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These are just three of the aviators who participated in the Battle of Midway and used their experience to improve naval aviation at NAS Patuxent River.

Marine Capt. Marion E. Carl

Marine Fighting Squadron (VMF) 221

- Flew F4F-3 Wildcat and won the Navy Cross at Midway

- One of only 25 Marine fighter pilots standing between Midway atoll and the Japanese combined fleet’s oncoming two waves of 108 bombers and fighters

- As a test pilot assigned to the Naval Air Tester Center at Pax River in 1945 and again in the late 1940s, he made the first carrier landings and takeoffs with an F-80 Shooting Star jet on the straight deck USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVB-42)

- Served as test division’s first helicopter test pilot

Ensign Albert K. Earnest

Torpedo Squadron (VT) 8

- Flew TBF-1 torpedo bomber

- Sole pilot survivor of the six TBF-1 pilots who took off at Midway. After his plane was disabled in the attack, he flew back to Midway using only the trim tab for elevator control and successfully landed with only one main landing gear down. At that point, he only had 400 flying hours under his belt. One of his crewman was dead and the other severely wounded.

- Participated in various projects, including the evaluation of a captured Messerschmitt ME-262

Ensign Robert M. Elder

Bombing Squadron (FVB) 3

- Participated in the successful attack on the Japanese aircraft carrier Soryu and returned safely to the USS Yorktown.

- Graduated as Outstanding Student of Class 4, Test Pilot School, 1950

- One of the first naval aviators to fly jet aircraft, he participated in the developmental flights on both the F8F Bearcat and the F7F Tigercat

- Director of Flight Test Division, 1958-1959

- Driving force behind programs which evolved into the F/A-18 Hornet

To learn more about the Battle of Midway, see images, watch video and read transcripts of oral histories, visit