After the Battle

Sole-surviving Avenger - The Avenger made its combat debut at the Battle of Midway, where six TBFs of Torpedo Squadron 8 were stationed at Eastern Island, Midway. Without fighter escort five of the six were shot down in the beginning attacks of June 4, 1942 on the Japanese carriers. The sole survivor of the group, seen here after the battle, was badly shot up with the radio operator dead and the bombardier wounded, barely making it back to base.
(Source:"Air War Over The Pacific" by Robert C. Stern)
Some missions are rougher than others - An aircrewman, wounded in the neck and shoulders during a strike against Rabaul, rests in a litter aboard the USS Saratoga. November 5, 1943.
(Source: "Steichen At War" by Christopher Phillips)
Well, look at that! - This lucky U.S. Navy pilot took a 20mm cannon shell right through his propeller, and still managed to get back to his carrier.
(Source: U.S. Navy)
Wounded gunner - A badly-wounded rear gunner is pulled out of a TBF Avenger, which has just landed on the deck of the (second) USS Saratoga. He managed to apply a tourniquet to his wounded leg, and remained conscious until help arrived.
(Source: "Steichen At War" by Christopher Phillips)
Small raft in a large ocean - A downed Navy pilot in the South Pacific waits in his life raft for the rescue plane. (April 1944). You can guess the pilot's sense of relief, and imagine his prior feelings of isolation and possible hopelessness.
(Source: "Steichen At War" by Christopher Phillips)
Overloaded Kingfisher - On the night of April 29-30, 1944, a Vought OS2U Kingfisher catapult-launched floatplane rescued nine Navy fliers downed during an airstrike against the Japanese base at Truk in the Caroline Islands. Weighed down with too many men on board to take off, the Kingfisher skimmed along the water and made contact with the American submarine Tang, which took the rescued crewman aboard. The slow, low-powered Kingfisher was famed during the war for many such rescues in combat areas.
(Source:"The Naval Air War" by Nathan Miller)
Damaged Helldiver - This SB2C-1C of VB-15 lost part of its rudder to ground fire during an attack on Marcus Island on May 20, 1944. It was able to make it safely back to the USS Essex.
(Source:"Air War Over The Pacific" by Robert C. Stern)
A crowd gathers - A pilot wounded during the Battle of Leyte Gulf is removed from his F6F Hellcat aboard the USS Lexington. The rugged construction of the Hellcat enabled many such pilots to return to their ship and aided in producing the Hellcat's kill-to-loss ratio of nine-to-one.
(Source:"The Naval Air War" by Nathan Miller)
Saving the ship - Damage control parties wrestle with their fire hoses and fight a fire from an enemy bomb on board the USS Hancock.
(Source: Smithsonian Institution)
The Silent Service - many downed naval aviators were rescued by the U.S. Navy's submarines, who constantly patroled the combat areas, and occasionally found a liferaft with a grateful aircrew. These men are being saved by the USS Tang.
(Source:"The Carrier War" by Edwin P. Hoyt)
A mess on the flight deck - Firefighting aboard the carrier Enterprise after she was hit by a suicide plane on March 20, 1945.
(Source:"Carrier Wars" by Edwin P. Hoyt)
The holed deck of the USS Sangamon - The American escort carrier Sangamon was severely damaged by a Japanese kamikaze while covering operations off the coast of Okinawa in May 1945.
(Source:"The Naval Air War" by Nathan Miller)
Destroyed aircraft on the deck of the USS Bunker Hill - While on patrol between Okinawa and Kyushu, the U.S. carrier Bunker Hill - her decks crammed with planes waiting to take off - was hit by two kamikazes within thirty seconds of each other. The carrier was saved through heroic damage-control measures, but it had to limp back to the United States for repairs.
(Source:"The Naval Air War" by Nathan Miller)
More Bunker Hill damage - Another photo of damage to the USS Bunker Hill, this one shows the hole in the flight deck caused by a bomb from a Japanese plane.
(Source:"The Carrier War" by Clark G. Reynolds & Time-Life)
Bent but not broken - The USS Franklin's devastated flight deck is seen in this color photo, as she sails proudly under her own power to the Brooklyn Navy Yard in late April 1945. Two bombs that hit her on March 19, 1945 ignited fires that resulted in the most damage received by any Essex-class carrier in the war. Total casualties were 802 killed and 265 wounded.
(Source:"Carrier Air War - In Original WWII Color" by R. Lawson & B. Tillman)
Makeshift hospital - In the wardroom, casualties are given emergency treatment.
(Source: "Leyte Gulf", by Donald MacIntyre)
Burial at sea - Funeral services for those who paid the ultimate price are attended by their shipmates.
(Source: "Leyte Gulf", by Donald MacIntyre)
A time to pray - With the damaged flight deck gaping wide above them, men attend a religious service aboard the USS Franklin.
(Source: "Aircraft Carriers", by Donald MacIntyre)