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Stanton Morgan Amesbury—born in Boston, Mass., on 17 January 1916—enlisted in the Naval Reserve as a seaman 2d class on 12 April 1941. After elimination flight training at Squantum, Mass., Amesbury was appointed aviation cadet, USNR, upon the termination of his enlistment on 11 June. After flight instruction at the naval air stations at Jacksonville and Miami, Fla., he was designated a naval aviator on 1 December 1941.
Commissioned as ensign, USNR, on 27 December 1941 and assigned to the Advanced Carrier Training Group, Atlantic Fleet, based at Norfolk, Va., "Stan" Amesbury was initially assigned to Fighter Squadron (VF) 71, attached to Wasp (CV-7). These orders were cancelled, however; and, instead, Amesbury ferried aircraft with the Atlantic Fleet Air Detachment until 28 April 1942. He was then assigned to VF-9, at East Field, Norfolk.
Lieutenant (jg.) Amesbury participated in the invasion of North Africa (Operation "Torch") flying with VF-9 off Ranger (CV^4). On 9 November, the second day of the landings, flying a Grumman F4F-4, he took off from Ranger at 1455 with flight B-20, to support American ground forces fighting near Port Lyautey. Led by VF-9's "skipper," Lt. Comdr. John Raby, the nine F4F^ls of the flight split into two sections. Raby took four down to low altitude to scout the road from Rabat to Port Lyautey while the remaining five flew top coyer. Raby's section, with Amesbury in the "tail-end charlie" position, spotted fair game on the road between Port Lyautey and Petitjean and dove down to the attack. In the teeth of heavy antiaircraft fire, they strafed a column of trucks and tanks; but after the third or fourth pass, Amesbury's "Wildcat," 9-F-24, was hit by enemy fire, crashed, and exploded. Amesbury was buried at Port Lyautey but, after the war, his remains were returned to the United States and reinterred in the family's plot in Duxbury, Mass.