2Lt William B Sandoval

2Lt William B Sandoval

Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Death 4 Jun 1942 (aged 21)
Midway Islands, U.S. Minor Outlying Islands
Cenotaph Honolulu, Honolulu County, Hawaii, USA

* A structure erected in honor of someone whose remains lie elsewhere.

Plot Courts of the Missing
Memorial ID 56121353 · View Source
Suggest Edits

William B. Sandoval was the son of Paulino "Paul" Sandoval and Refugia Mendoza. He grew up in California and graduated from Huntington Park High School where he lettered in football.

The 1930 U.S. Census shows the family as living in Los Angeles with the following family members living in the home:
Head Paulino Sandoval M 54 California
Wife Refugia Sandoval F 39 California
Son Paul Sandoval M 21 California
Son Robert Sandoval M 20 California
Dau Helen Sandoval F 16 California
Son William Sandoval M 9 California
Nephew Frank Aragon M 20 New Mexico

Sandoval joined the United States Marine Corps in 1941, and requested flight school. He was accepted, passed elimination training, and received his wings and commission in early 1942. His first assignment was with VMF-221.

Marine Corps Fighter Squadron VMF-221 was formed in July 1941, at San Diego, California. In December they were transferred temporarily the Ewa Marine Corps Air Station, Hawaii. On Christmas Day, December 25th, 1941, they departed Hawaii on-board the USS SARATOGA, CV-3, in 14 F2A-3's Brewster "Buffalos", quite possibly the worst fighter aircraft of World War II, to land on Midway Island. The squadron's placement at Midway was originally planned to be part of the relief force for Wake Island; a relief that never came leaving Wake at the mercy of the Japanese. However, there was no mercy forthcoming.

On March 28th, 1942, 8 more Brewsters arrived and on May 26th, 1942, seven Grumman F4F-3 "Wildcats" were delivered to Midway via the USS KITTY HAWK, APV-1. The Wildcat fighters were assigned to the 5th Division of VMF-221.

Sandoval was assigned to the 3rd Division of Buffalo fighters. This division was comprised of six planes.

On the morning of June 4, 1942, Sandoval, who was assigned to the Third Division of VMF-221, had been sitting in the cockpit of his plane since approximately 0515, waiting for orders to take off on an aerial patrol. At 0545 the duty officer, Lieutenant Musselman, drove a Jeep down the flight line calling for the Third Division to start up their engines and head for the skies. Sandoval followed Captain's Armistead and Humberd into the air, and almost immediately engaged Japanese fighter aircraft.

Lt Williams V. Brooks, gave the following statement about that day:
"I was pilot of F2A-3, Bureau number 01523. Our division under Capt. Armistead was on standby duty at the end of the runway on the morning of June 4, 1942, from 0415 until 0615. At about 0600, the alarm sounded and we took off. My division climbed rapidly, and I was having a hard time keeping up. I discovered afterwards that although my wheels indicator and hydraulic pressure indicator both registered "wheels up", they were in reality about 1/3 of the way down. We sighted the enemy at about 14,000 feet. I would say that there were 40 to 50 planes. At this time Lt. Sandoval was also dropping back. My radio was at this time putting out no volume, so I could not get the message from Zed (Capt. Arimisted?). At 17,000 feet, Capt. Armistead led the attack followed closely by Capt. Humberd. They went down the left of the Vee , leaving two planes burning. Lt. Sandoval went down the right side of the formation and I followed. One of us got a plane from the right side of the Vee. At this time, I had completely lost sight of my division. As I started to pull up for another run on the bombers, I was attacked by two fighters. Because my wheels being jammed 1/3 way down, I could not out dive these planes, but managed to dodge them and fire a burst or so into them as they went past me and as I headed for the water. As I circled the island, the anti-aircraft fire drove them away. My tabs, instruments and cockpit were shot up quite an extent at this time and I was intending to come in for a landing."

The following is a list of the pilots assigned to the Third Division and what happened to them that day:
Plane# Bu# Pilot Status
MF-13 01562 Capt. Kirk Armistead USMC Survived
MF-14 01563 2Lt. William B. Sandoval USMCR MIA/KIA
MF-15 01553 Capt. William C. Humberd USMC Survived
MF-16 01523 2Lt. Williams V. Brooks USMCR WIA/KIA
MF-17 01521 2Lt. Charles M. Kunz USMCR WIA/KIA
MF-18 01559 2Lt. Martin E. Mahannah USMCR KIA (his body washed up on Midway's beach later)

Sandoval's plane nor his remains were ever found. He was survived by his parents who, at the time of his death, where living at 2442 Hill Street, Huntington Park, California. For his sacrifice, he was awarded the Navy Cross Medal. His award citation reads as follows:

"The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to William B. Sandoval (0-7539), Second Lieutenant, U.S. Marine Corps (Reserve), for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession while serving as a Pilot in Marine Fighting Squadron TWO HUNDRED TWENTY-ONE (VMF-221), Marine Air Group TWENTY-TWO (MAG-22), Naval Air Station, Midway, during operations of the U.S. Naval and Marine Forces against the invading Japanese Fleet during the Battle of Midway on 4 June 1942. Delivering a dauntless and aggressive attack against a vastly superior number of Japanese bomber and fighter planes, Second Lieutenant Sandoval aided in disrupting the plans of the enemy and lessening the effectiveness of their attack, thereby contributing materially to the success of our forces. As a result of his courageous and daring tactics and because of the circumstances attendant upon this engagement, there can be little doubt that Second Lieutenant Sandoval gallantly gave up his life in the service of his country. He displayed the characteristics of an excellent airman in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."

Second Lieutenant William B. Sandoval, Sn # O-07539, earned the following badges/decorations for his service in the United States Marine Corps prior to and during World War II:
- Gold Navy Pilot's Wings
- Navy Cross Medal
- Purple Heart Medal
- Combat Action Ribbon
- Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon
- American Defense Service Medal
- Asiatic-Pacific Theater of Operations Campaign Medal with one bronze battle star
- World War II Victory Medal

**NOTE** - A large portion of this bio is based on information from the website missingmarines.com. They have done a fantastic job of researching approximately 3000 US Marines whose bodies were lost in the war. This writer wholeheartedly recommends their site for researchers or families of the missing. - Rick Lawrence, MSgt., USMC/USAFR {RET})

Gravesite Details Entered the service from California.

Sponsored by Ancestry



  • Maintained by: Rick Lawrence
  • Originally Created by: War Graves
  • Added: 6 Aug 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 56121353
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for 2Lt William B Sandoval (9 Sep 1920–4 Jun 1942), Find A Grave Memorial no. 56121353, citing Honolulu Memorial, Honolulu, Honolulu County, Hawaii, USA ; Maintained by Rick Lawrence (contributor 47207615) .