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USS Yorktown (CV-5)
|Pilot Lt. Harlan T. "Dub" Johnson, 070181 (POW, survived) DC
Bombardier ACMM Charles E. Fosha, 3718048 (POW, survived) CO
Radio RM1c James W. Dalzell, 2682785 (POW, survived) GA
Ditched February 1, 1942
Built by Douglas. Constructors Number 1780. Delivered to the U. S. Navy (USN) as TBD-1 Devastator bureau number 0298.
Assigned to USS Yorktown (CV-5) to Torpedo Squadron 5 (VT-5). Tail 5-T-? (last digit unknown). No known nickname or nose art.
This aircraft participated in the US Navy's first offensive bombing mission of the war with SDBs and TBDs from Task Force 8 (TF-8) under Admiral Halsey and Task Force 17 (TF-17) under Admiral Fletcher that bombed and bombarded enemy installations on the islands of Wotje, Kwajalein, Jaluit, Mili and Makin.
On February 1, 1942 took off from USS Yorktown (CV-5) piloted by Lt. Harlan T. "Dub" Johnson armed with bombs as one of eleven Devastators plus seventeen SBD-3 Dauntless on a strike against Jaluit Atoll. The weather was rain squalls and a low cloud thwarted a coordinated attack.
Over the target, this aircraft with TBD-1 Devastator 1515 became disoriented and accidentally headed north instead of southeast and ran low on fuel. The pair radioed that they were preparing to ditch sucessfully ditched into the western side of Jaluit Lagoon roughly six miles from Emiej (Imeji). Both crews survived the ditchings unhurt.
Fates of the Crew
Afterwards, both crews were captured by the Japanese and became Prisoners Of War (POWs) and were transported to Japan where they were detained until the end of the Pacific War. Johnson was last reported on October 16, 1945 at Osaka Main Camp Chikko Osaka 34-135. Fosha was last reported on September 27, 1945 at Zentsuji POW Camp (Hiroshima #1) Shikoku Island 34-133. Dalzell was last reported on October 15, 1945 at Osaka Main Camp Chikko Osaka 34-135. Afterwards, all three were repatriated to the United States.
After the discovery of TBD 1515 in 1997, Brian Kurk discovered this wreck. Impacted the reef , and slid backward where it came to rest. The one wing is at roughly 40' and the tail at 60'. The engine separated from the wreck.
Johnson (USNA Class 1931) remained in the U. S. Navy and served in the Korean War then retired with the rank of Rear Admiral. He passed away October 28, 1994. Johnson is buried at Arlington National Cemetery at section 6 site 5495-E.
Fosha remained in the U. S. Navy and served in the Korean War and Vietnam then retired with the rank of Commander. He passed away March 3, 2006 at age 94. Dalzell is buried at Barrancas National Cemetery in Pensacola, FL at section 50 site 7.
Dalzell remained in the U. S. Navy and served in the Korean War and Vietnam then retired with the rank of CWO4. He passed away on March 12, 2011 at age 91. Dalzell is buried at Holly Hill Memorial Park in Middleburg, FL.
Navy Serial Number Search Results - TBD-1 Devastator 0298
"0298 (VT-5) crash landed in lagoon at Jaluit Atoll in Marshall Islands Feb 1, 1942. Recently rediscovered."
USN Overseas Aircraft Loss List February 1942 - TBD-1 0298 [VF-5 sic, VT-5]
NARA "World War II Prisoners of War Data File" Johnson Harlan T.
NARA "World War II Prisoners of War Data File" Fosha Charles Edward
NARA "World War II Prisoners of War Data File" Dalzell James Walter
Two TBD-1 Devastators Found At Jaluit Atoll via Wayback Machine July 20, 2008
TIGHAR TBD Survey 2004 via Wayback Machine October 21, 2016
FindAGrave - Harlan Thode Johnson (photo, grave photo)
ANC Explorer - Harlan T. Johnson (grave photos)
FindAGrave - Charles Edward Fosha (photos, grave photos)
FindAGrave - James Walter Dalzell (photo, obituary, grave photos)
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February 1, 2021
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