On June 4, 1942, many young Americans gave their lives in defense of America at the Battle of Midway. Those who flew our obsolescent torpedo planes into the face of death should be especially remembered. Forty-one of these planes attacked the Japanese fleet off Midway Island, and thirty-four were shot down. One squadron was entirely destroyed. Each plane carried two men, and only one man from these downed planes survived. Never again would our naval aviators fly this particular type of plane into combat.
Not a single torpedo from these forty-one planes struck and damaged a Japanese ship.
Nevertheless, these brave men made a vital contribution to our amazing victory at Midway. Their attack brought Japanese fighter planes down to low levels to defend their carriers. At this critical moment the American dive bombers arrived, and they had virtually unimpeded access to their targets. Within the next few minutes, three of the giant Japanese carriers were turned into flaming hulks.
There were many acts of heroism during the war, but the willing self-sacrifice by these torpedomen at Midway must never be forgotten.