Enlisting the Navy and Fighting Squadron 2 (VF2)

Santa Cruz and Eastern Solomons

Loss of the USS Hornet (CV-8) and USS Wasp (CV-7)

End of the Solomon Islands Campaign

Serving Aboard USS Saratoga (CV-3)

Good Commanders and Aerial Combat

Jig Dog Ramage and Jimmy Flatley

Mission After Darkness

USS Enterprise (CV-6)

Battle of the Eastern Solomons

Get the Carriers

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Jack Glass was interviewed prior to this for a show about the Enterprise [Annotator's Note: USS Enterprise (CV-6)]. The interviewer has previously interviewed another veteran of the Enterprise named Don Hoff Annotator's Note: Donald Hoff's oral history interview is also available on this website] who flew at Midway. Glass thought he could see the war coming. He graduated in 1941 at the age of 17 and decided to join the Navy, planning to make it a career. He spent six years in the Navy then completed his 20 year military service in the Air Force. He finally retired from the US Foreign Service after 12 years with that organization. Glass had gotten a brochure about naval aviation. He wanted to be an Aviation Machinist's Mate but in boot camp it was decided that he would be better suited as a radioman. There were several other rates that were trained at the time. Glass was in a fighter squadron, Fighting Squadron 2 (VF-2), as a radio maintenance man when the war started. The unit was all enlisted men except for two officers. The pilots were all chiefs and first and second classes. A small detachment of pilots, about ten of them, were taken from Glass's unit and made VF-6 [Annotator's Note: Fighting Squadron 6]. Glass started flying after Santa Cruz [Annotator's Note: Battle of Santa Cruz, 25 through 27 October 1942].

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Air Group 6 was fleshed out with the detachment Jack Glass was part of. When it reported aboard [Annotator's Note: aboard the USS Enterpriose (CV-6)], Glass was put in ship's company. When Air Group 10 went aboard, Glass started flying in SBDs [Annotator's Note: Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bomber] with Bombing Squadron 10 (VB-10). Glass's first pilot was Red Fingers who was later killed in an aviation accident. During his second cruise, he flew with Lieutenant Hubbard. Hubbard was Jig Dog Ramage's [Annotator's Note: later Rear Admiral James D. Ramage] wingman. Hubbard was later killed during an early morning take off. When Glass first joined the squadron he did not have a pilot. Once the replacement pilots came in he was assigned to one. Glass liked that because they got to know each other. Some of the long range search missions they flew were very boring and it was nice having someone to talk to. Glass went aboard the USS Enterprise (CV-6) right after the Battle of the Coral Sea and was aboard during the Battle of the Eastern Solomons. He was with Air Group 6 when they covered the landings on Guadalcanal. During the Eastern Solomons the Enterprise got beat up pretty bad. During those two battles they took nine bomb hits, especially after the 26 October [Annotator's Note: 26 October 1942] battle. Glass was still a member of VF-6 [Annotators Note: Fighting Squadron 6] during the Battle of the Eastern Solomons and was responsible for taking care of the fighters. His position was mostly on the flight deck. They were hit three or four times during the Eastern Solomons. After they were hit on 26 October they were nearly put out of commission. Glass was called out on the flight deck while they were under attack and they took a couple hits. This was when they lost all of the people on a five inch gun. That was when Glass grew up a little. He walked back to the gun position and saw the bodies all burned up. Those battles usually only lasted a day. The average age of the crew of the Enterprise was 19 years old. That is definitely true for modern carriers. When they [Annotator's Note: the attacking Japanese aircraft] started making their bomb runs, Glass took cover. After the attack, they started landing planes so Glass went back to work. The hits they took during the Eastern Solomons did not really slow the ship down. When the ship was hit at Santa Cruz the rudder was damaged so they could only steam around in circles for about 15 minutes. After Eastern Solomons, Air Group 6 was relieved and Air Group 10 went aboard. Glass asked to be transferred to Air Group 10 after the new group went aboard while the ship at Espiritu Santo undergoing repairs.

