".

DORIS WHITE to WILDCAT: "On station".

WILDCAT to DORIS WHITE: "Report juice on hand".

From DORIS WHITE: "On station Angels 9".

DORIS RED to WILDCAT: "I'm on station Angels 2".

From ROMEO: "White and Red report juice on hand".

0312 1412 From DORIS WHITE: "100".

DORIS RED: "Report juice on hand".

"Gas on hand 80".

This is DORIS RED: "90".

0313 1413 ROMEO to WILDCAT: "Our 00V55 is circling and climbing to try to get into position. So if you see anything circling and climbing vector it to base".


0314 1414 0V55: "Wildcat is trying to pick you up".

DORIS RED V WILDCAT: "Investigate 8 planes 295 distance 8".

DORIS RED V WILDCAT: "Resume patrol".

0318 1418 WILDCAT to ROMEO: "What sections are in the air?"

WILDCAT to ROMEO: "Acknowledge".



8 May 8 May  

0319 1419 WILDCAT to ROMEO: "What sections are in the air?"

ROMEO to WILDCAT: "0V55 is going on 100 for 5 minutes see if you can pick him up".


WILDCAT: "Answer".

WILDCAT to ROMEO: "Can you hear me?"

0321 1421 ROMEO to WILDCAT: "Answer".

0322 1422 WILDCAT to ROMEO: "Go ahead".

0322 1422 CTG 17.5 to CTF 17: "Strong indications additional enemy carrier has joined up".

0323 1423 ROMEO to WILDCAT: "Answer".

WILDCAT RED LEADER to WILDCAT: "Romeo is calling you".

From ROMEO: "0V55 will steer 100 for 5 minutes. Try to pick him up. Acknowledge".

From WILDCAT: "WILCO. Can you hear me?"

"Affirmative but very faint".

0325 1425 CTF 17 to TF 17: "1 enemy CV very badly damaged X Other undamaged".

0325 1425 WILDCAT to COMBAT PATROL: "Romeo's hayrake is out remain in sight of base".

ROMEO to WILDCAT: "Our hayrake is out".

From WILDCAT: "Roger. Can you hear me?"

"Very faint".

"You come in loud and clear".




8 May 8 May  

0325 1425 WILDCAT to ROMEO: "How do you receive me 1-2-3-4-?"

*0325 1425 LEXINGTON to YORKTOWN: "Please keep me informed of radar situation".

0326 1426 WILDCAT to ROMEO: "How do you receive me?"


"Did you get my last message?"


"We can't pick him up".

0328 1428 WILDCAT to WILDCAT RED LEADER: "How much juice?"

0329 1429 From WILDCAT RED LEADER: "85 - 90 gallons".

0330 1430 ROMEO to WILDCAT: "Can you pick up plane steering 100 Angels 7 on screen?"

ROMEO to WILDCAT: "Do you have plane 100 Angels 7?"

0332 1432 From WILDCAT: "Negative. How is my signal strength?"

"O.K. this time".

WILDCAT to ROMEO: "Your plane is calling you".

"Which plane?"

"00V55 correction 0V55".

"We have 5V53 at 100 7500 do you want him to climb?"

*0332 1432 LEXINGTON to LEXINGTON PLANE 5V53: "We do not have you in sight" (Lexington had been trying to locate this lost plane and CLAG by radar).

*0333 1433 5V53 to LEXINGTON: "We are going to try to make the nearest land X Advise please".

*0334 1434 LEXINGTON to YORKTOWN: "Please relay important radio messages X Our coding room temporarily out of commission (This was Lexington's last TBS transmission).



8 May 8 May  

0335 1435 WILDCAT to ROMEO: "5V53 is asking you if you'll let him go to the nearest land we can't get him on screen".

0335 1435 "Roger".

*0335 1435 Transmitted YORKTOWN 080258 to CTG 17.5 info CTF 17 and LEXINGTON: "Plane availability X 7 VF plus 1 ready tomorrow, plus 1 on Lexington X 11 VSB plus 6 more probably ready tomorrow X 8 VT X 6 VSB planes and pilots missing".

