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First Name: Darrel

Last Name: Woodside

Birthplace: Clearfield, Taylor, IA, US

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)

Rating: Aviation Machinist's Mate Petty Officer 1st Class

Home of Record: IA

Date of Birth: 30 March 1920

Date of Death: 05 June 1943 (Presumed)

MIA Date: 04 June 1942

Rank or Rate: Petty Officer First Class

Years Served: 1937-1942

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Darrel "D" Woodside

Aviation Machinists Mate First Class, Naval Aviation Pilot (NAP), United States Navy

Navy Cross

Darrel or just "D" as he was know by some was the son of Leo Victor and Beulah Elizabeth Burrell Woodside who married on 29 Dec 1914 in St. Joseph, Buchanan, MO. Darrel's siblings were Phyllis Elizabeth, Dwight Richard, Elizabeth, and Shirley Frances Woodside. Darrel did not have a middle name. He was known to many simply as "D." According to a 20 May 1937 Lenox Time Table newspaper article Darrel could not take part in his senior year play because he was in quarantine for scarlet fever on the day of the play, 13 May 1937. However, the quarantine must have been lifted in time for Darrel to graduate from Clearfield High School in June 1937. To graduate from high school was no small feat for a farm family member during the Great Depression.

According to US Navy records, Darrel was born on 30 Mar 1919. However, his birth certificate indicates that he was born on 30 Mar 1920. The Woodside family was enumerated for the 1920 Platte Twp, Clearfield, Taylor, IA federal census. The only child listed for Leo and Beulah was Dwight who was born in 1917. So, Darrel's birth certificate date of 30 Mar 1920 seems to be correct because the 1920 census was taken on 01 Jan 1920. According to a letter dated in July 1942 found in his service record, Darrel was to be married to a Miss Peggy Stevens who lived in Norfolk, VA. She had "heard" that he died and was very worried about him. I haven't found any additional information regarding Peggy. The Woodside American Legion Post 97 in Clearfield, IA is named in Darrel's honor. His siblings, Dwight and Shirley, also served during WWII.

After receiving his parent's permission, Darrel enlisted in the US Navy on 28 Jun 1937 (NSN 321 17 69) in Des Moines, IA as an Apprentice Seaman (A.S.). He was transferred to the Naval Training Station, Great Lakes, IL for basic training. Shortly after he completed recruit training he was advanced in rate to Seaman Second Class (S2c) on 05 Nov 1937. S2c Woodside reported to the light cruiser USS Memphis (CL-13) on 20 Nov 1937 for duty. On 16 May 1938, Woodside was advanced in rate to Seaman First Class (S1c).

On 23 Dec 1938, S1c Woodside reported for duty on board the aircraft tender USS Wright (AV-1). He was detached from the Wright and transferred to Naval Air Station (NAS), San Diego for temporary duty (TEMDU) with the Memphis aviation unit on 16 May 1939. On 9 Oct 1939, S1c Woodside transferred for TEMDU to Patrol Squadron 11. A week later on 16 Oct 1939, he was advanced in rate to Aviation Machinist Mate 3rd class (AMM3). On 10 Nov 1939, he returned to the Memphis from TEMDU to ComPatron Eleven only to be detached on 17 Nov to ComPatron Eleven again. He returned to Memphis from that TEMDU on 30 Dec 1939. AMM3 Woodside was detached from Memphis on 26 Mar 1940 and transferred to ComPatWing Four for duty. Woodside was advanced in rate to Aviation Machinists Mate Second Class (AMM2) on 16 Nov 1940. Woodside was discharged from the Navy on 31 Mar 1941 at the expiration of his enlistment from Patrol Squadron Forty-Two at NAS Seattle, WA.

Woodside reenlisted in Patrol Squadron Forty-Two for 6 years on 1 April 1941 at NAS, Seattle, WA, and he commenced his elimination flight evaluation training shortly thereafter. AMM2 Woodside was detached from NAS, Seattle, WA and transferred to NAS Pensacola, FL on 27 April 1941 to continue flight training under instruction. In addition, he was advanced in rate from AMM2 to AMM1 on 1 Aug 1941. He was detached from NAS Pensacola and transferred to NAS, Miami, FL on 26 Sept 1941. Since Woodside was a carrier-bound pilot he received an additional eighty five hours of advanced training at NAS, Miami. Some of that training included practice flying in formation, aerobatics, fixed and free gunnery, simulated carrier landings and night landings.

