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  TBM-3 Avenger Bureau Number 22904  
USN
USS Bennington CV-20
VT-82

Pilot  Ensign Robert "Bob" T. King (survived)
Gunner
 AOM3c Grady Alvan York, Jr., 5568232 USN (POW, executed 2-23-45) Jacksonville, FL
Radio  ARM3c James "Jim" W. Dye, Jr. (POW, executed 2-25-45) Mount Ephraim, NJ

Crashed  February 18, 1945

Aircraft History
Built by General Motors, Eastern Aircraft Division as model G-40. Constructors Number 47. Delivered to the United States Navy (USN). Assigned to the USS Bennington (CV-20) to squadron VT-82. No known nickname or nose art.

Mission History
On February 18, 1945 took off from USS Bennington (CV-2)0 on a dive bombing mission against Chi Chi Jima. Over the target, this Avenger hit by anti-aircraft fire loosing most of the left wing. Fearing the plane would crash, pilot King ordered the crew members York and Dye to bail out wile he attempted to maintain control of the aircraft. King managed to fly the damaged aircraft back to the carrier and successfully landed.

Fates of the Crew
York and Dye successfully bailed out over the target. Both were captured by the Japanese and became prisoners of war (POW).

On February 25, 1945 Dye was executed on the orders of Japanese Navy Captain Shizuo Yoshii. His fiancée, Gloria Nields, had given him a white scarf, which he always wore when flying; it became a souvenir of a Japanese lieutenant. Parts of his dead body were removed and served to high ranking officers as part of the spirit warrior indoctrination. During 1947, Captain Yoshii was tried as a war criminal on Guam, found guilty, hanged and buried in an unmarked grave.

Recovery of Remains
Postwar, American occupation forces located and exhumed Dye's remains and transported them back to the United States.

Memorials
York was officially declared dead on February 23, 1945. He is listed as missing in action (MIA) and memorialized at the courts of the missing at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl).

Dye was officially declared dead on February 25, 1945. After his remains were recovered, he was permanently buried at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) at section N, grave 1291.

References
Navy Serial Number Search Results - TBM-3 Avenger 22904
USN Overseas Aircraft Loss List February 1945 - TBM-3 Avenger 22904
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Grady A. York Jr.
FindAGrave - Grady Alvah York (photos)
FindAGrave - James Wesley Dye, Jr (photos, grave photo)
Flyboys tells the story of this crew and aircraft

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Last Updated
January 5, 2018

 

Tech Info
Avenger

POW
POW
2 Prisoners

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