*0342 1442 CTF 17 080325 to CTG 17.2.4 and 17.5.4: "Am considering night surface attack X Will your fuel situation permit X Assume that high speed will be required most of tomorrow and fuel from cruisers the day after".

*0343 1443 CLAG to LEXINGTON: "I am steady on course 110 X Acknowledge". (No answer from Lexington).

*0344 1444 CTF 17 to CHESTER: "Maintain continuous all around Radar Watch".

0345 1445 WILDCAT to ROMEO: "Your 5V53 is asking for instructions".

"We can't help him".

ROMEO: "Did you get last message?"

WILDCAT to ROMEO: "Acknowledge".

*0345 1445 LEXINGTON to CTF 17: "Lexington has had a serious explosion".

*0346 1446 5V53 to CLAG: "Bill I receive your strength 2 so I think you a long way off X If you reported 2 hits we would like to be given credit for one hit".

0348 1448 WILDCAT to ROMEO: "We do not have 5V53 on screen. Acknowledge".


From WILDCAT: "Go ahead".



8 May 8 May  

*0349 1449 CLAG to LEXINGTON: "Can you hear me and do you have me on the screen X I have gas left for about 20 minutes".

YORKTOWN to CLAG: "I can hear you X You are not on screen".

*0351 1451 CLAG to YORKTOWN: "Shall I circle X Do you want me to gain or lose altitude X I have gas left for about 20 minutes".

*0352 1452 YORKTOWN to CLAG: "You are not on the screen try to make the nearest land".

*0352 1452 LEXINGTON to CTF 17: "Fire is not under control".

0353 1453 WILDCAT RED LEADER to WILDCAT: "Romeo and Wildcat are leaving a trail of MR. DELANEY'S juice if you get what I mean". (Reference to both Yorktown and Lexington leaving oil slick)

*0353 1453 CLAG to YORKTOWN: "Nearest land is over 200 miles away X We would never make it".

*0354 1454 YORKTOWN to CLAG: "You are on your own X Good luck".

CLAG to YORKTOWN: "Please relay to 00V56 (Lexington) we got one 1000 lb. bomb hit on a flat top X We have both reported 2 or 3 times X Enemy fighters X Am changing course to north X Let ne know if you pick me up".

YORKTOWN to CLAG: "Roger X You are on your own X I will relay your message X Good luck".

From CLAG: "OK X So long people X We got a 1000 pound hit on the flat top".

*0356 1456 LEXINGTON to CTF 17 (Flag Hoist): "This ship needs help".

*0400 1500 CTF 17 to LEXINGTON: "What assistance is practicable?"

*0401 1501 CTF 17 to LEXINGTON: "How many fighters can you launch X Can you launch and land aircraft".



8 May 8 May  

*0406 1506 Yorktown tried to contact Lexington plane 5V53 to tell him he was on the screen (NO answer).

0415 1515 WILDCAT to BECKY RED: "Acknowledge".

WILDCAT to ROMEO: "Acknowledge".

*0415 1515 LEXINGTON to YORKTOWN: "Recover our 14 planes now in the air".

0417 1517 DORIS WHITE and RED: "Pancake".

From DORIS WHITE: "Pancake Wildcat or Romeo?"

From WILDCAT: "Pancake Wildcat".

0418 1518 DORIS RED to WILDCAT: "WILCO".



DORIS RED and WHITE: "Cast Wildcat".

WILDCAT RED LEADER: "Are you going to pancake?"

From DORIS WHITE: "WILCO Cast Wildcat".

DORIS RED: "Pancake Wildcat".

*0418 1518 LEXINGTON to CTF: "In case it is necessary please have ships standby to pick up personnel".

0420 1520 From DORIS RED: "WILCO I will pancake on Wildcat is that correct?"

From WILDCAT: "That is correct".

ALL ROMEO PLANES: "Pancake Wildcat. Acknowledge".

0424 1524 WILDCAT to WILDCAT BLACK: "Make sweep around and report back".

0425 1525 From WILDCAT BLACK: "WILCO".



8 May 8 May  

0425 1525 WILDCAT WHITE: "Resume patrol".

0426 1526 ALL ROMEO PLANES: "Pancake Wildcat".

