A selection of related stories of
U.S. Naval Aviation In the South Pacific during WW II

Featuring the Lexington Aircraft Carrier
and her dedicated crew as key participants in

The Battle of the Marianas — June 1944

Editor’s Introduction

Much of the emphasis and action depicted in the historical narratives that make up this web site involve U.S. Air Force actions in the Pacific Theater, whether it be WW II, the Korean War or the early Cold War periods. Now, through the generosity of a number of people and organizations, we have been provided resources that will permit us to share selected WW II experiences of U. S. Navy aviation personnel who were participants in air and sea battles that made dramatic and meaningful contributions in our Nation’s pursuit of victory over the invading forces.

This combination of related stories will be told from four perspectives: 1) From the point of view of a Life Magazine reporter & photographer aboard the Task Force Flagship Aircraft Carrier and, 2) & 3), the experiences of two pilots and their crews of TBF “Avenger” torpedo bombers who played critical roles in the air/sea battle of the Marianas. 4) A fourth dimension has been added based upon later information provided from the writings of Fred Gwynn through Bob Linn, son of Fred’s best friend and fellow Avenger pilot, Bill Linn.


The information presented here comes basically from eight sources, as follows:

1) Time Incorporated publication of “Life’s Picture History of World War II,” published in 1950, a most remarkable collection of what they refer to as “the finest work produced by photographers and painters during World War II.”

2) Two issues of “Life Magazine” dated July 3, 1944 and July 17, 1944, where they presented stories of the battle from the perspective of the Task Force 58 Flagship, Lexington CV-16. Just a small sample of the ongoing work of the Life information- gathering and publishing staff that brought the war into the homes of all Americans as the TV news does for us today.

3) The book “Carrier War” by Lt. Oliver Jensen, USNR. This fully illustrated paper back book was published by Pocket Books, Inc., New York, N. Y., in 1945.

4) The book “Mission Beyond Darkness” by Lt. Comdr. J. Bryan, III, USNR and Philip Reed. This hard cover book, with photo illustrations, was published by Duell, Sloan and Pearce, New York in 1945. To any viewer with an in-depth interest in this subject, I highly recommend you search your public library resources and have them locate a copy for your reading. Our Little Falls, MN, Public Library located a copy of this book in the Saint Paul Public Library. We have included a statement attached to our copy of the book which briefly describes the book’s contents. We have also learned that this book has been republished in paperback and is currently available for public purchase. You may click here to view this information and learn how to purchase this book, if you so desire, and have a quick return to this page.

5) An Internet Web Site created and maintained by the daughter of one of the crewmen on the Aircraft Carrier Lexington as a memorial to all men who crewed the Lexington during WW II and especially on behalf of her father who sustained major injuries while performing his duties aboard the carrier in the heat of battle. You may access this web site, entitled “USS Lexington CV-16,” by clicking on URL http://www.cannon-lexington.com/ For those with deeper interests in this subject, this web site will provide a variety of links with more extensive information.

6) The personal story of Warren McLellan and his TBF “Avenger” crew, shot down in the heat of battle, spending hours in waters surrounded by burning and exploding Japanese war wagons of various types as they awaited and hoped for a seemingly impossible rescue.

7) The personal story of Tom Bronn and his TBF “Avenger” crew who had a harrowing and no less exciting adventure of their own in the same battle striving to live up to the spirit and intent of their obligations and still survive the experience.

8) A foundation story taken from the writings of Fred Gwynn, relating to the formation of Avenger Squadron VT-16 and their transition to a combat ready status. This story has been researched and developed by Bob Linn, son of Fred’s best friend and fellow Avenger pilot, Bill Linn.

We are indebted to each of these sources and believe that the reinterpretation of their important work in this form will contribute to the further education and enlightenment of our modern day society. We will strive to credit the source of quotations and illustrations where they occur in this collection of stories.

End of Editor’s Introduction — Go to Table of Contents

Or This Story’s

Cover PageEditor’s IntroductionTable of Contents

Fred Gwynn’s “Torpedo 16 Chapter — 1234


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