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  F6F-5 Hellcat Bureau Number 71445  
USAAF
USS Lexington (CV-16)
VF-9

Pilot  Commander Philip Huston Torrey, Jr. "Tarzan" (KIA) CA
Crashed  February 16, 1945

Pilot History
Born April 25, 1913 in California. Nicknamed "Tarzan". Torrey attended the US Naval Academy and graduated in 1934. During the summer of 1943, Torrey became the Commanding Officer (C.O.) of VF-9 operating from USS Essex (CV-9). During late August 1943 he flew a training raid against Marcus Island and attacked Wake Island on October 5-6, 1943 and the Marshall Islands in December 1943. In March 1944, transferred to CAG-9 and operated aboard USS Lexington CV-16 until his death on February 19, 1945. He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) four times, Navy Cross and Purple Heart (posthumously).

Aircraft History
Built by Gumman. Delivered to the U. S. Navy (USN). Assigned to VF-9 aboard the USS Lexington CV-16. No known nickname or nose art.

Mission History
On February 16, 1945 took of from USS Lexington CV-16 on the first carrier aircraft mission over Tokyo. Torrey volunteered to fly the mission. Over the target, this Hellcat was intercepted and shot down by a Japanese fighter and crashed at Habu village near Narita.

Wreckage
This aircraft crashed into a school house, killing Torrey in the crash. After the crash, a villager Masa Oto located Torrey's rosary cross in the wreckage. In 1980, she gave the cross to the pilot's son, Phil Torrey visited Habu village. Afterwards, he gave the cross to his sister, Barbara.

Recovery of Remains
Postwar, Torrey's remains were recovered and transported to the United States for permanent burial.

Memorials
Torrey was officially declared dead the day of the mission. After the recovery of remains, Torrey was buried at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery at section OSA site 14.

Relatives
Phil Torrey (son)
In 1980, son Phil visited Habu village where his father's plane crashed. In 1996, a villager named Masa Oto returned a rosary cross that he had found at the crash site, that he gave to his sister, Barbara Torrey Smith.
Barbara Dillon (daughter)

References
Thanks to Barbara Dillon for additional information.
VF-9 Website [down as of December 2005]
FindAGrave - Philip Huston Torrey, Jr (grave photo)

Contribute Information
Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
Do you have photos or additional information to add?

Last Updated
January 5, 2018

 

Tech Info
F6F

MIA
MIA
1 Missing
Resolved

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