Abercrombie, William Warner, ENS

Fallen
 
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Last Rank
Ensign
Last Primary NEC
131X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Pilot
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1941-1942, VT-8
Service Years
1940 - 1942
Ensign
Ensign

 Last Photo   Personal Details 


Home State
Oregon
Oregon
Year of Birth
1914
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Nicole Summers, MMFN to remember Abercrombie, William Warner, ENS.

If you knew or served with this Sailor and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
 
Casualty Info
Home Town
Medford, OR
Last Address
Marriam, KS

Casualty Date
Jun 04, 1942
 
Cause
Hostile-Body Not Recovered
Reason
Air Loss, Crash - Sea
Location
Pacific Ocean
Conflict
World War II
Location of Interment
Forest Hills Cemetery - Kansas City, Missouri
Wall/Plot Coordinates
(memorial marker)

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 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Early in the morning of 4 Jun 1942 Hornet launched her air group of 59 planes to attack the Japanese carriers. VT-8, separated from the rest of the Air Group, found the enemy carriers and commenced their attack. And attack they did! Headlong into the maelstrom without fighter protection the 15 planes of VT-8 pressed their attack through an onslaught of enemy fighter and anti-aircraft fire. One by one the torpedo planes were sent hurtling into the sea. All 15 aircraft were shot down with the loss of 29 of the 30 aircrew. ENS Abercrombie and his radioman/gunner, ARM2 Bernard P. Phelps did not return. Their remains were unrecoverable.            
   
Comments/Citation

Service number: 098514

Navy Cross
Awarded for actions during World War II
Service: Navy
Battalion: Torpedo Squadron 8 (VT-8)
Division: U.S.S. Hornet (CV-8)
Citation: The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Ensign William Warner Abercrombie (NSN: 0-98514), United States Naval Reserve, for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Torpedo Plane of Torpedo Squadron EIGHT (VT-8), attached to the U.S.S. HORNET (CV-8), during the "Air Battle of Midway," against enemy Japanese forces on 4 June 1942. Grimly aware of the hazardous consequences of flying without fighter protection, and with insufficient fuel to return to his carrier, Ensign Abercrombie, resolutely, and with no thought of his own life, delivered an effective torpedo attached against violent assaults of enemy Japanese aircraft and against an almost solid barrage of anti-aircraft fire. His courageous action, carried out with a gallant spirit of self-sacrifice and a conscientious devotion to the fulfillment of his mission, was a determining factor in the defeat of the enemy forces and was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
 
   
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Central Pacific Campaign (1941-43)/Battle of Midway
Start Year
1942
End Year
1942

Description
The Battle of Midway in the Pacific Theater of Operations was one of the most important naval battles of World War II. Between 4 and 7 June 1942, only six months after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor, and one month after the Battle of the Coral Sea, the United States Navy (USN), under Admirals Chester W. Nimitz, Frank Jack Fletcher, and Raymond A. Spruance decisively defeated an attack by the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN), under Admirals Isoroku Yamamoto, Chuichi Nagumo, and Nobutake Kondo on Midway Atoll, inflicting irreparable damage on the Japanese fleet. Military historian John Keegan called it "the most stunning and decisive blow in the history of naval warfare." It was Japan's first naval defeat since the Battle of Shimonoseki Straits in 1863.

The Japanese operation, like the earlier attack on Pearl Harbor, sought to eliminate the United States as a strategic power in the Pacific, thereby giving Japan a free hand in establishing its Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. The Japanese hoped that another demoralizing defeat would force the U.S. to capitulate in the Pacific War and thus ensure Japanese dominance in the Pacific.

The Japanese plan was to lure the United States' aircraft carriers into a trap. The Japanese also intended to occupy Midway as part of an overall plan to extend their defensive perimeter in response to the Doolittle air raid on Tokyo. This operation was also considered preparatory for further attacks against Fiji, Samoa, and Hawaii itself.

The plan was handicapped by faulty Japanese assumptions of the American reaction and poor initial dispositions.Most significantly, American codebreakers were able to determine the date and location of the attack, enabling the forewarned U.S. Navy to set up an ambush of its own. Four Japanese aircraft carriers—Akagi, Kaga, Soryu and Hiryu, all part of the six-carrier force that had attacked Pearl Harbor six months earlier—and a heavy cruiser were sunk at a cost of one American aircraft carrier and a destroyer. After Midway and the exhausting attrition of the Solomon Islands campaign, Japan's shipbuilding and pilot training programs were unable to keep pace in replacing their losses, while the U.S. steadily increased its output in both areas.
   
My Participation in This Battle or Operation
From Year
1942
To Year
1942
 
Last Updated:
Oct 12, 2018
   
Personal Memories
   
My Photos From This Battle or Operation
No Available Photos

  299 Also There at This Battle:
  • Besson, John Henry, RADM, (1931-1959)
  • Betty, Charles, PO2, (1941-1945)
  • Delchamps, Newton, MCPO, (1941-1965)
  • Earnest, Albert, CAPT, (1941-1972)
  • Feeney, John Martin, RDML, (1942-1962)
  • Ferrier, Harry, CDR, (1941-1970)
  • Gaines, Roger, CDR, (1982-2009)
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