Chaffee, Davis Elliott, ENS

 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Last Primary NEC
131X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Pilot
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1941-1942, 131X, USS Yorktown (CV-5)
Service Years
1941 - 1942

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Tommy Burgdorf (Birddog), FC2 to remember Chaffee, Davis Elliott, ENS.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Heartland Township, OH
Last Address
915 2nd St
Sandusky, OH
(father-Wallace E Chaffee)

Casualty Date
May 07, 1942
Hostile, Died while Missing
Air Loss, Crash - Sea
Pacific Ocean
World War II
Location of Interment
Manila American Cemetery - Taguig City, Philippines
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Tablets of the Missing (Cenotaph)

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
World War II FallenUnited States Navy Memorial The National Gold Star Family RegistryWW II Memorial National Registry
  2016, World War II Fallen
  2016, United States Navy Memorial - Assoc. Page
  2016, The National Gold Star Family Registry
  2016, WW II Memorial National Registry

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar
Naval Aviator Wings

 Duty Stations
VB-5USS Yorktown (CV-5)
  1941-1942, 131X, VB-5
  1941-1942, 131X, USS Yorktown (CV-5)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1942-1942 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater
  1942-1942 Central Pacific Campaign (1941-43)/Battle of the Coral Sea
 Colleges Attended 
Baldwin-Wallace College
  1933-1938, Baldwin-Wallace College
 Other News, Events and Photographs
  Jan 04, 1941, Service entry date and Enlisted Serial Number
  Apr 30, 1941, Officer Serial Number
  Apr 30, 1941, Selected as Aviation Cadet
  Feb 28, 2016, General Photos1
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Davis Elliott Chaffee: (1915-1942)  Born in Hartland Township, Ohio and enlisted in the Navy, January 1941.  He was appointed Ensign September 1941, and naval aviator October 1941.  While serving with Bomber Squadron 5 (VB5) based on the Yorktown (CV5), he was killed in action during the Battle of the Coral Sea May 8, 1942, 600 miles northeast of Australia (16.267ºS 162.333ºE).  This was the first major sea battle between Japanese and United States naval forces in WWII.  It was also the first battle in history where two naval forces fought using only aircraft and without opposing ships ever seeing each other.  Davis was flying a TBD Devastator Torpedo Bomber which required a crew of three and launched one Mk-XIII torpedo.  The Douglas TBD Devastator torpedo-bomber was the first low-wing, all metal monoplane to see service with the US Navy. Davis participated in the air-sea battles on May 7th and 8th.  At 11:50 on May 7th, the Japanese light carrier Shoho was attacked and sunk by 22 TBD Devastator torpedo bombers, 18 F4F Wildcat fighters and 53 SBD Dauntless scout bombers from the Lexington and the Yorktown.  The Shoho was sunk by thirteen bombs and seven torpedoes.  This was the first loss of a significant ship by the Imperial Navy in WWII.  At 10:58 on May 8th, 39 planes from the Yorktown and later 21 planes from the Lexington severely damaged the flight deck, fuel storage tanks and engine repair shop of the Japanese carrier Shokaku.  The Yorktown scored two bomb hits and the Lexington, one.  The airplanes of Lieutenant John J. (Jo Jo) Powers and Ensign Davis E. Chaffee were the only ones that did not return from the attack on the Shokaku.  At 20:00 on May 8th, the Lexington was scuttled by the US destroyer Phelps after being attacked by 69 planes from the Shokaku and Zuikaku.  The Yorktown was badly damaged during Battle of Midway in June 1942 and two days later was sunk by a Japanese submarine.  Davis was posthumously awarded a Navy Cross for his courage in participating in attacks on the Japanese carriers (source: DANFS, Vol. 2, 1963, reprint 1969, page 65).  Two years after Davis' death, the Destroyer Escort USS Chaffee DE-230, was commissioned.  The Chaffee was sponsored by Mrs. L.C. Chaffee.

Name of Award
Navy Cross
Year Awarded
Details behind Award:
Awarded for actions during World War II

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Ensign Davis Elliott Chaffee (NSN: 0-104298), United States Naval Reserve, for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Dive Bomber in Bombing Squadron FIVE (VB-5), attached to the U.S.S. YORKTOWN (CV-5), in action against enemy Japanese forces during the Air Battle of the Coral Sea on 8 May 1942. In the face of heavy anti-aircraft fire and against powerful fighter opposition, Ensign Chaffee participated in an attack upon an enemy Japanese aircraft carrier which resulted in the sinking or severe damaging of the carrier. His extreme courage and gallant conduct contributed greatly to the success of our forces in the Battle of the Coral Sea and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
General Orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 307 (December 1942)
Action Date: May 8, 1942
Service: Navy
Rank: Ensign
Squadron: Bombing Squadron 5 (VB-5)
Ship: U.S.S. Yorktown (CV-5)
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