The Bilingual Memorial Monument    

The Bilingual Memorial Monument is located on the island of Ishigaki, Japan.  The memorial was dedicated on August 15, 2001 to honor three United States Navy airmen from Air Squadron VC-97.

Robert Tuggle Jr., Vernon L.Tebo and Warren H.Loyd of Air Squadron VC-97 were shot down over the island on April 15, 1945 and killed in action.

The following photographs, documents and map provide a full accounting of how this Memorial Monument came to be.

  Photograph courtesy of        

Left to right; Robert Tuggle Jr., AOM 1/c (with his dog Snatch); LT.Vernon L. Tebo and Warren H. Loyd ARM 1/c are shown "flight ready" standing next to their TBM Avenger.

  Memorial photograph courtesy of  

What follows is an exact transcription of the English text which is displayed on the monument:

"On the morning of April 15, 1945, in the closing days of World War II, a Grumman TBF Avenger, assigned to the carrier USS Makassar Strait, was shot down off the costs of Ishigaki Island by the Imperial Japanese Navy. The three aviators parachuted in to the water near Ohama and swam to a coral reef where they were captured by Japanese sailors. After being interrogated and tortured they were executed during the night at the foot of Mount Banna, at the Imperial Navy Headquarters. The torture of prisoners of war was a violation of the Geneva Convention, the rules of war signed by the international community in 1929. Vernon L.Tebo and Robert Tuggle Jr. were beheaded. Warren H.Loyd was beaten and stabbed with bayonets by numerous numbers of sailors and soldiers. This incident was a tragedy which took place during war.

Lt.Vernon L.Tebo, 28, a Navy pilot of Illinois
Aviation Radioman 1st Class Warren H. Loyd, 24, of Kansas
Aviation Ordnance 1st Class Robert Tuggle.Jr.,20, of Texas

To console the spirits of the three fallen American service members and to honor their deaths, we jointly dedicate this monument in the hope that this memorial stone will contribute to the everlasting peace and friendship between Japan and the United States, and that this monument will serve as a cornerstone to convey to future generations our keen desire for eternal peace in the world and our determination to renounce war".

August 15 2001


Stars and Stripes - June 24, 2001

This article provides a complete accounting of the April 15, 1945 incident and the amazing story of a few dedicated people working together to establish this permanent memorial.

Used with permission from Stars and Stripes. 
Copyright: 2001-2011 Stars and Stripes

Download PDF (653 KB)


Wings Over Sakishima

The following account is documented by Fredio Samples in his book Wings Over Sakishima

15 April 1945 0730H

The USS Makassar Strait launched 32 sorties.  Eight of which were Local Combat Air Patrol, Two were local anti submarine patrol and 10 were on a strike mission.  The strike mission was made up of 6 Avengers and 4 Wildcats, which struck Ishigaki airfields and vicinity in the morning hours, expending 49-100# G.P. bombs, 4 Napalms and 36-5 inch H.E. rockets on the targets. No air opposition was encountered.  Two enemy planes were destroyed, 7 probably destroyed and 19 damaged on the ground.  Reventments and AA positions were struck by bombs and rockets.  The Napalms were effective.  Several buildings were fired, including a building believed to house Japanese planes.  Intense AA fire was noted.  Avenger side number 31, Bureau No. 68767, was reported to have been shot down over Ishigaki Airfield.  The plane flamed on landing.  One parachute was observed, opening but no personnel were seen after the plane struck.  Pilot, Lieutenant V.L.Tebo and his air crewmen: W.H.Loyd and R.Tuggle Jr. were aboard this Avenger.  It is believed their Avenger crashed south of the Ishigaki Airfield about 100 yards inland from the southern coast.

  Memorial Dedication Ceremony  August 15, 2001  

Pictured Left to Right: Mr. Loren Elliot ARM 1/c USS Makassar Strait  CVE-91, Japanese man not identified, Nagateru Ohama, Mayor of Ishigaki, USAF Technical Staff Sergeant Tim Wilson, American Ambassador to Japan, Mr. Howard Baker , Mrs. Howard Baker and Mrs. Martha Burnet.


Pictured Left to Right: Mrs. Tim Wilson, Tim Wilson, Professor Shinohara, Ms. Linda Patrick, Mrs. Martha Burnet, Mr. Noel Tebo, Mrs. Ardell Tebo Chrapla, Mrs. Elliot, Mr. Loren Elliot, the Loyd family representatives and Mrs.Shinohara.

  Pictured Left to Right: Ms. Linda Patrick and Mrs. Martha Burnet, first cousins, Tuggle's nieces. Flag presentation.  

Pictured Left to Right: Noel Tebo and Ardell Tebo Chrapla, brother and sister, nephew and niece of Vernon Tebo, Alma Elliot, Loyd Family representative placing. Tossing wreaths at crash site.


Pictured Left to Right:  Ambassador Howard Baker, Nagateru Ohama MD, Mayor, Naval Officer not identified, Professor Tinko Shinohara and Naval Officer not identified.


Pictured Left to Right:  Richard Bucaro, former TBM pilot of the VC-97, USAF Technical Sergeant Tim Wilson, Loren Elliot ARM 1st Class of the USS Makassar Strait CVE-91.


Pictured Left to Right: Tim Wilson, Professor Shinohara, Ms. Linda Patrick, Mrs. Martha Burnet, Mr. Noel Tebo, Mrs. Ardell Tebo Chrapla, Mrs. Elliot, Mr. Loren Elliot, the Loyd family representatives and Mrs.Shinohara.


  Pictured Left to right:  ARM 1/c  Warren LoydLT. Vernon TeboAOM 1/c Robert Tuggle, Jr    
    Ishigaki Island Map

The map of Ishigaki Island shown to the left documents the May 15, 1945 incident and includes the final location of the Bilingual Memorial Monument.

Click [Here] to download the full size map in PDF format.


  Map detail view showing locations.    

June 17, 2011 Meet-and-Greet

Veterans and family members gathered at the Fredericksburg Brewing Company on Friday evening prior to attending the Memorial Dedication on June 18, 2011.  Robert Cappella is shown presenting the map of Ishigaki to Marty Kaderli. Marty attended on behalf of the Admiral Nimitz Foundation and the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas.

Click [Here] to view the Memorial Dedication at the National Museum of the Pacific War.

[Home]  [Statistics]  [History]  [Crew]  [Contributors]  [Archives]  [Contacts]  [News]  [FAQ]
  Copyright: 2009-2018