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  TBM-3 Avenger Bureau Number 23637  
USN
USS Randolph CV-15
VT-12

Pilot  Ensign Floyd Ewing Hall (POW, executed 3-9-45, BR)
Gunner  AOM2c Glenn J. Frazier, Jr. USNR (POW, executed 2-24-45, BR) Athol, KS
Radio  ARM3c Marve "Marvie" William Mershon, USNR (POW, executed 2-24-45, BR)
Crashed  February 18, 1945


Aircraft History
Built by General Motors, Eastern Aircraft Division as a model G-40. Delivered to the U. S. Navy (USN) as TBM-3 Avenger bureau number 23637.

Wartime History
Assigned to the USS Randolph CV-15 to Torpedo Squadron 12 (VT-12). No known nickname or nose art.

Mission History
On February 18, 1945 took off from USS Randolph CV-15 on mission against targets at Chi Chi Jima. Over the target, hit by anti-aircraft fire and crashed. The entire crew survived.

Fates of the Crew
All three crew members were captured by the Japanese Army and became Prisoners Of War (POW). All three were executed two on February 24, 1945 and one on March 9, 1945.

Frazier managed to evade capture for five days before surrendering to the Japanese Army. On February 24, 1945 after his interrogation, he was beaten to death by Japanese Army Captain Noburu Nakajima with a club. His body was placed into an unmarked grave.

Mershon was ordered to die by Japanese Army Major Sueo Matoba, Commanding Officer (C. O.) of the 308th Infantry Battalion. On February 24, 1945 he was taken to a cemetery and beheaded by Lt. Hironobu Morishita. Parts of his body were removed and later eaten by high ranking Japanese officers as part of Bushido warrior indoctrination. The rest of his remains were buried in a grave.

Hall was also ordered to die by Major Matoba. He was executed on March 9, 1945. Parts of his body were removed and later eaten by high ranking Japanese officers as part of a Bushido warrior indoctrination ceremony. His remains were buried a grave.

War Crimes Trial
Postwar, Major Sueo Matoba and Lt. Hironobu Morishita became Prisoners Of War (POW). During 1947, both went on trial as a war criminal on Guam for war crimes including the murder of this crew and were found guilty. Matoba was hanged and buried in unmarked grave on the island. Morishita was sentenced to several years in prison.

Recovery of Remains
Postwar, the remains of all three were recovered by American forces and transported to the United States for final burial.

Memorials
Administratively, the crew was officially declared dead on February 19, 1946. Hall, Frazier and Mershon were permanently buried at Santa Fe National Cemetery in Santa Fe, NM at section N, grave 275. The grave incorrectly notes the date of death as February 19, 1946.

References
Navy Serial Number Search Results - TBM-3 Avenger 23637
USN Overseas Aircraft Loss List February 1945 - TBM-3 Avenger 23637
FIndAGrave - Floyd Ewing Hall (photos, grave photo)
FindAGrave - Marvelle William Mershon (photos, grave photo)
FindAGrave - Glenn Frazier (photos, grave photo)
Flyboys (2004) includes the story of this aircraft and crew

Contribute Information
Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
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Last Updated
February 18, 2020

 

Tech Info
Avenger

POW
POW
3 Prisoners
3 Executed

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