Torpedo Bombing Squadron Five at NAS Norfolk, 1941
Sheet metal sailors work on the airframe of a Devastator torpedo bomber of Torpedo Bombing Squadron Five (VT-5) in December 1941. The sign reads: "Speed work on this plane. It may sink a Japanese ship." Based at NAS Norfolk since 1938, VT-5 was a part of USS Yorktown (CV-5)'s air group and deployed with the carrier to the Pacific.
VT-5 bombers at NAS Norfolk, 1939
The sign was quite prophetic. The squadron participated in the Battle of the Coral Sea. VT-5's planes made up the second wave of a massive air strike against the Japanese aircraft carrier Shoho. Having already been hit by bombers from USS Lexington (CV-2), VT-5's torpedoes finished off the carrier. VT-5 also participated in the attack on the aircraft carrier Shokaku, but either the planes' torpedoes missed their marks or they failed to detonate.
With mixed color scheme, VT-5's planes sit on the NAS Norfolk tarmac, 1939
Causalities suffered during the battle forced the Navy to pull VT-5 off the battle line. As a result, the squadron did not participate in the Battle of Midway. The squadron did return to action later in 1942. By the end of the war, VT-5 sortied sixty-eight times, more than any other torpedo bomber squadron.