Orville H. C. Gannon, Jr.

ega-xz_nophoto NAME
Orville H. C. Gannon, Jr.
NICKNAME
SERVICE NUMBER
341960
UNIT
VMSB-131
Turret Gunner
HOME OF RECORD
610 West 12th Street
Trenton, MO
NEXT OF KIN
Mother, Mrs. Enna Gannon
DATE OF BIRTH
November 14, 1920
in Trenton, MO
ENTERED SERVICE
January 3, 1942
in St. Louis, MO
DATE OF LOSS
April 8, 1943
REGION
Solomon Islands
CAMPAIGN / AREA
Russell Island Group
CASUALTY TYPE
Missing In Action
Declared Dead April 9, 1945
CIRCUMSTANCES OF LOSS
PFC Orville Gannon was an Avenger turret gunner assigned to VMSB-131, a torpedo bomber squadron operating out of Henderson Field, Guadalcanal.

On 8 April 1943, Captain William Hayter led six of the squadron’s planes in a strike against Kahili, Bougainville. The Avengers ran into a fierce storm and never reached the target. Only one bomber returned to Guadalcanal – the rest, including the aircraft carrying PFC Gannon, disappeared.*

Rescue operations located three survivors stranded in the Russell Islands, but no trace of Orville Gannon was ever found. He was declared dead on 9 April 1945.

INDIVIDUAL DECORATIONS
Air Medal, Purple Heart
LAST KNOWN RANK
Private First Class
STATUS OF REMAINS
Not recovered.
MEMORIALS
Maple Grove Cemetery, Trenton, MO
Manila American Cemetery

* The identities of other Marines on this crew are not known.

Biography:
Contact the webmaster for more information about this Marine.

April 8 1943
Six planes take off at 0200 along with other TBFs from Navy squadrons to bomb Kahili Airfield. The weather report received was not too good and the Black Cats on the weather hops reported very bad flying conditions. Someone slipped up as the flight was ordered out anyhow. Capt. Richey became separated from the other five planes in the flight and returned hours after experiencing considerable difficulty in locating the field. Our other five planes did not return and were listed as missing. Out of the eighteen Navy plans participating in this attack, four were unable to take off, seven became lost and returned early, while five reached the target, dropping on what they thought to be the field, and two did not return. VMSB-131 has been hard hit and we were a dejected lot when there were no reports whatsoever of our pilots and gunners. Searches were immediately started with our TBFs and the other outfits cooperated also giving good coverage of the entire area. All searches were negative.

– excerpt from the war diary of VMSB-131, April 1943.


 

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