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Grumman F4 F Wildcat fighter prior to F4U Corsair RE Harmer 1942

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Published on Jan 20, 2018

I'm Thomas Harmer posting this in honor of my father, Richard Emerson Harmer, 'Chick' Harmer. This is a video of the history of the Corsair F4U fighter that replaced the Grumman Wildcat during WWII. The F4U is touted as the best fighter in the world thru the Korean war which ended in 1953. My Dad was wounded in a dog fight with Zeros back in August of 1942 during the Solomon Islands Campaign in the South Pacific. He was awarded his first DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS as a result of that engagement on behalf of President Franklin D Roosevelt by Admiral C.W Nimitz. See Onedrive link

REH Onedrive: https://youtu.be/VdTN-pAEU54
This and other battles Dad was involved in are reported in more detail in the following books: “Carrier Clash” by Eric Hammel pgs 236 -302; “Clash of the Carriers” by Barrett Tillman; “The Blue Devils” by Mark Styling & Barrett Tillman: “Night Cats & Corsairs” by Alan C. Carey.
Dad explained some details of the Solomon Islands battle that weren’t included in the citation or the books. After taking out the Japanese dive bomber targeting the USS Saratoga and the friendly fire from the ship shooting at the same bomber, he pursued some other Japanese bombers and ended up in a dog fight with two Zeros. He was wounded by a Zero attacking from his right where the canon fire came thru the side of his Wildcat and hit his right leg. While retreating back to his ship, the Saratoga, one Zero was in pursuit directly behind him. Wildcats have a armor plate shield behind the pilot’s seat to protect the pilot from bullets coming in from the rear. Dad said he could feel his plane accelerate from the canon fire hitting his plane and the armor plate behind his pilot’s seat. He said he could see the silhouette of his armor plate on the control panel in front of him from the bullets that got past the shield.. He said he thought to himself, “This is it. Lord, I’m yours.” But then the canon fire stopped. The Zero for some reason quit firing. Dad thought the enemy was probably running out of fuel or ammunition and quit. Dad made it back to a crash landing on the Saratoga and was then sent back to the states to recover from his injuries.
When back in the states in recovery Dad was sent to work with General Electric and Charles Lindbergh developing the first radar system for fighter aircraft. Within a year they had modified sixteen Corsair F4U’s with radar for night fighting. By January of 1944 Dad with a squadron of pilots he had personally trained all flew back to the South Pacific to re-join the battle against the Japanese. The sixteen F4U’s where split into two squadrons where eight went with Dad to the USS Enterprise and the other’s with Commander Culberg went to the USS Intrepid. Dad’s 1944 journal begins in January and coincides with the books mentioned above and another written from the Japanese perspective by the Japanese Admiral Masatake Okumiya named, “Zero!” translated by Martin Caidin. Dad wrote in the margins of the book confirming his agreement with the Admiral’s explanation of events they had both been involved with.
Dad’s heroism continued with his return to the battle. This is a retype of the second Distinguished Flying Cross he received from James Forrestal, Secretary of Navy on behalf of President of the United States, Franklin D Roosevelt: See Ondrive link above.
https://1drv.ms/f/s!AoMsFlnFuusThssQw...

Pierre Legace Blog Page: https://johnkellynightfighterpilot.wo...

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