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Flying Jacket
Division of Military History and Diplomacy, National Museum of American History

Flying Jacket

Catalog #: 59193-N    Accession #: 253618
Credit: Division of Military History and Diplomacy, National Museum of American History

Dimensions / Weight

Dimensions: 25.5" H x 15.5" W

Physical Description

Khaki jacket.

Specific History

Ensign George Gay, the sole survivor of Torpedo Squadron Eight (VT-8), from the USS Hornet wore this jacket at the Battle of Midway Island, 4-7 June 1942.

General History

On 7 June 1942 the crippled carrier USS Yorktown rolls over and sinks off Midway. Her crew members, watching from escorting destroyers, break down in tears. All ships lower flags to half staff. "The Old York's going down," a chief says over and over again. As the carrier slips beneath the waves, the battle of Midway finally ends. Earlier that day the Japanese tried to get closer to the American ships. Fifteen TBD-1 "Devastators" of Lieutenant Commander John C. Waldron's Torpedo Squadron Eight (VT-8), from USS Hornet, bravely pressed their attack against a swarm of nimble and deadly Japanese "Zero" fighters. All were shot down. One man pulled out of the ocean is Ensign George Gay, the sole survivor of Torpedo Squadron Eight. At the time of Gay’s death in 1996, his ashes are scattered over the grid reference off Midway where his shipmates fell, forever reuniting Torpedo Squadron Eight's aviators.


Keywords

War: World War II
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