28 January, 2021

Cramton, Barney

Service: Navy

I would like to tell all of you about a Naval serviceman, a sailor namedBarney Cramton. Barney enlisted in the Navy in October of 1942. He was assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Essex as a 50cal. Machine gunner on Grumman TBF Avenger torpedo bomber. He flew about 40 combat missions, on a mission Barney told me that there would be about 32 planes to attack Pacific Islands either before or as the Army or Marine Corps were attacking Japanese ground troops or attacking ships. In this squadron there would be 16 fighters, 8 dive bombers and 8 torpedo bombers which is what Barney was aboard. As a bit of further history this is the same type of torpedo bomber that Pres. George H.W. Bush piloted as the youngest Naval Aviator in 1944 at the age of twenty. Pres. Bush’s plane was shot down while he was attacking a island names Chi Chi Jima, with the loss of both of his crewman. Lt. Bush was on a small rubber raft rowing as fast as he could away from the island. The Japanese had killed many pilots and they would have killed him as well. Barney told me about torpedoing four troop transports that had about 1,000 soldiers on each of them, one of them was also a tanker ship. Barney said he watched as his pilot put a 2,000 lb torpedo into the ship and it literally disappeared with the loss of all hands. To some this may sound very hard but, we must remember that these soldiers were on their way to the Philippines and that more our fighting men would have been killed trying to take the Philippines back. Mr. Cramton told me of watching his pilot drop a bomb on a Japanese aircraft carrier which resulted in a direct hit, Barney told me of the horrible fire that resulted and the feeling of helplessness that he felt at the loss of life that he was witnessing. WE MUST REMEMBER THAT ALL OF THE FREEDOMS THAT WE SO ENJOY TODAY WERE EARNED BY A VETERAN WHO FREELY GAVE THEM TO YOU AND I.

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