Many of the stories that have been shared with me relate to the Kamikaze attacks in the last two years of the war.

If you have seen the movie "Midway," you have seen images of Japanese Kamikaze attacks.  This didn't happen until later in the war and is one of the inaccuracies of the war.

What is little known is that some of the inspiration for this tactic came from the Battle of Midway.  Captain Richard E. Fleming of Minnesota flew his plane into a Japanese ship after his ship was crippled.  The Japanese were truly impressed with his bravery.

For a while the story of his heroism was also expounded in American media and he was lionized. 

Most accounts have him sinking the the Cruiser Mikuma.

The story changed several times with one account stating that he sank a battleship - hitting it's funnel.  That ship wasn't actually sunk until several years earlier. (that link has vanished from the web, but it was from a 1942 Newspaper article). I have also seen accounts that say it was a troop transport (but that link has also vanished from the web)

When the Japanese started their Kamikaze attacks, the story of Richard E. Fleming faded quickly.

Whatever the story, he was indeed a brave man who gave his life for his country.