CDR Joseph Wayne Runyan

CDR Joseph Wayne Runyan

Birth
Terre Haute, Vigo County, Indiana, USA
Death 11 Aug 1946 (aged 32)
Rhode Island, USA
Burial Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA
Plot Sec: 10, Site: 10978
Memorial ID 49306335 · View Source
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Aviation Cadet J. W. Runyan, USNR, was designated Naval Aviator #5460 in 1937. Entered active service via the pre-war Aviation Cadet (AVCAD) program. Following World War II accepted a commission in the regular Navy.

A summary from multiple news articles: Commander Runyan, USN, fell 6,000 feet to his death off Rhode Island when the naval patrol bomber in which he was flying lurched and tossed him through an escape hatch. Runyan had just shifted from the co-pilot's seat to the bombardier's position in the nose of the plane. The plane lurched suddenly and the escape hatch dropped open, dropping him into the Atlantic.

Navy Cross Citation:
The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Lieutenant Commander Joseph Wayne Runyan, United States Naval Reserve, for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Dive Bomber and Squadron Commander in Bombing Squadron ONE (VB-1), attached to the U.S.S. YORKTOWN (CVL-10), while participating in aerial combat against the Japanese Fleet in the Marianas Islands, during the First Battle of the Philippine Sea, on 20 June 1944. With full knowledge that he was operating beyond the range of his airplane, Lieutenant Commander Runyan led a determined dive bombing attack on an enemy aircraft carrier, scoring a damaging near hit while his squadron made three direct hits and another near hit. The carrier was last seen burning fiercely and listing to port. The attack was made in the face of strong enemy anti-aircraft fire and enemy air opposition. He led his entire flight back to his base carrier at night under very dangerous and hazardous conditions with a result that, as planes landed in the water due to lack of fuel, friendly surface vessels were able to effect prompt rescue with not loss of personnel. By his airmanship and cool courage in the face of tremendous odds, Lieutenant Commander Runyan contributed materially to the infliction of extensive and costly damage on the Japanese Fleet in this decisive engagement and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.


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Gravesite Details COMMANDER USN

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  • Maintained by: Mike Weeks
  • Originally Created by: John C. Anderson
  • Added: 6 Mar 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 49306335
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for CDR Joseph Wayne Runyan (22 Nov 1913–11 Aug 1946), Find A Grave Memorial no. 49306335, citing Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by Mike Weeks (contributor 47007652) .