Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Archives

Sverre O. Bach Oral History Edit


OHP 018


  • August 17, 2013 (Creation)


  • 44 Sheets (Part)
  • 8 Files (Part)

Agent Links



  • Scope and Contents

    Sverre Bach began his interview by discussing his family history and stating that he followed in the footsteps of his two older brothers who were naval aviators. He then described the various stages of flight training, the aircraft he flew, and the lessons he learned. Bach then discussed his training in the F4F Wildcat and explained the differences between the American F4F and the Japanese “Zero.” He also described the “Thatch Weave,” a maneuver that allowed F4F pilots to protect one another during engagements with Japanese “Zeros.” At this point, Bach noted that although he had trained in the F4F, he had never flown a Wildcat in combat. Instead, he came aboard Intrepid with VF-6, flying the F6F Hellcat. He explained his role as a “spare” since there were more pilots than planes, and described life aboard ship, including a time when he tracked down a high school classmate who also happened to be serving aboard Intrepid. Bach then recounted the torpedo attack at Truk. He also recalled VF-6 pilot Alex Vraciu, describing him as one of the top naval aces during World War II. Bach then explained that he, as well as other pilots from VF-6, volunteered to join VBF-17 and would now be aboard USS Hornet. Two particularly interesting stories that he recounted were: a dogfight with Japanese pilots that ended with an engine malfunction, a water landing, and being picked up by the USS Ringgold, and the loss of a squadron mate, James Cales, who he later found out was not killed, but was taken prisoner. After discussing his service in World War II, which earned him 7 Air Medals and a Distinguished Flying Cross, Bach described the rest of his Navy career, which lasted 32 years. He ended his interview explaining the positions he held and the assignments he received: flight instructor in Pensacola, assistant CIC officer aboard USS Valley Forge, squadron commander of VA-106, air boss on USS Independence, BUPERS staff, National War College staff, commanding officer of the USS Denebola, Joint Staff, commanding officer of the USS Guadalcanal, and three more years at the National War College before retiring in 1974.