"Pilots, Man Your Planes!"   
                                         WWII U.S. Naval Aviation Collector's Guide                                                                              
On November 5, 1944, 23 year old Aviation Machinist Mate 2nd Class Loyce Edward Deen, from Altus Oklahoma, was killed in action. As a member of VT-15, while serving as the turret gunner on a TBM Avenger piloted by LT Richard Cosgrove, the Naval Aircrewman's plane was struck by two anti-aircraft shells, one of which killed him instantly, as they attacked Japanese cruisers in Manila Bay. LT Cosgrove managed to fly back to their ship, USS Essex, and land successfully. Due to the nature of the damage, the ship's skipper, Captain Carlos W. Wieber, ordered that Deen be buried at sea with his plane. A Navy cameraman captured the landing and subsequent memorial service on film. The footage was included in a newsreel titled "Carrier Action in the Philippines" and an edited version was shown in the post-war documentary "Victory at Sea". The unedited film appears below from 3:20-6:42 and contains some graphic scenes. On this solemn day, let us pause to remember Loyce Deen and all those servicemen and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation's continued freedom.
Memorial Day 2015
Remember the high cost of freedom
Above:  Loyce Deen (second from left) is briefed by his pilot, LT Cosgrove, before a strike mission.

Below:   Left to right, Digby Denzek (radioman), Robert Cosgrove (pilot) and Loyce Deen (gunner).
Above:  LT Cosgrove taxies number 93, a TBM-1C, BuNo 46353 (last three digits white-washed on the cowling at the factory), forward and begins to fold the wings after the tailhook has been disengaged from the arresting gear. As yet, Deen's fate is unknown to him, but he is very aware that his plane has suffered significant damage. In the video, you will note he gives an emphatic "thumbs down" to indicate that all is not well.

Below:  The funeral service for Deen was necessarily short, as inbound Japanese intruders had been picked up on radar. The chaplain delivers his eulogy as two Hospital Corpsmen stand by. A white navy blanket, previously draped over the turret to deter curious onlookers, now serves as a makeshift shroud for his burial at sea.