This page is dedicated to the memory of Robert J. Cosbie
Ensign U. S. Navy
Robert Jay Cosbie
Killed in Action February 18,1945
Chi Jima Japan
|USS Bennington CV-20|
|Biography of Robert J. Cosbie 1923 - 1945|
Robert J. Cosbie was born on June 26, 1923 in Los Angeles, California.
He graduated in 1942 from Marshall High School in Los Angeles, CA.
After school he went to work for the telephone company in Los Angeles.
It wasn't to long after that he decided too join the Navy. He went down
to the Navy Recruiter and as he entered the building he saw a large
poster that said Cadets for the Naval Aviation - if you have that extra
something, apply here. Robert applied for the pilots program and was
accepted and sent to the "E" base at Long Beach Naval Air Station for
After "E" Training he received orders to Grand Prairie Naval Air Station near Dallas. This was a holding base until the next class for pilots opened at Corpus Christi Naval Air Station. While at Corpus Christi the Navy announced it had suffered heavy losses of TBF pilots in the Pacific and asked for volunteers to become TBF pilots. Robert applied and was accepted. On December 1, 1943 he was given his wings and commissioned a Ensign in the Navy Reserve.
Around April 1944 Robert was assigned to the USS Bennington. He would become a member of VT-82 (Torpedo Squadron 82)
On December 29,1944 the USS Bennington arrived in San Diego before proceeding to the Pacific Theater of Operations. Robert was able to visit with his parents and his girl friend. On New Years Eve the ship departed for Pearl Harbor.
The ship arrived at Pearl Harbor on January 7,1945 and berthed at Ford Island. On January 29, 1945 the ship departed for an area called Ulithi Atoll.
On February 10, 1945 the carrier became part of Task Force 58 and proceeded to the area near Chi Chi Jima.
On February 18,1945 his squadron was to attack shipping and waterfront installations at Chi Chi Jima.
As they were approaching the waterfront installations they came under heavy anti-aircraft fire. The pilot in the flight behind Robert's, Jesse Naul, saw Robert's plane get hit by the anti-aircraft fire and his right wing was blown off. He said Robert's plane went into a spin and crashed into Lt. King's plane. The propeller on Robert's plane took off about four feet of the left wing and damaged the fuselage on Lt. King's plane. Jesse said he saw no parachutes from Robert's plane as it went down and crashed into the sea. He said Robert's crew John Louis Gerig and Gilbert Reynolds were presumed lost and later listed as Killed in Action.
Starting to lose control of his plane, Lt . King ordered his crew to bail out. As he started to lose altitude he was able to regain some control of his plane and was able to make it back to the task force and made a water landing and was rescued. His crew Grady Alvah and James Wesley were captured by the Japanese and never heard from again. The Japanese on Chi Chi Jima executed any airmen they captured. After the war the commanding officer and members of his staff paid for their crimes.
There is a memorial at the Punch Bowl National Cemetery in Hawaii to honor all those lost at sea during World War Two. On it you can find Robert's name. May he rest in peace with all the others.
|Lt. King's plane after it was hit by Bobby's plane. Note damage to wing and fuselage.|
TBF's Flying in formation from the USS Bennington.
The arrow on stabilizer indicates the aircraft are from VT-82.
|Flight of planes from VT-82 flying over Okinawa|
|TBF's giving some payback dropping bombs on Japanese installations.|
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