VT-8 at Midway
Jonathan Parshall-Regarding remarks by Commander William E. Brooks Jr. under “‘Real’ Mystery of Midway” in your August issue (“In Contact,” p. 9), there are several problems with the prevalent myth that Lieutenant Commander John Waldron’s Torpedo Squadron (VT) Eight attacked at the “precise moment” required to pull the Japanese fighter cover “down to the wave tops” so that U.S. dive bombers could attack. The Japanese Zero only required about five minutes to climb from sea level to 15,000 feet, where the dive bombers would have been operating. VT-8 was destroyed 45 minutes before the 1020 dive-bomber attack. VT-6, the following squadron, was likewise either shot down or driven off by about 1000. Obviously the Japanese combat air patrol had ample time to recover altitude after both of these attacks. In reality it was the Yorktown’s VT-3 (and its escorting F-4F fighters), which the Japanese sighted around 1010, that acted as a magnet for the Zeros, drawing them away from the carriers at the crucial moment.