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Published on Jun 4, 2012
http://www.amazon.com/Torpedo-Squadro... In this 2001 interview, LCDR Gerald W. Thomas recalls the successful attack on the USS Essex by a Kamikaze pilot. Thomas had just returned from a strike on Santa Cruz in the Philippines when a Yokosuka D4Y3 Dive Bomber piloted by Yoshinori Yamaguchi, Yoshino Special Attack Corps, dove into the flight deck. The Kamikaze pilot attack killed 16 crewman and wounded 44.
The force of the Essex's defensive guns prevented Kamikaze pilot Yamaguchi from hitting where he aimed, the center of the flight deck, which was packed with planes loaded with bombs. Instead, Yamaguchi hit the edge of the deck, scraping the 20 mm gun mounts lining it.
After the resulting fires were put out, flight operations resumed and the dead were buried at sea.
For a fuller description of the Kamikaze pilot attack and an account of Thomas' 25 months of active duty as a VT-4 Avenger Torpedo Bomber pilot, see his book Torpedo Squadron Four -- A Cockpit View of World War II: