Tant, Robert, MCPO

 Service Photo   Service Details
23 kb
View Time Line
Last Rank
Master Chief Petty Officer
Last Primary NEC
8202-Naval Aircrewman (Special Assignment)
Last Rating/NEC Group
Rating/NEC Group Unknown
Primary Unit
1968-1970, Pacific Missile Test Center (PMTC)
Service Years
1942 - 1971
Seven Hash Marks

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

42 kb

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by the Site Administrator to remember Tant, Robert, MCPO.
Contact Info
Home Town
Not Specified
Last Address
Oak Harbor, WA

Date of Passing
Apr 04, 2008
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Command

 Unofficial Badges 

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Not Specified
Other Comments:

26JUN08 - I had the incredible honor of being the Escort Commander for the official funeral of Master Chief Tant today at Arlington Cemetary.  I was also honored to present the flag to his wife June.  I didn't know him before today, but I will spend the rest of my life in awe of his achievements.  Please read the following article to learn more about this extraordinary man:

CTMCM(SS/SW) Marcantel
US Navy Ceremonial Guard

First on Iwo Jima
Schultz, Melvin Ray

The first American to set foot on Iwo Jima in WWII was neither a Marine nor a Sea Bee. He was Robert Buford Tant a radioman and combat aircrewman flying TBMs in VT-14 aboard USS Wasp (CV-18). He had enlisted at the age of 17.

On July 4th, 1944, while flying wing on the squadron CO for a predawn strike on Iwo Jima, his aircraft took a AAA hit two feet from Tant's battle station. Barely able to jettison the hatch because the Avenger was in a steep dive, he managed to get out at 2,500 feet, seconds before the plane crashed into the sea.

Descending in the chute he was shot at by Japanese troops on the ground. Once in the water he struggled to cut his shroud lines with his survival knife as a Zero approached. Tant, deflated his Mae West and submerged as the Zero expended all its ordnance in a failed effort to kill Tant. He was near the Iwo Jima shore line but swam out to sea, hoping for rescue from Navy ships or planes.

The TBM's wounded gunner and Tant's best friend, Warren Atlee Goodwin, had also bailed out. He set out with Tant to swim to the sea lane where U.S. support vessels were scheduled for shore bombardment later that day. Both men became exhausted just keeping afloat in their life vests which remained only partially inflated. They were attacked by dive bombers but a pair of F6Fs splashed this bandit. The Navy fighter pilot did not see the survivors.

In the morning, the men activated fluorescent dye, creating a 100-foot circle of color, but this also failed to attract searchers flying overhead so close the swimmers could see the pilots' helmet clasps. Well away in the distance they sighted their pilot, ENS Drake, but he had not spotted them. Drake was floating in a one-man raft. An OS2U spotted Drake and picked him up. The two aircrewmen had still not been sighted.

Their condition worsened in the next two days. They jettisoned flashlights, orange tarps, mirrors and Very pistols, retaining their .38 revolvers which, unfortunately, wouldn't fire due to the wet tracer rounds. Then came a shark which circled them before charging. Both men thrashed and yelled even though this was not a recommended procedure. The shark tore Tant's right shirtsleeve but he was otherwise unharmed.

The shark departed and the men decided to swim to shore, now about three miles away. Rip tides worked against them and shocked from exposure and fatigue, they floated in and out of consciousness, bobbing in the sea only to be awakened by slapping waves. Their shirtsleeves rubbed against developing sores on their biceps and their faces were cooked by the sun and abraded by salt water. Tant's mouth had become one massive canker sore.

By evening of the second day they were a mile from the shore. Goodwin was in desperate need of medical care so Tant decided to swim alone and gain assistance from someone to aid Goodwin. He reached a large rock as the sun was setting and clawed his way up it, his bare feet and hands badly lacerated by the barnacle-covered coral. Totally spent, he passed out.

At daybreak, Tant found several deserted houses and drank from pools of stagnant, larvae-filled rainwater to survive. He lashed his skivvy shirt to a bamboo pole and hoisted it. Two eternal days later he was spotted - but by a Japanese plane which dispatched a landing craft manned by 50 infrantrymen to the site. Tant was captured and beaten and became a POW for 14 horrible months but survived and is alive today.

Tragically, no trace of Goodwin was ever found.

