STARKES, CARLTON B.
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Carlton B. Starkes, Lieutenant, Junior Grade, U.S. Navy (Reserve), for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier- based Navy Fighter Plane in Fighting Squadron FIVE (VF-5), embarked from the U.S.S. SARATOGA (CV-3), in action against enemy Japanese forces while deployed over Guadalcanal and Tulagi, in the Solomon Islands, on 7 August 1942. His outstanding courage and determined skill were at all times inspiring and in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Born: September 27, 1914 at Cleveland, Ohio
Home Town: Churubusco, Indiana
Died: March 17, 1978
More on him from this excerpt found in the book.
That afternoon low visibility separated the three carrier task forces. Fletcher needed to rendezvous them without breaking radio silence. Lt. (jg) Carl Starkes of VF-5 volunteered to find TF-16 and endured 4.0 miles of thick, low clouds. Missing the Enterprise, he used instruments to grope back through the soup. Ahead loomed the task force. Starkes swooped low over the Sam and dropped a message stating he could not find the Enterprise. A vigorously flashing signal light led him to think the message went astray, so he released a copy. Suddenly he realized with growing embarrassment that he was buzzing the Enterprise. She re-spotted her flight deck and instructed the F4F to land. Facing grinning greeters, Starkes gave the Saratoga’s position. “The Big E” responded with messages for Fletcher and also something less welcome: two SBDs to lead Starkes home. In the next morning news summary, her air officer observed, “A child who knows not its own mother is not so smart.” That chide was nothing in comparison to the ribbing Starkes faced from his VF-5 buddies.
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