0427 1527 WILDCAT to BLACK LEADER: "Check your hayrake and report" (Note Yorktown "YE" temporarily repaired).

BLACK to WILDCAT: "Repeat".

WILDCAT to BLACK LEADER: "Check hayrake and report".


BLACK LEADER to WILDCAT: "Very faint at 15".

*0435 1535 CTF 17 to CTG 17.2: "Designate 3 cruisers to join this unit".

*0436 1536 LEXINGTON PLANE 5V53 to YORKTOWN: "We have made it X Acknowledge" (Yorktown acknowledged - refers to his making land).

0440 1540 From WILDCAT : "Roger".

*0441 1541 From ALLIED PLANE: "13 transports 9,000 tons - 15,000 tons, 3 destroyers, light cruiser, course 345 magnetic, position 08° - 10' S 151° - 45' E, speed 12 knots at 0350 Z/8".

0445 1545 WHITE LEADER to WILDCAT: "Baker".

From WILDCAT: "Roger".

0449 1549 WILDCAT to WILDCAT BLACK: "What is your bearing and distance from base?"

WILDCAT to WILDCAT BLACK: "What is your bearing and distance from ship? Acknowledge".

BLACK LEADER to WILDCAT: "I didn't get that".

WILDCAT to BLACK LEADER: "What is your position bearing and distance from base?"

From BLACK LEADER: "210 12 miles".



8 May 8 May  

0451 1551 From WILDCAT: "Roger. Hayrake is out".

0452 1552 "O.K. I found you on screen".




0457 1557 CTG 17.5 to CTF 17: "Due to possibility separation this unit request information on probability renewed attacks by air or surface".

0459 1559 YORKTOWN to TF 17 info CTF 17: "Have 10 scout bombers forming anti-torpedo plane patrol X 4 VF combat patrol X 1 section VF circling force at 15 miles".

0501 1601 CTF 17 to CTG 17.5 info CTG 17.2: "Will operate as 2 separate groups, remaining in close contact X 2 CA 3 DD with you X Utilize as necessary if Lexington must be abandoned".

0515 1615 CTF 17 to TF 17: "Ships left to true course 320°".

0555 1655 CHESTER 080545 to CTF 17: "Shall we vector fighters if intercept is necessary or will you do it on our information".

0557 1657 LEXINGTON to YORKTOWN: "Condition of Lexington as follows X Fire not under control lost all power no change for the better".

0603 1703 CTF 17 to TF 17: "Prepare to repel air attack".

0608 1708 YORKTOWN 080601 to CHESTER info CTF 17: "Our radar fairly reliable X We will vector fighters X Keep us informed".

0610 1710 CTG 17.2 to CTF 17: "Lexington is abandoning ship".

0619 1719 From PORT MORESBY to ALLIED PLANE: "Enemy located and bombed, position 07° - 55' S 151° - 45' E".



8 May 8 May  

0621 1721 CTF 17 to CTG 17.2: "If Lexington is abandoning ship take charge and expedite getting personnel off".

0715 1815 CTF 17 to TF 17: "Rendezvous at 0700 on this unit Latitude 19° - 00' S Longitude 155° - 00' E".

0726 1826 CTF 17 to CTG 17.2: "We will stand on course 225 until 20 hours zig-zagging at 14 knots X Will then head for signalled rendezvous X Thereafter my course 155, speed 10 X Rejoin after sinking Lexington with torpedoes".

0738 1838 CTF 17 to TF 17 (Flag Hoist): "Fleet course is 225 X Zig-zag in accordance with plan 7 X Steam at 14 knots".

0746 1846 YORKTOWN to CTF 17: "Yorktown group attacked enemy CV positively identified as Kaga X 5 - 1000 lb. bomb hits, 3 torpedo hits, 1 possible X CV was ablaze forward from waterline up when group departed".

0915 2015 CTG 17.2 to CTF 17: "Fitch and Sherman are on board with me".

0937 2037 CTF 17 to TF 17: "Cease zig-zagging and turn to course 185 X Steam at 20 knots".

1014 2114 CTF 17 to TF 17: "At 0130 zig-zag in accordance with plan 6".





Last updated: February 8, 2003

Transcribed and formatted by Jerry Holden for the HyperWar Foundation