ASSAULT ON THE CARRIER SHOKAKU AT SANTA CRUZ
Commander Clayton Fisher's Story
Commander Clayton Fisher USN (Ret.) took part in the strike by sixteen Dauntless SBD dive bombers of USS Hornet's Scouting Eight and Bombing Eight on Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo's carriers Shokaku and Zuikaku on the morning of 26 October 1942. He tells here the gripping story of his participation in the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands.
As the sixteen SBDs from Hornet approached the Japanese carrier task force, they came under heavy attack from Zero fighters defending the Japanese carriers. The Zeros quickly overwhelmed and dispersed the SBD escort of four Wildcat fighters. While still under intense attack from the swarming Zeros, the intrepid SBD pilots pushed over into their dives and scored four hits on the flight deck of the powerful Japanese fleet carrier Shokaku with 1,000-pound bombs.
Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero fighters are being prepared for launch on the flight deck of Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo's flagship Shokaku at the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands. The American SBD dive bombers from USS Hornet had to fight their way past these deadly opponents to bomb Shokaku.
Clayton Fisher, then Lieutenant (jg) Clayton Fisher, and his rear gunner, George Ferguson, were both wounded and their plane was severely damaged by Zero fighters in the attack on Shokaku. Lieutenant Fisher nursed his damaged aircraft back to Hornet, only to find that the carrier had been attacked by Japanese carrier launched bombers, and was disabled and listing. Rather than risk crashing his damaged SBD on the flight deck of the remaining American carrier Enterprise, Lieutenant Fisher ditched his plane in the sea. He and his rear gunner were plucked from the sea by the light cruiser Juneau.
He concludes his story with an account of his hospitalisation and return to the United States and reunion with his wife.
Clayton Fisher now takes up the story:
Bombing Eight launches
Attack on Shokaku and return to a crippled Hornet
Hospitalisation and return to the United States