Having flown the first day of the epic Battle Of Midway, Fleming's SBD "Dauntless was so riddled by Japanese fire that it was grounded. The very next day, assigned an obsolete SB2U "Vindicator", he and other Marines flew from Midway in search of escaping Japanese "Battleships". What they found were two cruisers, the Mogami and Mikuma, that had collided in the dark and were now limping towards safer waters. The Marines caught them and Fleming led his men bombing the Japanese.
During his dive, he was apparently hit and his bomb was a near-miss. Presumably he was severely injured or killed, because his obsolescent "Vindicator" continued its dive and apparently crashed into #3 turret of cruiser Mikuma. Aviation gas spilled everywhere, leaking through ventilation shafts below decks to the engine room where a large explosion occurred, spelling the end for Mikuma.
Fleming was posthumously awarded the Medal Of Honor.
-Original Artwork by Robert Coker / Copyright CokerAirArt.com 2022.
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