The Midway Marauders

Two B 26 Marauders of the 69th Bombardment Squadron ( Medium ) / 38th Bombardment Group and two from the 18th Reconnaissance Squadron ( Medium ) / 22nd Bombardment Group,
attack Kido Butai at about 0710 June 4, 1942, using torpedoes instead of their normal bomb load.
Two Zeroes of a group of six from the CAP slice through the diamond formation at 700 ft.,
as the Marauders starta quick descent to 200 ft. TBF Avengers of Torpedo 8 (Detachment) have started an attack just ahead. This is the moment when the formation started to break up.

The lead aircraft is
CAPT James F. Collins (2dLT Colin O. Villines, 2dLT Thomas N. Weems, Jr.,
SGT Ernest M. Mohon, Jr., SGT Jack D. Dunn, TSGT Raymond. S. White and CPL John D. Joyce).

collins CAPT James F. Collins

 

The left wing B 26 (40-1424) is
commanded by 1stLT Herbert C. Mayes (2dLT Garnett M. McCallister,
2dLT William D. Hargis, 2dLT Gerald J. Barnicle, SSGT Salvatore Battaglia, PVT Benjamin F. Huffstickler
and PVT Roy W. Walters), who went down after apparently narrowly missing Akagi. All were KIA.
mayes 1st LTsJames Muri and Herbert C. Mayes - April 1942 PVT Benjamin F. Huffstickler
Right wing is
1stLT William S. Watson (2dLT L. H. Whittington, 2dLT John P. Schuman, SGT James E. Via,
SSGT Richard C. Decker, CPL Albert E. Owen and CPL Bernard C. Sietz), who is seen here already having
taken some hits, and was not seen again shortly after the moment portrayed in this image. All were KIA.

1st LT William S. Watson2ndLT L.H. Whittington

CPL Albert E. Owen SSGT Richard C. Decker

           

  • The tailing B 26 "SUSIE-Q" (40-1391)
  • is commanded by 1stLT James P. Muri (2dLT Pren L. Moore, 2dLT William W. Moore,
    2dLT Russell H. Johnson, TSGT John J. Gogoj, CPL Frank L. Melo, Jr., and PFC Earl D. Ashley).
    muri 1st LT James P. Muri               ashley   PFC Earl D. Ashley
    
      2ndLT Pren Moore and 1stLT James Muri  CPL Frank L. Melo, Jr.
    
    
    
    Lt. Col Jim Muri's hand-drawn diagram of how 'Susie-Q' flew right down the deck of the Japanese aircraft carrier 'Akagi' 
    to escape the ship's anti-aircraft fire, after dropping the torpedo. (Courtesy Jim Muri, Lt.Col Ret.)

    Crewmen from Collins' and Muri's ships with the "Susie-Q" name cut from the wreck of Muri's B26. This photo was taken shortly after the end of the battle.

    From the left are CPL Frank Melo, 2dLT's Colin Villines, Thomas Weems, Pren Moore, William Moore and Russell Johnson (Courtesy Jim Muri, Lt.Col Ret.)

    No Japanese ships were torpedoed, but both Collins and Muri managed to clear Kido Butai and return to Midway with heavy damage.
    Both pilots did fantastic jobs landing their heavily damaged Marauders without further incident, and without blocking the runway.
    No crewmen from the two surviving B26's were lost although many were injured.

     

    Special Thanks to ALL the relatives of the B26 men seen here who very kindly sent me photos, Mark Horan,
    and especially to the late Jim Muri, Lt.Col Ret, for all your info and photos.