Official newsletter of the Battle of Midway Roundtable


6 November 2009

Issue Number:  2009-43

Our 13th Year








1.  The Last Round Fired at Midway

2.  Hooked



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Ed. note:  the following message is from our archives.  It comes from Midway Marine John Gardner, who was commenting on the then-current Roundtable discussion concerning occasional shelling of the atoll by Japanese submarines.  If you have our message archives on file or on a disk, this is #022-03.



1 November 2002

From:  John V. Gardner

Northern California

BOM vet, Cpl., 6th MarDefBn, Midway                                                                    


Whether we were shelled by a sub on 25 January 1942, I won't attempt to say.  I was there, and we were shelled at dusk probably four times by a submarine   Always at dusk, and I think if you can go back to that date, you will find it was Sunday.  The Japs did it on Sunday two or three times.  They got off very few rounds because Dog Battery (3-inch AAA) had two guns lowered down and pointed out toward the entry to the harbor.  The instant the Japs fired they got back rapid return fire from the battery.  Lt. Buckner was the battery CO.  We named him "Trigger Buckner."


It was the same battery using two guns that fired many, many rounds at the two Jap destroyers attacking us at 2125 (approx) on 7 December 1941.  The Japs knew the location of those guns, so there was no reason to fire from other guns and give away their positions.   You will find that late on 4 June ‘42 we were attacked by a submarine.  That was the last round fired at Midway!



Note:  John is correct, 25 Jan ’42 was a Sunday.



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2.   HOOKED   ( see issue #27 )



30 October 2009

From:  Paul Tuner



I just finished reading this book.  It was a delight to read.  I enjoyed it very much; could not put it down.



Ed. note:  the listing for Clay Fisher’s Hooked on has a new feature.  Move your pointer over the image at the upper left of the screen and you’ll get a menu of pages inside the book that you can view.  (No Right to Win and Shattered Sword have the same feature.)  Also, I see that Amazon is discounting the hardcover edition of Hooked by 20%.











-  Saluting Bert Earnest



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With deep regret, we announce the passing on October 26th of Captain Albert K. Earnest, USN-Retired, one of the longest-serving BOM vets on our Roundtable.  Bert is renowned in the history of the battle as the only pilot to survive VT-8’s TBF detachment on Midway.  For that reason you can find extensive quotes and mention of him in all of the BOM histories, plus photographs of his badly damaged Avenger.  The latter, the first TBF to return from battle, was extensively analyzed by the Navy in order to enhance the defenses on later models.


Bert continued to serve the Navy and the nation with high distinction as you’ll find in his obituary that follows.  His name now resides in the Remembrance section on our web site’s Veterans of the Battle roster.  Farewell and following seas to a friend, shipmate, and outstanding naval officer.




Retired U.S. Naval Captain Albert K. Earnest, 92, passed away Oct 26, 2009 at Sentra Virginia Beach General Hospital.


He was born April 1, 1917 in Richmond VA and was the son of the late James Gifford Earnest and Jessie Mullan Earnest of Richmond VA.  Bert was preceded in death by his wife Mildred McConnell Earnest.   He is survived by a daughter, Kathryn Lynn Earnest, of Alexandria VA, a son, William Kyle Earnest and his wife Janet Murray Earnest of Virginia Beach VA, and their children, Laura Ellen Earnest of San Francisco CA, Jessie Carolyn Earnest and Matthew Kyle Earnest of Virginia Beach VA. 


He attended Virginia Military Institute, Class of 1938, graduating with a BS in Civil Engineering and commissioned as a Second Lieutenant, Field Artillery, U.S. Army Reserve.  He transferred to the U.S. Navy Reserve in 1941 and was commissioned as an ENS in Oct 1941, reporting for active duty to Torpedo Squadron 8 (VT-8) on December 8.  He flew the Grumman TBF-1 in its first combat use in the Battle of Midway and was the only pilot survivor (land based).  Later in World War II he continued serving in VT-8, aboard USS Saratoga (CV-3), the Guadalcanal invasion, the Battle of Eastern Solomons, and land based on Guadalcanal, flying 28 missions.  Additionally, he served in VC-7, USS Manila Bay (CVE-61), flying 55 missions.


During his 31 years in U.S. Naval Service, CAPT Earnest attended Naval Postgraduate School in Annapolis MD, General Line School, Newport RI and Industrial College of the Armed Forces, Washington DC. 


He commanded Attack Squadron 14A (VA-14A) May 1947-June 1948, Air Task Group 181 (ATG-181) at NAS Oceana Aug 1957– Sep 1958,  USS Estes (AGC-12) Oct 1965 – Oct 1966, and NAS Oceana, Oct 1966-Nov 1968.  Additional aviation tours of duty included Tactical Test Division (Aug 1944 – April 1947) where he was the first US pilot to fly a Japanese Torpedo Bomber “Kate,” Air Development Squadron Four ((VX-4) and Flight Test (58-60) at NATC Patuxent River MD.  He was commissioned as Navy Jet pilot #62, flying P-80As, P-59s, and FR-1s.  He also serve two tours of duty at Attack Design Branch at BuAer/BuWeps, Washington DC. 


CAPT Earnest rounded out his naval career, serving in Paris, France as COMSTRIKFLTLANTREPEUR and SACLANTREPEUR in the early ‘60s, Operations Analyst at INSGENLANTFLT, Norfolk VA, before retiring as Assistant Chief of Staff (Logistics), SACLANT, Norfolk VA in 1972.


Upon retirement, Bert served at Executive Secretary, Operational Test and Evaluation Study Group, Cerberonics, Inc. for a year before becoming a real estate salesman and broker for Professional Realty Corp, Virginia Beach VA for ten years.


His combat awards include 3 Navy Crosses, 2 Air Medals, and a Purple Heart.


He was a member of the Association of Naval Aviation, Early and Pioneer Naval Aviator’s Association “Golden Eagles,” and Tailhook Association, Virginia Beach Sports Club, and Military Officers Association of America.


Funeral services will be held at NAS Oceana Chapel at noon on 14 Nov.  Arrangements made by H.D. Oliver, 2002 Laskin Road, Virginia Beach VA.


Internment with Millie in the Columbarium at Arlington National Cemetery will in April 2010. 


In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to VMI Foundation Inc., Box 932, Lexington VA 24450 or Virginia Beach Rescue Squad Foundation, 740 Virginia Beach Blvd, Virginia Beach VA 23451. 


The family wishes to thank the staff, both nurses and nurses’ aides of Assistance in Living/Seaside, Heartland,  and Sentra Virginia Beach General Hospital for the care that they extended to him.





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~  Sincere thanks to Bert’s daughter Kathy for forwarding the news concerning her father, especially including his detailed obituary.  I consider it a duty of the Roundtable to honor our Midway vets to the extent possible when each makes his final muster.  It is the kind consideration of family members like Kathy who make that happen by including us when the announcement is made.





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