The Navy's Most Indestructible Ace

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Fat Cat
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The Navy's Most Indestructible Ace

Post by Fat Cat » Mon Dec 16, 2019 9:53 pm

Alex Vraciu: The Navy’s most indestructible ace

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Lt. j.g. Alexander Vraciu was one frustrated fighter pilot.

On June 19, 1944 — the biggest day of air combat in the Pacific War — his Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat struggled to keep pace with the rest of Fighter Squadron 16.

The “Fighting Airedales” had scrambled from the aircraft carrier Lexington in response to the second Japa­nese attack of the morning against Task Force 58, whose 15 carriers outnumbered the nine Japa­nese flattops.

Vraciu was already a double ace with 12 victories, and he was positioned to increase his score in a sky full of targets. But his Pratt & Whitney engine was stuck in low blower, depriving him of maximum speed and climb.

He watched in frustration as his squadron mates pulled away to intercept incoming enemy bombers.

Unable to keep up, Vraciu led Ensign Homer Brock­meyer and another pilot back toward the task force. They established a “shortstop” orbit between the oncoming enemy and the U.S. carriers while other stragglers tagged along.

Vraciu radioed Lexington’s fighter director, requesting a vector in case some “leakers” got through the Hellcat picket line up ahead.

His efforts were rewarded. Lt. Joseph Eggert, controlling Task Group 58.3’s fighters, gave Vraciu’s bobtailed formation a westerly heading.


https://www.navytimes.com/news/your-nav ... rce=clavis
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Re: The Navy's Most Indestructible Ace

Post by nafod » Mon Dec 16, 2019 10:38 pm

Thanks, Fats
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Re: The Navy's Most Indestructible Ace

Post by Fat Cat » Mon Dec 16, 2019 11:39 pm

It's a pretty awesome story, of which that war produced thousands.
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Re: The Navy's Most Indestructible Ace

Post by vern » Tue Dec 17, 2019 3:02 am

Nice!
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