Atwell, Melvin Kennith, LT Fallen
 
 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Lieutenant
Last Primary Designator/NEC
131X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Pilot heavier than air or lighter than air
Last Rating/NEC Group
Officer
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 

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Home State
Virginia
Virginia
Year of Birth
1909
 
Casualty Info
Home Town
Norfolk
Last Address
Not Specified

Casualty Date
Mar 05, 1943
 
Cause
Non Hostile- Died while Missing
Reason
Air Loss, Crash - Sea
Location
Pacific
Conflict
Wars and Conflicts/World War II*/Lost at Sea
Location of Interment
Buried at Sea, Pacific
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

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Order of the Golden Dragon

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Conflict  :   Campaigns, Battles and Exercises
Start Year
1700
End Year
2100
Description
Node
   
Conflict  :   Wars and Conflicts
Start Year
1700
End Year
2099
Description
Conflict
   
Conflict  :   World War II*
Start Year
1939
End Year
1945
Description
World War 2
   
Battle  :   Battles
Start Year
1939
End Year
1945
Description
All battles associated with World War II.
   
Battle  :   Battle of Santa Cruz Island
Start Year
1942
End Year
1942
Description
Battle of Santa Cruz Island
   
Participation
From Year
1942
To Year
1942
 
Personal Recollections

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.


Last Updated:
Jun 12, 2008
   

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