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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORY AND HERITAGE COMMAND

Photo # 80-G-312064: Survivors of USS Hammann are brought ashore at Pearl Harbor from USS Benham, June 1942.

Online Library of Selected Images:
-- EVENTS -- World War II in the Pacific -- Battle of Midway --

Actions and Activities after 4 June 1942 --
Battle of Midway Survivors

As the Japanese fleet withdrew following the 4 June carrier battle, PBYs from Midway began searching for the dozens of downed U.S. aviators. Ensign George Gay, a Torpedo Squadron Eight pilot from USS Hornet and the only man to survive his group's heroic attack on the Japanese carriers, was rescued on 5 June, after spending a day and night floating, and hiding, near burning Japanese ships. The enemy picked up another three American fliers, and killed them all after interrogation.

During the succeeding days, other pilots and aircrewmen were rescued by patrol planes and U.S. warships, as were the survivors of USS Yorktown, USS Hammann and of two sunken Japanese ships, the carrier Hiryu and cruiser Mikuma. On 21 June, seventeen days after ditching their plane, a TBD crew was recovered some 360 miles from Midway, the last of the battle's survivors to be rescued at sea.

Other aviators, perhaps not rescued at sea but survivors all the same, were evacuated to Hawaii. Among them were the remaining Marine Fighting Squadron 221 pilots who had so valiantly defended Midway against overwhelming odds and the Midway airmen who had attacked the Japanese fleet on 4 June. Some of the survivors were in good condition and quickly returned to duty. Others, injured in many of the ways offered by modern war, spent months and years in hospitals, personally enduring the tragic aspects of a great triumph.

This page presents photographs of Battle of Midway survivors at Pearl Harbor soon after rescue, and in other locations during the following months.

For further coverage on Battle of Midway survivors, see:

  • Survivors of USS Yorktown Return to Pearl Harbor; and
  • Rescue of Japanese Survivors of Hiryu and Mikuma.

    For links to additional coverage of later Battle of Midway events, see:

  • Actions and Activities after 4 June 1942.

    For links to views of other aspects of the Battle of Midway, see:

  • Battle of Midway, Overview and Special Image Selection.


    If you want higher resolution reproductions than the Online Library's digital images, see: "How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions."

    Click on the small photograph to prompt a larger view of the same image.

    Photo #: 80-G-17678

    Battle of Midway, June 1942


    Ensign George H. Gay at Pearl Harbor Naval Hospital, with a nurse and a copy of the "Honolulu Star-Bulletin" newspaper featuring accounts of the battle. He was the only survivor of the 4 June 1942 Torpedo Squadron Eight (VT-8) TBD torpedo plane attack on the Japanese carrier force.
    Gay's book "Sole Survivor" indicates that the date of this photograph is probably 7 June 1942, following an operation to repair his injured left hand and a meeting with Admiral Chester W. Nimitz.

    Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the U.S. National Archives.

    Online Image: 86KB; 580 x 765 pixels

    Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.

     
    Photo #: 80-G-312064

    Battle of Midway, June 1942


    Survivors of USS Hammann (DD-412) are brought ashore at Pearl Harbor from USS Benham (DD-397), a few days after their ship was sunk on 6 June 1942.
    Note Navy ambulance in left foreground, many onlookers, depth charge racks on Benham's stern and open sights on her after 5"/38 gun mount.

    Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the U.S. National Archives.

    Online Image: 131KB; 740 x 545 pixels

    Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.

     
    Photo #: 80-G-357083

    Marine Aviator Survivors of the Battle of Midway


    Standing in front of a VMJ-252 R4D-1 (Bureau # 3143) at Ewa Mooring Mast Field, Oahu, 22 June 1942. All but one are members of Marine Fighting Squadron 221 (VMF-221). They are identified in Photo # 80-G-357083 (Complete caption).

    Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

    Online Image: 91KB; 740 x 615 pixels

    Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.

     
    Photo #: 80-G-357094

    Marine Fighting Squadron 221 (VMF-221) Pilots


    Posed in front of a camouflaged building at Ewa Mooring Mast Field, Oahu, 14 July 1942. Most are survivors of Battle of Midway air action. They are identified in Photo # 80-G-357094 (Complete caption).

    Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

    Online Image: 92KB; 740 x 535 pixels

    Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.

     
    Photo #: 80-G-23357

    Aviation Radioman 3rd Class Douglas M. Cossitt
    (right) and
    Aviation Radioman 1st Class W.A. Miller

    At Naval Air Station, Alameda, California, 4 September 1942.
    ARM3c Cossitt, then assigned to Torpedo Squadron Six from USS Enterprise (CV-6), spent seventeen days in a liferaft after his TBD-1 torpedo plane ditched on 4 June 1942. The plane's pilot was Machinist Albert W. Winchell. Recovered by a Patrol Squadron 24 PBY on 21 June, some 360 miles northward of Midway, they were the last of the downed Battle of Midway aviators to be rescued.
    ARM1c Miller was a survivor of the Battle of Coral Sea.

    Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the U.S. National Archives.

    Online Image: 55KB; 740 x 565 pixels

    Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.

     
    Photo #: NH 46850

    President Franklin D. Roosevelt


    Shakes hands with a Navy Chief Petty Officer, during a visit to the San Diego Naval Hospital in 1942.
    Men in wheelchairs (background) are recovering from injuries received during the Battles of Coral Sea and Midway, in May and June 1942.

    U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

    Online Image: 85KB; 740 x 620 pixels

     


    For further coverage on Battle of Midway survivors, see:

  • Survivors of USS Yorktown Return to Pearl Harbor; and
  • Rescue of Japanese Survivors of Hiryu and Mikuma.

    For links to additional coverage of later Battle of Midway events, see:

  • Actions and Activities after 4 June 1942.

    For links to views of other aspects of the Battle of Midway, see:

  • Battle of Midway, Overview and Special Image Selection.


    NOTES:

  • To the best of our knowledge, the pictures referenced here are all in the Public Domain, and can therefore be freely downloaded and used for any purpose.

  • Some images linked from this page may bear obsolete credit lines citing the organization name: "Naval Historical Center". Effective 1 December 2008 the name should be cited as: "Naval History and Heritage Command".


    If you want higher resolution reproductions than the Online Library's digital images, see: "How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions."


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    Page made 17 April 1999
    Coding updated 27 April 2009