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  TBM-1C Avenger Bureau Number 45782 Nose 353
USN
USS Essex CV-9
CAG-15
VT-15

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USN Nov 5, 1944

Pilot  Lt. Robert Cosgrove (survived)
Radio  ARM1c Donald Legoia “Digby” Denzek (survived) Grand Rapids, MI
Gunner  AMM2c Loyce E. Deen, 6712310 USNR (KIA, MIA / KIA) OK

Jettisoned  November 5, 1944


Aircraft History
Built by General Motors, Eastern Aircraft Division. Delivered to the United States Navy (USN) as TBM-1C Avenger bureau number 45782.

Wartime History
Assigned to USS Essex CV-9 to Carrier Air Group 15 (CAG-15) to squadron VT-15. No known nose art or nickname. Nose number 353. Tail number 93 with a horizontal white stripe at the tip of the tail.

Mission History
On November 5, 1944 took off from USS Essex CV-9 at 1:00pm piloted by Lt. Robert Cosgrove armed with a mark 13, mod 6 aerial torpedo. One of six Avengers participating in strike #4A leading the torpedo bomber strike against Japanese vessels in Manila Bay.

Flying at an altitude of 10,000', the formation included eight F6F Hellcats from VF-15 plus seven SB2C dive bombers from VB-15. Also participating were VF-19, VB-19 and VT-19 from USS Ticonderoga CV-14.The weather was .3 overcast at 4,000-5,000'.

Approaching the target area from the northeast, the Avengers broke off from the formation to circle Manila Bay that was crowded with transports and warships before making torpedo attacks from west to east. This Avenger made a torpedo run from 800' releasing 3,000 yards off the starboard beam of an unidentified light cruiser off Cavite.

Just as the torpedo was release, this Avenger was hit by medium anti-aircraft fire in the rear gunners position and fuselage. Aboard gunner AMM2c Loyce E. Deen was fatally wounded and died at his position. Damaged, Lt. Cosgrove did not observe the wake of his torpedo nor an explosion before withdrawing to the west.

After sucessfully landing at 4:43pm Deen's body was trapped inside due to the damage and was unable to be removed. His fingerprints were taken and dog tags removed and a shroud placed over the turret. With the wings folded, this Avenger was towed to the stern of the carrier for a memorial service by the chaplin on the wing of the plane. Many crew members looked on including Captain Carlos W. Wieber, Commanding Officer (C. O.) of USS Essex. At the conclusion of the ceremony, men pushed this Avenger off the stern where the aircraft floated briefly before sinking.

Memorials
Deen was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, Purple Heart, posthumously. He is memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing. He also has a memorual marker at Altus Cemetery in Altus, OK in the revised 3rd addition, section G, lot 11B.

Denzek died on November 2, 1975. He is buried at Garfield Park Cemetery in Grand Rapids, MI at section F, Lot south-47 grave 8A.

References
Navy Serial Number Search Results - TBM-1C Avenger 45782
NARA CAC-15 Aircraft Action Report - Strike 4 November 5, 1944 pages 34-38
(Page 35) "TBM-1C VT-15 cause: medium AA where hit: turret & fuselage extent of loss or damage: jettisoned on return; bu no. 45782"
(Page 38) "Lt. Cosgrove, who made his run on the CL, dropped from 800' at 380 knots, 3000 yards away on the starboard beam Due to his plane's having been hit by AA and his gunner killed he did not see his wake nor an explosion. Hower, as all pilots pointed out, if the torpedo missed, it would have a good chance of hitting another ship, so crowded was the anchorage."
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Loyce E. Deen
FindAGrave - AMM2 Loyce Edward Deen (photo, tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Loyce Edward Deen (photo, memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - Loyce Edward Deen (photo)
FindAGrave - Donald Legoia “Digby” Denzek (photos)
YouTube - Loyce Deen Tribute
In memory of Loyce Edward Deen USNR WW II (1921 - 1944)

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018

 

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