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The first flight Jack Glass went on was a search mission during the later stage of the Eastern Solomons campaign. The mission was to bomb Japanese transports. The Japanese gave up on the Eastern Solomons after the campaign wrapped up around 1 January [Annotator's Note: 1 January 1943]. They flew a lot of search and bombing missions off of Guadalcanal but Glass did not get stuck there. Most of Scouting 10 and Bombing 10 had been in the air during Santa Cruz and were told to go to Guadalcanal. He was not flying at that time. The Navy airmen flying from Guadalcanal lived like the Marines when they were on the island. Glass had not been scheduled to fly that day when the planes were told to go to Cactus [Annotator's Note: Cactus was the code name for Guadalcanal]. During the 26 October engagement [Annotator's Note: 26 October 1942 Battle of Santa Cruz], Glass was on the deck. Planes were landing and taking off and he was trying to service them. When the guns started firing he knew they were under attack so he found a place to take cover. The attacks usually lasted only five or ten minutes. They could put up a lot of antiaircraft fire from the two or three carriers and the battleships and were able to shoot a lot of the Japanese planes down. When the USS Enterprise (CV-6) was hit at Santa Cruz, one of the bombs penetrated the flight deck and went off in officer's country [Annotator's Note: officer's country is the naval term for any section of a ship or station allocated exclusively for use by officers]. Other bombs went down to the engine room and did a lot of damage there. A couple of the elevators were put out of action. Even after being hit they were still able to land airplanes. When Glass first went aboard the Enterprise he was assigned to a plane pusher crew. That was before he was rated and assigned to the radio gang. They were caught on deck a couple times when a few enemy strays would come across the ship and attack it. To Glass, it seemed that he was on deck during every one of the attacks. Still, it was better than being down in the engine room or with one of the repair parties. A couple times they took hits which took out many of the repair crews. One of the bombs that hit the Enterprise during the Battle of Santa Cruz went off near the waterline and the ship started taking on water. The repair crews were able to patch it up. The ship was not hit by torpedoes during either of the first big battles. Glass saw the USS Hornet (CV-8) get hit by enemy torpedoes. The Hornet was two or three miles away from him. They were trying to get into a rain squall. The Enterprise got into one but the Hornet did not and was hit by torpedoes which finished her off. The USS Wasp (CV-7) was a smaller ship than the Enterprise, Hornet, and the USS Yorktown (CV-5) and could not take much of a beating. The Wasp went down pretty quick after being torpedoed by a submarine. After the Wasp and Hornet were sunk, and with the USS Saratoga (CV-3) laid up, Enterprise was the only aircraft carrier available in the Pacific.

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[Annotator's Note: Jack Glass served in the Navy aboard the USS Enterprise (CV-6) as an aviation radioman in Fighting Squadron 6 (VF-6) then later as a rear seat gunner in a Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bomber with Bombing Squadron 10 (VB-10).] They went back to New Caledonia where they took on a bunch of Seabees. They had to leave in a hurry and took 50 or 60 Seabees with them. After leaving New Caledonia they went back to Guadalcanal. At the time they had Wildcat fighters [Annotator's Note: Grumman F4F Wildcat fighter]. They stayed at a small airfield about 20 miles from the capital city [Annotator's Note: Noumea, New Caledonia]. The field was very muddy and every time they moved an airplane it would get stuck. They stayed there until the USS Enterprise (CV-6) was repaired and ready to return to Guadalcanal. After they return to Guadalcanal, they flew anti-shipping missions. The action was going down because the Japanese were not able to get any replacements or reinforcements in. They would go out with the Marines on search missions and would attack anything they could find. They were jumped by Japanese fighters a couple times but they usually had fighter cover which took care of that. The twin .30 caliber machine guns on the back of the Dauntless could put out a lot of lead and the Zero [Annotator's Note: Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter aircraft] could not take much of a hit. After Jig Dog [Annotator's Note: later Rear Admiral James D. Ramage] took over as commander he had a different approach to formation flying. He had his pilots stay in formation until it was his turn to go into the dive. That way they had the protection of all of the formation's .30 caliber rear guns until the tip over point. By that time they had F6Fs [Annotator's Note: Grumman F6F Hellcat fighter] so the Japanese fighters did not get close to them too often. In April 1942 they returned to the United States and went to Seattle to reform the air group. There were ten or 12 of them from the original Air Group 10 that went back as cadre for the new guys. Dave Colley was one of those guys. John Liska [Annotator's Note: John Liska flew as the rear seat gunner in the SBD Dauntless flown by Martin Carmody, also known as Red, during the Battle of Santa Cruz whose interview is also on this website] quit flying after that [Annotator's Note: after the Battle of Santa Cruz] and was a maintenance man with Glass aboard the Enterprise. Liska's pilot [Annotator's Note: during the Battle of the Coral Sea], John Leppla, went on to be one of the Navy’s leading Aces of the war. Liska and Leppla shot down some planes during the Battle of the Coral Sea. Another guy, Williams, was from Arkansas and was killed in Hawaii. He had three or four kills, most of them at Guadalcanal. During their second tour they hardly ran into any enemy fighters. Glass enjoyed his second tour better than the first one. He flew more combat missions and the opposition was not as tough. They also had more ships that time and it was just a better operation all around. Things were bad during the first tour, especially communications. They also did not have good radar at the time. Fortunately, the Japanese made more mistakes than they did.

