The First Combat Aircrew Inductee
AMM1c Bruno Gaido, USN
In February of 1942, as a Japanese bomber continued its sea-level attack
on USS ENTERPRISE CV-6, unchecked by the anti-aircraft barrage from the carrier,
a young enlisted man ran to an SBD dive-bomber spotted at the edge of the
flight deck, manned the rear seat .30 cal. gun and poured a stream of bullets
into the oncoming plane, thereby assisting in its last-second
Awarded with a promotion for this heroic action, a few months later
this same Enlisted Combat Aircrewman earned the Distinguished Flying Cross
and Purple Heart for equally gallant performance during the Battle of Midway.
There, he was shot down, captured from the ocean and subsequently executed.
Post-war Japanese reports revealed that he faced a cruel death with the same
courage and conviction he so readily displayed in earlier actions against
Honored as the first inductee into the Enlisted Combat Aircrew Roll
of Honor in 1996, the inspiring story of Bruno P. Gaido was recorded.
Regrettably, the equally heroic deeds of countless other enlisted combat
aircrewmen - both those who were killed in action and those who survived
to fight again - were never adequately documented. As time continues to evermore
rapidly erase memories and turn records to dust, the deeds and sacrifices
of this very unique cadre of airmen deserve to be remembered. Made possible
by a generous grant from Rear Admiral James D. Ramage, an ENTERPRISE SBD
pilot whose life was repeatedly defended by his own enlisted aircrew gunners,
this Roll of Honor will never be complete. Regardless, it will forevermore
stand as a memorial in testimony and remembrance to all who serve as Enlisted
O Christ! Whose voice the water heard
And hushed their raging at Thy Word,
Who walked on the foaming deep,
And calm amidst its rage didst sleep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!
From The Navy Hymn