View Full Version : USS Makin Island (CVE-93) in the Pacific

09-14-2006, 08:35 PM
I am in the process of documenting the experiences of a family friend that flew Wildcats (VC-84) off of the USS Makin Island (CVE-93) during the battles at Luzon, Leyte, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. His primary role was close air support for the troops on the ground during these battles.

I would appreciate any information or stories regarding the ship, aircraft, or battles in general; but specifically recollections from other pilots about the missions or from ground troops about the air support. Ideally, I would like to have audio recordings of statements from the men on the ground to put on a DVD for our friend. I can only imagine how much it might mean to him to hear from those that were thankful for his efforts.

My main purpose in this project is to help my children learn and understand the sacrifice that the fighting men of World War 2 made for our nation.

09-21-2006, 02:14 PM

This is in response to your request for information about the USS Makin Island, CVE-93. First, let me put things in perspective:

Prior to, and following, the invasions of Iwo Jima and Okinawa Task Force 52 -- Amphibious Support Force -- was commanded by Admiral William Blandy aboard his command ship USS Estes. Task Force 52 arrived at Iwo Jima three days before D-Day (February 16, 1945) and arrived at Okinawa eight days before D-Day (March 24, 1945) for the purpose of softening up the islands and preparing for the upcoming amphibious landings.

One of the eight commands under Admiral Blandy was an escort aircraft carrier group under the command of Rear Admiral Calvin Durgin (Task Group 52.1) aboard his flagship USS Makin Island. Just for the record I was an NCO staff member of Blandy's Task Group 52.10 Air Support Control Unit that directed aircraft and pilots from the carriers from aboard Blandy's command ship and, after the invasion, from the ground.

Task Force 52 at Iwo Jima included 1 comand ship, 6 battleships, 5 cruisers, 11 escort carriers, a number of destroyers, minesweepers and other small gunboats -- plus an underwater demolition group.

Task Force 52 at Okinawa included 1 command ship, 10 battleships, 8 heavy cruisers, 3 light cruisers, minesweepers, underwater demolition teams and small gunboats.

Prior to each of the two compaigns Makin Island would have joined the gathering fleet at Ulithi Atoll in the Caroline Islands. Pilots and ship's officers would have gone ashore on Mog Mog Island for a few beers, relaxation, and maybe a pick-up softball game.

During the pre-invasion periods (both campaigns) Makin Island and the other carriers would have provided cover for Task Force 52, would have flown combat air patrol and anti-submarine patrol and possibly some photographic flights. Their main asignments, however, would have been bombing, strafing, napalming specific targets on the ground. Following D-Day carrier aircraft would have mostly performed either general air suport or close air support for the combat troops. When a flight of aircraft took off from the Makin Island it would come under the direction of an Air Support Control Unit aboard the command ship. The flight leader would be instructed to proceed to an orbit point (usually a prominent landmark) to circle and await a specific target assignment.

When their services were needed they would be contacted by Air Support and given a specific target assignment. If the target was close to the front lines they would be turned over to a flight coordinator aloft. The flight coordinator and the flight leader would then work with an ALP (Air Liaison Party) on the ground to locate and identify the target to be bombed, strafed or napalmed.. The ALP group could usualy see both the target and the coordinator leading the flight in and it was their job to put the two together. This was accomplished through the use of topographic maps, voice communication and "dummy" runs.

There were seven escort carriers (CVE's) like the Makin Island damaged at Okinawa, plus six of the big carriers (CV's), I had three occasions to be transported aboard escort carriers during and following the war: (1) When I went overseas from San Diego to Hawaii, (2) From Leyte in the Philippines back to Pearl Harbor, and (3) From Hawaii bo San Francisco -- and home.

The last was the best !!!!!

PS: I remember the Wildcat during World War Two as being designated as F4F -- not VC-84

. - . - .

09-21-2006, 02:20 PM

I forgot to include 12 or 15 escort carriers in the Okinawa pre-invasion fleet

. - . - .

07-10-2012, 10:28 AM
dscody, my grandfather flew FM-2 Wildcats in the VC-84 squadron on the Makin Island during WWII. Would love to chat with you some time and share some info.

