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USS Bennington CV-20
|Pilot Ensign Robert J. Cosbie, O-337253 (MIA / KIA) Los Angeles, CA
Gunner AMM3c Louis "Lou" J. Gerig, 8091557 (MIA / KIA) NY
Radio ARM2c Gilbert "Gil" A. Reynolds Jr., 8635556 (MIA / KIA) Muhlenberg County, KY
Crashed February 18, 1945
Built by General Motors, Eastern Aircraft Division as model G-40. Constructors Number 33. Delivered to the United States Navy (USN) as TBM-3 Avenger bureau number 22889.
Assigned to the USS Bennington (CV-20) to Torpedo Squadron 82 (VT-82). No known nickname or nose art. Tail code 1?? (last two digits unknown) with a white arrow pointing upward the squadron motif.
On February 18, 1945 took off from USS Bennington (CV-20) piloted by Ensign Robert J. Cosbie armed with three 500 pound bombs on a bombing mission against installations on the shore of Futami Ko (Futami Bay) on Chi Chi Jima. Over the target, hit by anti-aircraft fire and collided with TBM Avenger 22904 damaging the left wing and fuselage then crashed in flames into the sea. When this aircraft failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA).
All three crew were officially declared dead the day of the mission. Cosbie earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously. He is memorialized at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) on the courts of the missing, court 5.
Gerig earned the Purple Heart, posthumously. He is memorialized at the Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing.
Reynolds earned the Purple Heart, posthumously. He is memorialized at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) on the courts of the missing, court 1. Reynolds also has a memorial marker at Evergreen Cemetery in Greenville, KY.
Navy Serial Number Search Results - TBM-3 Avenger 22889
USN Overseas Aircraft Loss List February 1945 - TBM-3 Avenger 22889 listed as down "Iwo Jima " [sic Chichi Jima] and Fate "D" [Died], sic entire crew were Missing In Action.
NARA Torpedo Squadron Eighty-Two - Official Squadron History 1 April 1944 to 9 July 1945 pages 7-8
(Page 4) "18 Feb. - Shipping and waterfront installations at Futami Ko Chichi Jima were attacked with indeterminate results. The plane flown by Ensign Robert..."
(Page 5) "... J. Cosbie was shot down and seen to crash in flames. Neither he nor his crew, Louis J. Gerig, AMM3c, and Gilbert A. Reynolds, ARM2c survived..
(Page 14) "During the strike [February 18, 1945] on Chichi Jima Ensign Robert J. Cosbie crashed as a result of AA fire and along with his crewmen, Louis J. Gerig, AMM3c, and Gilbert A. Reynolds, ARM2c, are presumed killed.
NARA U. S. S. Bennington CV-20 Action Report For Period 10 February -- 2 March 1945 page 3, 10, 12
(Page 3) "Bennington planes (16 VF, 11 VB, 11 VT) joined others in a strike on shipping and harbor installations, northern part of Futami Bay, Chichi Jima. Heavy AA encountered. Lost or missing: 2 VT, 1 VB, 2 pilots, and 5 aircrew men. Damage inflicted on small ships, seaplane base and waterfront shops."
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Robert J. Cosbie
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Louis J. Gerig
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Gilbert A. Reynolds Jr.
FindAGrave - Ens Robert J Cosbie (photo, courts of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - ENS Robert J. Cosbie (photo, lost at sea)
FindAGrave - AMM3 Louis J Gerig (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - ARM2 Gilbert A Reynolds, Jr (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Gilbert Aurelius Reynolds, Jr (memorial marker photo)
Flyboys (2004) includes the story of this aircraft and crew
Torpedo Squadron 82 - Robert J. Cosbie Ensign U. S. Navy pages 1-4
Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
Do you have photos or additional information to add?
February 18, 2020
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