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Jack Glass liked serving aboard the USS Enterprise (CV-6). The time he spent on the USS Saratoga (CV-3) was unpleasant. There were a number of old timers aboard that did not get along with the men in the air group. On his first nights aboard he slept on the hangar deck and was written up by the master at arms for having his rolled up bunk in the wrong place and was given two weeks extra duty. The Saratoga eventually became a good ship and was in action around Okinawa. After Glass went into the Air Force he did a tour down to Eniwetok where the atomic bomb test was conducted. During the test the Saratoga was used as a target ship. The Saratoga had an electrical system that ran the engines. She was as fast as the Enterprise but could not turn with her. The Saratoga was longer than the Enterprise but was not able to carry any more airplanes. The shops aboard Saratoga were in the wrong place. All of the shops on the Enterprise were on the hangar deck. The Saratoga almost got into the Battle of Midway. She was in the yard in Bremerton and they were trying to get her ready for the battle. Saratoga put in at Pearl Harbor the day after the battle. They thought that the Japanese were going to attack somewhere else, possibly Alaska, so the Saratoga took off after them. After chasing them for three or four days through freezing weather they turned around and headed back. After that, all of the airplanes aboard were parceled out to reinforce other places including Enterprise and USS Hornet (CV-8). They had gathered up all the planes they could get while they were in Bremerton and sped to the Pacific.

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Jack Glass believes that good commanders made the USS Enterprise (CV-6) such a good ship. There was hardly anyone in the Navy's command structure that did not serve aboard the Enterprise. Officers like Halsey, Mitscher, McCain, and Spruance to name a few. The Enterprise was almost always the flag ship so there were always flag officers aboard. Halsey later took his flag to one of the battleships that had better communications. After that, the Enterprise usually carried the task force commander. During Glass' second tour, they hit a lot of the smaller islands to keep the Japanese from reinforcing them. They flew missions to cover the invasions of Palau and New Guinea. They hit Truk on two occasions. The biggest thing they were involved in was the Marianas Turkey Shoot [Annotator's Note: the Battle of the Philippine Sea] and the night mission to the Japanese fleet [Annotator's Note: also referred to as the Mission After Darkness which was also part of the Battle of the Philippine Sea]. They thought Truk Lagoon was Japan's Pearl Harbor. By the time they attacked it the Japanese had moved most of their big ships out of there. They did sink a supply ship in the harbor. Glass's pilot and another pilot scored hits on it. Occasionally, they ran into combat ships there. There was plenty of antiaircraft fire in the area. At Saipan they were attacking one of the airstrips. The pilot on their wing, Lieutenant Leonard, took a direct hit as they were heading back out over the water. There was just a burst of fire and then they were gone. Glass believes that the same battery hit them too. There was a huge hole blown in their right wing. They were lucky they did not go down. Truk was loaded with antiaircraft fire. Glass saw flak bursting all the way up to 20,000 feet after pulling out of their dive. They did not lose many airplanes on their second tour. They lost three crews and several planes. One was lost at Palau, and another at Saipan, but Glass does not recall where the third crew was lost.

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To Jack Glass, Jig Dog [Annotator's Note: later Rear Admiral James D. Ramage] had nerves of steel. He was totally in command of that night mission [Annotator's Note: the Mission After Darkness which took place in the afternoon of 20 June 1944]. There was a lot of panic. Some of the SB2Cs [Annotator's Note: Curtiss SB2C Helldiver dive bomber] were running out of fuel before they even left the Japanese fleet. Ramage was involved in a number of controversial incidents after the war. Bill Martin made vice admiral and commanded the 6th Fleet for a while. Jimmy Flatley was the commander of the Flying Chiefs [Annotator's Note: Fighting Squadron 2 (VF-2)] when Glass was with them. Flatley's son became an admiral too. When they were in San Diego they did a lot of night flying. Flatley would bring his son down to the base and Glass and the others would watch him while Flatley was up flying. Flatley's son became a Navy flier and retired as an admiral. Ramage really made Bombing Squadron 10 (VB-10) his own. He was a USS Enterprise (CV-6) officer before he was a flier. He liked the ship.