R Leonard
08-30-2012, 03:22 PM
VC-84’s travels
NAS Seattle ‐ Established, 6 Jan 44
NAAS North Bend, 8 Feb 44
NAS San Diego, 18 May 44
NAAS Holtville, 23 May 44
NAAS Ream, 4 Jul 44
NAS San Diego, 18 Jul 44
NAAS Brown Field (Otay Mesa), 24 Jul 44
NAS San Diego, 17 Oct 44
Hawaii, 24 Oct 44
USS Makin Island, 31 Oct 44
Enrt West Coast, 19 May 45
NAS Seattle, 16 Jun 45
NAAS North Bend, 28 Jul 45
NAAS North Bend ‐ Disestablished, 17 Sep 45

I have an abbreviated, certainly not all inclusive, listing of naval aviators assigned to VC-84 at one time or another:

Earl Richard Attebury, LT
James G Babb, ENS
William H Bartles, LTJG
David K Butler, LTJG
Harold Eugene Chapman, ENS
Eric W Dattwinkel, ENS
Douglas K English, LT (2d CO)
Donald E Glasgow, LT
Horace D Harper, ENS
Bernard Hobson, ENS
Robert Edward Hooks, ENS
Raymond Bernard Howard, LTJG
Johan Detmer Hubbeling Jr, ENS
Howard A Hughes, LTJG
Robert Orion Kent, LT
Milton Raymond King, LTJG
Rex F McDaniel, LTJG
Terrance B McManus, ENS
Duane Cortland Miller, LTJG
Alfred E Monahan, LTJG
Wesley H Richards, ENS
William H Rogers, LCDR (1st CO)
Weston Leon Scott, LTJG
Thomas Sherwood Sedaker, LT
George Shaw-Corthorn, LT
Melvin James Simpson, LTJG
Donald Earl Skewis, LTJG
John Rudolph Stroppel, ENS
Edsel C Varney, LTJG
Thomas A Wall, ENS
Henry Wardenga, ENS
William T Worden, ENS

08-30-2012, 05:19 PM
R Leonard, thanks for posting info on VC-84. My grandfather made your list. Do you have a family connection to the Makin Island or VC-84? Or do you just enjoy history? Where did you get your information from? I notice some of the dates you posted are pretty close but a little off from the orders that my grandfather actually have in his miltary record. Look forward to chatting with you.

R Leonard
08-31-2012, 08:56 AM
I have no particular connection with either USS Makin Island or with VC-84. I have an unfortunate habit of collecting/amassing lists, like where a particular unit was on a particular date or, worse, “the great list of assigned US naval aviators,” 20000 individuals noted and additions almost every day - of course, the problem being is that there were some 70000 plus naval aviators designated between, oh, say, 1935 and 1945. Criteria for inclusion must include name, rank, unit assigned, an identifiable date and any awards, if known. Might have one entry for a single individual or as many as 20 entries for a single individual depending on how busy they were and available tracking information; for example, and only because I have an overabundance of information, I have 26 data entries for my father, a LTJG in Yorktown's VF-42 on 7 Dec 41 through to LCDR on the TF38 ops staff at the end of the war being awarded a LM(V) on 2 Sep 45.

The discrepancies in dates between what I have and what you have on VC-84 locations are probably in the range of 5 to 6 days, with yours probably earlier than mine. The dates I have are based on aircraft location reports and tend to run about a week behind actual events - vagaries of reporting systems. Developing that list (and I did the same for all the VC squadrons) was a combination of idle curiosity and for coordinating info for “the great list.”

Now I know where your interest lies, I’ll keep my eyes open for tidbits.


08-31-2012, 01:15 PM
Rich, thanks for sharing your background. Very cool. Between my grandfather's logbook, his orders, and after making a visit to the Archives II building in College Park, MD, I have gathered a lot of information on the Makin Island and VC-84. I'm able to trace my grandfather's move from his enlistment through his training, his combat, and then his discharge. A lot of those names you posted earlier from VC-84, I have either spoken with them or with their families. I look forward to chatting with you in the future. Keep in touch.


10-26-2012, 06:46 PM
Great threa and hi to Rich!
I don't really know anything about VC-84 but have always been intertest in Tom Sedaker.
Has a CDR he served with my step-dad in the early 60s. He was XO of the Bonnie **** CV-31
and my step-dad was the Air Wing 19 flight surgeon. He was a true ivory ace with 4.83 kills.
I've searched for intell on him for years but have come up with nothing.

10-26-2012, 06:48 PM
Evidently D*ck is considered verboten by the swear filter so I will change that to USS Bon Homme Richard.............deep sigh!

10-26-2012, 10:42 PM
Fugari, I don't know a lot about Tom Sedaker. But he was known as the leader of "Sedaker's Circus", which was FIGHTER DIVISION TWO in VC-84.

I tried to locate him recently, but with no luck. I assume he has passed. I have located a lot of the men from VC-84 over the last 12 years or so. But Sedaker is one I could never locate.

10-26-2012, 10:43 PM
Also, here is a picture of him I found on the internet. You may have already seen it. http://www.navsource.org/archives/03/0309326.jpg

In the picture you see he made the 2000 catapult in early March 1945. My grandfather made the 4000 landing on the Makin Island in April 1945.