(CAPT Schultz is a former Combat Aircrewman -ARM2C, Emeritus -, as he likes to say, and is a principal figure in the creation of the Enlisted Combat Aircrew Roll of Honor aboard USS Yorktown, Patriots Point Maritime Museum, South Carolina.)

Copyright Association of Naval Aviation Summer 1999
Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved



 Photo Album   (More...

  1943-1945, USS Wasp (CV-18)

From Month/Year
- / 1943

To Month/Year
- / 1945

USS Wasp (CV-18) Unit Page


Not Specified

Not Specified

Not Specified
 USS Wasp (CV-18) Details

USS Wasp (CV-18)
Career (United States)
Builder: Fore River Shipyard
Laid down: 18 March 1942
Launched: 17 August 1943
Commissioned: 24 November 1943
28 September 1951
Decommissioned: 17 February 1947
1 July 1972
Reclassified: CV to CVA 1 October 1952
CVA to CVS 1 November 1956
see SCB-27 and SCB-125 for conversion information
Struck: 1 July 1972
Fate: Scrapped in 1973
General characteristics
Class and type: Essex-class aircraft carrier
Displacement: As built:
27,100 tons standard
36,380 tons full load
Length: As built:
820 feet (250 m) waterline
872 feet (266 m) overall
Beam: As built:
93 feet (28 m) waterline
147 feet 6 inches (45 m) overall
Draft: As built:
28 feet 5 inches (8.66 m) light
34 feet 2 inches (10.41 m) full load
Propulsion: As designed:
8 × boilers 565 psi (3,900 kPa) 850 °F (450 °C)
4 × Westinghouse geared steam turbines
4 × shafts
150,000 shp (110 MW)
Speed: 33 knots (61 km/h)
Range: 20,000 nautical miles (37,000 km) at 15 knots (28 km/h)
Complement: As built:
2,600 officers and enlisted
Armament: As built:
4 × twin 5 inch (127 mm) 38 caliber guns
4 × single 5 inch (127 mm) 38 caliber guns
8 × quadruple 40 mm 56 caliber guns
46 × single 20 mm 78 caliber guns
Armor: As built:
2.5 to 4 inch (60 to 100 mm) belt
1.5 inch (40 mm) hangar and protectice decks
4 inch (100 mm) bulkheads
1.5 inch (40 mm) STS top and sides of pilot house
2.5 inch (60 mm) top of steering gear
Aircraft carried: As built:
90–100 aircraft
1 × deck-edge elevator
2 × centerline elevators

Surface Vessels


Parent Unit

Aircraft Carrier

Created/Owned By
Not Specified

Last Updated: Jun 27, 2008
My Photos For This Duty Station
No Available Photos
19 Members Also There at Same Time
USS Wasp (CV-18)

Clifton, Joseph, RADM, (1926-1963) Captain
Rockwell, George Lincoln, CDR, (1940-1960) Lieutenant
Williams, Adam, LTJG, (1941-1945) Lieutenant Junior Grade
Wolfard, Sr., Robert, LTJG, (1942-1949) Lieutenant Junior Grade
Sprague, Clifton Albert F, VADM, (1917-1951) OFF Captain
Biros, Edmund William, LCDR, (1937-1944) OFF 131X Lieutenant Commander
Roosevelt, John Aspinwall, LCDR, (1941-1946) OFF 110X Lieutenant Commander
Punnell, William Querine, LT, (1940-1944) OFF 131X Lieutenant
Amussen, John Russell, LTJG, (1942-1945) OFF 131X Lieutenant Junior Grade
Hillock, Donald, LTJG, (1943-1946) OFF 131X Lieutenant Junior Grade
Taylor, Ray, CDR, (1942-1969) OFF 131X Lieutenant Junior Grade
Cabrials, Sylvan Anthony, ENS, (1944-1945) OFF Ensign
Nisi, Alberto C., ENS OFF 131X Ensign
Martin, Thomas, CPO, (1942-1945) PhM PhM-0000 Chief Petty Officer
Eckman, Robert P, PO2, (1942-1944) ARM ARM-0000 Petty Officer Second Class
Bushko, George, S1c, (1943-1946) FC FC-0000 Seaman 1st Class
Coleman, Charles, S2c, (1943-1946) ARM ARM-0000 Seaman Second Class
Bingham, William, CDR, (1943-1964) Lieutenant
Hoarty, Leo, PO2, (1942-1946) Petty Officer Second Class

Copyright Togetherweserved.com Inc 2003-2011