On 2 Nov 1941, Woodside received his Naval Aviation Pilot (NAP) designation along with permanent flight orders. The following day, he was transferred to the Receiving Ship (RS) at the Naval Operating Base (NOB) Norfolk FFT for duty to be determined. On 3 Dec 1941, Petty Officer Woodside reported to the RS, NOB, NORVA. The following day he was transferred to Torpedo Squadron Eight (VT-8) at NAS, NOB, Norfolk, VA for duty. Woodside was transferred to the Advanced Carrier Training Group (ACTG) in Norfolk, VA on 13 Dec 1941. In the ACTG Woodside received seventy-five flying hours in such areas as tactics, navigation, gunnery and bombing, field carrier landing practice, the actual carrier qualifications, night flying, and instruments. After completing the ACTG training syllabus, Woodside returned to VT-8 on 3 Feb 1942.

VT-8 was attached to the newly commissioned aircraft carrier USS Hornet (CV-8) homeported in Norfolk. From Oct 1941- late Feb 1942, Hornet and her air group engaged in intensive training in the Atlantic and Caribbean areas. On 4 March 1942, she departed Norfolk and steamed via the Panama Canal to San Diego that was to be her new homeport. It was in Feb 1942 that VT-8 was preparing to take delivery of 21 new Grumman TBF-1 torpedo planes from the factory. It was decided that half of the squadron (AMM1 Woodside was in this group) would remain in Norfolk (under the command of Lt Swede Larsen) to accept delivery of the new aircraft, complete familiarization training, and then rejoin Hornet and the rest of the squadron as soon as possible.

In early May, with training complete, the Norfolk detachment of VT-8 flew the TBF-1s across the US to San Diego and then on to Alameda where the squadron's planes and personnel were ferried to Pearl Harbor. AMM1 (NAP) Woodside rode to Pearl Harbor on board the ammunition ship USS Pyro (AE-1) arriving on 29 May 1942. The rest of the detachment arrived later that day on the aircraft transport ship USS Hammondsport (AKV-2) and the transport ship USS Chaumont (AP-5). It was one day after Hornet (with the rest of the VT-8 squadron aboard) sailed to join the Yorktown and Enterprise steaming toward the expected Japanese assault on Midway.

Admiral Nimitz's air staff decided to send six of TBF-1s recently arrived in Pearl Harbor to Midway to augment the air forces already there. Manned by all volunteers and led by Lt Langdon Fieberling, this detachment of 18 airman arrived on Midway on 01 Jun 1942 after almost 1200 miles of open ocean flight. Petty Officer Woodside was a pilot of one of these planes. His crew initially consisted of PTR2 Arnold T. Meuers and AMM1 William L. Coffey. Shortly after the detachment arrived on Midway, Lt Fieberling decided that AMM1 Coffey should not fly into combat, but he should remain on Midway to provide maintenance support to the six aircraft. A volunteer from VP-44, AOM3 Lyonal Joseph Orgeron, was assigned to Woodside's crew as a gunner replacing Coffey.

Early on the morning of 4 Jun 1942 with air raid sirens blaring, the VT-8 detachment of six planes roared off into battle. Without covering fighter support Lt Fieberling's command, although overwhelmed by superior numbers of Japanese fighters, pressed home their attack. One by one they were shot down. Only one plane was able to return to Midway with two wounded survivors and one crewman who was killed. AMM1 Woodside and his crew did not return. He was listed as missing in action on 04 Jun 1942 and presumed dead on 05 Jun 1943. His remains were unrecoverable.

Also killed with Petty Officer Woodside were his crewman; Petty Officer Second Class Arnold Theodore Meuers and Petty Officer Third Class Lyonel Joseph Orgeron. They were posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Purple Heart Medals.

Woodside was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross, the Purple Heart Medal, the Presidential Unit Citation, American Defense Medal with fleet clasp, America Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one bronze battle star, and the World War II Victory Medal. Woodside had previously been awarded the Good Conduct Medal.

After the battle of Midway, AMM1 Woodside was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) for actions as an aerial gunner during the Battle of Midway. However, through persistent letter writing by his mother, Beulah, who brought to the attention of the bureaucratic Navy Department that Woodside was not only an Aviation Machinists Mate First Class (AMM1), but he was also a Naval Aviation Pilot (NAP) with VT-8. After further investigation by the Navy, Woodside's status as a NAP and a pilot with VT-8 on 04 Jun 1942 was confirmed. The Secretary of the Navy himself approved the award of the Navy Cross in lieu of the Distinguished Flying Cross on 20 Dec 1943. However, the Navy Department would not send Mrs Woodside Darrel's Navy Cross medal and citation until she returned the erroneously awarded DFC and citation. She returned the Medal, however, it took a second letter from the Navy Department asking for the citation also before she received Darrel's Navy Cross and citation.


