John Homer Martindale
|HOME OF RECORD
3300 Central Avenue, Middletown, OH
|NEXT OF KIN
Father, Mr. Homer T. Martindale
|DATE OF BIRTH
September 12, 1941
|DATE OF LOSS
March 14, 1943
|CAMPAIGN / AREA
Declared Dead March 15, 1944
|CIRCUMSTANCES OF LOSS
Second Lieutenant John H. Martindale was a Marine bomber pilot assigned to VMSB-143, an Avenger squadron that fought in the campaign for the Solomon Islands.
On 13 March 1944, Martindale joined a group of TBFs for a ferry flight from Espiritu Santo to Guadalcanal. They were joined by a handful of Marine fighters and an Army transport plane which led the group.
About an hour out of Espiritu Santo, the formation encountered a massive weather front. The thirteen Avengers flew into the storm – and only eight flew out. The remaining five, including Martindale’s TBF-1 06019, were never seen again. All nine pilots and aviators were declared dead on 15 March 1944.
|LAST KNOWN RANK
|STATUS OF REMAINS
Missing in action
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When the C-47 [leading the formation] punched through the storm, only six TBFs remained on its wing. Two more reached Henderson Field later, but by the end of the day it was evident that five had been lost…. Perhaps several had suffered a chain-reaction collision in the midst of the violent storm. It was a small consolation to the Avenger squadron that instead of the normal crew of three, only gunners had ridden with the pilots aboard four of the missing planes, and one pilot flew solo. But the blow was still tremendous: nine souls were gone, including the executive officer. The cause of their disappearance remains a mystery, for no trace of them has been found.
– Bruce Gamble, The Black Sheep
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