10-27-2012, 04:51 AM
Evidently D*ck is considered verboten by the swear filter so I will change that to USS Bon Homme Richard.............deep sigh!

Prudish Yankee software, lol...

10-28-2012, 12:48 AM
5 to post and picture........................................... ....................................

10-28-2012, 12:48 AM
LT Tom Sedaker and his division

10-28-2012, 03:07 AM
Thread moved out of the archives into its original forum.

10-28-2012, 02:09 PM
Fugari, great picture. Where did you find this? I have a copy of "The Chronicle of VC-84" cruise book and this picture is not in it. Do you have anymore pictures of VC-84? Would love to see them.

Weston Scott is kneeling in front of Sedaker. The other two look to be Robert Hooks standing and Melvin Simpson kneeling. Hooks and Simpson is hard for me to indentify because my picture of those two in my cruise book are fuzzy. But that appears to be the original 4 of Fighter Division Two. One of the pilots from VC-84 explain to me a year or so ago that each divsion had 4 pilots at the start. Then later they added 2 extra pilots to each division which made it 6 FM-2 pilots to each division. Fighter Division Two picked up John Stroppel and J.D. Hubbeling Jr sometime later in the cruise.

Weston Scott got shot down and killed March 27, 1945 in support of the Okinawa campaign. Sedaker, Scott, Hooks and Hubbeling were chasing a Val when Scott is believed to been hit by friendly AA from other vessels. Scott is believed to have gotten out of his FM-2 but is parachute never or just partially opened. The Val was shot down and credit was given to Sedaker. The ACR seems to think all 4 of the aircraft got hits on the Val but Sedaker finished the job.

R Leonard
10-28-2012, 08:16 PM
Okay, now I have a connection . . . two, in fact . . .

Like Sedaker, my father was also XO of BHR, this when she came out of the conversion. Somewhere around here there's a big chunk of wood with a brass plaque celebrating my father being the first to land aboard and first to launch from BHR's nice new angled flight deck.

Later, when my father was CO of USS Ranger (1961-1962) the assigned air wing was CVW-19. So, connections, one BHR, two CVW-19. Taaa Daaaa.

10-29-2012, 01:34 AM
Yes Sedaker was XO for the great George Bullard and Jimmie Johnson was Marshall Beebe's XO when my step-dad was onboard. 1958-62ish
This is the only photo I have found by chance in the NA.

10-29-2012, 09:36 AM
According to Neil Armstrong's authorized biography "First Man" written by James R. Hansen, Marshall Beebe was Neil Armstrong's Air Group Commander on the USS Essex during the Korea War.

R Leonard
10-29-2012, 08:22 PM
George Bullard was a long-time family friend; he and my father were classmates at USNA, class of 1938. George was captured by the Japanese after being shot down and spent two years as a POW. Shortly after the war was over, my father was stationed at NAS Patuxent. One afternoon he calls home and tells my mother that he’s bringing an old friend home for dinner, but doesn’t say who. So, good navy wife, she whips up something nice and on schedule in walks my father with tall, but very, very skinny, George Bullard. She’s horrified . . . dinner is chicken and RICE! Forever after, George was happy to visit as long as my mother promised nothing with rice in it. George and my father were promoted to Rear Admiral at about the same time in 1966, being, literally, a couple of numbers different in lineage. Unfortunately, while on leave shortly thereafter, George Bullard was felled by a heart attack. My father always said that George never really fully recovered from a couple of years as a guest of the Japanese and that his death was the result of the long term effect.

Marshall Beebe, indeed, commanded Air Group 5 on USS Essex during the Korean War, reporting as CAG July 1950. For his performance as CAG5 he was awarded the Legion of Merit with Combat “V”, the Distinguished Flying Cross (his 4th DFC award) and two Air Medals (his 10th and 11th AM awards). He commanded USS Pyro from September 1959 to November 1960 and then took command of USS Bon Homme Richard in December 1960. In January 1962 he became Chief of Staff to ComCarDivThree from which he retired in March 1963. Captain Beebe’s awards included the Navy Cross, Legion of Merit with Combat "V," Distinguished Flying Cross with three Gold Stars; the Air Medal with ten Gold Stars, Purple Heart Medal, the Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon and the Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon. His service and campaign medals included the American Defense Service Medal; American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; World War II Victory Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Korean Service Medal; and the United Nations Service Medal.

10-30-2012, 01:24 AM
My step-dad said that Beebe and Bullard were outstanding in every respect. That's high praise from Don who retired a Capt.
I'll post some shots from the BHR cruise book tomorrow.

10-31-2012, 11:30 PM
A little searching has turned up that Sedaker retired has a Capt and passed away in Pensacola in 1994.