The Battle of Midway
Hornet dive bombers missed contact, but 15 planes comprising her Torpedo Squadron 8 found the enemy and pressed home their attacks. They were met by overwhelming fighter opposition about eight miles from three enemy carriers and followed all the way in to be shot down one by one. Ens. George H. Gay, USNR, the only surviving pilot, reached the surface as his plane sunk. He hid under a rubber seat cushion to avoid strafing and witness the greatest carrier battle in history. Of 41 torpedo planes launched by the American carriers, only six returned. Their sacrifices drew enemy fighters away from dive bombers of Enterprise and Yorktown who sank three Japanese carriers with an assist from submarine USS Nautilus. The fourth Japanese carrier, Hiryu, was sunk the following day.