The armed forces aren’t just the soldiers you see on the front lines or the pilots in their aircraft flying above, or even the generals who call the shots from afar. There are doctors, nurses, janitors, mechanics, cooks, etc. Today we will talk about one such individual who does not fall under the military glamour of a front-line soldier/pilot/general. A story that will surely help you understand the commitment of the personnel in the military and how they put their life at stake for their comrades.
This is about Bruno Gaido. He was assigned to USS Enterprise (CV-6) and was an aviation machinist’s mate whose biographical details are difficult to pan out. To oversimplify his responsibilities or role onboard the Enterprise (CV-6), he was a mechanic. During the Marshall and Gilbert Islands raid, Japanese twin-engine bombers breached the air defences of the Enterprise and started an attack run that didn’t amount to anything. The 5 bombers were all shot up and turned away, except for one which attempted to kamikaze which by definition refers to a Japanese aircraft loaded with explosives and making a deliberate suicidal crash on an enemy target, before they were even a thing.
With the flaming aircraft now barreling towards the flight deck, Bruno got on the rear-gun of a parked Dauntless dive-bomber nearby and started blasting. His quick thinking ability and accurate fire caused the plane to lose control and miss the runway, crashing in the sea near the carrier and clipping the plane Bruno was in hence preventing a major accident.
Admiral Halsey, witnessing the heroic action take place, called Aviation Machinist Third Class Bruno Gaido to the bridge and promoted him to Aviation Machinist First Class on the spot. After 4 months at the Battle of Midway, Guido found himself as the rear seat gunner for Enterprise Scouting Squadron 6 while contributing to attacks successfully.
However, during these intense moments, Gaido’s aircraft had stayed in the air too long, and the fuel had almost run out. Finding no other solution to this big problem, the pilot, Ensign Frank O’Flaherty, decided to ditch the plane. Though the impact was great, Bruno Guido and Frank O’Flaherty had survived though they weren’t out of danger just yet.
Since the impact was near the Japanese Destroyer, Makigumo, the crewmembers of the Destroyer, brought the two and onboard and took them prisoner. Nobody knows what happened next, but it is believed that the two were interrogated and tortured for days before the Japanese threw them overboard. But what really happened will forever remain a mystery as soon Makigumo, the Japanese Destroyer, was sunk, and so were the records of Gaido’s sufferings.
What came next were honours, one of which where Gaido was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and his name was also engraved on a monument at the courts of missing, part of the national Memorial Cemetry of the pacific, located in Honolulu, Hawaii.
What do you think really happened? When did he die? Questions like these will forever remain, but one thing is sure that he will forever be remembered as a brave human who risked it all.