John W. Brock
|John Wiley Brock|
August 15, 1914|
New Brockton, Alabama
|Died||June 4, 1942
Pacific Ocean, near Midway Atoll
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Navy|
|Years of service||1936–1942|
|Unit||USS Arkansas (BB-33)
Naval Air Station Norfolk
Carrier Division 2
Naval Air Station Pensacola
Naval Base San Diego
USS Brazos (AO-4)
Torpedo Squadron 6
|Battles/wars||World War II
*Battle of Midway,
John Wiley Brock was born in New Brockton, Alabama, on 15 August 1914. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on 12 May 1936 at Birmingham, Alabama. After basic training at the Naval Training Station Norfolk in Norfolk, Virginia, he reported on board the battleship USS Arkansas (BB-33) on 5 February 1937.
Transferred to Naval Air Station Norfolk on 21 May 1937, Brock was assigned to the receiving ship at Naval Operating Base Norfolk, serving as part of the detail fitting out the new aircraft carrier USS Yorktown (CV-5). During duty at Naval Air Station Norfolk which followed, he was advanced to the rate of seaman first class on 1 September 1937. On 30 September 1937, Brock was assigned to the staff of the Commander, Carrier Division 2, Rear Admiral Charles Adams Blakely. Promoted to aviation ordnanceman third class on 16 February 1938, Brock was transferred to Torpedo Squadron 6 soon afterward, on 15 April 1938.
On 13 April 1939, Brock was assigned to Naval Air Station Pensacola at Pensacola, Florida, where he underwent flight training as a naval enlisted pilot. Promoted to aviation ordnanceman second class on 16 December 1939, he rejoined Torpedo Squadron 6 on 10 May 1940, remaining in that squadron until autumn, when he received orders to Naval Training Station Norfolk. While serving there, he was advanced in rate to aviation ordnanceman 1st class on 16 November 1940. After a brief assignment to the receiving ship at Naval Base San Diego at San Diego, California, he joined the oiler USS Brazos (AO-4) on 30 June 1941, and ultimately reported to Torpedo Squadron 6 for a third time, on 2 August 1941. He was commissioned as an ensign on 21 April 1942, and attained the permanent rate of pilot first class on 30 April 1942.
During World War II, Brock took part in the Battle of Midway on 4 June 1942. That morning, he took off from the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CV-6) in one of Torpedo Squadron 6's 14 Douglas TBD-1 Devastator torpedo bombers. In the course of the flight toward the Imperial Japanese Navy's "Mobile Force" of aircraft carriers, the fighters, dive bombers and torpedo planes of Enterprise's attack group became separated from one another. Thus unable to carry out a coordinated attack as doctrine dictated, Torpedo Squadron 6 went in unsupported by fighters or dive bombers, and 10 of its fourteen planes were shot down.
During the melee, as Japanese Mistubishi A6M2 "Zero" fighters vigorously attacked Torpedo Squadron 6, Brock lifted the nose of his plane to bring his fixed, forward-firing machine gun to bear on a Japanese fighter, only to be shot down moments later. His TBD-1, aircraft 6-T-14, crashed into the sea, and neither Brock nor his radio-gunner, Aviation Radioman Third Class J. M. Blundell, survived.
For his part in the "bold and heroic" attack carried out by Torpedo Squadron 6 at Midway, Brock was awarded the Navy Cross posthumously.
The U.S. Navy destroyer escort USS Brock (DE-234) was named for Ensign Brock. She was converted during construction into a high-speed transport, and was in commission as such as USS Brock (APD-93), from 1945 to 1947.
- This quotation, from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (at http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/b9/brock-i.htm) is unattributed.