Segment 5

Annotation

About a month before the Battle of Midway the skipper decided to assign crews. The chief radioman asked if anyone had a preference as to who they flew with. Childers chose Harry Corl. He thought he was the best pilot in the squadron.The flight crews were all called together and told what they would encounter when they got into combat. They were told that if they launched 15 planes at least 3 would get through and accomplish their mission. About a month later they were in combat.The squadron was told to go abord the Yorktown [Annotator's Note: USS Yorktown, CV-5].Childers flew with Harry Corl who was an enlisted pilot who had made warrant officer on 1 June [Annotator's Note: 1 June 1942] because Admiral King didn't want enlisted men flying. All enlisted pilot were promoted to officers status.When Childers heard the forecast he was shocked. At about the same time they were told that the torpedo squadrons that took part in the Coral Sea battle did well.The Devastator [Annotator's Note: Douglas TBD Devastator torpedo bomber] was the first all metal airplane in the fleet. Childers had heard Bill Esders [Annotator's Note: Wilhelm George Esders] and some of the enlisted pilots talk about it. Childers and Bill Esders were the only survivors of VT3 after Harry Corl was killed at Guadalcanal.Esders had joined VT3 [Annotator's Note: Torpedo Squadron 3] several years before and loved the TBD. The TBD was very stable for carrier landings. The only thing it lacked was speed. It had been in the fleet since 1935 as President Roosevelt was a believer in controlling the world's oceans. The Cassin [Annotator's Note: USS Cassin, DD-372] and Downes [Annotator's Note: USS Downes, DD-375] were also built during this time.Childers countered on the TBD to be tough.When they went aboard the Yorktown [Annotator's Note: USS Yorktown, CV-5] Childers folded the wings on his plane. He heard a crash when an F4F [Annotator's Note: Grumman F4F Wildcat fighter aircraft] missed the wires, jumped the barrier, and crashed into the XO [Annotator's Note: Executive Officer] of VF3's [Annotator's Note: Fighting Squadron 3] plane, killing him. That convinced Childers that a flight deck was a very dangerous plane.

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