LCDR John C Waldron, and his gunner Horace Dobbs, roll down the deck of USS Hornet in TDB T-16, the "Dakota Warrior", leading Torpedo Eight to their date with destiny.
Waldron was half Oglala Dakota Indian, born in South Dakota, and spent some of his childhood in homesteading in Saskatchewan, Canada. He was 42 in June 1942, old to be flying a torpedo bomber in combat.
The sacrifice of VT-8 is well known, but Waldron's moral courage in breaking from a poorly planned and poorly led strike force, to head southwest in direction of the original contact report, over the objections of the CAG Stanhope Ring and Hornet's capatin Marc Mitscher, is not often recognized. Had he survived, he might well have been court-martialed. But 25 minutes into the flight, Waldron banked the lead TDB to port and his men followed him, on a plumb line into the cauldron of roaring Zeros and fierce flak surrounding the Kido Butai. Remember him, and 29 other heroes of VT-8, tomorrow.
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