Service Number: 311250
Birth and Early Life:
Edby Colvin (also known by his middle name, Marshall) was born around 1919; he was the son of Ellie and Mattie Colvin of Plateau, Alabama.
Enlistment and Boot Camp:
Colvin enlisted in the Marine Corps on June 9, 1941. After completing boot camp, he was selected for aviation duty, either as a gunner or as a mechanic.
Private Colvin was assigned to VMSB-241, part of which had already deployed to the island of Midway. On April 17, 1942, he debarked from the USS William Ward Burrows and reported for duty. His original job within the squadron is unknown; when Second Lieutenant James Marmande arrived on May 26, 1942, Colvin was assigned to act as his gunner in an old Vought SB2U Vindicator. Colvin and Marmande had a little over a week to learn to operate the Vindicator before they would be called into combat.
Date Of Loss:
Colvin and Marmande were airborne soon after dawn on June 4, 1942. They were instructed to locate the Japanese fleet whose aircraft were even now dropping bombs and bullets on Midway. When they spotted the enemy carriers and saw how the squadron’s Dauntlesses, under Major Lofton Henderson, were being shot to pieces, section leader Major Benjamin Norris decided that they stood no chance of reaching the carriers and instead led an attack on the battleship Haruna.
Marmande and Colvin survived their dive on the battleship, dodged through antiaircraft and fighters, and emerged from the fray battered but airborne. They flew back towards Midway but, only ten miles from safety, their aircraft disappeared. No trace of either Marine was ever found.
PFC Colvin was awarded a posthumous Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions in the battle.
Next Of Kin:
Parents, Ellie & Mattie Colvin
Status Of Remains:
Lost at sea.
Tablets of the Missing, National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.