• VT-17 Personnel


    The men of VT-17 are listed below. This page is under development as the names of replacement personnel is still being researched. We have also learned that men who served prior to deployment might have been missed in the compilation of this list.


    BUNKER HILL Deployment (officers/pilots)

    WHITAKER, LCDR Frank M. (Killed)

    BERRY, Ltjg B. F.
    BIRKES, Ltjg Newton (MIA)
    BR0WN, Ltjg Guy M.
    CARBY, Ltjg Henry C. (MIA)
    DAVIS, Ens Darold W.
    DICKSON, Lt. Paul F.
    DITCH, Ens. William E.
    HIGLEY, Ens. Robert H. (MIA)
    HOOD, Ens. Elmore K. “Kit”
    JENKINS, Lt. John C.
    KRANTZ, Lt. William F.
    KRIDEL, Ltjg James A.
    LIEDER, LT. E. H.
    MARTIN, Lt. John A.
    MORGAN, Ltjg Lindsey
    NEWEL, Ens. Edward A.
    O’SULLIVAN, Ltjg Arthur (Abe) P.
    OWENS, LT. Gordon N. (X.O.)
    PALAND, Lt. Richard
    PEARSON, Ltjg John K. (KIA)
    ROBERTSON, Ltjg David H.
    ROLAND, Ltjg Raymond M.
    SCHATZ, Lt jg Delmar A.
    STACK, Ltjg Edward  (Killed)
    SULLIVAN, Ltjg Steven G.
    TURNBULL, Ltjg G. A. “Bull”
    WEBER, Ltjg Ernest
    WILSON, Lt. James C.

    **Replacement pilots not listed


    HORNET Deployment

    ROMBERGER, LCDR William M. (C.O.)

    BEHL, Ens. Joseph
    BEISEL, Ltjg Ivan R.
    BUNDGUS, Ltjg Jules J.
    CLARK, Lt. Henry E.
    COGHLAN, Ltjg Thomas J.
    COOKE, Ltjg John S.
    DURKIN, Lt. Thomas C. (MIA)
    FOOTE, Ltjg Harlan W.
    HANLON, Ens. Robert S.
    HOOTON, Ens. William A. (MIA)
    JOHNSON, Ltjg Hugh C.
    JOHNSON, Ltjg Ralph V.
    JONES, Ens. Harry D.
    LIVENGOOD, Lt. Charles D.
    MARTIN, *Lt. John A.
    MCCUBBINS, Ltjg Kenneth B. C.
    MONAGHAN, Ltjg James F.
    MURPHY, Lt. John E.
    NICKEL, Ens. Walter F.
    NIESLEN, Ltjg Walter D.
    O’BRIEN, Ens. Leo (MIA)
    REED, Lt. Richard C.
    ROBERTSON, *Lt. David H. (KIT)
    ROGERS, Ens. Harold J.
    ROLAND, *Lt. Raymond M. Jr.
    SMITH, Ltjg Francis M.
    STRICKLAND, Ltjg John E.
    SULLIVAN, *Lt. Steven G.
    TEW, Lt. James A.
    TRAXLER, Ltjg Arnold C.
    TSCHUDIN, Ens. Frederick B.
    * Turn-around Officers

    HORNET Deployment (enlisted)

