[Delno Carlton oral history interview]



[Delno Carlton oral history interview]


Fighter pilot Delno “Del” Carlton is interviewed about his military service with the United States Marine Corps during World War II. The interview focuses specifically on an incident in 1944 or 1945, when VM(N)F-542 (Marine Night Fighter Squadron 542) deployed from the USS Sitkoh Bay (CVE-86) to Yontan Airfield, Okinawa, Japan. Due to navigational errors, Carlton’s flight of Grumman F6F Hellcats and Vought F4U Corsairs ended up at Iriomote, off the coast of present-day Taiwan.

The interview is conducted by an unidentified interviewer, who then forwarded the tape to historian Eric M. Hammel.


1980s-1990s circa


1 sound cassette (8 min., 10 sec.) : analog ; 4 x 2.5 in






Biographical Text

Delno “Del” Carlton was a fighter pilot who served with the United States Marine Corps during World War II. He was born on January 9, 1923 in Lynd, Minnesota. He attended Crosby-Ironton Junior College from 1941-1942 and afterwards enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He was one of five Navy pilots recruited by the Marine Corps for a newly formed night fighter squadron. Carlton served with VM(N)F-542 (Marine Night Fighter Squadron 542) in the Pacific Theater, flying missions out of Ulithi, Okinawa, and other areas. After the end of World War II, he continued to serve in the Reserves. He also wrote a book about his military career, titled “Sent Forth a Warrior.”

In his civilian life, Carlton earned a bachelor’s degree in mining engineering from the University of Minnesota in 1948 and worked for Pickands Mather & Company until his retirement in 1980. He and his wife Ruth also served as Christian lay counselors. In 1982, they founded the Cornerstone Christian School in Emily, Minnesota.

Carlton passed away in 2019.


This recording is presented in its original, unedited form. Please note that some interviews in this collection may contain adult language, racial slurs, and/or graphic descriptions of wartime violence.