Monday, March 21, 2011

Carrier Air Group Nine, March 1944-July 1945

As I have mentioned before, my grandfather was a Naval Aviator in the Pacific during World War II. Recently, my parents found Grandpa's yearbook from back then. The binding is fragile, so I need to be careful handling it. I will slowly work through scanning the whole thing. Here's a start:

I've been lucky enough to tour both the Lexington, in Corpus Christi, Texas, and the Yorktown, at Patriot's Point, South Carolina, both carriers on which Grandpa served.

Tonight, though, I'll stop with the dedication pages:

Commander Philip H. Torrey, Jr.
United States Navy

Commander, Carrier Air Group Nine
December 1943 - February 1944

Killed in First Carrier Raids on Tokyo
16 February 1944

"Outstanding leadership is the quality above all others that inspires fighting spirit. The remarkable records of some air groups reveal and confirm the fact that the Air Group Commanders were outstandingly capable leaders. It has now become axiomatic that the fighting spirit, combat efficiency and success of air groups reflect in almost an exact ratio, the extent to which those qualities are found in their leaders"
-Commander Air Force, Pacific Fleet

Commander Philip H. Torrey, Jr., United States Navy:
The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Philip H. Torrey, Jr., Lieutenant Commander, U.S. Navy, for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Plane and Commander of Air Group NINE (AG-9), embarked from the U.S.S. ESSEX (CV-9), in action on 16 and 17 February 1944, while deployed over Truk in the Caroline Islands. His outstanding courage and determined skill were at all times inspiring and in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Born: April 25, 1913 at Washington, D.C.
Home Town: Long Beach, California


Anonymous said...

Hi, my name is Scott Nelson and I do artwork depicting WW II Aviators ( Right now I am doing a painting honoring Stew Bass of Air Group Nine, USS Yorktown when he put a torpedo into the cruiser Yahagi on April 7, 1945. Have been trying to find how the planes were marked, color scheme and such, in particular the Avengers. I have been looking all over and so far have had no luck. According to one of the veteran pilots, Air Group Nine planes had some sort of white slash on the tail. Is there anyone out there who could help me with this? Thanks in advance, Scott

Miss Ladybug said...


I haven't gone through the whole yearbook yet, but all the photos are black & white. Unfortunately, my grandfather isn't around anymore to ask: he passed away almost 22 years ago. I will try to take a closer look at the book, though, and see what I can find. One suggestion: have you contacted the U.S. Naval Institute in Annapolis?


Really nice. I had a good friend and neighbor who was a gunner in WWII and his book was fascinating.

BillT said...

Hi, Scott. Air Group 9 used the markings of the USS Yorktown -- a diagonal white field on the tail, white triangle on the wings and willow green propeller spinners. Here's a pic of a TBD in CV-10 markings, ca 1943:

In 1945, the aircraft paint scheme would have been a dark blue overall, rather than nonspecular blue upper surfaces with blue-grey undersurface -- there's a good example at the Air & Space Museum in Washington, DC:

There's an excellent reference book out, if you can find a copy -- Wheeler, Barry C. The Hamlyn Guide to Military Aircraft Markings. London: Chancellor press, 1992.

Gonna send Miss L a pic of your finished painting?

Anonymous said...

Much thanks to Miss Lady bug and BillT.
I've got the book on order.
If interested, will pass on an image when the painting is finished.

Miss Ladybug said...

You are welcome! Of course I would be interested in an image of the finished product! I'd love to post it here, with your permission, of course!

xformed said...

A friend of mine showed my a box of his unlce's items, which no one else in the family cared about. His medals included the Broze Star as a Cpl in the 83rd Infantry Div, attached to the 331st RCT as a 37mm anti-tank gunner. They went across Normandy 6/16/44 and earned 5 Battle Stars from there to Occupation. He had books from the 83rd and 331st, both in excellent condition. Many, many many personally taken photos in those books, and maps of their battles and movement across Europe.

xformed said...

oops...6/19/444 for the record.

Romantic Heretic said...

Very cool. I'll be watching this to see the rest. I'm fascinated with the history of the WWII.

Coincidentally I am reading a book on The Battle of Leyte Gulf, in which I believe the Lexington took part.

Waiting to see what else I'll discover. Thanks.

Miss Ladybug said...

Next post is up, gentlemen.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful to see this. My father was William J. Collins, Air Group Nine, Navy Cross for the Yamato. May they look over from the other side and take pride in us.