Daily Event for January 25, 2012

Even if there is no enemy action aircraft operations on carriers is a dangerous business for pilots and ship's crews. There are many examples of casualties caused during take-off and landing operations and such was the case on January 25, 1944 aboard USS Sangamon CVE-26. The carrier was en route from Pearl Harbor to Kwajalein to support the U.S. invasion of the Marshall Islands and was conducting normal aircraft patrols. At 1651 hrs. a SBD Dauntless (10855) of VC-37 attempted a landing and missed the hook. The aircraft went through the crash barriers and the external fuel tank broke loose and skidded across the deck into a group of aircraft on deck. The tank exploded and sprayed burning fuel across the forward part of the flight deck and set several of the planes afire.

The fires were contained in less than ten minutes, but seven crewmen lay dead on the deck, seven others were badly injured, one of which would not survive and fifteen men had jumped overboard to avoid the flames. Two of those who went overboard were never seen again. The crew made the necessary repairs to keep her in fighting order and she was on station to support the landings at Kwajalein and days later at Eniwetok before returning to Pearl for permanant repairs.

© 2012 Michael W. Pocock

Two SBD Dauntless' of VC-37 from USS Sangamon CVE-26 in flight.

Roll of Honor
In memory of those who lost their lives in
USS Sangamon CVE-26
January 25, 1944
"As long as we embrace them in our memory, their spirit will always be with us"

Allyn, Hyrum L.
Seaman 1st Class (USNR)
Backus, Joseph B.
Aviation Machinist's Mate 2nd Class (USNR)
Balcerak, Harry F.
Aviation Machinist's Mate 3rd Class (USNR)
Brashear, James G.
Aviation Metalsmith 1st Class (USNR)
Donnelly, Jr., Robert E.
Lieutenant (j,g.) (USNR)
Harms, Frederick M.
Aviation Chief Machinist's Mate (USN)
Kurland, Joseph B.
Aviation Radioman 2nd Class (USNR)
Scrafford, Jr., Bert
Aviation Machinist's Mate 2nd Class (USNR)
Sheppard, Curtis E.
Aviation Chief Machinist's Mate (USN)
Wick, Harvey C.
Aviation Machinist's Mate 2nd Class (USN)

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