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Commander Philip Huston Torrey, Jr.
F6F Hellcat pilot shot down February 16, 1945 near Narita

Click For EnlargementPhilip Huston Torrey, Jr. was born April 25, 1913 in California. Nicknamed "Tarzan". He attended the U. S. Naval Academy (USNA) and class of 1934. Afterwards, he was commissioned into the U. S. Navy (USN) as an Ensign.

Wartime History
During the summer of 1943, Torrey became the Commanding Officer (C.O.) of Fighting Squadron 9 (VF-9) operating from USS Essex (CV-9). During late August 1943 he flew a training raid against Marcus Island and attacked Wake Island on October 5-6, 1943 and the Marshall Islands in December 1943. In March 1944, transferred to Carrier Air Group 9 (CAG-9) operating aboard USS Lexington CV-16 until his death on February 19, 1945.

Mission History
Click For EnlargementOn February 16, 1945 took of from USS Lexington CV-16 piloting F6F Hellcat 71445 on he 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).

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.

Torrey earned the Navy Cross, Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) four times and the Purple Heart, posthumously.

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)."

Pacific Wrecks - F6F 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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