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Map of the Philippines


A number of important officers and enlisted men were whisked out of the Philippines in 5 submarines just before it was overrun by the Japanese.  The last submarine, the "Spearfish" captained by James Dempsey, left the Philippines two days before it fell on 4 May.  Left behind on Corregidor were 173 officers, 2317 sailors and 4 nurses who all became prisoners of war.

"USS Seawolf" captained by Freddy Warder took 12 army pilots including Glenwood Stephenson and Jim McAfee of the 27th Bomb Group and 13 others who were delivered to Surabaya.

"USS Seadragon", captained by Peter Ferral, took 4 officers including Harl Pease and Pinky Hoevet, and 20 enlisted men of the 19th Bomb Group.

"USS Sargo", captained by Tyrrel Jacobs, took the Codebreakers with their Red and Purple Machines.

"USS Swordfish", captained by Chet Smith, made two trips.  One of the was to bring out President Quezon and the United States Ambassador Sayre and his wife.



Date:          Fri, 9 Jul 1999 23:41:01 -0500
From:         "William H. Hoevet" <>

Dear Mr. Dunn,

The following are notes transcribed from a couple family sources, mostly collected by Major Hoevet's brother Leo Hoevet, MD. I don't know whether this contributes anything to your work or not, but in case you are interested, here it is. By the way, I am Major Hoevet's 1st cousin, once removed. He went to Nebraska Wesleyan University with my father, his first cousin in the early 1930's.
There may be more information including pictures with more direct members of his family. I'll check if you want me to.


Article In Cosmopolitan Magazine Pays Respects To Major Dean Hoevet

* * * * * * *

In the May 1942 Cosmopolitan appears an article "The Saga of the Fighting 19th" by Donald E. Keyhoe. Nowhere in the annals of our proud history is there a more glorious story of self-less heroism than this.

In this article, the following appears concerning Captain Dean Hoevet:

"Narrow escapes from death in battle, or in disabled planes became almost routine in the last tense days of the Java campaign. Too save their precious bombers, pilots and crews took almost any risk. In one such raid, the Japanese caught a Fortress on the ground and it seemed doomed to destruction. But the Nipponese reckoned without Captain Dean Hoevet, communications expert of the 19th, one who had been brought from Bataan to Java by submarine. Ignoring the bombs, Hoevet dashed to the Fortress, took off with only two engines running. For 20 minutes, he hedge-hopped trees and brush, twisting and banking the B-17 like a pursuit plane. The enraged Japanese chased him back and forth until their guns were empty and then flew off. (After action at Rabaul, Hoevet later lost his life in Australia.)"


Transcribed from original text.


Born at Fairfield, Nebraska on April 1, 1911.

Died at Mareeba Queensland, Australia August 16, 1942.

Dean was the youngest of six brothers and had two sisters younger than he. This information regarding Dean C. Hoevet was gathered from several sources including Clair Hoevet, Mr. Tom P. Doherty of Cairns, Australia, who was active in the historical society of that city, Mr. Mario Battiato, a pharmacist from Mareeba, Australia, and Leo H. Hoevet, MD who travelled to Australia and gathered this information.

Clair Hoevet was stationed in Sydney, Australia, where he was an officer in charge of the Australian APO's. He was flown to Mareeba where he picked up his brother's effects following Major Dean Hoevet's death.

Mr. Doherty provided Dr. Leo Hoevet information from copies of records of the 1942 North Queenslands Wartime Airfields.

Dr. Leo Hoevet and his wife Eunice were driven 47 miles north from Cairns, where we were staying, on a winding road to Mareeba and then six miles south and west on the main highway to the Mareeba airport, which was posthumously named Hoevet Field.

At the time of Dr. Hoevet's visit, the North and South runway were allowed to go back to fields, mainly sugar cane and tobacco. Many shrubs and large trees covered much of the original WWII airbase.

The east and west runway is now the Mareeba airport. At the time of Dr. Hoevet's visit, Mareeba was a city of five to six thousand people. The farmer who owned the North and South runway also gave Dr. Hoevet and his wife an hour of his time, driving them around the old abandoned parts of the airfield. Dr. Hoevet noted an airport identification sign at the East end of the new airport and a monument of commemoration at the field's entrance.

Dean Hoevet graduated from Kelly field after taking his ground work at Rantoul, Ill. with intermediate flying at Randolph Field. He graduated in 1937.

He was a career army man and trained in heavy bombers at March Field in California. He, with his squadron, left California in October before the attack on Pearl Harbor and on December 7th. He stood by his bomber and watched while the Japanese came in from the ocean and killed some of his men including his crew chief.

They were unable to fly or protect themselves because the War was yet undeclared.

After Pearl Harbor, Hoevet was moved to Corrigidor from which he and other members of the 19th Bombardment group were later evacuated by submarine. The group flew from there for sometime. According to a member of his crew who did come back told Dr. Hoevet, "the air would be full of air ships but ours would be the only U.S. one. We were just marking time before getting more equipment."

Early in the summer of 1942, the airstrip at Mareeba was ready and was taken over by the 30th squadron of the 19th Bombardment of Flying Fortresses with Dean Hoevet put in command. From this field several sorties were flown to Rabaul, a Japanese stronghold where severe damage was done. By this time many new planes were available.

On August 16, 1942, Major Dean Hoevet, with the armament officers of the company was out over the ocean testing flares when one exploded in the ship. They were unable to reach land and the plane fell from the sky in flames exploding on contact. The accident occurred just north of Cairns. All were killed and many of the bodies were not recovered including Major Hoevet's

Mr. Doherty talked to people who saw the plane fall. The accident occurred just inside the Great Barrier Reef a few miles north and East of Mareeba Queensland.

Dr. Hoevet looked everywhere for grave markers, and I understood there were markers for even those whose bodies were not recovered. When he could not find the graves, he called the Department of War Graves in Townsville, Queensland and was told that all American dead were sent to next of kin or to the Arlington National Cemetery in an evacuation program in 1961-1970.



Subject:     Dean Hoevet
Date:              Mon, 4 Sep 2000 19:23:56 -0500
From:            <>

Dean Hoevet was my mother's uncle's name. Her maiden name was Geraldine Hoevet. She is a twin and her father's name was Charles Hoevet.

She gave my brother his middle name, Dean, after her Uncle, Dean Hoevet. I will check to see if she has any pictures.

Jennifer W


Hoevet Field, Mareeba
Named after Major Hoevet


Can anyone help me with more information?


"Australia @ War" WWII Research Products

I need your help


 Peter Dunn OAM 2020


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This page first produced 11 July 1999

This page last updated 21 February 2020