Lieutenant Commander John Charles Waldron, USN (1900-1942)
John C. Waldron was born at Fort Pierre, South Dakota, on 24 August 1900. Graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1924, he became a Naval Aviator in 1927. During the years prior to World War II, he served in several air units, was an instructor at the Naval Academy and at Pensacola, Florida, and performed other duties connected with aviation. In 1941, LCdr. Waldron became Commanding Officer of Torpedo Squadron Eight (VT-8), which was to serve on the new aircraft carrierHornet (CV-8). In one of the most heroic acts of WWII, he led his squadron during the Battle of Midway in an unsupported attack on the Japanese aircraft carrier force. All fifteen aircraft of Torpedo Squadron Eight were lost to overwhelming enemy fighter action during that attack and LCdr. Waldron was killed during that action. This attack, though itself unsuccessful, was nevertheless highly instrumental in the eventual victory of US naval forces in the battle which historians agree was the turning point of the war in the Pacific.
Vice Adm. Chuichi Nagumo: [commenting on the American torpedo bombers] "They sacrifice themselves like samurai, these Americans." Dialogue from the movie "Midway" 1976
LCdr. Waldron was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for this heroic and gallant action and the Destroyer USSWaldron (DD-699) was later named in his honor.