On 1 Feb. 1944, a SOC-3A ‘Seagull’ scout biplane was launched from the USS Minneapolis (CA-36). The plane was part of VCS-6, and its mission was to perform gunfire spotting for U.S. Army artillery teams on Carlson Island, set up to shell Kwajalein Island in support of invasion operations during OPERATION FLINTLOCK.
At approximately 10:02am, while performing the assigned mission the plane accidentally flew into the line of fire from Carlson, and was struck by a howitzer shell meant for a target on Kwajalein Island. The plane burst into flames and crashed into the lagoon.
On board were Ensign W.J. Sayers, USN, pilot, and Captain G.W. Tyson, USA, who was flying as the artillery spotter. Both men went down with the plane, and were listed as missing in action. The After-Action Report (AAR) from the USS Minneapolis recorded the plane as having crashed 3,000 to 4,000 yards east of Carlson Island.