Lawe, William, AM3c

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Last Rank
Petty Officer Third Class
Last Primary NEC
AM-0000-Aviation Metalsmith
Last Rating/NEC Group
Aviation Metalsmith
Primary Unit
1942-1942, AM-0000, VT-8
Service Years
1936 - 1942
AM-Aviation Metalsmith

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by John B. Bruneel, Sr. (DocAsaurus), HMCM to remember Lawe, William, AM3c.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Not Specified
Last Address
Carson City

Casualty Date
Jun 04, 1942
Hostile, Died
Air Loss, Crash - Sea
Midway Islands
World War II
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

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 Duty Stations
US NavyUSS Hornet (CV-8)VT-8
  1928-1932, USS Tennessee (BB-43)
  1939-1942, AM-0000, USS Hornet (CV-8)
  1942-1942, AM-0000, VT-8
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1941-1945 World War II
  1942-1942 Pacific Air Offensive (1942-45)/Doolittle B-25 Attack on Tokyo
  1942-1942 Central Pacific Campaign (1941-43)/Battle of Midway
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Petty Officer Lawe was an Aviation Metalsmith Third Class assigned to VT-8 (Patrol Squadron-).  He was assigned as a rear gunner.aboard a TDB Devastator.  His plane and all planes and crew of the squadron were lost (with the exception of pilot Ens. George Gay) on attacking the Japanese fleet at the Battle of Midway.


William Clare Lawe-born on 26 January 1910 at Carson City, Mich.-enlisted in the Navy on 27 April 1928, at Detroit, and attained the rate of aviation metalsmith third class (AM3c). Lawe was assigned to a part of Torpedo Squadron (VT) 8 which received the new Grumman TBF-1 (Avenger) torpedo plane. This detachment from VT-8 temporarily left carrier Hornet (CV-8) to train in the TBF's. They eventually arrived at Luke Field, Hawaii, for final training prior to rejoining their squadron mates in Hornet.


As American cryptoanalysts found that the Japanese planned an assault on strategic Midway Atoll, preparations proceeded rapidly to prepare the island to repel the expected attack. Accordingly, AM3c Lawe volunteered to participate in a detachment flight to Midway as aircrew in one of the six planes commanded by Lt. Langdon K. Fieberling. Lawe rode as gunner in the Avenger flown by Ens. Charles E. Brannon USNR.


After arriving at Midway on 1 June 1942, the six-plane detachment spent the next few days in readiness. On 4 June at 0600, Lt. Fieberling's six planes took off, bound for the Japanese fleet. Attacked by Japanese "Zero" fighters within six minutes of their departure, the TBF's evaded their pursuers and climbed to 4,000 feet. At 0700, the airmen sighted the Japanese fleet and applied full throttle as they dove to 150 feet.


The six TBF's roared in astern of the Japanese carriers, but suddenly found themselves beset by swarms of "Zeroes". One pilot, his plane shot up badly in the early approach, dropped his torpedo at the nearest target of opportunity-a light cruiser-and then nursed his crippled plane back to Midway. But five other aircraft-including Ens. Brannon's with AM3c Lawe on board-were shot down miles from their objective.


For his part in this brave action, AM3c Lawe received a posthumous Distinguished Flying Cross.


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