Arthur J. Elder, USN

WWII Veteran

Member DFCS

Guadacanal 1943, Henderson Field

Guadacanal 1943, Henderson Field

During WWII Arthur J. Elder was a Navy pilot flying the PBY Catalina and PB4Y-1 Liberator in the Pacific. Initial research provided at least the following:

From:  Chapter 4, page 539.

VPB-117 “Exterminators” Chronology of Significant Events

1 Feb–Jul 1944: VB-117 was established at NAAS Camp Kearney, Calif., under the operational control of

FAW-14, as a heavy bombing squadron flying the PB4Y-1 Liberator. Once deployed to the combat zone the squadron saw action from Tinian Is., Layte, and finally Mindoro in the Philippines. (Mindoro Is.)

25 Mar 1945: Patrol restrictions the squadron had operated under were completely lifted during March and all patrols went forth fully armed. Shore installations installations, such as railroads, oil storage tanks, trains, vehicles and river shipping, were given special attention.

Lieutenant Arthur J. Elder returned from one of these missions with his aircraft riddled, one crewman dead and five others injured. They had conducted an attack on shipping in Saigon Harbor, French Indochina, and sank three large merchant vessels. Two escort vessels and 20 small merchant vessels were also heavily strafed by intense AA fire thrown up by the escort vessels.

Although Elder’s aircraft was badly hit and several crewmen wounded, he managed to return to base, shooting down one enemy fighter on the way home. It was the third time this crew had returned with injuries, and it was decided to evacuate them back to the States. Lieutenant Elder was awarded the Navy Cross for his courage in pressing home the attack in the face of heavy enemy fire.

"The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to Lieutenant Arthur G. Elder for heroism and extraordinary achievement in aerial flight as Pilot of a Patrol Bomber Plane in Patrol Bombing Squadron One Hundred Seventeen during action against enemy Japanese forces in the Borneo and French Indo-China Areas on 3 and 9 April 1945. Pressing home daring bombing and strafing attacks against Japanese shipping and installations on these dates, Lieutenant Elder dauntlessly flew his aircraft through intense hostile anti-aircraft fire and succeeded in sinking a large cargo vessel, destroyed an oil well and, in addition, damaged a locomotive and several river boats, thereby inflicting extensive losses on the enemy. By his skilled airmanship and courageous devotion to duty in the face of enemy fire, Lieutenant Elder upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service"

Art's life was further commemorated in an article of the La Jolla Light:

Click here to read the article