LCDR BRUCE A. VAN VOORHIS
Greenwich Island, Solomon Islands
6 July 1943
Lcdr Van Voorhis was both Sqdrn Commander and PIC of a PB4Y-I Patrol Bomber during the battle of the Solomon Islands.
Intelligence reports revealed that the enemy were massing for a surprise attack against U.S. ground forces
Fully aware of the chance of survival Lcdr Van Voorhis and his crew volunteered to take the mission, mount a hasty attack on the enemy disrupting their preparations and preventing the surprise Japanese attack against our forces.
Launching in complete and total darkness Van Voorhis and his crew made the 700-mile flight without fighter escort or support of any kind.
Treacherous winds, low visibility and difficult terrain made the flight almost as perilous as the battle they were going to fight.
The PBY4 Crew fought a lone battle under fierce antiaircraft fire and overwhelming fighter opposition, but calmly kept in the fight.
Understanding that he was abandoning all chance of a safe return Van Voorhis executed 6 bold ground-level attacks to demolish the enemy’s vital radio station, installations, antiaircraft guns and crews with bombs and machinegun fire.
His gunners destroyed at least 1 fighter in flight and several attempting to get airborne.
Completing the mission was not negotiable and required extremely low and accurate bombing…
The PB4Y was hit by her own bomb blast and crashed into a lagoon.
Lcdr Van Voorhis and his 10 man crew sacrificed their lives to protect the Ground troops under their charge.
The actual account of the battle is only known because of witness reports from natives on the island and Australian coast watchers in the vicinity.
Post WW2 , the remains of the plane and 10 of the brave men who flew it were recovered and repatriated.
AOM2 Donald B. Clogston – Golden Gate National Cemetery
ARM3 Richard W. Roscoe – Fort Snelling National Cemetery
AMM1 George C. Stephens – National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific
LTJG Jack O. Traub – Arlington National Cemetery.
AMM3 Frederick C. Barker – Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery
ACOM Charles D. Linzmeyer – Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery
AMM2 Charles A. Martinelli – Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery
LTJG Herschel A. Oelhert – Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery
ACRM John Renner – Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery
CDR Bruce A. Van Voorhis – Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery
AOM2 Donald B. Clogston – The eleventh Crewman was never found.