Harry L. Corl
|Harry Lee Corl|
Harry L. Corl
March 26, 1914|
|Died||August 24, 1942
Pacific Ocean, near the Solomon Islands
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Navy|
|Years of service||1934–1938; 1939-1942|
|Unit||Torpedo Squadron 3|
|Battles/wars||World War II
*Battle of Midway
*Battle of the Eastern Solomons
Harry Lee Corl was born in Lambertville, Michigan, on 26 March 1914. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on 20 November 1934 and was discharged in 1938. He enlisted again in 1939, rising to ensign by 15 June 1942.
During the Battle of Midway, Corl was serving in Torpedo Squadron 3 operating from the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown (CV-5). On 4 June 1942, Corl was the pilot of one the squadron's Douglas TBD-1 Devastator torpedo bombers when the squadron made a nearly suicidal torpedo attack against the Imperial Japanese Navy aircraft carrier force. All but two of the squadron's planes were shot down during their torpedo runs; the two surviving Devastators, one of them Corl's, both ditched in the sea on their way back to Yorktown, and Corl was one of only three men to survive the squadron's attack.
In August 1942, Corl, flying with Torpedo Squadron 3 off of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CV-6), was the pilot of a Grumman TBF Avenger torpedo bomber during the Battle of the Eastern Solomons. On 24 August 1942, he was flying a search mission near the Solomon Islands when he and another pilot spotted the Japanese heavy cruiser Tone. As they began a bombing run on her, two Japanese Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighters attacked the American planes, and were quickly joined by a third Zero. Under attack by two of the Japanese fighters, Corl's Avenger was shot down. His radioman/turret gunner, Radioman Third Class Delmar D. Wiley, survived and, after 15 days in a life raft and months spent on islands behind Japanese lines, was recovered on 11 April 1943, but Corl apparently died in the crash of his plane. Corl was declared presumed dead on 25 August 1942.
Corl was awarded the Navy Cross for his actions at Midway on 4 June 1942.
The U.S. Navy destroyer escort USS Harry L. Corl (DE-598) was named for Ensign Corl. During construction, she was converted into the high-speed transport USS Harry L. Corl (APD-108), and was in commission as such from 1945 to 1946.
- This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
- Lundstrom, John B. The First Team and the Guadalcanal Campaign: Naval Fighter Combat From August to November 1942. Annapolis, Maryland: United States Naval Institute, 1994.