Gathering of Eagles Foundation

Eagle Portaits were not drawn in 1982

Honored as an Eagle in:


Eagle Biography

George Gay

During the Battle of Midway, 15 torpedo bombers from Torpedo Squadron 8 were launched from the aircraft carrier Hornet and none of them returned. The only survivor was George Gay, a 25-year-old native of Waco, Texas. He had been shot down less than 1 year after completing the Navy Aviation Cadet Program and then had struggled to escape from his sinking plane. After freeing a jammed canopy, he had risen to the surface in the middle of the Japanese fleet and, to avoid capture and probable death, had hidden under a cushion that floated free of his aircraft.

The wounded "sole survivor" spent 30 hours in the water before he was rescued by a PBY Catalina flying boat. After recovering from his wounds in 1943, he was assigned to land-based Torpedo Squadron 11 on Guadalcanal where he flew TBD Avengers. Following the Guadalcanal campaign, he returned to the United States as an instructor pilot.

See the Lithograph
Lithograph Setting

The TBD-1 Devastator flown by Ensign Gay is shown during its wave top attack on the Japanese aircraft carrier "Akagi" on 4 June 1942. Flying at 80 knots, Ensign Gay has just released his one-ton Mark 13 torpedo at a range of approximately 850 yards. Moments later, Zero fighters shot down this remaining TBD-1 from Torpedo Squadron 8.

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