Thursday, January 31, 2008
On April 29 - 30, the HORNET launched Air Group TWO against Truk which was one of the largest Japanese bases In the Pacific. The first strike had been made on 16 February and the magnitude of the development of the island base had been well photographed. The first attack had focused on ships and aircraft, leaving ground targets largely un-touched. TORPEDO TWO targets were the airfields gun positions, buildings, docks and the Dublon seaplane base. Bombs were dropped with great success as warehouses and an ammunition dump went up with large explosions. The airfields were made ot look like swiss cheese and several ships in the lagoon were rolled over.
As we retired, Lt. Cdr. Arnold heard Scott Scammell say he was hit and going down near the atoll entrance. Noting that he was landing near the heavily armed island of Faleu. guarding the entrance, I called for our dive bombers (VB-2) to attack the island. The bombers literally sunk the island. So effective was there operation that as we circled and watched Scott’s life raft blown towards the island he and his crewmen carried the raft across and launched it back into the water on the other side. Their only injury was from stepping on a hot bomb fragment.
At the same time I called for the dive bombers, a call as made to the rescue submarine on station. This turned out to be the TANG commanded by my classmate Dick O’Kane. Scott and his crewmen were picked up and joined nineteen other pilots and crewmen already recovered by TANG.
Coincidentally, a Kingfisher two place seaplane (OS2U) launched from a cruiser in the task force group had already picked up seven pilots and crewmen and was unable to take off because of the load and sea condition. O'Kane finally had to take all aboard the sub and then sank the plane by gunfire.
This memo was hand typed by Admiral Arnold and OCR’d for this posting.