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It was getting dark when they took off after the Japanese fleet. The most Jack Glass had flown up to that point was four hours. This mission was six hours. The SB2Cs [Annotator's Note: Curtiss SB2C Helldiver dive bomber] apparently did not know about cruise control. The SBDs used good cruise control and only lost one airplane that night. Jig Dog [Annotator's Note: later Rear Admiral James D. Ramage] had a lot of good ideas. During the flight to the Japanese fleet they came across a group of SB2Cs attacking Japanese tankers. Ramage told his guys to get the carriers. The other section with Glass's group, led by Lieutenant Bangs, scored four out of six hits on the enemy carriers. Glass's section scored on direct hit and four near misses. The different ships were doing different maneuvers and no dives were the same. When it was over and they turned around, they had to fly right back over the Japanese ships to get back to the ship [Annotator's Note: the USS Enterprise (CV-6)]. As they flew over a Japanese battleship, Glass fired 300 or 400 rounds at it. The squadron formed up on Ramage and headed back to the ship. Glass's plane was jumped by fighters when they went into their dive but the F6Fs [Annotator's Note: Grumman F6F Hellcat fighter aircraft] that were providing top cover got after them. Glass did not even fire a shot. After pulling up out of their dive, Glass did not notice much smoke coming from the carrier. The ship they went after was not sunk during that action. The return trip to the fleet was chaos. Communication was terrible. Ramage's group did not have that problem. They headed back and were able to pick up the Enterprise about 40 miles out. Glass never gave any thought that they would go into the water. When they got back there were planes everywhere trying to land. They found a clear deck, which happened to be the USS Wasp (CV-18). They landed on the Wasp. Glass logged six hours in his log book for that mission. It was the toughest mission he ever flew. The ships all turned on their lights. They could see them from miles away but they did not know which ship was which and it got confusing. Mitscher wanted to get his aviators back no matter what. There were 65 aircraft lost, most of them were SB2Cs, but they did not lose many people. Many were picked up the following morning. After they landed on the Wasp they stayed in the ready room. The next morning they flew back to their own ship. There was a second strike sitting on the deck ready to go out but the remaining Japanese ships got away. During the fighting around Guadalcanal they rarely had fighter cover. By this point in the war the fighters had to get in line to get a shot at the Japanese.

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The Battle of the Philippine Sea was the end of Jack Glass' combat tour. They finished up the Marianas operation then left the area. It was July before they left there. After leaving the Marianas, Glass returned to Seattle and was put to work in the Assembly and Repair Department servicing PBYs [Annotator's Note: Consolidated PBY Catalina flying boat]. After eight or nine months, Glass learned that volunteers were needed to crew Privateers [Annotator's Note: Consolidated PB4Y2 Privateer patrol bomber]. Glass volunteered for transition training but only made it part of the way through because the war ended. Glass sees his time on the USS Enterprise (CV-6) as the best time of his Navy career. One of the men aboard who worked in the engine room of the ship was instrumental in saving the ship with some of the equipment he devised. The Navy recognized his ability and let him do his thing. He entered the Navy as a low ranking seaman and ended up commanding a floating dry dock. That was a big job. Glass did not know him when he served aboard the ship but has met him since the war. Glass did not know Don Hoff [Annotator's Note: Donald Hoff's oral history is also available on this website] during the war either. He met him in Chino when the exhibit was opened there. Hoff does not travel much anymore. Prior to this interview, a reunion for the 65th Anniversary of the Battle of Midway was held at The National WWII Museum. Dusty Kleiss, Vern Micheel, and other pilots and air crewmen were brought down but Hoff was not able to attend. Glass was originally from Georgia but now lives in California so he could be near his daughter. Glass attended the reunion held in Austin. The interviewer was planning to attend but was not able to. Glass plans on attending the reunion in Salt Lake City. He is also planning another visit to Chino to see the SBD [Annotator's Note: Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bomber]. The interviewer wanted to film the SBD in flight but the owner of the aircraft wanted too much money. Glass has a friend who lives in Hawaii who is a fan of the Enterprise who has been to Midway and Guadalcanal. He gets tours down to the South Pacific. Glass has given him a lot of information about the ship. Glass knows another guy in Indiana who sent him the book to get signed. Glass has never seen so much interest in the Enterprise as he has seen on the website. There is a lot of information on the site. Glass's most vivid memory of his time on the Enterprise is the Battle of Santa Cruz when he was out on the deck during the attack on the ship. The night mission also stands out to him. When they started back, he was wondering if they would make it. A lot of SB2Cs [Annotator's Note: Curtiss SB2C Helldiver dive bomber] were lost. The F6Fs [Annotator's Note: Grumman F6F Hellcat fighter aircraft] and the TBFs [Annotator's Note: Grumman TBF Avenger torpedo bomber aircraft; Avengers manufactured by General Motors were designated TBM] did not have a problem because they had a much longer range.

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