My father was an air-crewman (radioman/gunner) serving on the USS Yorktown in VB1 (Air Group 1) flying SB2C-1C Helldivers from May 1944 to late July 1944. The Yorktown was part of Task Force 58.1 which was a major contributor in the actions in the Philippine Sea (June 19-20, 1944). During that action on June 20, 1944, Dad's Helldiver lost oil pressure had to jettison its bomb and ditch prior to reaching the target. Dad and his pilot were in life raft for 21-23 hours (along with countless aircrew who ended up in the sea after running out of fuel on the return trip) and picked up by a DD and returned to the Yorktown.
I have a clock from one of the aircraft in which he flew that was heavily damaged during a raid over Ch Chi Jima on or about July 6, 1944. The pilot was able to get the aircraft back on deck, but it was so shot up that it subsequently was jettisoned over the side of the carrier after they exited the plane and Dad retrieved the clock after asking permission to save the memento. (It has long since stopped working, but I'd love to have it fixed!) I am trying to find any information as to that specific mission and have not been able to locate any after action reports for the Air Group from that time period. As I understand, my Dad was one of the squadron photographers and I am also trying to find out where photographs from the Yorktown might be archived. I recently had the opportunity to visit the Yorktown in Charleston SC the past April for the first time and have been attempting to dig up information ever since. It was a moving experience and I want to learn more about the Yorktown and her crew during that time period. My Dad also created the aircraft squadron emblem for his Air Group, and I have Dad's original artwork, a decal of the finished insignia that was produced by the Walt Disney studio and a pristine unused patch that they proudly sewed to their jackets.
I have bits and pieces of his story, but like most WWII vets, this was not something that he talked about much. So, any help would be greatly appreciated...I have more information his air medal commendation and some limited photographs, but I want to know more!
Message was edited by: Edwin Wallover "typo corrections and additions"