Lenox Time Table (Lenox, IA) - 09 July 1942, Thu - p. 1

Clearfield Boy Missing In Action

Parents Were Notified By Navy Department Last Week

Darrell (sic) D. Woodside, son of Mr and Mrs Leo Woodside of Clearfield, has been reported missing in action, in a telegram from the navy department, Wednesday, July 1, 1942. Darrell enlisted in the navy shortly after his graduation from the Clearfield High School in 1937. Later he joined the navy air corps and was awarded his wings at Pensacola, FL. The Woodsides have had no word from their son since June 2. His last visit home was last fall.


Navy Cross citation reads:

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Darrell D. Woodside, Aviation Machinist's Mate First Class, United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Torpedo Plane of Torpedo Squadron EIGHT, embarked from Naval Air Station Midway during the "Air Battle of Midway," against enemy Japanese forces on 4 and 5 June 1942. In the first attack against an enemy carrier of the Japanese invasion fleet, Aviation Machinist's Mate First Class Woodside pressed home his attack in the face of withering fire from enemy Japanese fighters and anti-aircraft forces. Because of events attendant upon the Battle of Midway, there can be no doubt that he gallantly gave up his life in the service of his country. His courage and utter disregard for his own personal safety were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.


The Presidential Unit Citation was awarded to Navy Torpedo Squadron Eight. The citation reads:

For extremely heroic and courageous performance in combat during the Air Battle of Midway, June 4, 1942. Flying low without fighter support, Torpedo Squadron EIGHT began the perilous mission, Intercept and attack! First to sight the enemy, the squadron attacked with full striking power against crushing enemy opposition, scoring torpedo hits on Japanese forces. Realizing to a man that insufficient fuel would prevent a return to the carrier, the pilots held doggedly to the target, dropping torpedoes at point-blank range in the face of blasting antiaircraft fire that sent the planes one by one, hurtling aflame in the sea. The loss of 29 lives, typifying valor, loyalty, and determination, was the price paid for Torpedo Squadron EIGHTs vital contribution to the eventual success of our forces in this epic battle of the air.


His family also received a commemoration from President Franklin D. Roosevelt. It reads: In grateful memory of Darrell D. Woodside, who died in the service of his country at Midway Islands, 5 JUNE 1943 (Presumed). He stands in the unbroken line of patriots who have dared to die that freedom might live and grow and increase its blessings. Freedom lives, and through it, he lives -- in a way that humbles the undertakings of most men.

(Signed) Franklin D. Roosevelt,

President of the United States


Task Force 16 Citation Recognizing its contribution to the Doolittle Raid, 18 April 1942

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Second World War, it is appropriate that we take time to reflect on the unique and daring accomplishments achieved early in the war by Task Force 16. Sailing westward under sealed orders in April 1942, only four months after the devastating raid on Pearl Harbor, Task Force 16, carrying sixteen Army B-25 bombers, proceeded into history. Facing adverse weather and under constant threat of discovery before bombers could be launched to strike the Japanese homeland, the crews of the ships and LTC Doolittle's bombers persevered. On 18 April 1942 at 14:45, perseverance produced success as radio broadcasts from Japan confirmed the success of the raids. These raids were an enormous boost to the morale of the American people in those early and dark days of the war and a harbinger of the future for the Japanese High Command that had so foolishly awakened "The Sleeping Giant." These exploits, which so inspired the service men and women and the nation live on today and are remembered when the necessity of success against all odds is required.

(Signed) John H.Dalton

Secretary of the Navy

15 May 1995


Combat Action Ribbon (CAR) note:

None of the flight crews in the Battle of Midway were eligible for or awarded the Combat Action Ribbon (CR). See Navy and Marine Corps Awards Manual (SECNAVINST 1650.1H of Aug 22, 2006, Chapter 2, Section 3, p2-34). It reads in part, “The CR will not be awarded to personnel for Aerial Combat, . . . “


Brother Dwight's bio Military Hall of Honor Honoree ID#317723

Sister Shirley's bio Military Hall of Honor Honoree ID#317722

[bio #44 compiled in Oct 2019 by Gerry Lawton, (G47/GML470)]

Military Hall of Honor ID#104808

Find a Grave Memorial ID: 56135908

Woodside's service record obtained from the National Archives, St. Louis, MO by Golden Arrow Research, LLC

Honoree ID: 104808   Created by: MHOH




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