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  F6F-5 Hellcat Bureau Number 71445  
USS Lexington (CV-16)

Pilot  Commander Philip Huston "Tarzan" Torrey, Jr. (KIA, BR) CA
Crashed  February 16, 1945

Aircraft History
Built by Grumman as Model G-50. Delivered to the U. S. Navy (USN) as F5F-5 Hellcat bureau number 71445. Assigned to Fighting Squadron 9 (VF-9) aboard the USS Lexington CV-16. No known nickname or nose art.

Mission History
On February 16, 1945 took of from USS Lexington CV-16 piloted by Commander Philip Huston Torrey, Jr. on the first carrier aircraft mission over Tokyo. Torrey volunteered to fly the mission. Over the target, this Hellcat was intercepted and shot down by a Japanese fighter and crashed at Habu village near Narita. When this aircraft failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA).

This aircraft crashed into a school house, killing Torrey in the crash. After the crash, a villager Masa Oto located Torrey's rosary cross in the wreckage. In 1980, she gave the cross to the pilot's son, Phil Torrey visited Habu village. Afterwards, he gave the cross to his sister, Barbara.

Recovery of Remains
Postwar, a team from American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) recovered his remains and after identification were transported to the United States for permanent burial.

Torrey was officially declared dead the day of the mission. After the recovery of remains, he was buried at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery at section OSA site 14.

Phil Torrey (son)
"In 1980, son Phil visited Habu village where his father's plane crashed. In 1996, a villager named Masa Oto returned a rosary cross that he had found at the crash site, that he gave to his sister, Barbara Torrey Smith.
Barbara Dillon (daughter)."

Navy Serial Number Search Results - F6F-5 Hellcat 71445
USN Overseas Aircraft Loss List February 1945 - F6F-5 Hellcat 71445
VF-9 Website website removed as of December 2005
FindAGrave - Philip Huston Torrey, Jr (photos, grave photo)
Thanks to Barbara Dillon for additional information

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Last Updated
February 27, 2020


Tech Info

1 Missing
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