Remembering VF(N)-101

How can VF(N)-101 best be remembered?

I created this blog back in 2015 when Flight Lieutenant John Kelly’s son sent me this picture of his father on a group picture.

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Collection John Kelly (courtesy Gunnar Kelly)

This is how I got started writing a blog with the idea of remembering unsung heroes.

There were 8 faces but only one name. 

Richard Emerson  Harmer was also smiling, as well as other night fighter naval aviators from VF(N)-101 aboard the Enterprise, but I did not know who he was… 

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Then Bob Brunson, another naval aviator on that picture, found my blog and I could add his name on another smiling face.

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Bob Brunson who knew Richard Harmer’s son gave me his email to contact him. What evolved from this contact was more than 3 gigabytes of files about his father Richard Harmer.

Photos like this one…

Lots of documents, and foremost his complete 1944 diary.

The start of the transcription is here.

 

I just had to turn back time, and start writing on each of the 39 naval aviators seen on the deck of USS Saratoga 15 July 1942…

VF-5 July, 1942

Top row (left to right): Price, Reiplinger, Altemus, Gunsolus, Eichenberger, Innis, Gray, Kleinmann, Morgan, Roach, Dufilho, Smith

Center row: Currie, Robb, Wesolowski. Starkes, Davy, Holt, Daly, Presley, McDonald, Tabberer, Barbieri, Haynes, Bass, Blair, Bright

Bottom row: Kleinman, Stover, Crews, Brown, Southerland, Harmer, Simpler, Richardson, Green, Jensen, Clarke, Stepanek. (photo from the collection of Capt. H. W. Crews)

I just had to turn back time before writing about VF(N)-101.


To contact me you can write a comment or use this contact form.

SN Charles Earl Parsons

Charles Earl Parsons https://militaryhallofhonor.com/honoree-record.php?id=155827 Excerpt and photo of Charles Earl Parsons from bio compiled by Gerry Lawton Charlie was the fifth child of ten children born to Virgil Lee and Maggie Gertrude Alexander Parsons who were married on 20 Nov 1907 in Bollinger County, MO. Their nine other children were Helen Taft, Henry Theodore, John […]

SN Charles Earl Parsons

SA Loys Aloysius Parsons

Missing in Action

Missing In Action - Navy - WWII

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Loys Aloysius Parsons

https://militaryhallofhonor.com/honoree-record.php?id=155834

Excerpt and photo of Loys Aloysius Parsons from bio compiled by Gerry Lawton

Loys was the seventh of ten children born to Virgil Lee and Maggie Gertrude Alexander Parsons. They were married on 20 Nov 1907. Their other children were Helen Taft, Henry Theodore “Ted,” John Carl, Elsie Minta, Charles Earl “Charlie,” June H., Virgil Lee Jr., Mary Louise and Robert Parsons.

Loys or “Blackie” as he was sometimes known, enlisted in the US Navy (NSN: 337-26-61) on 19 Dec 1939 in St. Louis, MO as an Apprentice Seaman (AS). He was sent to the Naval Training Station (NTS), Great Lakes, IL for basic training. Upon completion of basic training and possible follow-on instruction at the Torpedoman trade school, and then a short leave, Loys received orders to report to Asiatic Station in the Philippines for duty. On 28 Jun 1940, Parsons reported to the battleship…

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LTJG Jeff Davis Woodson

Missing in action

Missing In Action - Navy - WWII

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Jeff Davis Woodson

https://militaryhallofhonor.com/honoree-record.php?id=104810

Excerpt and photo of Jeff Davis Woodson from bio compiled by Gerry Lawton

In the early morning of 4 Jun 1942, the Hornet Air Group consisting of 59 aircraft took off from her flight deck to attack the Japanese Striking Force. Only Torpedo Squadron Eight’s 15 Devastators found their targets. Attacking without protecting fighter cover VT-8 was overwhelmed by superior numbers of Japanese fighter aircraft, but they continued their attack profiles until one by one they were shot down. Ltjg Woodson and his gunner, ARM2 Otway David Creasy did not return. According to the Hornet’s after action report they were listed as “missing in action.” In that report Rear Admiral (Select) Mitscher, Hornet CO, nominated each member of Torpedo Eight who flew into battle on 4 Jun 1942 for the Congressional Medal of Honor. Their remains were unrecoverable. Reported missing in action on 04 Jun 1942…

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SN Earl Nixon Hartpence

Missing in action

Missing In Action - Navy - WWII

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Earl Nixon Hartpence

https://militaryhallofhonor.com/honoree-record.php?id=140917

Excerpt and photo of Earl Nixon Hartpence from bio compiled by Gerry Lawton

Earl was the son of Whitfield Thatcher and Hannah Lear Hartpence who were married about 1918. They were the parents of four other children; Raymond C., John Carter, Whitfield Thatcher Jr., and Thomas C. Hartpence.

