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USS Ticonderoga (CV-14)
|Pilot Lt(jg) Raymond Porter, USNR (POW, died August 6, 1945, BR) Butler, PA
Gunner ARM3c Normond R. Brissette, 7620034 USNR (POW, died August 6, 1945, BR) Lowell, MA
Ditched July 28, 1945
Built by Curtiss as Model 84F. Delivered to the U. S. Navy (USN) as SB2C-4 Helldiver Bureau Number 21079.
Assigned to the USS Ticonderoga (CV-14) to Bombing Squadron 87 (VB-87). No known nose art nickname. or tail code.
On July 28, 1945 took off from USS Ticonderoga (CV-14) piloted by Lt(jg) Raymond Porter with gunner ARM3c Normond R. Brissette armed with a 1,000 pound semi-armor piercing bomb and one 260 pound fragmentation bomb plus a 680 point wing tank as part of the Task Force 38 (TF-38) carrier strike against Kure. The VB-87 formation was led by Lt. Commander Kanaga bombing heavy cruiser Tone anchored in an inner bay bordering Eta Jima (Nishinomi Shima) inside Hiroshima Bay to the west of Kure.
Over the target, this Helldiver was hit by anti-aircraft fire damaging the engine and was observed smoking badly when the formation formed up for the return flight and was observed to ditch into Hiroshima Bay. Later carrier aircraft strikes observed the two crew in their life raft but they were unable to be rescued. When this aircraft failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA).
Fates of the Crew
In fact, both Porter and Brissette survived the ditching and deployed their life raft. Both were captured by the Japanese and became Prisoners Of War (POW). Afterwards, both were transported to Hiroshima and interned at the Chugoku Kempei-Tai Headquarters (Chugoku Military Police Headquarters). On August 6, 1945 this location was near the epicenter of the atomic bomb blast. Porter died during the initial blast. Brissette survived the initial explosion but died soon afterwards from radiation poisoning.
Recovery of Remains
Postwar, the remains of both Porter and Brissette were recovered and transported to the United States for permanent burial.
Brissette was buried in late November 1948 at Saint Joseph Cemetery in Chelmsford, MA.
On November 3, 1949 Porter was buried at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in a group burial at section 82 site 156.
Porter and Brissette are both memorialized at the Andersonville National Historic Site / National Prisoner of War Museum.
In 1999, a Memorial for U. S. POWs at site of Chugoku Kempei-Tai HQ in Hiroshima was established due to the efforts and personal funds of Hiroshima resident, and A-bomb survivor, Mr. Shigeaki Mori. The words on the memorial were written by Thomas Cartwright former pilot of B-24J "Lonesome Lady" 44-40680: "The Atomic bomb devastated the city and its people with a force beyond any known before. US Air Force and US Navy airmen interned as POWs at the Chugoku Military Police Headquarters, which was located at this site, near the epicenter, were among the victims of this holocaust. This plaque is placed in the memory of these brave and honorable men. May this humble memorial be a perpetual reminder of the savagery of war."
Navy Serial Number Search Results - SB2C-4 Helldiver 21079
USN Overseas Aircraft Loss List July 1945 SB2C-4 Hellidver 21079
NARA History of Bombing Squadron Eighty-Seven pages 4, 8, 81 (map), 86-88
(Page 4) "28 July  Participated in bombing attack on Japanese heavy cruiser, Tone, in Hiroshima Bay, Inland Sea of Japan."
(Page 8) "To the memory of the one-time members of Bombing Squadron Eighty-Seven who sacrificed their lives to the cause for which their country called them to service, this book is dedicated...
Lt(jg) Raymond (n) Porter - Missing In Action
ARM3/c Normond Roland Brissette - Missing In Action"
(Page 86) "On July 28  the Task Force arrived back in the waters south of Shikoku to resume operations in the Inland Sea, and Bombing Squadron Eighty-Seven received another opportunity to put one of these enemy capital ships out of the naval picture for good. This time it was the heavy cruiser Tone, which was the newest and most powerful of the Japanese heavy cruisers and was the only cruiser in the world which boasted four gun turrets forward. She was anchored in the..."
(Page 87) "...inner bay of Nishinomi Shima, due west of Kure, in Hiroshima Bay."
(Page 88) "Retirement was to the southwest over Eta Shima. Lieutenant (jg) Porter came up for rendezvous with his engine smoking badly from an anti-aircraft hit, and he soon dropped off and was seen to make a water landing in Iyo Nada, several miles south on the retirement course. It was reported several hours later that other strike groups had observed Porter and his gunner, Brissette, in their life raft in the vicinity of where they had gone down; however the air-sea rescued planes, which were rushing all over the Inland Sea to pick up survivors that day, were never able to effect their rescue. Numerous Japanese surface vessels were in the area, and it was strongly hoped that those two highly valued men were picked up and will comb ack as returned prisoners of war."
NARA Prisoners of War Data File does not list Raymond Porter
NARA Prisoners of War Data File - Norman Roland Brissette [sic Normond Roland Brissette]
FindAGrave - LTJG Raymond Lloyd Porter (photo, group burial photo)
NARA Application For Headstone or Marker - Normond R. Brissette
FindAGrave - Normand Roland Brissette (photos, Saint Joseph Cemetery)
FindAGrave - Normand Roland Brissette (photo, Andersonville National Cemetery memorial)
Nuclear Age Peace Foundation "Remembering Normand Brissette by David Rubin via Wayback Machine
Thanks to Jim Sawruk, Chris Valgardson and Phil Fazzini for additional information
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July 29, 2020
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