EARLE F. CRAIG, LCDR, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Earle Craig '39

Date of birth: December 5, 1915

Date of death: October 12, 1944

Age: 28

Lucky Bag

From the 1939 Lucky Bag:


Loss

Earle was lost on October 12, 1944 during the Formosa Air Battle while piloting a TBM-1C Avenger torpedo bomber from USS Langley (CVL 27). (This listing mistakenly has "LCDR H. F. Craig".) He was Commanding Officer of Torpedo Squadron (VT) 44.

His parents were listed as next of kin.

Wartime Service

On October 4, 1943, Earle participated with Task Force 121 in OPERATION LEADER, a raid of shipping and coastal installations in Norway. During this attack he was credited with shooting down a Heinkel HE 115.

October 4 1943 at 1255: Ranger radar spotted four snoopers by one report and four by another. CAP F4Fs attacked. Lt(jg) Boyd N. Mayhew and Lt(jg) Dean S. Laird shot down a Junkers JU-88. Then Mayhew and Laird assisted Lt Earle F. Craig and Ens Laurence A. Hensley in shooting down a Heinkel HE-115.

On May 16, 1944, he was involved in a landing accident at Sanford NAAF; he apparently mistakenly retracted his landing gear. There were no injuries suffered by the crew. He was flying with Torpedo Squadron (VT) 44.

Remains

From Matthew Robins, USNA '04, on March 5, 2019:

While Craig's record does not include his dental data, it does include something else: his height, weight, and age. At the time of his death, LCDR Craig was reported to be approximately 29 years old, 69.5" tall, and weighed 158 lbs. The remains of another unknown naval aviator recovered from Formosa and designated X-154 were estimated to be 30 years old, 69.67" tall, and weighed 165-175 lbs. Age, height, and weight all within the ballpark - this information, along with the previous tentative IDing of his two enlisted aircrewmen based on dental and forensic data, supports the conclusion that X-154 is in fact LCDR Earle F. Craig, USN.

If "X-154" is Earle, he was initially buried on Formosa but was repatriated to the United States after the war; he is currently buried in an "unknown" grave at the National Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii.

Memorial Hall Error

Earle's name is spelled "Earl" on the killed in action panel in Memorial Hall.


Class of 1939

Earle is one of 77 members of the Class of 1939 on Virtual Memorial Hall.