    AKERS, ARM2c (T) Raymond N.
    BARKLAY, AOM2c(T) Budd N.
    BELL, ACMM(AA)(T) Vern K.
    BERRYHILL, ARM1c(T) James H.
    BOBBITT, AMM1c Paul M.
    BRAUCH, AOM1c Paul (n)
    BREZOVSKY, AMM1c Philip S.
    CANADA, ARM3c Herman R.
    CHASE, AMM2c(T) LeRoy C.
    CIMINSKI, ARM3c(Y) Frank (n)
    COLOMBINI, S1c William (n)
    COLP, ARM3c William E.
    CONSTANTINE, ARM3c Pete (n)
    CROOP, ARM2c(T) Fred R.
    FEURT, AOM1c(T) Donald R.
    FIELD, Y1c(T) James J.
    FITZGERALD, AMM1c(T) Fred J.
    FORBES, AOM1c Ray D.
    FRIEZE, ARM2c(T) Robert A.
    FUCHS, AOM1c Ernest P.
    GEORGE, AOM1c(T) Philip W.
    GEYER, AOM1c(T) Jack L.
    HAND, ART1c George C.
    HELGESON, ARM3c Helge KL.
    HERZING, ACOM(AA)(T) Ivan J.
    HILBERT, AMM3c Bruce M.
    JENSEN, AOM1c(T) Norman C.
    JONES, S1c Robert J.
    KEENER, AOM3c Frank W.
    KEFFER, AOM1c(T) Theodore (n)
    KELLETTE, ACEM(AA)(T) Walter B.
    KLUNDER, ARM1c(T) Robert “E.”
    MANNING, AMM2c(T) Victor (n)
    MAZUR, ACMM(T) Walter (n)
    MCFARLAND, AMM2c Carl W.
    MEYER, AOM2c(T) Jack T.
    MULLIS, S1c William B.
    NELSON, ARM3c Glenn L.
    NICHOLSON, ARM1c(T) James N.
    NIEDZWICK, AOM1c(T) Ted J.
    PARKER, ARM1c(Y) Frank G.
    PODOLAK, ARM2c(T) Paul G.
    REDMON, ARM1c(T) Joseph H.
    REIGER, ARM Robert E.
    ROBSON, ARM3c Donald W.
    ROELFSON, ARM2c Roy O.
    ROUSH, ACEM(PA) Randall C.
    SARTORY, AM1c Joseph G.
    SCHNELL, AMM2c(T) Fredrick P.
    SENNETT, AOM2c(T) Walter m.
    SHUTTLEWORTH, ARM3c Frank (n)
    SIMONS, ARM2c(T) Paul E.

    (End of VT-17 personnel)

    Commanding Officers & first date of command

    • LCDR Frank M. Whitaker 1 Jan 1943
    • LT Gordon N. Owens 2 Feb 1944
    • LT Jack Martin (acting) 18 Apr 1944
    • LCDR William M. Romberger 2 May 1944
    • LT Arnold C. Traxler (acting) 18 Aug 1945
    • CDR Rubin H. Konig 11 Oct 1945
    • Description posted to facebook on April 7, 2015, 70th anniversary of Yamato sinking based on story told to me by my father. NELSON, ARM3c Glenn L. Also posted scan of log book he kept.

      Today, 70 years ago, my father flew his biggest mission during the naval battle of Okinawa, aka the Last Sortie of the Japanese Fleet, operation Ten-go. His squadron, Torpedo 17, reached the superbattleship Yamato first. When they arrived, the pilot told him to turn the torpedo’s depth lower because it was set to heavy cruiser. He crawled back to the bomb bay and began turning the wrench. The pilot opened the bomb bay doors and dad dropped the wrench. How deep the torpedo setting was, he couldn’t say.

      Yamato had an enormous number of AA guns. Dad’s plane took some damage during the torpedo run and even though they had dropped the torpedo and its great weight, they couldn’t gain altitude. About 75 feet above the water, the pilot Mick Monaghan cried, “We’re gonna have to ditch”. Dad and the gunner Geyer could see hundreds of Japanese sailers swimming below as a DD or maybe the CL Yahagi had already been sunk.
      “Don’t ditch!” they cried. Fortunately, they didn’t have to.

    • Disappointing that I do not see the my brother’s name on your list of VT-17 enlisted personnel. He was a turret gunner who flew with Lt. Turnbull (on the Bunker Hill) and later Lt. T. C. Durkin (on Hornet II). His name is Cecil W. Stewart. Along with Durkin and their radioman, he was shot down at Kanoya (southern Japan) in early May, 1945 and was a prisoner of the Japanese until the end of the war. He went on to serve 32 years with the Navy.

    • Thank you for your message. The crew members list was compiled word-for-word from the VT-17 book put together in 1945. Any names left off were likely a matter of timing or oversight. I’ve posted your message as a comment to the crew lists. Once I can confirm his participation, I will add him to the alphabetical list on the page.

    • Hello I work at the NASA Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island Va, which is the former US Navy Naval Auxiliary Air Station where VT-17 trained from Feb 1943 – July 1943. I have been compiling the US Navy history prior to NASA ownership in 1959. All former servicemen and family are welcome to visit and tour the base. Additionally, I would be happy to hear from and exchange information with any former servicemen or family members. Please contact me at : theodore.j.meyer@nasa.gov

    • Thank you for this personell list I have finally found my uncles name Ted Keffer AOM1c I saw him in a training film in Navy boot camp in 1952 . He was leaving the ready room to go on a mission & I spotted his flight jacket ,painted on the back was “Pappy Ted “. I remember creating quite a stir when I blurted out “There’s my uncle Ted” Now i hope I can find out much more of his Navy History . He was a tail gunner on a torpedo plane , TBF or TBM, hopefully I will soon find out . Thanks again .

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