Atwell, Melvin Kennith, LT Fallen
 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Last Primary Designator/NEC
131X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Pilot heavier than air or lighter than air
Last Rating/NEC Group
Last Duty Station
1941-1943, 131X, VP-91 Black Cats
Service Years
1938 - 1943
Unofficial US Navy Certificates
Order of the Golden Dragon
Lieutenant Lieutenant

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

34 kb

Home State
Year of Birth
Casualty Info
Home Town
Last Address
Not Specified

Casualty Date
Mar 05, 1943
Non Hostile- Died while Missing
Air Loss, Crash - Sea
Not Specified
Location of Interment
Buried at Sea, Pacific Ocean
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

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Order of the Golden Dragon

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Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Battle of Santa Cruz Island
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Battle of Santa Cruz Island
My Participation in This Battle or Operation
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To Year
Last Updated:
Jun 12, 2008
Personal Memories

Lieutenant Atwell, contacted a suspicious object about 30 miles distance. He closed to a point where the dark outline of a large ship could be seen moving in an easterly direction at a high speed. Shortly after contact the ship moved under a 1,500 foot overcast and stopped. Lieutenant Atwell circled over the ship twice at low altitude in an unsuccessful attempt to identify it. He then climbed back to 1,500 feet and at 0150 when about two miles from the ship the plane was fired upon by two bursts of 20-mm. followed by a 5" AA projectile which burst under its starboard wing. Lieutenant Atwell decided upon a dive bombing attack and attacked immediately from about 1,400 feet as the ship opened up with heavy anti-aircraft fire and commenced to gain headway. The Co-Pilot, Lieutenant Mather, dropped the two starboard 500-pound contact bombs at about 650 feet altitude. These bombs landed about 75 feet on the target's starboard quarters. The Pilot released the two port bombs of the same type at about 600 feet altitude while still in a dive. Both bombs were seen to explode abaft the first stack of the target which was illuminated by the explosion and identified as a Japanese heavy cruiser of the AOBA class. All anti-aircraft fire ceased after the last two bombs hit. The plane suffered numerous but not serious hits from shrapnel and the concussion from the bombs exploding blew out radio tubes and lights. Recovery from the dive was affected at about 20 feet above the sea. No personnel were injured. The pilot suspected gasoline leaks and immediately headed for his base. About 20 minutes later a large orange flash was seen in the vicinity of his former target. About ten minutes later a larger and more prolonged orange flash was seen in the same position. The plane and crew returned safely.

My Photos From This Battle or Operation
No Available Photos

  49 Also There at This Battle:
  • Siebler, Jerome, S1c, 1942
  • Vejtasa, Stanley Winfield, CAPT, 1970
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