Saturday, March 18, 2017

WW2 Fallen - Edward DeGarmo, Decorated Torpedo Bomber Commander

Edward DeGarmo at US Naval Academy in 1940.
https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=pv&GRid=76388221&PIpi=129086430

Edward Emmet DeGarmo could have been 100 years old today. 

He was born on March 18, 1917 in Wisconsin. His mother was born in Tennessee and his father was born in Missouri. His father worked as a sales manager for a cement company and later a commercial traveler for a shirt company. Edward had two younger sisters. 

Despite his humble beginnings, Edward was accepted to the US Naval Academy out of Ohio. He graduated in 1940. The academy yearbook noted that midshipman DeGarmo was fond of playing bridge and had a reputation as a walking dictionary with unmatched debating skills. After graduating from Annapolis, Edward was commissioned as an ensign and went to aviation school. He also married Beatrice Kirk and the couple had two children.

Edward became a Lieutenant Commander and torpedo bomber pilot on the carrier USS Bennington. He flew TBM-3 Avengers and commanded the Bennington's torpedo bomber squadron known as the Devil's Diplomats. 
Avengers from Lt Cmdr DeGarmo's squadron.
http://www.uss-bennington.org/Robert_J_Cosbie/index.htm

During his flying career, he was a highly decorated pilot with the Navy Cross, a Silver Star, and 4 Distinguished Flying Crosses. His final award was a Gold Star awarded posthumously for actions that led to his death. For details on the other actions that led to these awards, see here.

This is his Gold Star citation:

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting a Gold Star in lieu of a Second Award of the Silver Star to Lieutenant Commander Edward Emmet DeGarmo (NSN: 0-85002), United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while participating in aerial flights as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Torpedo Plane and Commanding Officer of Torpedo Squadron EIGHTY-TWO (VT-82), attached to the U.S.S. BENNINGTON (CV-20), engaged on special missions in close support of ground operations on Okinawa on 3 June 1945. 

He materially assisted in sustaining the progress of the ground forces by dropping needed supplies and equipment to forward elements in repeated minimum level glides over advance positions. These missions were accomplished during the advance of our forces against determined enemy resistance and in the face of concentrated anti-aircraft fire. 

As he completed his final mission of the day his plane was struck by enemy anti-aircraft fire which engulfed the engine in flames. In spite of the flames which quickly enveloped the cockpit and of the progressively severe burns he suffered therefrom, he crash-landed his plane within friendly territory so skillfully as to save his aircrewman from all but minor burns and injuries. 

His cool courage and determination despite his own severe wounds and his superb airmanship were at all times in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Lt. Cmdr. DeGarmo's remains were returned and buried at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego. I was unable to find additional information about his wife and children.

Thank you Edward for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Edward.

Thanks to Darillyn Lamb Starr for recommending that Edward be profiled.


On behalf of the fallen, if you would like to see more people become aware of this project to honor the WW2 fallen, be sure to share with others on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Thanks for your interest!

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