Earl attended Lambertville High School in Lambertville, NJ before he enlisted in the US Navy (NSN: 223-84-14) as an Apprentice Seaman on 17 Sep 1940 in New York, NY. He was sent to the Naval Training Station (NTS) Newport, RI for recruit training. Upon completion of recruit training and a short leave period, AS Hartpence was detached from NTS Newport and transferred to the light cruiser, USS Philadelphia (CL- 41), for duty on 16 Nov 1940 in Hawaii. On 17 Jan 1941, AS Hartpence was advanced in rate to Seaman Second Class (S2/c). Three months later on 20…

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FN Dominick John DiGiacomo

Missing in action

Missing In Action - Navy - WWII

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Dominick John DiGiacomo

https://militaryhallofhonor.com/honoree-record.php?id=133585

Excerpt and photo of Dominick John DiGiacomo from bio compiled by Gerry Lawton

Dominick John DiGiacomo was the son of Italian immigrants, Antonio Maurio and Vincenza “Jennie” Fontanella DiGiacomo, who arrived in the Port of New York in the early days of the Twentieth Century and married in New York abt 1914. They were the parents of Dominick and a daughter, Carolina N. Patella. Dominick’s parents divorced before 1919 when Dominick’s mother “Jennie” married Nicholas Esposito. They were the parents of three children: Christopher “Chris,” Angelina Mitortando and Marie Rachel Fonti.

Dominick completed three years (1930-1933) at Dickinson High School in Newark, NJ. Before enlisting in the navy, he worked as a carpenter’s helper for a period of time. Dominick applied for enlistment in the US Navy on 11 Jun 1940 at the Naval Recruiting Station in Newark, NJ. Dominick confirmed in his enlistment form that…

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SN Ralph Turner Rowland

Missing in Action

Missing In Action - Navy - WWII

Ralph Turner Rowland

https://militaryhallofhonor.com/honoree-record.php?id=160177

Excerpt and photo of Ralph Turner Rowland from bio compiled by Gerry Lawton

Ralph was the third child of Charles Turner and Myrtle “Myrtie” O. Gathright Rowland. They married about Feb 1910 and were the parents of three other children, Carl Eugene, Velma Lorene and Richard Curtis Rowland.

Ralph graduated from John Brown Academy at Siloam Springs, AR in 1939. After graduation, Ralph worked on a dairy farm for awhile before deciding to enlist in the US Navy. He applied for enlistment at the Naval Recruiting Station in Oklahoma City in 1940. After his application was accepted, Ralph and his father drove the 200 plus miles to the Naval Recruiting Station, Dallas, TX where his father gave his permission for his son to enlist for six years. Ralph officially enlisted as an Apprentice Seaman (A.S.) on 19 Oct 1940 in Dallas, TX (NSN: 356-38-80). He reported…

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SN William Franklin Whitfield

Seaman William Franklin Whitfield

Missing In Action - Navy - WWII

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SN William Franklin Whitfield

https://militaryhallofhonor.com/honoree-record.php?id=169359

Excerpt from bio compiled by Gerry Lawton

William Franklin Whitford was the son of Carl Clayton and Anna Sadie (Bennett) Whitford who were married on 12 Nov 1913 in Cowley county, KS. They were the parents of four other children, Lottie R., Charles Otis, Ruby Mae, and Harvey L. Whitford.

William had worked for Armstrong Linoleum Co., in Pueblo, CO for 2 yrs until 10 Oct 1938. He then worked at odd jobs in Pueblo until 23 Oct 1939 when he was hired by The Colorado Fuel and Iron Corp – Minnequa Works, as a laborer. He was laid off on 29 Aug 1940, but he was rehired on 13 Oct 1940 as a Foreman. He quit on 12 Feb 1941 to enlist in the US Navy.

William enlisted in the US Navy (NSN: 372-27-60) as an Apprentice Seaman (AS) on 17 Feb 1941 in…

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FN Sidney Griffith Amory

Fireman Sidney Griffith Amory

Missing In Action - Navy - WWII

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FN Sidney Griffith Amory

https://militaryhallofhonor.com/honoree-record.php?id=317458

Excerpt from bio compiled by Gerry Lawton

Sidney Griffith Amory was the the second son and second child born to Anthony Griffith and Fredericka Junita “Freddie”Weatherford Amory. Freddie was of Native American heritage. She was the gggrand daughter of the Creek Chief, William “Red Eagle” Weatherford. Anthony served in the US Army in France during WWI.

Sidney completed his sophomore year in high school in Trussville, Alabama in Jan 1937. On 07 Jan 1937, Sidney applied for enlistment at the US Navy Recruiting Station, Birmingham, AL., but he was medically rejected for dental issues. After his family moved to Washington, DC in 1938, Amory enrolled in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Co. 2351 at the National Capital District Camp NP-7 in Benning, District of Columbia. He received a discharge from the CCC in order to submitted an application for enlistment in the US Navy on…

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CDR John David Bridgers, Sr.

From Missing in Action, a blog created for Gerry Lawton’s research

Missing In Action - Navy - WWII

John David Bridgers did survive the war, but his story is interesting.

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https://militaryhallofhonor.com/honoree-record.php?id=319402

Excerpt and photo(s) from bio compiled by Gerry Lawton

Early on the morning of 04 Jun 1942, Ensign Bridgers was listed on the strike group flying wing on Lt Charlie “Tex” Conatser. VB-5 aircraft were spotted last on the deck as pilots manned their planes. As the preceding strike package left Yorktown, VB-5 moved up to their take-off spot only to be told to kill their engines and to return to their Ready Room. Their planes were then lowered down into the hanger bay. In the Ready Room, the pilots learned that only three of the four Japanese carriers expected had been found. As a precaution, VB-5 was split; eight planes would search for the fourth enemy carrier while ten were withheld as a back-up strike against the fourth enemy carrier if found. Unfortunately, enemy warplanes from…

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