|Pilot Lt(jg) John Taurman, O-106380 USNR (MIA / KIA) Cincinnati, OH
Radio ARM3c John D. Hayes, 3213090 (MIA / KIA) IA
Gunner AM1c Conrad H. Lawrence, 2684369 (MIA / KIA) FL
Ditched August 24, 1942
Built by Grumman. Assigned to the United States Navy (USN) to the USS Saratoga (CV-3) to squadron VT-8. No known nickname, nose art or squadron number.
On August 24, 1942 one of five Avengers led by Swede Larsen that took off from USS Saratoga (CV-3) at 4:38pm piloted by Lt(jg) John Taurman during the Battle of the Eastern Solomons. In the rush to takeoff, Taurman took off piloting this plane flying with Larsen's regular crew.
Approaching Japanese cruisers at 5:25pm, A6M2 Zeros attempted to intercept but the formation escaped into clouds. After the attack, this Avenger became seporated. Low on fuel, Taurman ditched into a calm bay on the northern coast of San Cristobal Island (Makira). Also lost is TBF Avenger piloted by Fayle (rescued).
Fates of the Crew
The entire crew survived the ditching unhurt. Assited by natives, they were taken to the home of plantation manager Foster, who entertained them for several days.
The crew were rescued by a US Navy PBY Catalina piloted by Lt(jg) H. Reese from VP-11 and were returned to USS Saratoga on August 28, 1942.
The crew was officially declared dead on December 4, 1945. All are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.
A Dawn Like Thunder pages 265, 267, 270-271, 279-281, 524
The First Team and the Guadalcanal Campaign page 154
Thanks to Jim Sawruk for details on PBY Catalina rescue
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January 5, 2018