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Aviation Machinist's Mate 1st Class Bruno Gaido

Gaido was an aviation machinist’s mate whose biographical details are difficult to pin down. He achieved fame, however, through his daring feats and ultimate sacrifice in 1942. 

Assigned to USS Enterprise (CV-6), he single-handedly shot down a Japanese aircraft, the pilot of which was attempting to crash on Enterprise’s flight deck, on 1 February 1942. For his initiative and bravery, Vice Admiral William F. Halsey promoted Gaido on the spot. 

At the Battle of Midway four months later, Gaido, flying as the rear-seat gunner for Enterprise’s Scouting Squadron 6, contributed to the successful attacks on the Japanese carriers Kaga and Akagi. During that action, however, Gaido’s aircraft stayed in the air too long, and fuel was running out. Seeing that the tanks were nearly empty, the pilot, Ensign Frank O’Flaherty, had to ditch the aircraft in the ocean. He and Gaido survived the impact but found themselves taken prisoner by crewmembers of a nearby Japanese destroyer, Makigumo. Once on board, Gaido and O’Flaherty were likely interrogated under torture and then, several days later, thrown overboard. Because Makigumo was subsequently sunk, records on the particulars of Gaido’s ordeal and death do not survive. 

Gaido received the Distinguished Flying Cross posthumously. His name is engraved on a monument at the Courts of the Missing, part of the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, located in Honolulu, Hawaii.  

Published: Mon Oct 21 14:43:50 EDT 2019