Segment 5


The day after the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot [Annotators Note: the Battle of the Philippine Sea] Alex Vraciu was aboard his carrier waiting for the Japanese fleet to be located. They finally got the word to go and took off. There were nine fighters, three of which were in Vraciu’s division and there were 15 SBDs. By that time only two ships still had SBDs [Annotators Note: the other dive bomber squadrons were equipped with the SB2C Helldiver]. After returning from the mission beyond darkness Vraciu had to land on another ship because he could not land on his own carrier. A pilot flying an SB2C refused a wave off and cracked up on the deck. When Vraciu saw what had happened on the Lexington he slid over and landed on the Enterprise [Annotators Note: USS Enterprise (CV6)]. Seven of the fighter pilots in Vraciu's group who had survived the mission beyond darkness had all landed on different carriers.


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